REVIEW: Urban Bar & Kitchen

In the 18 months since its inception, Urban Bar & Kitchen (or UBK to use its more common appellation) has steadily accrued a status as one of JLT’s most bustling social corners. With a mix of wickedly good value happy hours, live sports, weekly barbecues, pub quizzes and its cheap and cheerful “drunch” concept, the establishment has shown a marked understanding of what your average Dubai resident seeks in their social excursions.

Nestled at the ground level of the Mövenpick Hotel in Cluster A of Jumeirah Lakes Towers, UBK has also refurbished its outdoor section, transforming what was a spartan, granite space with a sprinkling of tables and chairs into a cosy enclosed environment where you’d happily while away an evening – providing you can get a table.

Not that sitting inside is in any way less of a draw, with comfy leather armchairs, seven semi-private booths and communal high tables and chairs. Oh, and numerous screens showing live sports, making it a choice match-day spectator spot.

UBK’s menu has also been subjected to a bit of a retouch. It still champions unfussy but well executed pub grub, but has refined it with a number of eclectic elements. In the small plate selection, you’ll find calamari brushed with masala spices, deep-fried lobster tortellini and sticky sausages doused in a moreish hoisin sauce. If you’re after a healthier entry into proceedings, a wise choice would be the baked avocado with herb brioche, or the “half pint of soup” – changed daily.

As far as the mains are concerned, we’d recommend throwing nutritious caution to the wind and tucking into the “Steaks and Sticky Fingers” selection – a meat-heavy subdivision boasting spicy Caribbean jerk chicken and three types of steak. On the restaurant’s recommendation, we plumped for the churassco lamb ribs, tenderly cooked with just the right amount of fat, with a satisfying crunch supplied in the outer layer by virtue of the sweet rosemary lime rub. All these above options are served with hand-cut chips, mixed salad and your choice of peppercorn or mushroom sauce, onion gravy or sour cream.

We also noted the menu’s “Add It On” option, a small list consisting of a hearty selection of extras to augment your mains; ranging from foie gras (for those more sophisticated palates, perhaps?) to fried eggs and extra pulled beef – the latter being a wonderful little addition to the bangers and mash, for what it’s worth. And, this being Dubai, you can posh up your fries with Parmesan and truffle oil for
an extra AED10. Of course.

If you think this all sounds beautifully unpretentious, then you’ve got it in one. UBK’s self-proclaimed maxim is: “Eat. Drink. Chill” – and in a city who’s nightlife scene is often guilty of over complicating things, such a simple proposition – especially when it’s honoured in such strong fashion – is a welcome one.

Three dishes to try

Steamed fresh black mussels
The bad news is we’re approaching the end of mussel season, which means you’ll have to be quick to catch this promotion. The good news is that, if you do, you’ll be enjoying a bucket of some of the best mussels around.
AED70 for a half pot and AED140 for all you can eat

UBK lamb burger
A tasty Greek-influenced lamb patty, complete with feta cheese, olives and skin-on fries. A nice alternative to the Wagyu.

Candy bar jar
And unashamedly unhealthy finisher with chocolate cookie crumbs, salted caramel, peanut butter mousse and a chocolate covered pretzel. Mmmmm.

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