Okay, we'll get the negatives out of the way first: we're not huge fans of the name. We get that "Nezesaussi" combines the three rugby playing, cricket loving countries in the Southern Hemisphere – New Zealand, South Africa and Australia – but just try searching for it on Google. And the starters had been cleared by the time we found the Twitter handle. Just one "z"? Another "e"?
Not that it matters much. If you like sport, love huge portions of superior pub grub and want a rattling, raucous place to enjoy both, this is still a cut above anything in Dubai – especially after a recent refurbishment.
Last year, it was a dark mahogany, richly carpeted bar that felt more Midtown New York than Melbourne. But the décor has been stripped back, brightened and, with the help of an open kitchen and some retro scoreboards, given a bit more of a contemporary bistro feel. Of course, it’s still about the prodigious collection of TV screens, which on our visit were showing rugby league from Australia, cricket from England and various football matches from around the world. This remains a place for large groups to gather, drink and, frankly, shout a lot.
Settling in front of a mammoth HD screen, we started with the Nezesaussi platter, a collection of mini-deep-fry baskets stuffed with assorted goodies. The calamari was the appropriate blend of crisp exterior and soft interior, the barbecue chicken wings sticky and spicy and the chunky fries wonderfully seasoned. The highlights, though, were the strips of biltong, the South African beef jerky, and the boerewors spring roll, a pastry parcel stuffed with meat and onions, which for the sake of the rest of the meal, we're grateful there weren't more of.
Indeed, in addition to the soft, oven-warm bread that appeared first, that might well have been enough; even the waiter offered us a knowing “good luck with your mains” as the platter appeared. But we soldiered on, tucking into a piping hot lamb, rosemary and roasted garlic pie that required a long winter’s evening to do justice to, and a plate of ribs that we could neither finish nor leave. It’s that kind of place.
So, we rolled home, stomachs full, ears ringing from the excellent jukebox and plotted a return with friends. Lots and lots of friends.
Three dishes to try:
Boerewors spring roll
Stuffed with seasoned and spiced beef sausage, and then surrounded in a fold of light filo pastry, this is was the one genuine surprise on the menu.
Wagyu beef pie
Topped with pastry and cradled in a porcelain bowl, this stew of wagyu beef and a red wine reduction is the pick of a great pie selection.
JD smoked ribs
The perfect accompaniment to a big screen of sport, the ribs were smoky, soft and not sticky like their American counterparts, and came with a mammoth side of fries.