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Nov 05

Al Muntaha, Dubai

Al Muntaha, Arabic for “The Highest”, is the restaurant at the top of the Burj Al Arab, offering “contemporary European cuisine”. The food is made under the guidance of michelin-starred chef John Wood. After spending some time gawking at the ornate hotel atrium and staring at all the multi-millionaires walking around the lobby, I stepped into an glass-walled express lift which took me swiftly to the top floor.

The staff were very welcoming, and if there was any distaste at ushering a sweaty, scruffy backpacker into their establishment, it was well-hidden. Like the rest of the Burj, the interior of the restaurant was colourful in a slightly gaudy way, but otherwise the decor was very pleasant.

The views are naturally spectacular, though the ocean aspect is a little boring even though the sea is a rich, pale blue. (At night, the view would probably be non-existent because there are no lights on the water.) On the other hand, the views through the side windows to the north-east and south-west show the shoreline and cityscape of Dubai. To the south-west you can make out a section of The Palm, the gigantic property development built from reclaimed line. It’s huge.

Service is excellent and the waitstaff are well-drilled, always addressing people by surname. They could perhaps smile and relax a little more, but that’s probably my Aussie preference for some informality.

The food is solid, although perhaps not the most innovative. I ordered scallops for an entree and got the fattest damn scallops I’ve ever seen – terrific. The main of “Rossini vs Wellington” beef was accompanied by generous servings of foie gras and relatively large slices of black truffle but was otherwise unremarkable. For dessert they served up a fantasticly fluffy lemon souffle (thankfully for me, alcohol free) and sorbet. Petit fours and some lovely little raspberry maccarones to round everything off were complimentary. I was incredibly stuffed after the meal and, unfortunately not having any company to share the meal with and pass the time, was content to just sit and stare out the window until I could walk again.

The damage to my budget was significant, eradicating a good deal of the money saved from coming under budget in South-East Asia. Lunch was 600 dirhams (A$220), including tip and an exorbitant A$10 bottle of Evian water (only to be beaten by the A$11 bottle of Santa Vittoria water at Est. back in Sydney). Tea and coffee is not complimentary. Yes, it is horribly expensive, but if you’re only going to be in Dubai once and you don’t earn telephone numbers, splurging here is a great way to see the Burj.

Reserve and turn up early to get a window seat. Meals are à la carte and I was not aware of any degustation menu. Al Muntaha serves a cheaper seafood buffet lunch on Fridays, but apparently this is mass produced fare which, while good, is not great.

Al Muntaha

  8:45pm (GMT +11.00)  •  Food  •   •  Tweet This  •  Add a comment