British cuisine has taken a battering over the years – in some cases, quite literally.
Us Brits are famed for our love of good old fish and chips but beyond our borders, few would celebrate the cuisine of our fair isles, which has historically been perceived as bland, stodgy and dull.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Yes our beloved Yorkshire puddings, fried breakfasts and Scotch eggs aren’t exactly fine dining, but when it comes to getting a great meal, Britain is up there with the best of them.
Out to share a taste of Blighty with the UAE, The Scene by Simon Rimmer, an English chef, restaurateur and TV personality, has recently opened up at Yas Marina after a successful launch in neighbouring Dubai.
The relaxed and inviting restaurant, decked out with oak tables, chairs and fixtures, abundant greenery and stringed lights, boasts a panoramic view over Yas Marina and the passing yachts, making it a great spot to watch the sun set.
The menu is filled with everything from salad to curry. Plus, there are a few vegetarian and vegan options on offer for those with a plant-based diet.
We start with the prawn cocktail, a fresh medley of plump shrimp, a creamy homemade Marie Rose sauce with the perfect amount of chilli, crisp lettuce, avocado and tomato – it’s a classic.
The veal sausage roll is a thing of beauty. The flaky, golden pastry gives way to a generous meat filling that pairs perfectly with another British favourite: HP sauce. It vanishes in an instant.
When it comes to main courses, it doesn’t get more classic than a Sunday roast and the old faithful, fish and chips.
The large succulent, flaky fish is encased in a crisp, golden batter that soaks up the sharp vinegar and salt with ease. It’s more refined than the greasy version you’ll find wrapped in newspaper on the British streets, but it’s just as, if not more, satisfying. The mushy peas, however, are a little sweet for our taste but the tangy tartar sauce is on point.
Served with a plump Yorkshire pudding on top, the massive roast really hits the spot with pink beef that soaks up the fiery horseradish sauce, perfectly crisp and fluffy roast potatoes, creamy cauliflower cheese and red cabbage.
It’s a hefty portion but the rich, silky gravy helps bring all the components together so I soon polish off the plate. After a satisfying taste of home, we’re a cup of tea and a scone away from belting out the national anthem.
I’ll definitely be back again, especially for those excellent Yorkshire puddings.
Location: The Scene by Simon Rimmer, Yas Marina, Yas Island
We say: Simple British food done well
Cost: AED 300 for two
Opening times: Sat, Mon-Wed noon-11pm, Thu noon-1am, Fri 10am-1am, Sun 10am-11pm
Contact: 050 797 0331, thescenedubai.com
WORDS Colin Armstrong