But when the gastropub arrived, it changed the appetite for casual dining. Out went the stale sarnies and in came seasonal ingredients and refined versions of old favourites as chefs began to innovate for a new era of eating.
Inside, the dark wood interiors, low-lit lamps and oxidised brass fittings give the place a modern feel, while cosy booths give the familiarity of a good old pub.
To start, my companion and I share the scotch egg (a classic pub snack) and the tuna tartare (not so much). An egg coated in breadcrumbed veal sausage, the scotch egg is the perfect example of the gastropub trend done right. It’s delicious, and the gloriously runny yolk and tangy piccalilli relish means it’s demolished in seconds.
For mains, the braised beef shortrib is so tender, the meat falls off the bone, but I can’t taste the horseradish in the mash and the gravy doesn’t quite deliver enough punch for my taste.
The generous portions mean we’re stuffed, but we rally just in time to share the white chocolate and macadamia cookie skillet. Served with salted caramel ice cream, it’s delivered in a cast iron pot and is perfectly crisp with a gooey middle – yum.
Location: Hamilton’s Gastropub, Saadiyat Rotana Resort and Villas, Saadiyat Island
We say: Pub grub, but not as you know it
Cost: AED 465 for two
Opening times: Daily 5pm-2am
Contact: 02 697 0000, facebook.com/saadiyatrotanaresort
WORDS Camille Hogg