A couple of places that seek to be a temporary home from home – from a culinary perspective, at least – are the Latest Recipe with its English Roast night and the cheeky Retro Feasts.
Stroll into Le Meridien Mina Seyahi’s all-day dining restaurant when the themed buffet is on and you’ll swiftly get the idea. If the miniature London buses and black cabs don’t tell you what is in store then the Union Jack flags on the staff t-shirts will confirm the agenda.
And for those that miss a good old-fashioned roast dinner, that spells a meaty treat – and some canny puddings too.
As with its usual service – including the vibrant Sparkling Night Brunch each Friday evening – there’s an uncluttered salad and cold meat and fish section.
On one stand-alone display you’ll find pork sausages and ribs while a cheese section, with some very mature and full-flavoured choices, sits on the other side to remind you not to over do it on the mains.
Moving down, you could easily miss the pies – but for the bright heater light lending these handmade little pastry taste bombs an appetizing golden hue.
The Steak & Guinness option proved a worthy choice, as did a serving of well seasoned Cottage Pie, ahead of venturing to a serving section for slices of moist rack lamb and some perfectly cooked beef.
On a slightly chillier than usual Dubai night, this was comfort food with a few flourishes – such as the vegetables mix which paired traditional choices, such as roast spuds, with pumpkin and international flavouring.
With a formerly London-based musician playing covers of some classic British pop songs to us and tables containing a handful of other Brits, Latest Recipe could become a worthy escape for those of us missing a (usually on a Sunday) roast dinner once a week.
Nonetheless, the kitchen has done its research and when it came to desserts Jam Roly Poly was an instant draw, as were shot glass trifles and a rich, moreish Sticky Toffee Pudding. A spot of custard would have made this unmissable.
The small diner within one of the ‘shell’ structures usually occupied by changing rooms and loos on The Beach, opposite JBR, has just chalked up its first anniversary.
Amid the model spitfires hanging from the ceiling and table football, a handful of us food scribes were given an ingredients test of slightly modified menu favourites curated by boss Luke Thomas, apparently Britain’s youngest head chef; serving up a fiendishly good buttermilk friend Retro Chicken Burger, sweet with a kick Coronation Poppadoms and a filling Black Forest Gateaux Milk Shake.
Luke, still in his early 20s, and entrepreneur Mark Fuller joined forces to create a pop-up diner in London based on their childhood memories.
The consequence - in Dubai at least – is a fun contrast to the sun and surf beyond, complete with a red phone box main door and a sprinkling of items harking back to the old country.
While there isn’t a huge amount of seating, the outside terrace in effect extends to the beach where sun lovers can order from the menu, while on their loungers.
Given the samples we tucked into at the anniversary bash, we’ll be back to work our jaws through a few more of those nostalgic snacks.
ENGLISH Roast at Latest Recipe is served each Monday at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi. It costs 195 AED, including one house beverage, or 90 AED for kids of four-12 years. For reservations and to find out about the other theme nights there, and Sparkling Night Brunch, go to www.latestrecipedubai.com
CHECK out what Retro Feasts has to offer at www.thebeach.retrofeasts.com
TWO for one deals can be found for both Latest Recipe and Retro Feasts in The Entertainer. Go to www.theentertainerme.com