Review: The Croft
Riding the crest of UAE’s current fascination with gastro-pubs, comes The Croft – the latest offering from notable Dubai-based chef Darren Velvick.
Having recently traded in his position at the helm of the award-winning Creek-side restaurant Table 9, the Gordon Ramsay-trained British chef has decided to wade in on Dubai Marina’s cutthroat casual-dining scene.
Located on the fifth floor of the Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites (formerly the location of Az.Ur), The Croft’s rustic charm could not be any more different that the fine-dining appeal of Table 9. Homely, wooden surfaces adorn the interiors and the menus — with information about the organic and (where possible) locally-sourced produce — are scrawled on chalkboards that wrap around pillars.
The restaurant’s centerpiece is unquestionably its open show-kitchen, which divides up the interior into three distinct spaces: an elegant (and private) area dining, a bar area and a social dining area in front of the open kitchen, allowing the chefs to interact with diners creating a friendly, social vibe.
As for the menu, the light mackerel, apple and crème fraiche salad is the standout starter, alongside the fun all-day-breakfast twist of a bread-crumbed soft boiled egg accompanied by top a fried potatoes and homemade baked beans.
The mains are unashamedly British with Fish and chips, Roasted duck breast and a Dandy comic inspired ‘Desperate Dan’ cow-pie making up three of the more popular dishes. Each of the mains are presented on mix-and-match crockery and farm-style wooded boards and flannels — really hammering home the idea the cuisine inspired by Darren’s rural Berkshire upbringing.
The flavours in everything from the pie filling, to the fish batter and the duck are full, rich and pack a punch, demonstrating a complete departure from the more refined balancing of subtle flavours that Darren was known for at Table 9.
This big-flavour approach rolls over to the desserts menu where the gloriously gluttonous Warm chocolate pudding with crispy homemade cornflakes is the kind that healthy-eating books warn you off, while item such as the Peanut Choc-ice (pictured above) creatively play homage to a British childhood favourite.
With plans afoot to turn the outdoor terrace into a grassy, open-roof gin bar, things are looking up for The Croft, but with recent openings including Jason Atherton’s Marina Social and the resurgence of Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes W1, competition in Dubai Marina’s gastro-pub market is as fierce as it has ever been.
Details: The Croft, Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai, thecroftdubai.com