Over the last few years we’ve borne witness to numerous eating and drinking establishments trying to harness a quintessentially ‘British’ vibe here in Dubai, all hoping to provide a home from home for the legions of UK nationals that now populate the UAE’s shores. And while the perennially bustling McGettigans and Byblos’ outlets of the city will always have a place in our heart, we feel there’s never been a spot that’s truly channeled everything that should be celebrated about the British food and drink scene. Until now.
Nestled halfway up the populist Marina night time spot that is the Pier 7 tower, The Scene is the brainchild of UK celebrity chef Simon Rimmer, and is – in his own words – something of a homage to “uncomplicated, British comfort food.”
From the ‘Nibbles’ across to the mains, the ‘Posh Sandwiches’ down to the deserts – this straight forward approach is discernible throughout, and serves as the cuisine’s greatest strength. Stellar options, all enjoyable without the need for the proverbial bells and whistles.
The ‘Famous Scenes’ are a testament to the kind of options you’ll routinely find in England’s gastropubs across the country, with classic staples like pie and mash, chicken kiev, and, of course, battered fish and chips alongside mushy peas.
Should you have a hankering for something a little more ‘refined’, don’t fret, The Scene’s mains options extend to the likes of baked sea bass, roast breast of duck and glazed feta, spinach & pistachio filo pie.
However, if you Brits reading this really want to emulate a taste of the motherland, plump for the roast dinner. With a choice of beef, lamb or Rimmer’s own nutloaf – all served with five veg, gravy and a Yorkshire pudding – it’s fast become a firm frontrunner for the title of ‘best roast in the city.’
The Scene’s lunch game is also a particularly strong one, with light bites available from the Posh Sandwiches section (think fish finger sarnies) from 12-6. Those in a rush also have the 15 minute lunch option, boasting the achingly British choices of coronation chicken or egg mayonnaise sandwiches, served with soup of the day and chips or salad for the absurdly reasonable price of Dhs35.
Possibly recognising the Brits penchant for a beverage, the drinks list is almost as extensive as the food menu. A formidable beer and cider selection is only bettered by a fantastic cocktail list, and – the jewel in the bar’s crown – a specialist gin menu.
Inside, the décor is as unpretentious as the menu, with stacked bookshelves, colourful wooden furniture and quirky prints all underpinning a tangibly cosy and comfortable feel. And, if this isn’t to your liking or you’re after the more spectacular, you need only step outside where the sprawling balcony offers glorious views of the Marina and beyond.
While The Scene may not be everyone’s in Dubai’s ‘cup of tea’ (to coin the appropriate vernacular) a prime location and the unapologetic championing of everything that’s great about Britain’s gastronomy – means it should justifiably continue to attract the custom of far more than the British demographic in these parts.
The Scene, Pier 7, Dubai Marina, thescenedubai.com/