As much as we love a good Friday brunch, there’s little denying that it steals away half of your precious weekend. If you’re attending the standard Friday brunch, mornings are spent on the ritual of getting ready and ensuring you arrive promptly (or in our case early, to maximize the brunching time). Then you have the plethora of food and drinks that is the brunch itself, before moving onto a post-brunch afterparty or a food coma and early night. Even though we adore a Friday brunch, the draw of an evening brunch is becoming far more appealing. Meaning we get the day to ourselves, while still filling our bellies with unlimited food and drink in the evenings.
Driving out towards Scots American Grill at the Marriott Al Jaddaf, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. Given that the hotel is situated in a particularly awkward location. In reality it’s not from the Dubai Mall but it feels like a world away from the city lights of Downtown. Navigating construction zones (a standard Dubai frustration) and numerous sets of non-working traffic lights, we eventually found ourselves at the hotel.
Ascending to the first floor, we follow directions from the courteous staff and soon arrive at our destination for the evening. Scots American Grill is a welcome surprise, it’s just a shame that it’s so tucked out of the way on the outskirts of Oud Metha Road. A glass wine cellar and bold prints of buffalo amongst snowscapes, greet visitors before they are taken under the watchful wing of Scots team of energetic staff.
Our table is a revelation, set with pristine glassware and customized place settings. The table has been strategically positioned to take in the view of Dubai’s majestic cityscape and what a vantage point it is. Through the thick drapes and dome windows, the iconic Burj Khalifa stands proud, projecting a number of mesmerizing designs that captivates our gaze at countless points throughout the evening.
With the ethos “No great evening ever started on an empty stomach” we embrace the brunch and allow the onslaught of food to arrive. The intention of this Cuts and kilts evening brunch is to combine Scottish fine foods, with the familial flavours of American cuisine. This amalgamation creates a truly unique menu unlike anything else in the city and judging from the guests in attendance, it’s a very popular choice for a Friday night.
Cuts and Kilts is a table service brunch and diners are asked to pick a starter, main and dessert from a list of around 2o dishes. Despite the menu’s concise nature, the choices are worthy and there is certainly something to suit every taste. Aside from the three course meal, a number of ‘surprise’ dishes are also delivered to the table at intermittent intervals throughput the evening. We suggest you arrive hungry and wear some lose fitting clothes, as you’ll likely leave ready to burst!
Brunch begins with a beautifully warm loaf of fresh bread, accompanied by salted butter, chicken liver pate and pickles. It’s a rustic chunky loaf that conjures up images of home cooking and despite our usual aversion to pate, we embrace the dish and are pleasantly surprised. Appetizers range from sea scallops, Maryland crab cakes, steak tartare and Rockefeller oysters, all staples of the American steakhouse. Despite the appeal of these options, we opt for something a touch lighter (still feeling a little fragile from Mrs. Out & About’s birthday celebrations the night before), settling on the clam chowder and Brussel sprout salad.
Appetizers are served sharing style, meaning there’s more than enough for the whole table to sample. We order the New England Clam Chowder because the dish is coupled with buttermilk biscuits (a recent obsession of ours) and despite being more like an English cheese scone than an American biscuit, we love the light texture and mild hint of mustard. The chowder itself is served with a dash of hot sauce to cut through the wonderfully creaminess of the dish.
The Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad had us raring to go for the upcoming festive season. The winter inspired ingredients of kale, quinoa, candied pecans, cranberries and caramelized maple vinaigrette, carry such a strong association with Christmas that we couldn’t help but get a little excited.
Despite the brunch menu remaining the same each week, the ‘surprise’ dishes change week-on-week, so even returning customers get to sample something fresh. We’d heard rumors of Scotch eggs, braised beef cheeks and burnt marshmallow milkshakes, all of which would be a welcome addition to any table. Instead we end up with far more American fare in the form of breaded squid, mozzarella sticks, beef sausage with mashed potatoes and a fresh burrata and beetroot salad. Although good, these dishes seemed to have been pre-prepared and didn’t live up to the higher standards associated with the a la carte selection.
With bagpipes and traditional music from the Scottish Highlands emanating throughout the dining room, the attention to detail should be admired. Tartan is used sparingly throughout the space and can be found on cushions and inside the light fittings. High backed leather chairs, heavy drapes and an illuminated bar area, add a sense of intimacy and sophistication and the chatter from groups of assembled diners, really helps to elevate the atmosphere.
Main courses include a cedar wood salmon, butternut squash ravioli and a grilled double chicken breast to complement the Scottish national dish (and Burns night favourite), haggis, neeps and tatties (sheeps pluck, swede, turnips and potatoes). Veering away from tradition, we stick with steak and opt for the sirloin and tenderloin cooked medium rare (of course).
The 200g USDA Prime Tenderloin was the star of the show. A beautifully thick cut of meat that was a pleasure to eat and easy to carve. Served with triple cooked chips, portobello mushrooms and a rich and fragrant red wine sauce, this would be our recommendation for anyone visiting Cuts and Kilts.
Despite not having the melt-in-the-mouth texture of the tenderloin, our 250g USDA Prime Sirlon was potentially more flavorsome, due to the composition of fat within the meat that is known to add additional flavours. Completed with creamy spinach, a tower of battered onion rings and a mushrooms sauce. We actually abandon the mushroom in favour of additional red wine sauce, it’s that good and should quite frankly be served with everything!
Dessert offers just four options, a baked cheesecake, key lime pie, double chocolate cookie and flourless chocolate cake (that despite its flourless nature, sounded intriguing with caramelized popcorn and a peanut butter ice cream). Selecting the Key Lime Pie, the slab of cake that appeared on the table would strike fear into the hearts of any man – for the portion was huge! The composition of the filling was very good and evidently, you expect a key lime pie to be tart in flavour but this one was perhaps a little too sour for our liking. We were also slightly perturbed by the lashings of overly artificial strawberry syrup which doused the plate. No doubt strawberry and lime complement each other as flavours but the overly sugary strawberry syrup take the tartness of the lime over to the other extreme. Making for a plate that doesn’t quite come together as it should. The Freshly Baked Double Chocolate Cookie on the other hand, was exactly as one would expect. With the oozing chocolate mixing with the ice cream inside a sizzling hot skillet.
Rounding out the meal, we must mention the excellent service. Dressed in kilts and tartan elbow pads, what you get from the staff at Scots American Grill is the very definition of “service with a smile!” The team are genuinely friendly, extremely accommodating and are constantly on hand to ensure that the dining experience is pleasant and without fault. The service feels effortless and is something that should be commended.
We’re not Scottish but the cuisine falls firmly into the category of British food. Hearty, home cooked and an over reliance on potatoes is exactly what we need as winter rolls in and we spend another Christmas away from the UK. The Cuts and Kilts evening brunch offers diners a completely unique concept and an interesting night out. Being an evening brunch, you still get to indulge in the all you can eat / all you can drink ethos, without losing your entire Friday in the process. For that we applaud you, Scots American Grill.
The Cuts and Kilts evening brunch at Scots American Grill takes place each Friday from 6pm – 9pm:
225 AED++ (soft drinks)
Add an additional 100 AED++ for wine or additional 150AED++ for beer, wines and spirits
Location: Marriott Al Jaddaf, Al Jaddaf Area, Dubai
Social: Instagram / Facebook / Twitter
Hours: 6pm – 11pm
Phone: 04 317 7777
We were invited to dine at Scots American Grill. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, with the exception of two images provided by Zomato.