The Backyard BBQ, La Mer
Article by Sophie Middleton
The Backyard BBQ
La Mer, Jumeira 1, Dubai
Looks can be deceiving at this stylish BBQ meat restaurant at La Mer, Dubai.
The story of how we ended up at The Backyard began with a search for a brunch cafe on a Friday late morning. I set out with two male friends with growling stomachs and the thought of Eggs Benedict and bacon beckoning. We headed for Society DXB, a cafe that someone had recommended to me on Instagram.
On arrival, through pushing open the translucent doors we found ourselves in a room full of women, in an airy light interior covered in white marble, a centrepiece table of cakes with glass jar lids and gold rims. Needless to say we didn't last long in there, and fair enough, the boys didn't feel it was their scene. I'd certainly go back though and try it.I knew La Mer was nearby and so we headed there instead.
La Mer opened before I moved to Dubai, around late October, early November 2017. It's a new development of restaurants and beach community stations focused around a walkway down at the beach next to Dubai Marina Beach Resort and Spa.
The aesthetic is modern, stylish and nice but you need to find your way around when you're looking for somewhere to eat. We walked past several places and found one with a gorgeous design called The Backyard. There's outdoor seating with views of the beach, beautiful decking and lots of green plants inside.
We arrived with smiling faces and were handed menus nailed to planks of tree trunk. A bit of an odd touch! The menu was limited in choice and mostly focused on grilled meat and not in a Lebanese or Mediterranean sense. I mean more like there was a sharing board of lamb shanks, the mains were Steak Sandwich, Burger or Steak Salad and the Grilled Meat was well, that exactly, Steak, Lamb and Grilled Prawns. Alright, we get you serve grilled steak, but you can be slightly more creative in the way you serve it.
The drinks were very funky, and made me feel like I was doing Marbella massive rather than a nice meal out with friends in Dubai. I ordered a Lemonade which came in a bowl and a plastic bag with two straws. Having it in a bag also made me think there may be a goldfish in it. The lemonade itself was electric blue with a slice of orange in it. Maybe I failed to see the memo to come in neon lyrcra and bring my glow in the dark bracelets in my drawer at work.
The prices aren't cheap here with the burger costing AED58 and grilled meat main courses at 100AED+. I ordered the Steak Salad and my friends both asked for the Backyard Burger. Due to the fact we were starving by this point, we also ordered the loaded fries as a starter. Straightforward choices, or so you'd think. One of my friends asked for just onion and lettuce on his burger and we made sure three times (because he's a rotten fussy eater!) that it would have nothing, not even cheese, on the burger except onion and lettuce, and the waiter repeated our order twice.
The loaded fries came out first and they were essentially chips with a creamy blue cheese sauce (like fluffy cream) and steak pieces. A real waste of calories I'd say and nothing special. The burgers then came out and what a surprise, both of them had cheese. We had to send it back and ask for it without cheese as requested. When we all tucked in, the boys' faces weren't channelling anything pleasant. They complained the meat tasted really bad and that the bread bun was crumbly and overall just really poor quality. My salad was pretty average with a bed of leaves, some thin sun-dried tomatoes thrown in at the side top right, some tiny dried bacon bits stationed bottom right and avocado bits on the left and a line of medium-well cooked steak in the middle with more of this horrendous blue cheese dressing. They loving drenching stuff in this blue cheese sauce here.
The atmosphere turned awkward with none of us really enjoying our food and after enough moaning from two hungry lads, I tried one of their burgers...and really their moans were justified. The burger meat was like the pre-made patties you get in the supermarket with loads of hard, chewy gellatin-jelly bits in it. And it had no flavour whatsoever.
What was the most fustrating thing actually was that the restaurant itself was really nice; as mentioned the design was stunning, we could have been on an Ibizan sunset boulevard and the staff were attentive and really friendly. The food was just terrible. And it seemed very pretentious (and rather ironic) to have an iPad to take the orders when something as simple as a burger was just so far from edible. Perhaps lose the iPads and put the money into better quality meat.
Our bill came to AED322 for 3 people which was painful to pay. Yes, we could have complained but explaining that the meat was terrible wasn't going to change anything - but maybe we wouldn't have had to pay? Either way, if we go back to La Mer, we'll be steering clear of The Backyard for now.
The Fabulous Foodie Rating
Would I return? No