June 5, 2016 / Leave a Comment
Introducing the latest release from the team that brought you such hits as Tom & Serg, Common Grounds and The Sum of Us…it’s Brunswick Social Club! More Aussie than the three combined, this is one that just screams ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! (Oi, Oi, Oi)’ from the moment you step inside it’s doors.
Yes, it’s overwhelmingly Australian with it’s kitsch 70s and 80s mostly AFL sports memorabilia, but sports lovers will welcome this new arrival as much as true blue ockers. Finally, a venue that I’d actually look forward to going to to watch some sports with mates. Well overdue in Dubai. Oh, and it has another BIG plus – it means you can have a drink…virtually in the Mall of the Emirates! And it’s just a short stroll from the movies, so if you’d prefer your pre-movie dinner date location has the good stuff included, here’s a great new choice for you. As long as you like the majority of your food deep fried that is.
Yes, the majority of the food at BSC is deep fried and certainly not endorsed by Weight Watchers I imagine, but it goes down a treat with the wide variety of stock standard and craft beers on offer here. I’d like to see some expansion in the craft beer section (why, oh why can’t I get Epic in Dubai?) but it’s pleasing enough. There are some bargains to be had in the wine section if you’re not fussy about cheap plonk (I think wines starting at around 25dhs), and some better ones too if you value your tastebuds – so enough to keep everyone happy. Exactly what a modern-retro-pub venue needs.
This style of venue is on offer in abundance in the likes of Australia, New Zealand, Canada…but due to licensing regulations here it’s a bit more of a rarity. So it feels like a treat to me, and just a little bit like home (I’m an Aussie by way of New Zealand). Beer in hand (a Frontier lager), onwards to tackle the menu we go.
What we ordered (prices in dirhams):
BFC BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN | drums & wings | ranch slaw | brunswick hot sauce 55
SMOKEY BURGER | pulled BBQ beef | aged cheddar | spring onion | crispy shallot & sesame | BBQ sauce 75
THE BIRD IS THE WORD | chicken dog | dijonnaise | truffle | caramelised onions 80
So, this is hefty gastro pub fare. The venue is styled for blokes (which I’m totally fine with), and so is the food. The chicken, well, it’s fried chicken. I like mine skin off, so this was a bit greasy for me, and I’d prefer an aioli to a hot sauce. There was also a piece that was pretty pink that the husband was too reticent to eat (I think it was just blood from the bone though). So I won’t be writing home about this lot any time soon – especially as they insist on serving it in those cliche white tin bowls with the blue edges. Pet hate. I get that you’re going for retro kitsch, but did anyone like those bowls even way back when? They just look so cheap and nasty.
The Smokey burger was well, kinda lacking something. I liked the brioche, the pulled beef isn’t bad (will it ever be a true substitute for pulled pork though?) but it seemed totally unnecessary to plonk it on top of a standard beef patty. It just made the whole combination too dry and beefy, hubby seemed to like it more than I though. Wish we’d gone for the burger with mac ‘n’ cheese, but our waitress had described it as ‘a heart attack on a plate’ so rather obviously it stopped sounding appealing right about…then.
The Bird is the Word however, was the dish that got the meal over the line. I mean, how can you resist something that lists truffle and caramelised onion in the ingredients? Pretty good, though I’d like a slimmer bun and maybe a veal sausage instead of chicken to give the toppings more room to breathe.
The decor went a long way to creating some good atmosphere though, even if we were there on a mostly deserted weekday afternoon. Footy paraphernalia everywhere. Would be a great spot for watching The Footy Show or a spot of State of Origin (go the Blues!). Don’t think it was quite necessary to fit the bathrooms out like 1980’s changing sheds though, this is still Dubai boys! We expect a certain level of amenities here. BSC has a rather large smoking area too if that’s your thing.
The biggest USP of of BSC is that it’s licensed, yet in a mall (virtually) – awesome. And it sure looks like a good place to sink a pint or ten and watch a game with mates. I’d love to discover the menu more, but with man-sized servings (and pretty rich deep fried food) there’s only so much you can ingest in one sitting. But it’s not a place for gourmands, it’s a relaxed place for catching up with the boys. And maybe the odd girl too (though I was the only one in attendance on the day we visited). I think BSC certainly fills a niche in the Dubai market that was sorely lacking, and does a good job at that.