When a good friend from Doha rang up to say he would be in town and was I available to meet at YNot (at the Intercontinental Marina), I was happy to agree. After all, I’d seen lots of fun events at the venue and had been wanting to check out the property. Unfortunately, due to the post-Friday brunch crowd, the bar was a bit of a disaster and our party decided we’d much rather dine at Marina Social (even higher on my list!).
For reasons unknown, we were given one of the two private dining tables (more on that in a bit), overlooking the marina in all its glory (there are better waterfronts in the world, to be sure, but this one was fairly nice — there would be a lot of wow factor for out of town guests). The private dining area is set into two tables and at the back of the main dining room, affording a removed experience from the main dining room. Although, the lay out of the main restaurant is one that allows for a lot of intimate booths and tables, so no one has a bad seat.
A quick look at the menu, and just our luck we were in time for the ‘early supper‘ (an absolute steal at AED195 for 3 courses…more on that later too). Unable to commit to any specific choice, we asked the staff for their suggestion and they recommended bringing out a selection from the entire menu. Always a favorite in my book! For the evening, I think my absolute winner had to be the grilled chicken thigh with charred lime (which might be my top chicken dish in the city, yes, I’m willing to go there). I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Reblochon cheese, Wagyu cecina, caramelised onions & rocket sourdough pizza, which was an absolute thing of beauty (perfectly crispy dough with a light layer of cheese — carb lovers, look no further). If you look at the menu, you’ll realize there was a lot of food on offer…and while we didn’t waste anything, we did come close. The tagliatelle, sun-dried tomato pesto, veal pepperoni, lemon ricotta, while delicious, probably could’ve been given a pass and the meal would’ve been just as filling.
If there were any notes to give, it would be for a suggested wine pairing or beverage pairing for the meal. As it was, we chose a particular red wine and proceeded to have five bottles of it (oops, including one that was corked – !). Should you want to have a far more reasonably priced experience, there is an extensive beverage menu (or, do what we should’ve done and come for brunch). Additionally, as with much of Dubai service, as stellar as the meal can be, when the staff is transactional, I feel like it takes away from the evening. Don’t get me wrong, the waiters were highly professional and very attentive — I’m just always looking for the next level of personality (Intersect has this in spades). Also, there was a strange beat for one of my dining companions when, without explanation, the wait staff decided to take her wine glass when we had only just started the mains. As we were clearly still enjoying the meal, we’re still not sure why they did this. #nosoupforyou
So, about that other table in the private dining room? A mixed group…who decided to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOR EACH COURSE OF FOOD THEY GOT, WHICH WAS 5+ COURSES. Also, I’m not sure how they managed to come in after us and leave before us!
Would I go back? As much as I hate Marina traffic, yes, I would return and wouldn’t hesitate to try their brunch menu!
Finally, why did I call this meal a picnic? I’m not sure if it was Chef Jason Atherton’s intention, but his playful presentation and food choices all made me think of a picnic. Maybe I’m weird, but I could see all of the dishes somewhere al fresco with friends…