Dubai likes to do things in bursts and the current F&B trend seems to be clearly leaning towards casual pub-style venues – there’s at least five new openings that fit this bill (we’re looking at you, Weslodge Saloon, and Ten Street – although many of them have distinct North American leanings).
Billed as the first real gastro-pub in Dubai – we’re not sure that is entirely accurate, as The Gramercy in DIFC has been around longer (and they seem to be frantically trying to reclaim the title at the moment) – at all of four months old, JB’s is Amwaj Rotana’s newest opening. Right off the bat, JB’s fills a big gap in the market, by being a licensed venue on JBR that you can walk straight into from The Walk without going into the hotel first. No prizes for guessing where the inspiration for the name came from!
JB’s faithfully recreates the authentic pub experience – with chalkboard-style displays of cheese and cold cuts board menus incorporated into the decor; exposed faux brick walls; and large TV screens built into said walls. Funky lightbulbs and a modern wine cellar injects the necessary touch of trendiness. Quirkiness abounds in elements such as a vintage suitcase-filled wall by the rest rooms and Jack Daniels bottles for soap dispensers!
Far too often, Dubai venues impress on the interiors front but the food feels like an afterthought. Not here at JB’s though. The crowd-pleasing menu is choc-a-bloc with pub-grub classics such as Scotch eggs, and ‘Messy prawns’, Fish & chips, and Bangers & mash. Burgers and sandwiches are given a gourmet twist – duck dog, anyone?
Their specialty is the and ‘build your own mac and cheese’ and ‘sausage by the metre’. While I haven’t tried these yet, the dishes that I did taste were outstanding. A highlight was the Pork grinds – yes, they have a pork license, and they maximise it; this is a more-ish version of a classic bar snack that is a rarity in this city. They also do mean desserts including a envy-inducing ‘Strawberry yum’ – their take on an ice cream sundae that is like a giant Eton Mess, with various textures of strawberries, including dehydrated and fresh berries, meringue, and house-made ice cream. Truly yum!
JB’s manages to strike that perfect balance between hip and hearty, and the happy buzz of people crowding in there, even on weeknights, is proof of that.
Photographs are supplied and by the reviewer.