In context of the Dubai dining scene, words such as artisan and vintage are typically associated with expensive establishments trying to cash in on the emirate’s well-heeled hipster population. That’s why, when I first heard of the Taj Dubai’s Eloquent Elephant and read those words on the gastropub’s website, I feared the worst as I went in to try out its Crunch Brunch, an all-you-can-eat set menu affair.
We start off with something properly breakfast-ey – smoked salmon, scrambled egg and the (still) on-trend avocado piled on to a crusty piece of bread. The salmon’s rolled up to resemble a pink rose, which is as cute as the swirls of green guacamole around the egg.
I’m not a liver guy, but I made an exception for the soft “Indian-spiced” chicken pate accompanied by warm Nigella seed bread – though it might be nicer if they went a bit more specific in terms of regional detail; India is, after all, a country of 29 states and more than 1.3 billion people.
There are two salads, one topped by a dollop of soft-served burrata cheese (which itself is topped by amber caviar) and the other accompanied by goats’ cheese fritters, whose bite makes this most delightful part of this round – just roll them around in the burrata to enhance the taste.
The baked potatoes are coated with scallions, English Cheddar, carbs and averageness – avoid these to save precious gastric real estate for later. They don't photograph especially well, either, so I've opted not to upload a picture.
When ordering saucy pasta dishes, gnocchi is a great option. Its shape is ideal for soaking up juice, and it absorbed the truffle oil it was bathing in very well.
A chicken tikka masala-based “Elephant” curry comes with home-made saffron vegetable crisps, which are superb for dipping into the gravy.
There’s a sizeable Wagyu burger served with thick-cut chips and a tomato paste blended with mustard for dipping.
Finally, we end the mains with a roast chicken complemented by the festive Yorkshire pudding.
For dessert, I dug into the Elephant sundae – like the curry, no actual elephant in this, of course.
It had layers of soft, sweet ice cream. My partner opted for the sticky toffee pudding, which I’m unable to comment fairly upon due to an epic sugar crush clouding my memory of this dish. There was also a decadent brownie that I couldn't manage more than one bite of.
With lounge covers of Nineties songs playing at a reasonable volume, this is surely one of central Dubai’s cooler spots.