The lighting was delicate but just enough and the music was
engaging without being intrusive – all in all a perfect setting and
ambience. Although the Al Qasr obviously specialises in
barbequed meats, there was still a very wide choice offered in the
menu, but nobody was going to steer us away from some of the
world’s finest beef.
But first of all we selected some appetizers. Jordana chose a small
array of dips that included a powerfully flavoured olive tapenade,
some creamy Greek tzatziki, a gorgeous thick hummus and a
delicious babaganouch, all tasted with some freshly baked pita
bread. I opted for some foie gras on toasted brioche that was
accompanied by a pickled red currant, green apple and pineapple
jelly cream. It was a great start and crucially not too much as we
needed to leave room for the main event – our steaks!
I selected a sirloin cut of the much talked about wagyu beef. The
steak I chose was actually Australian wagyu beef. The cows are
raised in Queensland in Australia and the particular variety I had
was the world-renowned Westholme Stud, which is a highly
credentialed full-blood Japanese black wagyu, and is guaranteed
farm to fork’ traceable, with absolutely no hormones or antibiotics
and all natural, 100 per cent vegetarian fed beef. This provenance
came through immediately in the taste. Cooked perfectly to my
specification of medium rare, the tenderness was just right and the
juices were sublime. It made you sit back and think, “So THIS is
what real beef tastes like”. It has a substantial premium price due
to its credentials, but wagyu beef like this just has that superlative
quality. I also ordered a creamy béarnaise sauce which was really
tasty, but I didn’t use very much of it as the steak itself was so
packed with flavour that it didn’t require any enhancement.
Jordana also decided to have beef but she opted for apple wood
smoked veal spare ribs served with a chipotle honey sauce. Judging
by how quickly they disappeared, the ribs were also cooked to
perfection. I did actually partake of one of the ribs and it was
superb. Al Qasr executes a masterful barbeque. They achieve a
perfect balance between the finest meat and the savoury flavour
of hardwood smoke to create a powerful and delicate harmony
between the spiciness of the rubbed inmarinade and the pungency
of the sauce. When these elements are in balance, you have found
the perfect barbeque. BBQ Al Qasr is it.
Not only is the meat well worth the visit, the side dishes are
worthy of being served next to such well-cooked fare. I loved my
red jewel potato gratin with candied peanuts and Jordana highly
recommended the polenta with parmesan and the wild
mushrooms with truffle oil.
After finishing our dinner we sat back and enjoyed the scenery
before deciding to sample some dessert. We were advised to do
this by another guest who was leaving just as we entered the
restaurant, and said, “The dessert here is great, leave some room.”
So we took their advice and I elected the famous Argentinean
sweet, ‘dulce de leche’ cheese cake. Literally meaning sweet milk,
dulce de leche is in fact a smooth caramel that can be addictive if
you’re not careful. It was served with a spiced apricot compote and
florentine cookies and it was an inspired combination. Jordana
chose the hazelnut tiramisu with moccacino anglaise and shaved
lemon crisp. Although my dessert was the winner, this was still a
beautiful recreation of the Italian classic.
In summary, BBQ Al Qasr has all the ingredients for a great night
out – perfectly cooked food, a warm atmosphere and a stunning
location.
5 7
S I M P LY A B U DH A B I