Solis Beach Club

For all the larger-than-life restaurants at Atlantis and the promise of plentiful high-end dining options from the hotels opening along Palm Crescent, the island offers little else by way of mid-range eateries. This was enough to stoke my interest in Solis Beach Club at Tiara Residence, which has long been open, but has only recently started to market itself to non-Palm dwellers. I’ve always maintained that living in Dubai is like being on holiday with a bit (okay, a lot) of work thrown in. The sentiment is reinforced by Solis: though it’s set amid a huge residential complex, its poolside location and wicker interior evoke an irresistible laid-back ambience. This, sadly, seems to rub off on the staff, who were nowhere to be seen when we took our table outside. Admittedly, it was dark – too dark, perhaps, for an evening meal – but we persevered and a waiter eventually emerged from the shadows to take our order. As you’d expect from any self-respecting beach club, the menu at Solis is packed with battered and fried starters, while surf-and-turf options dominate the mains. The menu wasn’t complicated, but we decided to ask the waiter for a recommendation – a request that sent him into inexplicable fits of laughter. Once the mirth had subsided, he suggested the ominously named brick chicken for my date’s main, a suggestion we supplemented with calamari, bruschetta and chicken wings to share for our starters, followed by lamb rack for me. The waiter’s chuckling faded into the dark and we were left to the balmy May air and the electric-blue glow of the pool. By the time our starters arrived, my date and I agreed that Solis had already won points for its location. All we needed now was food to match and we’d have ourselves a very pleasant little midweek retreat. Sadly, however, the starters set the tone for a decidedly average meal: rather than a selection of bite-size slices, the bruschetta came as one large slice of toast, topped by disparate tomato chunks and a whimper of garlic. The chicken wings were flavourful, though the meat could be best described as gristly. Most disappointing, however, was the calamari – elastic loops covered in sandpapery batter. The term ‘appetiser’ couldn’t have been further from the truth. The ‘chicken brick’, however, proved an accurate description of my date’s main course – a heavy, dry cut of chicken that could have been used in the foundations of one of Dubai’s many construction projects. A dollop of mashed potato gave the dish a modicum of moisture, though its texture was lumpy enough to evoke previously suppressed memories of school dinners. While my date battled her brick, I fared much better with the lamb rack. The meat was juicy, well cooked and sensibly marinated. The side of steamed vegetables shone in their simplicity, rounding off a passable dish. If I’d come alone, ordering the lamb rack and nothing else, my account of Solis would be wholly positive. However, the mediocrity of the other dishes undid all that was good about my main and we were left disappointed – especially with the chocolate brownie, which, after waiting 20 minutes, we had to cancel for fear of falling asleep at our table, weighed down with chicken bricks and our selection of sinewy starters. For residents, Solis is well located to provide simple lunchtime snacks and drinks, but for those of us who don’t live on the peculiarly shaped Palm peninsula, it’s a bridge too far. The bill (for two) 1x Bruschetta Dhs25 1x Fried calamari Dhs35 1x Spicy chicken wings Dhs35 1x Brick chicken Dhs75 1x Lamb rack Dhs110 Total (excluding service) Dhs280

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