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Defining the meaning of Supper Club - By Rebecca Wicks

According to Wikipedia, a Supper Club is an “American dining establishment generally found in the Upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan”. These establishments are typically located on the edge of town in rural areas and…wait for it… were traditionally thought of as a "destination" to which patrons would go to spend the whole evening, from cocktail hour to enjoying night club style entertainment after dinner.

Well, Wiki, you got the second part right.

Dubai’s very own Supper Club is far from being on the edge of this rural town. It is, you might say, slap bang in what’s become the new heart of it. My good friend G and I were in need of a general catch up,… you know, ticking off the usual list – how our men were treating us, how yoga was treating us, how the latest pedi had gone awry, (shallow, us?) and naturally, there was no better place to host our session than the gorgeous AZUR at the Harbour Hotel. They’re now offering their finely tuned, organically-tweaked version of a Supper Club, minus the rural location and night club entertainment, but sprinkled instead with a whole load of incredible flavours, ooohs, aaaaahs and a wealth of knowledge from their staff.

AZUR’s been a fave of mine for ages actually – I even took the parents there when they were visiting. You know a place is good when you plan to show your mum. As it turned out, the Supper Club is a fine addition. Basically, the clever team behind it all have taken several yummy hand-picked treats and paired them all up with the perfect wines. And in between moans, laughs and discussions involving downward dogs, we could even watch the chefs dicing, slicing, steaming and cleaning from our place near the busy open kitchen. I hope we didn’t say too much about our favourite yoga positions…

We were just getting onto the business of furniture removal when the starters arrived. My beef carpaccio with grated parmesan went down a treat with the G&T and Spanish rose wine our smiley sommelier had chosen. And yes, we had two drinks, don’t judge us. The G&T, he said, was “because you’re from Britain”, and who are we to deny our birthrights?

Also on the starter menu were Coca de Recapte and Pasticcio, both of which arrived in “too-cute-to-eat” format on a long white plate, placed before us like a piece of art, drizzled with adequate sauce and quaffed with another suitable wine – this time, white. We were sampling the entire spectrum over one meal. And we weren’t complaining. Well, not about the menu anyway.

We were well away on the subject of inadequate HR staff in a long-forgotten company neither of us work for, when the main course showed up. Beautiful and proud was the vegetable lasagne, the cream in which, we were informed several times, had only 3% fat. Genius cream! If only they’d used the same stuff in all those cakes and ice-cream growing up, we wouldn’t have the dingle dangle wobble bobble issues we like to discuss now, in our twenties, over a low-fat dinner.

The nicest thing on the menu, in my opinion, was the vegetarian version of my Home made Spaghettini ai Nero with Clams, served Marinara Style. This was also amazing, but the veggie version, featuring huge bulbous mushrooms, cream and oodles of pongy garlic had me spooning it into my mouth faster than I could comment on the accompanying Riesling red wine. A match made in heaven, firmly consummated in the cosy confines of my tummy. Yum.

I must also pay tribute to the perfectly cooked and artfully served Lamb Loin stuffed with Foie Gras and Carrots, and a sunning Tiramisu that had us both forget completely whatever it was we were talking about. Or could that have been the wine pairings, I wonder?

I have to say, at just 290 AED a head, this Supper Club menu beats any brunch you’re likely to have this summer, and it’s available every night too. Make sure you book first. G and I solved a world of problems as our uber friendly sommelier poured us glasses of the good stuff and took us on a journey far from our Dubai-based blabberings. He told of flavors and the fields where they grew the food – he painted happy pictures of breezy vineyards in a Mediterranean dream.

You sure as heck don’t get that in rural America.  

Posted: 29 July 2009

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