Review: The Orangery, Dubai: What Could Have Been
The Orangery: Dubai's New Restaurant at the Address Montgomerie
The Orangery, Address Montgomerie Golf Academy, Al Thanayah Fourth, Emirates Hills, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Four persons, 7 dishes, 1 bottle wine, 7 cocktails, 1 double espresso: 1610 dhs (incl VAT). Menu: aperitifs/appetizers: 85 - 149 dhs, pizza: 99-149 dhs, mains: 49 - 199 dhs, sides and salads: 35-49 and desserts: 39 - 45 dhs.
The Orangery is a promising new restaurant serving glorious decor with greenery abound and skyline views. The food needs work and VFM is questionable, but the foundations are there. More importantly, it houses Dubai’s best-kept secret, for now. But you’ll have to ask…v
Beautiful decor and views across greenery and an iconic Dubai skyline
Ask about The Secret (I say no more)
Full separate vegan and vegetarian menu available
Flexible half or full portion options
Some of the food misses the mark in execution
Watch the drinks bill very, very carefully
VFM is questionable on some dishes vs its peers.
The Orangery: Dubai's New Restaurant at the Address Montgomerie
The Orangery is a more formal offering to the adjacent Phileas Fogg’s outdoor, sports screen adorned boozer. No judgement – Dubai needs more accessible dining (although Phileas, now would be a good time to put up an air-conditioned tent, it is May and 40 has broken). I digress.
Immediately the decor is striking with fun, Wonka-like spearmint-stripe wallpaper warmed with walnut leather benches and copper accents. The crushed seafoam oversized chair and stretch of monochrome tiles are all flanked by lush green foliage. The chandeliers support the design opulence and special occasion of it all. Think a Vogue cover with Ralph Lauren’s Spring Summer collection splashed somewhere in Long Island. We watched a clutch of ladies conduct what can only be described as a photoshoot against a backdrop of panoramic views onto the golf course and the Marina skyline. I assume their Instagram is thirsty and requires quenching. My skull is still sore from all my eye-rolling.
The Orangery’s inside dining space looking out onto the golf course
When times allow, I fully intend on bringing Mrs EatGoSee back here to sit at the bar and clink glasses from their special gin trolley. Oh yes, the Orangery is licensed to thrill. Gin enthusiasts lean in: there are enough gin options here to keep you happy for hours, perhaps a whole weekend. We sipped Roka and Gin Mare but – word to the wise – the bill adds up quickly (approx 50 dhs per shot, that’s just shy of 100 dhs for a double). Oh, and Double Dutch tonic as standard.
The Orangery’s prize lies in a discrete secret bar adjacent to the main dining room. This cocktail bar is the shining star of our evening and well worth making low voice enquiries about with the service. Luckily, our server Darshan escorted us capably through the options available both during the bar service and the food menu.
The Orangery’s impressive gin cart together with a selection of aromatics
The Orangery offers a brasserie-style menu, not fine dining
A sample of The Orangery’s menu including the vegan menu page
The Orangery offers a promising menu. We were repeatedly advised that the Orangery is fine dining. I am here to tell you The Orangery is no where near fine dining, but that is also not a problem. The Orangery cruises in the lane of “smart brasserie”.
People (like me) are increasingly growing tired of the ‘brunch or nothing’ weekend options. A smart brasserie is a welcomed break offering “casual but elegant”. The opportunity to slump into a plush chair and polish off a bottle of brisk Piemonte La Scolca Gavi over a leisurely lunch (385 dhs by the bottle).
For people who love The Maine, the Orangery is up your alley starting from the decor to the cocktails through to the menu. The Orangery offers a lot but pitching “fine dining” is overstated at the very least and risks unnecessarily alienating some.
The Orangery’s large back bar
The Orangery's food
First: Burrata with harissa-spiced aubergine and tapenade. Second: Beef steak tartare with smoked onion aioli and truffle.
Scallop fans will also want to consider ordering the larger portion of scallop ceviche with mango leche de tigre and pineapple salsa (50/85 dhs).
Orangery’s salmon with fresh fruit and the chipotle barbecued octopus
The barbecue octopus with chipotle chilli marinade with lime and celeriac puree is beautifully plated and tender. Those who enjoy smoky sticky notes will enjoy this dish. Some in our group wanted more of a taste of the sea that is MIA due to the chipotle (55 / 99 dhs). Our aji pork belly answers the value for money challenge. A generous slab of unctuous braised aji pork belly paired with a creamy corn vegetal base was my favourite dish of the night (145 dhs large). I would return for this dish, yet, the pork is seriously underseasoned and I longed for shatteringly-crisp pork crackling.
Aji Pork Belly with corn puree and corn relish
Would I Return to The Orangery?
I would return to the Orangery as it fills a glaring hole in Dubai’s food scene. Dubai would benefit from more casual brasseries building on what The Maine successfully established. You want to go out somewhere that feels special without requiring a jacket.
The Orangery is a promising new restaurant serving glorious decor with greenery abound and skyline views. The food does need to be revisited in places. I admire their want to twist classics to a house style. The menu reads like a list of ambitions that stumbles occasionally. These are easily remedied with modest adjustments. Most people will come and enjoy the food.
Two standout features on the menu should remain. Firstly, the small and large portion options offer a flexible pricing model although some portion sizes still begs the question about value for money. Secondly, the dedicated vegan / vegetarian menu is on-trend and should be retained.
Bookings are well-advised.
The Orangery features oversized chanderliers in the main dining room; Ask about their Secret!
The Orangery, who should come?
Dubai residents living nearby. Casual diners looking for a new place to eat. People who enjoy eating at The Maine or similar. Dubai diners looking for a brasserie option. Pork lovers. Gin fans and discerning tonic drinkers. A new date night place with atmosphere to spare. Cocktail fans that want to find a brand new place (but ask for the secret…).