My Taste Club

Not quite meat-free at Copper Dog

JBR venue brings punters closer to vegetable-based menu….but not quite.

I once dropped a drink on a stone floor in a bar in Tighantruish, on the Isle of Seil, a bad thing to do when you have an English accent. You see the village’s name roughly translates to ‘The Hated Trousers’, a place where islanders were forced by an Act passed under English law to replace their beloved kilts with trousers.

While the bar staff quickly cleared up the mess I made, the looks I was given by the gnarly daytime drinking crew – some of whom looked like they’d been sitting there since the act was drafted in 1746 – made me quickly leave.

Jump forwards 20 years, to modern day Dubai, and the welcome you get at Copper Dog, a Scottish-themed restaurant bar is a far cry from the Celtic snarls I heard that day.

Sweetcorn sandwich….

This place, at the Hilton Doubletree JBR, might not enjoy an illustrious history spanning hundreds of years, bulease and spends our entire visit running around ensuring we’ve got everything we need.

We were there to try out the new ‘Meat-free Monday’ menu. Launched by the French Chef, Pierre Wavy, who has a Michelin pedigree, yet seems to class fish as ‘non-meat.’

It’s a great idea, and a nod to all those who choose not to eat meat, but, like me, they might be surprised to discover a fish-heavy menu.

Still, we devoured a plate of moules frites like the last seal at SeaWorld in feeding hour. Perfectly cooked and well seasoned, I’d expect nothing less from a French chef.

Moules frites

What we didn’t expect was the veggie corn dog to be a sweetcorn sandwich. We expected a vegetarian sausage. This was pickle, corn, and onion relish. A real disappointment.

Discs of soy and sesame marinated tuna completely turned the mood around. Fantastic, light and served on a bed of cucumber, celery, tomato and carrot. Not what was expected from the menu description, and a real treat.

Sesame and soy marinated tuna

Burrata and tomato was served on crispy, thick toast, but warm burrata is a little disappointing. We like it cold. The tomatoes were promised to us chargrilled, but seemed to have shied away from the griddle.

If you are vegetarian, or vegan, while there are options for you here, (the burrata, the sweetcorn hotdog, or avocado and goats cheese on toast)  it’s still a long way to go to a pure veg menu – and that’s a shame. But if you enjoy fish, you are in for a real treat.

This is proper gastro pub fare, served well, with spot-on service, in a great bar.

We just wouldn’t call it a meat-free menu.

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