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07 June, 2003

Jebel Ali Club revisited

The Surveyor is visiting from Yemen, with a freshly smuggled harvest of stoneage flint arrowheads, but sadly no souvenirs from the gun souq.

To ease him gently back into Dubai's seven-star lifestyle, after the camel-spider infestations, boiled-mush Yemeni cookery and AC-free camping of energy company Halibut's desert Butlins, a half way house is needed. Too much gilt might explode his brain, so we stop for supper in that grim expat hole, Jebel Ali Fat Northern Working Men's club.

This time warp of a bar-come-social-club is rooted firmly in the very early eighties, a time when "prawn thermidor" or "chateaubriand" would be considered rare, exotic and the height of clarse. "BBQ" considered an exciting and special treat, not a rain-dampened lukewarm charcoal disappointment best left in the hand of antipodean cousins. When deejay cool directly related to gold sequinned jackets and mullets, rather than inversely.

Freezing, hideously furnished both in terms of decor and clientele, but thankfully the retro-themed menu is all very edible. And food, at the end of a long hard day at SHAC, or a long hard month in the Yemeni desert, is the only thing that matters.

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