This half-crescent shaped all-day dining restaurant at the 254-room five-star luxury beach resort, The Ajman Palace, certainly has it what it takes to become one of the brightest stars on the culinary scene in not just Ajman, but I dare say, the entire northern emirates.
Set in a shimmering interior of wood panelling and warm colours, Encore Bistro offers a memorable dining experience in Middle Eastern settings.
You can either go for the Mediterranean-influenced international buffet or order from the a la carte menu. I settled for the buffet and, rather than indoors, decided to have my meal at the al fresco terrace overlooking the Arabian Gulf.
With the sound of waves crashing onto the seashore, the aroma of evocative dishes and the caws of seagulls flying overhead, one has to wonder why Encore Bistro even needs to promote its food.
That said, I relished the culinary fare, particularly the pan-fried honey glazed duck breast and oven-roasted sea bass.
The duck breast (Dh75, if ordered a la carte) was served on a lobster potato ragout red cabbage with fava beans on the side while the sea bass (Dh90) came with artichoke, baby leek beetroot and a tangy lemon sauce.
Another standout in the buffet was veal medallions. Served with cauliflower mousse, roast potatoes and glazed baby carrots, it was done to perfection and tasted divine. The best thing I liked about the dishes was that they stood out for evocative flavours rather than good looks. The Arabic mixed grill, however, left much to be desired as barring lamb chops, most other items (sheesh kebab, kofta kebab, sheesh tawook) were a letdown.
Saffron pannacotta (Italian word for cooked cream) with vanilla sauce and bourbon cake shone in the dessert section and more than made up for the slight disappointment.
The service was outstanding without being intrusive and the staff was friendly. In fact, after the dinner, the restaurant manager even took me to the hotel’s rooftop Nujoom lounge where you can enjoy a shisha under the stars.
At Dh180 per head the Encore Bistro evening buffet is worth every fils. But the real steal is their Friday lunch buffet (Dh150) which includes free beach access and 50 per cent off on a massage at the hotel’s Encore Spa.
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