The lovely people at Le Meridien Dubai asked me to be an Ambassador for the month of May and kindly allowed me to take five guests with me to sample the food at four of their restaurants.  Each of my meals has had a theme, and the theme for this evening, my final one was an Ambassador was ‘fit men’.  I’ll leave you to decide if I mean fit as in looks or health and fitness although I won’t be sharing pictures of the fit men to allow them to maintain their anonymity! If you follow me on Twitter, though you’ll have an idea who the guys were and can make your own call on which type of ‘fit’ they are!   Whatever you decide best suits them my lips are sealed – but I will say I had a fun evening !

I had heard a lot about Ms Beef Bistro from other Ambassadors who always spoke positively about their experiences and so I thought this would be the perfect spot to entertain five hungry men and me !

Conversation for the evening started off after a bit of a shaky start – well, a typical one when you are the only lady at the table!  The men were talking about football with two of them supporting opposite sites for the recent match/final ?? (I’m so not into football so cant’ really tell you – but it seems like it was important!) which had just taken place !

Anyway, we started the evening by selecting our drinks (I’m getting quite good with the iPad wine guide now) and we demolished a few baskets of exceptionally good bread whilst we made our choices from the menu and waited for one guest to arrive.  Thankfully it’s not a huge menu (as I always spend forever reading and re-reading to make sure I make the best choice) it doesn’t need to be – because what counts here is the quality of the beef and ultimately how it’s cooked and how it tastes.

For starters we ordered the following: Burgundy snails – these were served in a beautiful garlic butter sauce (I know this because I distracted the diner so I could dip my bread in his butter !) – actually I also tasted my first ever snail and it was nice.  A few of us chose the Beef carpaccio, with rocca leaves, olive oil & parmesan shaves- the beef was very finely sliced and tasty with the parmesan being beautifully sharpy and salty which is a great combination.  I liked the fact that you could chose to have this as a small starter size (which I chose) or a larger plate (which one of the guys chose) – this seems to make so much sense to me.   Two of my guests chose the Foie gras & smoked duck breast salad with a hazelnut dressing and interestingly enough they both had a very different review for the same starter, one said it was an ‘average salad, no real flavour, no dressing and very tasteless duck’ whilst the other said that the starter ‘tasted fresh and a little different to a traditional Foie Gras and therefore was rewarding choice’.

It will come as no great surprise that we all chose steak for our main course, although there are plenty of non steak options and also a small vegetarian menu too.  The most adventurous choice was Steak Tartar which was prepared next to the table (unfortunately we were talking too much so missed watching the preparation!) the person who ordered it described it as favourite of theirs and explained that they are very fussy about where they eat it. It was described by them as ‘tasting exceptional‘  but with the slight negative that we had not seen it  being prepared- but to be fair this was our fault (too much football again I suspect) !

Two of the guys chose the Wagyu rib-eye which was served with fries for one and with gnocci and sauteed mushrooms and spinach for the other.  One of the diners, a man of few foodie words described it as ‘good‘ whilst the other described it as ‘rather perfect‘ and ‘melting in my mouth‘ Another great choice was Surf & turf, which comprised of grilled lobster & New Zealand beef tenderloin and was served with gnocci – it looked beautiful.

My choice was off of the specials menu, I chose pepper style New-Zealand beef tenderloin which was expertly flambéd at the side of the table and tasted delicious.  The beef was served rare as requested and was beautifully tender and juicy.

My final diner chose Argentinian Grilled Rib-eye served with roast baby potatoes and vegetables.  He described the steak as the ‘best steak I have ever had, with amazing potatoes, but below average overcooked vegetables.

As the night wore on, and thankfully the conversation left the topic of football ! – we got to that stage where puddings are ordered by those who have left some space and not been completely filled up by the enormous bread baskets which we polished off early in the evening !

I had little room for pudding but chose the Baileys with vanilla and chocolate ice-cream – my new favourite desert (I also had it in Ms’s Seafood Bistro) – it didn’t disappoint, simple but delicious – my new ‘best friend in puddings’! One of my guests ordered the Crème brûlée which he described as ‘good but not brilliant’ he said it ‘hardly had any taste of vanilla but was nice’ whilst two of the guys had vanilla ice cream – one of which should have been served with whisky but this was sadly lacking.

Overall the comments from the table were positive there were a few negatives and a few areas for improvement.  What stood out most is that everyone thought their steaks were good, great or exceptional and for a Beef Bistro this has to be the part that you take away with you as being a the ‘best bit’.

One of my guests described the atmosphere within the Bistro as being poor, with the exception of our table, and he also thought service was very poor as we were left alone for long periods between courses.  Personally I thought the level of service and time between courses was great, but I usually eat late in the evening and like to take time between courses to digest each course slowly (and to be fair to Le Meridien, one of my guests arrived very late so this delayed service whilst we waited for his arrival).

Would we visit again ? Personally, yes,  I loved the quality of the steak and also the element of ‘theatre’ as my meal was cooked at the table, the majority of my guests said yes, although one said he would only return again with me and the rest of the ‘fit guys’ – so that’s not a ‘No’ – just a demonstration of what a lovely group of people I had chosen to have dinner with !

Thanks to the team at Le Meridien for giving me the opportunity of being an Ambassador and to take some fellow twitter peeps and tweeps out for dinner, some of whom I would probably never have met in person without this opportunity.  The rest of the year frankly just won’t be the same 🙂

If you’d like to know more then follow Le Méridien on Twitter  or on Facebook or check out their website

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