A Cosy Afternoon at Irish Village
Irish Village has been a mainstay in Dubai for almost two decades. Located beneath the Dubai Tennis Stadium at the Aviation Club, it’s a great place to get together for a few beers on a Thursday or Friday evening, when its usually pretty packed and bustling with energy. For a change, I was there for a quiet lunch, so I had a chance to appreciate the details a little more. Irish Village has the look of a typical Irish pub, with a mix of stone and wooden floors, dark wood furniture and liberal touches of dark green. The trees and a lake outside add to the relaxed atmosphere.
There aren’t too many veggie options on the menu, so ordering proves to be easy enough. I start off with Quinoa and Roasted Garlic with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes. It’s a simple dish with a slight Mediterranean flavor thanks to the spinach and tomato combination. The starter is served cold, and in fact, might be a bit too cold for my liking. I feel that the flavors, including roasted garlic and slow cooked onions, are a bit subdued.
Next up is the Broccoli and Cashew Nut Stir-Fry, with egg noodles and some red chili flakes, which is a pretty large dish! It’s a bit of an odd choice for an Irish pub, but it looks inviting enough. The dish has a nice rich flavor, with plenty of umami from the soy sauce and a hint of spice. The broccoli has a slight crunch to it, and the fried cashews add an earthy flavour. It’s a delicious dish and is definitely one for sharing.
The last savory dish is one that had immediately caught my attention when I first heard about it: A Veggie Version of Fish ‘n’ Chips. Three slabs of halloumi are used as the ‘fish fillets’, coated in batter, deep-fried and served with chips. The slightly gooey halloumi cheese is nicely backed up by the light and crisp batter, and the salty flavor of the cheese is balanced out by the tartar sauce and mashed peas on the side. Once again, it’s a huge plate of food, so I decide it’s best to skip dessert.
Irish Village is big on ambiance, and also on food! The service is friendly and quite relaxed. Servers check in periodically to make sure everything’s ok, without being too obtrusive. I've always thought of Irish Village as a casual place to hang out with friends over a beer (or beverage of choice), but being a vegetarian I never thought of it as a veggie-friendly restaurant. I wouldn't say its a place I would go back to for a regular meal, but I can most certainly say that they have put some thought into pleasing us veggies!
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: X
Pros: Very casual and laidback atmosphere, friendly service
Cons: Don't expect a huge variety of vegetarian options, portions can be overwhelming
Price: $$ (50 - 200 AED)
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