Ernie Els' restaurant - as big 'n' easy as his swing

Did the Dubai golf club eatery score a bogey or a hole in one?

July 1, 2014

VENUE

Hidden away in the Andalucian-inspired clubhouse of The Els Club in Dubai Sports City, The Big Easy is an unexpected gem of a restaurant. The wood finishing, dim mood lighting and open kitchen give the place’s 200-odd covers an elegant and laid-back feel you would expect from a restaurant associated with a golfer as classy as Ernie Els. We recommend taking a seat on the balcony, which overlooks the course’s picturesque first and tenth holes.

ATMOSPHERE

There is a tendency for people to think of golf clubs as exclusive and snooty places, and while, yes, that is sort of the point of them, The Big Easy restaurant does not fall into that trap. We went on a normally quiet Sunday evening but found the restaurant reasonably busy.

The balcony was bubbling as large groups and couples chatted away, while inside felt like we were part of a friendly expat community – albeit a rather well-off one. If they were trying to balance an upmarket restaurant with a laid-back feel, then, in our opinion, they nailed it. 

FOOD

With Mr Els being a proud South African, it’ll come as a surprise to nobody that hearty meals and fine cuts of meat feature prominently on the menu. In anticipation of our meat-heavy mains, we opted for light starters of tomato cocote soup – perfectly tangy with clever addition of Kalamata olives – and calamari tubes stuffed with feta cheese and baby potatoes.

Next up was the highly anticipated main courses. Both the grilled rib-eye steak and the lamb rack with truffle crust were cooked to utter perfection, as was the accompanying asparagus, which worked wonderfully with the artichoke purée. Sadly, the dessert of warm apple and cinnamon pie and vanilla ice cream had to suffer as we mistakenly – and naively – ordered far too many sides including sautéed baby spinach; mustard mashed potatoes; and an excellent baked macaroni and cheese.

COME BECAUSE

They do top-notch, hearty food in an elegantly welcome setting.

Details: Daily, The Els Club, Dubai, 6pm to 11pm. Visit Elsclubdubai.com