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Food and Drink

The Pangolin restaurant review

Words by Nathan Irvine

The Els Club’s newest dining spot is on par with excellence

Though it’s only been open for a short while, The Pangolin has already established itself as a must-visit venue. Sprawling across two floors – the highlands and the lowlands – and with a gorgeous terrace area, the restaurant is already the talk of the town. Sure, that’s in part down to the name being linked to the animal that apparently kick started the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the restaurant and name have been a work in progress for the past three years, rather than inspired by recent events.

What’s been spreading fast about The Pangolin is its reputation for great food.  The menu is the creation of chef Troy Payne. A big believer in using local produce, Payne has created a line-up that’s made for sharing and, importantly, isn’t pumped with additives. It’s something that’s apparent through every dish we try – everything tastes fresh. The home-made halloumi cheese used in the croquette starters is more subtle than the extra salty, mass produced variety. The result is fluffy and light, doesn’t lay heavy on the stomach. Y’know, like a starter should be like?

Likewise, the savoury eclairs that go down a storm. The choux dough is filled with mascarpone and served with a creamy beetroot sauce and crushed pistachios. It’s a combination that melts in the mouth with every bite.

It’s an ideal beginning that immediately helps us to relax into our seats inside the 60s New York style booth. We can soak in the ambience of the clinking glasses as the mixologists work their magic at the speakeasy-like bar that’s close by.

Beef being sliced with a knife at The Pangolin restaurant in Dubai.

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The Pangolin The delicious beef is slow cooked for hours so you always get juicy cuts.

What’s the beef?

We’d been tipped off about two star dishes from friends that had been earlier in the week. So, although fairly unadventurous on our part, it was a double dose of beef for mains. The pulled beef pita pockets and peppered rib cap steak lived up to the top billing.

The succulent pulled beef comes with just the right amount of crunch in the shape of cucumber and cabbage slaw, and just a little spicy from the pickled chili. Sharing may be the theme, but it’s hard to resist tucking into them all at once. Same can be said about the steak. The char-tipped slices of meat are cooked to perfection and served alongside some delicious pan roasted potatoes and spiced tomato pulp. Again, although it’s made for sharing, you can quite easily enjoy it as a dish to yourself. Just be warned it may affect your ability to deal with dessert.

Speaking of which, and thanks in part to the substantial portions, we ended up sharing pear cheesecake. Not only did it taste superb, but it also looks great with the poached pear present in the middle and the cheesecake built around it. Lovely stuff.

As we said, with each dish being made from scratch with the best ingredients you really can taste the difference. And with a sharing theme it’s ideal for grabbing your mates or family together and indulging in a great evening at The Pangolin.

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