i feel like eating steak.
“it’s not your birthday,” mr. khairul said.
“ok. hmm, because it’s raya (eid).”
and so we went for a steak dinner!
we went to ‘tribes’ at mall of the emirates. i had wanted to eat here for my birthday last june, but we mistakenly went to dubai mall, so had to settle for ‘outback steakhouse’ instead.
‘tribes’ is an african steakhouse, or some would describe it as an ‘african-themed steakhouse’, or a ‘steakhouse with an african concept’ because it’s not truly african through and through – it’s just a steakhouse with african setting, and a few african dishes thrown in the menu just to give it an african look.
with high ceiling, stone walls and simple lighting, it made the interior of the restaurant looks like a tribal house somewhere in africa. it gave a good vibe, and great african atmosphere. the setting is set!
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we sat at the couple seat, and let the boys take the sheep-skin chairs each haha. love the comfy leather and knitted cushions. since we were seated at a corner, against the wall, by the open kitchen, we even sat cross-legged at some point during the meal. that’s how comfy it was!
khaleef loves the sheep-skin chair! it looks like it’s handmade from scratch, joined only by loops of ropes, with a sheep-skin thrown on top. very tribal!
the decor helped establish the african theme of course – with african tribal masks on the wall, weapons and sheild suggestively made from some sort of animal skin. there’s even a drum – sometimes the staff just break into a song drumming and hakuna-matata-ing in the middle of the restaurant!
if the staff at tgif sang or rap for a birthday song, here at tribes, you will get a tribal song drummed just for the birthday boy/girl. unique and entertaining!
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what to order?
as a steakhouse, tribes offers a host of typical steaks, chops and chicken. rump, sirloin, shanks – they’ve got it. all the steak dishes come with a choice of fries or mashed potato, as well as a choice of steak sauce – mushroom sauce or black pepper sauce; all complimentary.
(this is far better than the overpriced steakhouse ‘meat & co’ where you have to PAY for all the side-dishes, or else your plate of steak would just be empty. JUST steak without any vege or fries of dip!)
and as an ‘african’ steakhouse, there is also an added list of ‘tribal specialities’ like ‘peppered beef *potjie’ and ‘kalahari roast lamb’ which was the choice of mr. khairul. he’s the more adventurous foodie between us, and would always try to order something unique from the menu.
the weirder the dish, the more intrigued he gets!
*in south africa, potjiekos (pronounced poikeekos), literally translated "small pot food", is a stew prepared outdoors in a traditional round, cast iron, three-legged pot (the potjie) which is found in the homes and villages of people throughout southern africa. the pot is heated efficiently using small amounts of wood, charcoal.” ~wikipedia
these are the 'african specialties' (in the menu above) but i read that the branch in johannesburg serves ‘ostrich carpaccio’, which would be so interesting! (‘interesting refers to the ostrich bit, not the carpaccio bit – which means a dish of raw meat!)
mr. khairul’s ‘kalahari roast lamb’
anyway, mr. khairul ordered the ‘kalahari roast lamb’ and before i talk about the taste, i just LOVE the food presentation – looks like it's some kind of canyon surrounded by river of lava with a single tree on top! so beautiful! cantik kan?
the 'river of lava' is actually cut-up tomatoes, onions and capsicum cooked in some sort of spicy-sweet-sour sauce – which becomes a vege stew. a nice addition, and gave the lamb some exotic taste.
the roast lamb itself is full of spices – as its description on the menu, “..marinated in ancient bushman spices”, so it’s not your regular western-style marinated lamb.
VERDICT : mr. khairul wasn’t so crazy about the TASTE because it’s a little like the lamb we have with our mandi rice (really!), tasty, but he probably expected more. however, the TEXTURE is top-notch. tender, and melts in the mouth. yum.
i took the rump steak – simply because it’s the cheapest, and there wasn’t any plain ol lamb chops, which what i really wanted. i asked for medium rare, just as i like it.
because my dish is plain – i mean, it’s simply steak and fries. full-stop – the deliciousness of the steak must depend on the marinate, and cooking time.
VERDICT : my steak is delicious, simply put. the texture was perfect, not too chewy and not too hard and dry. tender and juicy. the salt, the spice, the taste all combined perfectly.
i absolutely LOVE big fat fries so i have no complains there. my mushroom sauce is also thick, yummy and not too salty (the mushroom sauce at outback restaurant is VERY salty. yes VERY).
my simple plate of rump steak turned out to be a pretty delightful dish.
my mushroom sauce
the boys shared a plate of cheeseburger from the kids’ menu. the beef patty is huge and we’re glad all THREE of them can share that one burger! khaleef ate the beef patty, kahfi munched the bread, and kazim finished the fries – kerjasama!
kahfi with the plate of burger
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i’m all for open-kitchen concept. the restaurant which has open-kitchen concept can show how clean their kitchen is, it shows that they have pride in the way they prepare the food, and the hustle and bustle of a kitchen can set the mood for a food feast that’s coming. i also enjoy watching the chef cook the dishes!
however, not all will like this concept. maybe some may feel that the smoke and steam from the open kitchen would be a turn-off, and might also be noisy.
however you may feel, ‘tribes’ has a huge (and long) open kitchen at the back of the restaurant, and if you don’t prefer sitting near the open kitchen, you can choose to sit near the entrance of the restaurant, closer to the fountain outside.
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the waiters wear simple yellow or red t-shirts which is a bit disappointing because i expect all the staff to be wearing exotic african costume. the only thing exotic is the colorful beady necklace they wear.
only the usher at the entrance wear something more elaborate like the one in the picture above. and even then, i would expect a more extravagant headgear!
well, uniform and costumes aside, the waiters were friendly and helpful especially in describing and recommending food from the menu.
looks like this place is a favorite among the arabs. as i spotted a lot of them eating here. no doubt, i would agree and would definitely come again on another meaningful occasion. hihi.
‘tribes’ is situated at ground floor at the fashion dome area of the mall of emirates, where there’s a beautifully carved water fountain surrounded by restaurants and cafes like pf chang’s and also tribes. try it the next time you’re at the mall of emirates!