“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” Paul Prudhomme
Abu Dhabi’s newest family-friendly gastropub, The Sportsman’s Arms has opened its Jack’s Terrace which overlooks the tennis courts at its Zayed Sports City location. This spacious outdoor area has its own bar and bbq which attracted a large crowd to last night’s grand opening, attended by myself and the other half.
Jack’s Terrace is offering a full bbq menu with The Sportsman’s Arms Jack Daniel’s house sauces and signature Jack Daniel’s cocktails. As launch party guests we sampled, much to the other half’s delight, a wide range of the new bbq dishes including the succulent Jack’s burger with house glaze, Monterey jack cheese, crispy onions served with sweet potato fries, honey chipotle chicken wings with ranch sauce, a slow and low pulled chicken bap with bbq sauce and house slaw. Jerked lamb chops with grilled cherry tomatoes topped with harissa yogurt were a terrace favourite, there were Old No. 7 beef short ribs with sweet potato mash, charred salmon fillets with tomato and jalapeno salsa, New England seafood bake in a bag that contained cod, clams, shrimp and steamed potato in a steamy and fragrant parcel.
All the food was well presented and I’m reliably informed that all the meat was well cooked and flavoursome as was the seafood, judging by how fast it all disappeared I would say that was very true! Vegetarians were catered for with corn on the cob served on sticks brushed with whipped garlic butter and chargrilled peppers with smoky Jack’s bread and cornbread. Sweet treats including freshly popped popcorn, ice-cream cones and some of the rather delightful sticky toffee pudding from the a la carte menu, don’t judge me but I tried them all.
Good old American-Irish hearty pub grub inspired by some of the best pubs in Boston is served at The Sportsman’s Arms for breakfast, lunch and dinner, possibility not the healthiest food but definitely tasty. Since opening mid-September last year the menu has continued to evolve and it now offers an all-day roast on Saturdays and Sundays served with all the trimmings. Roast leg of lamb, turkey and strip-loin of beef are all on the menu accompanied by sweet potato mash, green beans, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire Pudding and gravy, most definitely on my to-do list (without the meat of course) as I’ve yet to find a good roast in the capital.
The restaurant’s new menu includes blueberry pancakes for breakfast, a corned beef sandwich with house slaw for a midday snack and traditional delights of a black Angus burger or Shepherd’s Pie with slow cooked minced lamb and cheesy mash for mains – see the full menu here. Alongside the food sourced from the US and Ireland, a full range of beers are on offer including Samuel Adams beer (the only UAE venue to serve this brand), a full wine list, cocktails and of course several Irish whiskeys.
The sizable venue has a large bar area with indoor dining booths and tables as well as two outdoor terraces perfect for an alfresco meal at this time of year. The family terrace caters for those with younger children so mum and dad can dine in relative peace while the kids work off their energy in the soft play area. Sports fans are catered for too as live international sport is shown on large screens throughout the week in the bar area. The upcoming Super Bowl and the Six Nations Rugby will be shown here for all those fans looking to watch these events with like-minded sports lovers. There is also a daily Happy Hour from 4pm – 7pm on select beers, wines, spirits and 2-4-1 on Cocktails.
In charge of the kitchen is head chef Ivan Sabol who gained his experience from working in London pubs and restaurants including the well know Corinthia Hotel, The Connaught, the two michelin-star Hélène Darroze and Gallery Mess at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. Sabol has introduced his recipe for the New York Strip steak to The Sportsman’s Arms menu and it’s now the most popular dish on the menu, perfect for any Abu Dhabi based steak lovers.
While the International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City may not be your first thought for a night out it’s well worth considering The Sportsman’s Arms as an option, sometimes you just fancy pub style grub over fine dining. Every time I’ve been with friends and family I have enjoyed tasty food, the butternut squash risotto is a must for all my fellow vegetarians. If you are a fan of American style bbq food then Jack’s Terrace is right up your street, pop down while the weather’s so good and try it for yourself, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
The Sportsman’s Arms
Location: First floor, International Tennis Stadium, Zayed Sports City.
Opening hours: Daily 8am till late (Breakfast 8am – 11.30am, Lunch 12pm – 4pm and A La Carte 12pm – late)
Telephone: 02 403 4235
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I was invited to attend this event but the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2016. All rights reserved. First and last photos used courtesy of The Sportsman’s Arms
Read more about The Sportsman’s Arms in my previous post Review: Four Venues, One Week