By the time I write this review, this branch of the Barbeque Nation franchise will have received in excess of 5,700 votes, and nearly 2,700 raving, 4+ reviews; more than double the highest number I’ve even seen for any restaurant in the UAE. Interestingly it is identical in concept to the darling of the Indian community in Dubai, AB’s Barbeque. For those who have not visited either, Barbecue Nation (and AB’s) takes the whole buffet concept to a different level by bringing skewers of pre-cooked kebabs; chicken, veggies, fish, prawns and minced meat, to tables which have a little built-in hot coal grills, where guests then ‘warm’ them to their liking. Then, like at good thali restaurants where bowls are continuously refilled, here too stripped skewers are continuously replenished until the guest says stop…or he/she pops.
I found this branch of Barbecue Nation, the only one I have been to so far, spacious and very well appointed. I was surprised at the diversity of guests, with tables occupied by business people, young friends and families. There is a largish ‘starters’ buffet which was hugely popular but which I avoided, knowing from my experience at AB’s in Dubai what I was in-store for when the skewers started arriving. And arrive they did, with quite a rush…one wave after another…it is quite overwhelming. I didn’t like the fish which, I’m pretty sure, is nothing more than some tasteless, cheap, farmed white fish like Tilapia. I didn’t like the mince kebabs either. But the chicken and prawns were really good, especially when dunked into the deliciously tart and tangy, greenish mint-coriander dipping sauce. I had a kulfi for dessert but thought I would burst…or die after that…so full was I.
Bar the annoying hic-up I had on arrival…of being told I would have to wait for a table when clearly there were many tables available, service was outstanding…and blindingly fast. I must have visited on karaoke night; there were these two guys croaking out oldies from a playlist on a notebook…painful, even after two beers. And while we are on the subject of beer – hello! why is there no draft beer, only bottled? All this said, I had a good time. Barbecue Nation has just opened a branch in Dubai, not far from where I live. I’ll be interested to see how similar they are. Irrespective, Barbecue Nation Sector Five is well worth a detour.