The Polo & Equestrian Club on Al Qudra Road is one of the most underrated establishments in Dubai. Although it’s not much farther than any of the licensed Arabian Ranches venues like the Ranches Restaurant and Maison Mathis, or Studio City venues like Maine and the Irish Village, Polo Club restaurants and bars have been shunned by the local community from when my family and I first moved to the Ranches some 15 years ago. And you must remember, 15 years ago only the Ranches Restaurant was around – still no one went.
So, it was no surprise that we found Sella almost deserted when we got there for dinner the other night. And that’s a pity because, like the Polo Club itself, Sella is the embodiment of casual equestrian elegance. I can think of few places which offer such a tranquil and calming family orientated environment to lounge or dine in…especially at this time of year when one can sit outside on that expansive veranda overlooking the show jumping and dressage manège – the sights, sounds and smells (riders will understand) are quite intoxicating. Yet we chose Sella for none of those reasons. We chose Sella because it’s dog friendly.
Sella’s menu has evolved in an obvious attempt to lure and appeal and now includes something for everyone. One of the wait staff confirmed that their burgers are the most popular item on the menu. Prices are significantly lower than what I remember, and happy hour runs to 23:00 during which time a pint of Amstel costs a very reasonable Dhs30. Our table of four ended up ordering a real surf and turf – my wife ordered the Glazed Cod, Pasha ordered the Fish and Chips, Melissa ordered the Steak and Fries, and I had the Wagyu Ribeye. While both steaks were cooked the way we asked, they were both under seasoned. That said, we both enjoyed our meat.
Sadly, both fish dishes bombed, my wife’s cod particularly so because it was salty beyond edibility. Not one for confrontation or complaint, she quietly switched from her fish to one of the salads…which she happily munched on till the end of our meal. Had it have been me (or I had known earlier), I would have sent it back to the kitchen. At least Pasha got in a grumble about his dry, over battered fish and chips.
If the food disappointed, service certainly did not – our waiter was friendly, chatty, humorous and infinitely accommodating. I cannot tell you how upset I am that the food turned out the way it did. I was so looking forward to giving this picturesque restaurant a top score and in doing so, encourage (in my own little way) residents and locals of this area to visit it more often. That said, ratings are not everything. Sella has so much going for it – ambiance, service, value for money and some really good food like their steaks and salads. Just avoid the fish, that’s all. Whatever you do, get out there and visit them while the weather is good – you’ll love it.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.