• McGettigan’s has opened its doors in Al Ain, so Oasis Living headed down to try out the sumptuous menu

    The Irish consume on average 131.1 litres of beer per year, making Ireland the second highest per-capita country in consumption after the Czech Republic. So, it is no surprise that many of the UAE’s pubs are mostly inspired by the land of saints and scholars, with Al Ain recently jumping on board.

    After its success in other cities across the UAE, McGettigan's has launched at Danat Al Ain Resort, replacing Horse & Jockey.

    “Our offcial opening was on 4 December 2017 and the response we’ve been getting so far has been really good – all of our events have been fully booked,” said pub manager Stacey McWilliams.

    McWilliams added that McGettigan's doesn’t normally accommodate children, but since the Al Ain location is in a resort and in such a homey, family-friendly city, they allow them until 9:30pm. They have also included a Family Section and an outdoors Garden Section, both overlooking the resort’s lovely swimming pools.

    SOME AUTHENTIC FLOURISHES

    One thing that sets this brand apart from others is the charming features which harp back to the country’s rich history and culture – from portraiture to music and literature.

    Inside the Al Ain watering hole, the lighting is subdued, and the ambience relaxed and cosy – with the decor unsurprisingly following a green colour scheme, and furnished with wooden tables and booth seating.

    “The several images of trees and forests represent the nature in Ireland; it’s one of our key features at McGettigan’s,” McWilliams added. There are even faux wood logs, something which McWilliams said pays homage to lyrics from an Irish folk song which goes: “There’s always a fre in the kitchen.”

    Not only is Ireland famed for its music scene, but for its authors and playwrights too, as manifested in the pub’s library area. There are actual books, but alas, not for borrowing or sale, stuck to the wall and into the ceiling.

    GOODBYE JANUARY DIET


    McGettigan’s has an Irish executive chef who looks after the entire menu creations at all the pubs whether they are franchised or not.

    We dug right into the appetisers frst with a sample platter which featured gooey, golden fried mozzarella sticks, panko prawns, spicy buffalo chicken wings, beef sliders, sweet potato fries and condiments including Thai curry and a cocktail sauce. It was so flling that it works as a full-course meal on its own and is defnitely a winner on the menu.

    We also went for the Wagyu Beef Chilli Nachos since it’s among the pub’s bestsellers; however they were perhaps just a little too much work. With an overload of sauce, guacamole and minced Wagyu, they made the bed of chips underneath all mushy.

    Next on the menu was the specialty beef burger. The juicy Wagyu beef patty was grilled to order and topped with McGettigan’s Ballymaloe tomato and onion relish, sweet pickles, crisp veal bacon, aged cheddar cheese and fresh lettuce and tomatoes, all stacked between two buttery, toasted buns and served with seasoned French fries. This is a heavy meal and messy to the point I had to remove the bread from the receding tower.

    Irish pubs may not be a health nut’s top destination, but there’s never any harm in being mindful of what we eat at all times, even if it was going to be followed by sugarloaded dessert. To save diners’ arteries, it would have been nice to have the option of soda bread for the buns or a lettuce wrap (just a burger afcionado’s suggestion!).

    From the Butcher’s Block category on the menu we decided to try out their prime, peppery and evenly marbled rib eye – you can slice through it like butter – served with peppercorn bearnaise, making it all the spicier, and a side of crispy veal bacon with savoy cabbage. Go for the creamy mash to balance the flavours out.

    Before we slipped into our inevitable food coma, we still had a bit of energy left to carry on to desserts.

    First up was the Strawberry Eton Mess, taking sugar rush to a whole new level with its avalanche of strawberries, marshmallows, strawberry ice cream and whipped cream.

    And fnally, the Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla ice cream. It was mouth-watering and is the one dish you can’t share as you’re likely to ‘accidentally’ stab a fork in a friend’s hand to save as much of this heavenly dessert for yourself as you can.

    McGettigan’s Al Ain has bags of Irish charm, and a menu that is all about indulgence and comfort. Well worth a try.

    IF YOU GO

    OPENING HOURS: From noon until 4am on Thursdays and Fridays and from noon until 2am during the rest of the week

    HAPPY HOURS: Every day from 5pm until 8pm with a buy-one-get-one-free on selected drinks

    VISIT: mcgettigans.com/al-ain to keep up with their constant offers and promotions available throughout the week

    UPCOMING EVENT: Valentine’s Day Cocktail Lessons