The newest F&B venture in Dubai offers a respite from the hustle and bustle close to the heart of the city

Stepping into Dubai’s Soho Garden feels like stepping into London on a summer day, and Foxglove – the latest addition to the F&B venture – feels like a well-paired extension.

With the Soho Beer Garden right outside, the Foxglove gastropub feels quintessentially English. It’s easy to forget for a few hours that you’re still in Dubai in the heart of the desert. The cool evening weather lent to the overall experience, and we were seated outside in the large outdoor area, which includes a stage and massive outdoor screen. But as the summer heats up in Dubai, the interior at Foxglove is sure to offer a respite from the non-stop heat.

If the outside terrace feels like a summer day, the inside area, fitted with leather sofas around a massive fireplace and thick wooden bannisters and a pool table, feels like a classic British pub. My Welsh friend remarked it was the closest to proper gastropub food she’d found in Dubai in the two years she’s lived here.

With around 80 hops on offer, you’re likely to find your favourite or, if not, there’s bound to be something new to try with options from Lebanon to Germany, to the US, UK, Ireland and Australia represented. If hops aren’t your thing, Foxglove has a mixologist on staff to whip up a craft cocktail or pour a glass of grape.

The restaurant also appeared to be a magnet for those looking for a quiet place for a date, with most of the tables being occupied with couples while I visited. In fact, I and my friend – who served as my plus one in the absence of a date – were the only ones there who didn’t seem to be on a date.

After baked goat cheese on garlic ciabatta with chargrilled peppers and smoked chicken and chorizo croquettes for starters, we couldn’t pass up the Australian Wagyu striploin as our main dish. This was some elevated gastropub food. For dessert, and be sure to save room for dessert, we tried the brownie, which was served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – always a classic combo. Our waiter recommended we try the homemade Belgian waffles as well, and we were glad he did. A large serving of four waffles, loaded with fruits and chocolate sauce, felt as if it would’ve been nearly sufficient as a meal on its own.

The experience was so enjoyable, however, that I brought my friends back for a second round the next night for my birthday celebration, and the tables were full with people watching the rugby match.

Spacious picnic-style tables make the outside terrace ideal for large groups looking to grab an upscale but reasonably priced meal while watching rugby. The large tables also mean that social distancing, enforced by the UAE government anyway, is a natural part of a night at Foxglove. That’s not to say the staff wasn’t following proper Covid-19 protocol; screens were up between tables and surfaces were regularly disinfected.

The open-air terrace spotted with classic British-looking streetlights next to palm trees was a local twist on a British classic, a subtle reminder we hadn’t entirely left the UAE.

Situated near the Meydan Racecourse, Soho Garden is close to Downtown Dubai, but a bit removed from the hustle and bustle – perfect if you’re looking to feel like you’ve managed to slip away from the city, without actually slipping away.

The menu crafted by British Head Chef Nick Walsh did not disappoint, from the appetizer to the last bite of dessert we could manage.

Foxglove has an extensive line-up of daily and weekly offers, from happy hour and business lunch to a ladies night, meaning there’s something in store for everyone.

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