Meat the Cheese - an evening at The Cave - Conrad Hotel, Dubai

Cave. I first fell in love with it about 18 months ago. As I walk in tonight, like seeing  a former lover, the memories come flooding back - the low light, the fine but sensible and manageable wine selection but including some luminary labels like a 1998 Petrus Pomerol, the Champagne chilling room with a choice of Armand de Brignac, the private is all in place, as I make way through the Cave, allowing my guest and me to be guided to our reserved spot for this evening.

Tonight, I am here to experience their Meat the Cheese,  an evening of cheese, charcuterie  and wine. There is a buzz at the venue as the hotel is running at 100% occupancy and as I walk into Cave, I see the possibilities  in terms of ambience when the venue is full. Tonight, I am once again on the day beds and as I make my way there, I see the various eating options from high tables, romantic booths to similarly intimate tables for 2. Then, there is the bar, where I observe a group of men with ties loosened, standing with beer in hand. My guest and I are soon in the daybed area which offers tranquility away from the clink of wine glasses and chatter. 

Before moving to the tastefully laid out mini buffet, Gayan, the restaurant's manager and drinks specialist, mixes us one of his wine cocktails to start off the evening. Wine cocktails - I am surprised that wine-based cocktails, and I am not referring to sangria, have not taken off in a bigger way. Adding wine based cocktails to a cheese and wine is a fresh approach to that quite enjoy. 

We then go and get some cheese and cold cuts. All in all, there is a choice of 6 cheese and 6 cold cuts. The cheese offerings include Emmental, Camembert, Fourme d'Ambert which is a blue cheese and also a cheese fondue! As for the charcuterie. Napoli picante, Salami gentile and Pancetta Tesa are some of the choices. To complement these, a selection of jams, dried fruit and nuts complete the table. Finally, the wine is by Hardy's, a fairly standard option of wine that is offered as an unlimited option at brunches. It is easy drinking and fitting for the price paid. 

The thing about the daybeds is that you really should take advantage of the relaxation possibilities they offer by taking off your shoes and getting really comfortable. In my previous post, I wrote lyrically about these, but it is so hard not to. A couple glasses of wine lend themselves to being really relaxed and just wanting to lie down, don't they? That is where the daybeds come in. They bring your bedroom to the wine bar. 

Music plays a big part in creating a space where one can in fact kick off one's shoes. Music moves between ambient and lounge, with Klama's music pretty much indicative of what you can expect. 

Chef de Cuisine Sushant

The decor in Cave is designed around reminding the guest that the venue is a wine bar.  Wine bottles and especially wine corks contribute greatly to that sense. Just walk around the bar on your next visit and look at the light fixtures, artwork on walls and you will be surprised at the clever use of wine iconography. 

On the service side of things, Gayan obviously is a visible presence throughout the experience and does so very well. However, I sense that staff are a little rushed as they tend to guests. Despite the tough times hotels are in, I think an additional staff member to help out during the evening would allow other staff to offers service that is more engaging and less functional. 

Feeling the need for something over and above the cheese and cold cuts, my guest and I look at the menu and decide to order a couple dishes. The menu at Cave is appropriately succinct and offers several well priced dishes to complement the evening. My guest orders the Fish and chips, nicely cooked cod and fries, while I have the Quinoa salad, with feta, pomegranate and avocado - this is all natural with only a drizzle of olive oil  adding additional aroma and delicate flavour to the dish. 

Meat the Cheese represents great value for 275AED. Yes, 4 hours go by really quickly with free flowing wine and constantly topped up cheese and charcuterie, but over and above these, the setting is what makes this evening. The offerings of 6 cheeses and 6 charcuterie are more than adequate and allow the hotel to focus more  on quality than quantityCave is a fabulous venue that exudes warmth and elegance but thanks to staff like Gayan and the relaxed vibe, it is the feeling of being able to sit back and de-stress that makes it an even better venue.

The Essentials,
Conrad Dubai,
Sheikh Zayed Road,
+971 4 444 7111

Meat the Cheese is on Tuesdays 19h00-23h00
275AED net

Disclaimer: I was invited by the hotel to try Meat the Cheese. All views are my own.