Review: At the Globe, the view reigns supreme
There is much to like in this restaurant, but also a couple of missteps…
There are a few Riyadh vistas that never fail to bowl us over. One is The Globe, located in the spectacular golden sphere that tops Al Faisaliah Tower.
Gazing out of the restaurant’s windows certainly injects the wow factor, but The Globe is much more than a room with a view.
The three-storey restaurant features the Asir Lounge upstairs, which also serves food (and cigars), and a viewing deck downstairs known as The Experience.
The restaurant’s interior almost doesn’t matter because you’re always looking out into dizzying panoramas. But the décor would otherwise be imposing; it’s all muted-toned elegance with minimal style and low lighting.
We arrive on a weekday evening in a room of two couples. With its romantic ambience, The Globe offers a tranquil escape from the hectic capital, and it’s not hard to see why the restaurant could be a perfect place for date nights.
You’re assured a stunning backdrop to your meal
After taking in the view, we head straight to our table. And wherever you sit – there isn’t really a ‘bad’ table – you’ll feel engulfed by the capital’s glorious skyline.
It takes us a while to turn our attention to the menu, a raft of modern European flavours, including meat and vegetarian dishes. Although generally decent, not everything on The Globe’s menu is a home run.
But look, we’re on the top of the world, so let’s get into it.
Our night begins with a glass of sparkling apple juice. Our friendly and earnest server then brings out a bread basket along with three different types of hummus.
The Globe’s amuse-bouche of a green olive, mini pepper stuffed with tuna, and two inch-thick parmesan cheese cubes arrive on a rectangular platter atop three silver spoons, but trips over itself trying to become fancy. Better to just serve a pretty bowl of green olives, serve it alongside the bread basket and leave it at that.
For appetisers, we eventually decide on hamachi crudo (SAR145), steak tartare (SAR125), and foie gras terrine (SAR170). The thinly sliced yellowtail is pretty straightforward. Not as soft and buttery as we’d expect, but the grapefruit is a welcome addition.
The tartare arrives dotted with the tiny yolk of a quail egg and a dollop of mustard. The initial flavour is bland. But mix everything, and then spread it on slices of sourdough toast, which are served on the side.
The foie gras served with apricot hits the spot. It is divinely creamy, with the butterzopf bread adding an enjoyable crunch.
The presentation has been prettied up too, so the view won’t be the only thing you’ll be taking snaps of here.
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Onto bigger things: a tangle of linguine (SAR210) tossed with tomato sauce and a fair amount of prawns is somehow both light and rich.
The mixed grill platter (SAR345) – requested medium rare for the tenderloin and lamb chops – is grilled to perfection. It’s a small meal for the price, and it could do with a bit more flavour. But, perhaps that’s what the accompanying five sauces are for, which comprise whole grain mustard, Maitre d’Hotel butter, chimichurri, green peppercorn and béarnaise.
The simply seasoned green beans with lemon zest and hazelnuts make a delicious side dish, as do the faithful portion of crispy chips that arrive to the table piping hot, though not hand cut as the menu suggested.
Ultimately, a visit to The Globe’s restaurant is worth it for the view. But, stick to our suggestions here, and you’ll have an enjoyable meal, too.
The Globe, Mandarin Oriental – Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh 12212, Fri & Sat Afternoon Tea 3pm to 6pm & Dinner 8pm to midnight, Sun to Thurs 7pm to midnight. Tel: 011 273 2222. @alfaisaliahhotel