We’ve been to Tribes a couple of times since it first opened, and have never been disappointed. It’s been a while since we last went, so we headed there a few days back for lunch. It’s located at Mall of the Emirates on the lower level and next to a lot of other restaurants, but it stands out so much because of the fun tribal decor and the drum performances.
There are two different seating areas at the restaurant, and I would highly encourage you to sit towards the inside of the restaurant so you can really get a feel for the vibe that goes on. The ‘outside’ area is not bad either, and the service there is just as great as it is inside.
We were seated inside and our waiter told us a little about his heritage and the kind of African foods that are served at Tribes. I must say, all of the waiters here are super friendly, funny and very welcoming. He gave us our menus, a kid’s menu for my 1-year old Khalifa and then headed off to bring their signature bread which has sweet and nutty ingredients infused in it.
I knew that I wanted to order the Mozambique Prawns for starters, but really had no idea what to get for mains, so we opted to order our drinks and chicken nuggets for Khalifa while continuing to look for mains in the meantime.
Our fruity drinks soon came, which were so refreshing, and the staff were quick in bringing out chicken nuggets for Khalifa, which he really enjoyed. They also brought out a fresh watermelon juice for him after seeing that he was enjoying my drink.
Since we were taking so long to go through the menu, our friendly waiter came by to help us make our decisions regarding mains. He asked what our preferences were, and then highly recommended that we try the Spicy Lamb Rump Steaks, Ox Tail and the Wagyu Filet.
Because I was already eyeing the Ox Tail, I decided to go for that, and my husband decided to go for the Spicy Lamb Rump Steaks. Our waiter encouraged us to also try the Wagyu Filet, saying that it wasn’t that large of a dish and we could share it between the two of us, and that it’s so tasty that we wouldn’t regret it.
Within a few minutes, our starters came to the table and the presentation was rustic and beautiful! My prawns looked scrumptious and tasted even better than they looked. Although its a starter, it could easily be a small lunch meal because its served with a portion of rice and has the most delicious spicy sauce to go with it.
My husband ordered the West Coast Grilled Calamari as his starter, and the presentation was again, gorgeous. Although he loves calamari, this was the first time that he had one that wasn’t batter-fried and he didn’t really like the texture. After seeing that the dish was barely touched, the manager came by and asked us if we would perhaps like it to be fried. What a mind reader! He soon brought out a new calamari dish that was prepared just the way my husband likes it.
Our mains all came at the same time, and it was as if we had just entered an African tribal feast! In front of us was ox tail, lamb and steak, along with all of the sides that it comes with including: mashed potatoes, thick steak cut fries, pearl barley, grilled cherry tomatoes on the vine, jus and gravy. I’m not usually that big of a meat eater (which makes me the exact opposite of my husband), but each and every one of the dishes and their elements was cooked to absolute perfection.
My ox tail was cooked to the point where the meat was falling off the bone and melting in my mouth! I could literally pull the meat right off with the slightest tug of a fork. It came in a delicious, thick stew along with soft steamed carrots. This dish is an absolute must-try at Tribes.
Now for the lamb: It was marinated in a Mauritian spice rub and was flame-grilled. The steaks were thinly sliced and were so juicy and full of flavor. I can’t pinpoint the different kinds of spices that were used, and if Tribes ever decided to bottle it up and sell it, I would be the first in line to buy it!
The Wagyu steak was completely gobbled up by my husband, who thought it was one of the best steaks he’s ever had! I was able to sneak in a bite, and it was a darn good steak! The waiter explained that the marbling on the meat was what made it so good– along with the preparation, of course.
We took our time enjoying the meal, and luckily for us our little Khalifa was totally okay with it because he was kept busy with coloring paper and crayons that the staff so kindly gave to him.
When we were all done with our mains, the manager came by and asked us if we would like dessert. Unfortunately by that time, we were so stuffed and were not up for it at all. He told us he would be back in a few minutes to see if we had changed our minds, and guess what? We did.
We opted for a small, light dessert to share, but ended up getting their famous (and not so light) Chocolate Malva Pudding and the Melk Tert.
The Chocolate Malva Pudding was a warm cake served with an apricot sauced, as well as Madagascar vanilla sauce. On top of the cake was a smooth vanilla ice cream to balance out the richness of the chocolate.
The Melk Tert was actually quite light, and almost like a mousse-custard. It’s served with a raspberry coulis and its a refreshing end to a very filling meal!
I love Tribes and would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s fun, family-friendly, and the menu is extensive and comprised of dishes that you can’t find anywhere else in the city. We could come back here again and again (and we have been), and never get bored of it!
- Staff/Service: 5
- Ambience: 5
- Food: 5
- Presentation: 4.5
- Cleanliness: 5
- Value for money: 4.5
Overall Rating: 4.83
Worth Trying?: Yes! If you haven’t been here yet, then go! It’s really one of the best family restaurants in Dubai.
For more information call Tribes at +971 (0) 4 395 0663.