The nine-course tasting menu was the dinner served to the first-class passengers
QE2 Dubai: you can now sample the menu that was served on the 1969 maiden voyage
The QE2's existence has certainly evolved in the last 40 years ago: on her first voyage, she sailed from Southampton to New York (taking four-and-a-half days), but she's now permanently docked at Dubai's Mina Rashid port.
One thing that remains similar, however, is the tasting menu served at the newly-reopened Queen's Grill.
The dining room was reserved for the ship's first class passengers only, and the nine-course tasting menu served there today is an exact replica of the maiden voyage menu - with the same ingredients and order of serving, but with modern cooking techniques thrown in (to cater to how palates have changed in the past four decades).
“To have the opportunity to serve our passengers with the same menu that they would have enjoyed when the QE2 first took to the waters in 1969 is very exciting," says Chef de Cuisine Rama Samy, who worked on the culinary team when the ship was sailing the seas. "Of course we have kept it as true to its origins as possible in terms of ingredients and presentation – however we have infused this with our new cooking techniques to meet the ever-evolving tastes of today’s discerning expectations.”
Legend has it that passengers aboard the QE2 consumed on average 20 tons of lobster and one ton of caviar each year, but neither ingredient appears on the 1969 nine-course tasting menu. The highlights include pan-seared scallops, butter-roasted halibut, lamb loin, Welsh rarebit and malt chocolate tart.
Is the menu the best meal you'll find in Dubai taste-wise? No. The flavours in the menu are distinctly subtle - the delights of vinegar and spice were not part of British cuisine back then, and our tastebuds are forever grateful that they have since been adopted widely.
However, an evening at the Queen's Grill is delightfully nostalgic, with the service and surrounds making it an experience that will appeal to history buffs and Anglophiles.
The dining room is unquestionably Sixties: it's a look that 10 years ago would have been pooh-poohed as fuddy-duddy, but it has a hipster, Wes Anderson air today, highlighting how trendiness truly comes and goes.
Reenacting a first-class experience does not come cheap, however: the nine-course pairing menu is Dh875 per person with food only, and Dh1,475 with thoughtfully paired beverages. That said, there are cheaper options: a six-course vegetarian menu is Dh275, while a six-course menu is Dh375 (and let's be honest, six courses is probably enough).
The Queen's Grill is open from 7pm to 11pm, daily. Guests over the age of seven are welcome, with a strict dress code meaning men have to wear a jacket. Call 04 526 8888 for bookings or visit www.qe2.com/dining for more.