Tried & Tested: The Garden at McGettigan’s JLT
The Irish stalwart in cluster J has revamped its outdoor space!
Our favourite Irish pub in the neighbourhood (well, okay, it’s also the only Irish pub in JLT), McGettigan’s, recently completed a complete refurbishment of their outdoor space, which included adding a new BBQ station and opening up the inside of the bar to the garden via sets of removable glass doors. Our guest reviewers, K. & I., paid them a visit during the festive season to check out the new space and offerings:
The first thing we noticed when entering McGettigan’s was the vibe - a fun relaxed buzz. Standing at the top of the stairs, you can see all of the newly renovated outside space called The Garden and you’re right next to the new outside kitchen, which spread a mouth-watering BBQ smell as we walked down the stairs to look for a table. It was busy with most tables taken and we were a bit nervous about the noise levels getting annoying, but that didn’t end up happening – the ambiance remained fun and relaxed, a mood few Dubai bars manage to achieve.
We were seated next to the massive Christmas Tree and it spread some festive cheer over the Garden that we were happy to bask in and we were also very pleased to hear that it was happy hour! An Electric Cosmo and Strawberry Daquiri later we could focus on the other important task at hand – ordering food! The waiter brought us the BBQ menu and it was hard to choose, but in the end, we settled on the Pork Belly Popcorn and the Peri-Peri Prawns. We sipped our cocktails while we waited for the starters - the Cosmo was excellent and hit the spot. The Daiquiri was tasty, but perhaps a bit on the sweet side.
The Garden hasn’t just been renovated, but completely redesigned and it looks totally different from the old outside space, but manages to feel warm and cosy and as if it has been there forever. When the starters arrived, we met the star of the evening – the Pork Belly Popcorn! Sweet and sticky yet crunchy and tasty. We could have eaten a bucketful and considered returning daily just for them. The prawns arrived in a small cast iron pan in Chorizo oil with pieces of garlic cooking away. The smoky oil was amazing paired with the sweet prawns and the dish also came with garlic bread for dipping. The flavour was excellent, but the prawns could have been a bit warmer.
We enjoyed the live music, which started as we were eating and it was the perfect volume outside - you could hear it, but still chat. The great thing with McGettigan’s new space is how successfully they managed to bring the outside in (or the inside out – depending on how you see it).
For our mains, we ordered a half rack of BBQ Baby Back Ribs and a Black Angus Sirloin Steak from the BBQ menu. The Sirloin was an exception – we’re usually more partial to a Fillet, which tends to have less fat, but our waiter recommended the sirloin, explaining that it is more flavourful. We’re glad we took his recommendation - the fat had rendered away, leaving a tender juicy steak, which came with triple cooked chips that were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. We chose the Peppercorn Sauce, but the Sweet Onion Marmalade the steak came with was so yummy, it didn’t really need a sauce. The BBQ Back Ribs were super tender and falling off the bone and the sticky BBQ sauce covering them was moreish.
The starts and mains left us too full to order desserts, so we decided to splurge on a few more cocktails from the non-happy hour menu instead. We ordered a Raspberry Gin Cocktail and an Aperol Spritz and both were great choices. The Raspberry Gin was fresh and fruity without being sweet and the slight bitterness of the Aperol was perfect after our meal. We were happy to see that McGettigan’s has gone plastic free with their straws opting for paper straws instead! Kudos!
The recent revamp hasn’t just created new kitchen and food choices for guests at McGettigan’s JLT, but has actually transformed the pub into a much more modern-looking gastro-pub-style bar, which is a pleasure to hang out at, with the new outdoors area clearly being the star of the show.
McGettigan’s JLT is open daily from 12 noon – 3 a.m. (Saturdays from 11 a.m.) and you’ll find the Irish Pub in cluster J, right by the Bonnington Hotel.