Head To The Wild West

FACT said ‘Howdy’ to a brand-new venue in the heart of Adliya where the atmosphere’s as important as the food.

Howdy may be new (it opened just two weeks ago) but you certainly won’t miss it as you head to what is still the Kingdom’s foremost dining area, Block 338 in Adliya. Stroll past its, for now, better known neighbours and you can’t miss the giant mural of a cowgirl on a rearing horse made famous by Hollywood and now nestled amongst our palm trees. Inside is no less impressive as the imposing figure of Clint Eastwood with his fistful of dollars glowers down from the wall, complete with poncho and cigar, set against a desert backdrop that is somehow unmistakably Texan (even though the film was shot in Europe).

The new building is an impressive size and can seat 50 people each in the ground floor dining area and the upstairs bar-lounge. There’s also a cute roof terrace complete with outdoor aircon, though we must admit we have our eye on that more for when the weather cools down.

Everywhere you look there are nods to the American old west, from an antler light fitting as you come through the door to the ‘must have’ table tissue boxes, in this case dressed in Old Glory! And from the Stetson-clad chap on the men’s room door to the very impressive bar featuring a selection of Southern-style enhanced beverages you’d be unlikely to find anywhere else.

The interiors are the brainchild of co-founders Alvin Miles, his wife Beauta, and assistant director Rony – who some may recognise from his years at another well-known American diner. Rony explains: “After Alvin and his wife visited the USA, it was their dream to have some sort of American-style restaurant. I suggested the Wild West theme and together we came up with the concept of Howdy. We put a lot of thought into making it somewhere people could come and enjoy the atmosphere as well as the food.”

And that atmosphere extends to the entertainment from Tribe Band, who play a mix of County & Western, alongside other favourites, in the bar – spot of line dancing anyone? The roof terrace is served by a DJ playing contemporary tunes into the night. We were presented with a selection of foods, including a juicy lamb shoulder burger with a twist. It came in a squid ink black bun accompanied a side of purple cabbage coleslaw and crispyfried baby new potatoes.

There were also chicken wings marinated with brown sugar, homemade spices and aged fortified beverage, smoked in maple wood and finished on the charcoal grill. If these don’t grab your attention, there are plenty of other wings options and don’t forget to check out the Howdy special sauce.

Bar bites include country fried prawns marinated in panAsian spices, coated in butter and hand crumbed with chef’s secret sauce.

And, of course, in keeping with Howdy’s Western roots, you cannot miss the absolutely delicious baby back ribs that are smoked in apple wood and served with ale bread, roasted baby potatoes and honey mustard slaw – you can almost hear the crackling of the camp fire at the sight of them.

Now, everyone knows you can’t do down home tucker without a range of steaks and other meats done Texas-style. So, in the interests of research, I decided to opt for the 350g Peppered Rib Eye Steak with pan roasted potatoes and spiced tomato pulp. I have to admit, I really was not ready for the size of this cut, it was huge! However, I grasped my eating irons (that’s campfire-speak for knife and fork, y’all) and dug right in. I could immediately tell the quality of the steak by the texture and the abundant juices flowing from the flesh, which I quickly mopped up with the potato for a superb mouthful. I have to say, this is old-style country comfort food at its best and exactly what I would expect to find in a Western diner.

However, if you want to experience the unique atmosphere of Howdy, but are not keen on American trad cuisine, then fear not. Thanks to Chef Brett Wright, a veteran of Scott’s of Mayfair, among other top-notch establishments, the menu includes a strong international element with options such as Caviar Risotto, Salmon Mille Feuille, handmade pasta and pizzas and Tartare Perlage – Wagyu beef tartar served with truffle perlage.

For dessert I was served a showstopper of poached pears (my absolute favourite, so I knew I couldn’t go wrong) alongside pistachio cheesecake, which was superbly light and fluffy with a good strong flavour infused by a topping of pistachio crumbles – nuts rolled in pistachio cream and crushed biscuits then baked in the oven. Sweet with a hint of savoury, it was an absolute triumph on which to end my Western journey.

With restrictions now lifted, Adliya’s famed dining scene is sure to be buzzing before long. Make sure you say ‘Howdy’ to Howdy next time you head into town. ✤