Review: Flavors of Brazil at SPIRITO

Walk through the doors of Spirito and find yourself transported to South America. It is a cheerful space with flamboyant interiors, exotic drinks and intoxicating sounds of Brazil. This new restaurant is the latest in the series of South American culinary invasion to hit Dubai.

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Service was excellent from the moment we stepped through the door. The servers were in their element: charismatic and witty with a personality, to influence.

Caipirinha, margarita--They've got all kinds of Latino beverages to keep you ticking. For our appetizers, we opted for the Spirito Picanha Sliders and Coxinha, which are traditional Brazilian croquettes. Small plates clearly did not mean small and was ample for sharing. A bite into the sliders revealed the aromatic flavors of caramelized onions and well cooked juicy beef--everything you expect a top quality slider to taste like.  The smoked Coxinha was a tear drop shaped bomb of flavors. All together this hit the spot and I deemed them worth 5 stars.

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For my entrée, I opted for Lobo, which is a Balck Angus Steak served with Polenta fries. On arrival, it did create an impression with its innovative presentation, on a wooden board. While I still enjoyed it, it just really didn't stack up to my expectation. My husband picked the Cordeiro for his entrée. This is a two bone rack of lamb slathered shamelessly with chimichurri. It sure possessed a distinctive flavor and is 'Interesting' as my husband would describe it.

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Dessert saw us sharing the Brazilian chocolate bonbon cake. This layered pie is amazingly decadent! It has a thin crust biscuit layer topped with rich custard, layered with chocolate ganache and topped with whipped meringue. I almost tasted a slice of heaven. I was won over.

The overall scene: As seems fitting for a cosmopolitan city, with swag careers, fine dining has taken an about turn towards the more eclectic and trendy. This spot is a reflection of this cultural shift. Spirito has made its way into town with its vibrant vibes providing a welcome flavor of Brazil and its ethos. It is a spot not to be missed!

Grab the deal: 50% off your total bill during the month of August

Where: Media One hotel

Contact: +971 4 421 2679

Reservation:reservations@spirito.ae

visit: www.spirito.ae

Price: Coxinah  AED 55

Cordeiro -Two bone rack of lamb, chimichurri AED 120

Brazilian chocolate bon-bon cake AED 50

 

 

 

 

Review: HOOKED to Crab Tavern

If you attempt to score a table at Crab Tavern, you will find a contemporary approach to classic American Fun, Fare, and Favor. As its name suggests, Crab Tavern's menu boasts a myriad of crustacean dishes. It  focuses on reinventing the classic American food and drinks with a delicious and creative twist. The ambiance is upscale ‘Casual Chic’ with an inviting rustic charm, which includes; warm leather sofas, wide plank wood flooring, and brick walls...personally I love this style.I am a sucker for character and warmth. Crab Tavern 243

Our server Justin, who was knowledgeable, fun and witty  made great recommendations, and his service was stellar.

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We started by ordering a Strawberry Colada and a Crab Jar for drinks. I have an obsession for mason jars and classic milk bottles!! My poised and composed demeanor gave way to reveal a visibly excited and awed disposition when I witnessed our server present our drinks in mason jars and milk bottles. Not only were the drinks oozing an enticing appeal but also tasted equally good and were a refreshing start to our meal ahead.

 

IMG_6541For our starter, my husband and I shared a Seafood Arancini. It was my second rendezvous with Arancini and I must add that this particular one lacked the flavor to seduce my pallet and warm my soul. However, the presentation was immaculate with a generous serving of fresh salad greens paired with quail eggs.

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I associate mussels with my very first trip to the French Riviera, where my eyes and taste buds discovered the irresistible flavor of this juicy meat with glistening black shells. I was pleased to note Crab Tavern’s selection of Mussels from the entrée menu brought back delicious memories of the fresh juicy gems of the French Riviera. It was served in a silver tavern accompanied by crispy fries and crusty bread, to soak up the sensational creamy white sauce. It's everything you want it to be!

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My husband chose the much-recommended Singapore crab for his entrée.This was served in spicy chili-tomato gravy, which hooked him from the very first bite. Its appearance was tantalizing, served with crab cracking and scooping tools. My OCD husband overlooked the mess as he enjoyed the succulent flesh in a luscious spiced sauce. This dish lives up to its reputation and is a must try.

 

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For dessert, we opted to share a Pecan and Maple tart served with Bourbon ice cream. What I loved most about this pie is that It’s not cloyingly sweet and I did not have to battle cutting into the crust as it was just the perfect texture.

As the evening progressed the scene here was an upbeat frenzy. The servers were pacing about buzzing with life, clearly enjoying their trade.This kept us waiting a while after our dessert course, to grab the attention of a server (which was the only low point of our evening).

 

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Crab Tavern is completely unique to the city of Dubai. This space has rightfully earned a bounty of buzz. Scoring a table on a weekend can be tricky, so I recommend making a reservation to ensure you can eat your way through their praise-worthy culinary goodness. The rustic décor, fashion-forward company, uplifting tunes and welcoming vibes make this a space worth trying! It’s stylish, urban, fun, impressive and oh! its just larger than life… it’s American for crying out loud!!

 

Where: Media One hotel

Contact: +971 4 420 7489

Reservation: reservations@crabtavern.ae.

visit: www.crabtavern.ae

Price: The Crab Tavern Arancini / Scotch Egg AED 65

Singapore Crab - AED 85

Pecan & Maple Tart- AED 35

Strawberry Colada - AED 35

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Savouring Dubai at Seven Sands

The Bedouin culinary experience is enjoying a resurgence in Dubai. One of the hottest recent entrants on the Emirati dining scene is ‘Seven Sands’ at ‘The Beach’, JBR. Named after the seven Emirates that constitute the nation of UAE. This expansive two-level eatery is a fashionably modern space with a cultural twist.

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I embarked on a culinary adventure to discover the flavors of the region, offered at Seven Sands. My husband and I arrived at the restaurant after sunset to discover a quiet haven and were greeted by polite and friendly staff. I noted the glass-covered section on the ground floor containing sand from each of the seven emirates and modern frescos on the walls featuring cultural and iconic elements of the Emirates. The head hostess volunteered much of her knowledge and led us upstairs to our table by the window, nicely isolated from the cozy shisha/smoking area and the outdoor terrace facing the sea.

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The building blocks of authentic Emirati cuisine are the use of fresh ingredients. I learned the meat and ingredients here are locally sourced. We were welcomed with an interesting complimentary light bite of warm flat bread sprinkled with zaatar flakes accompanied by chilly labneh dip on the side. Incredible I must say!

Levantine favorites like hummus, moutabal and  tabbouleh were highlights of the appetizer menu. We decided to opt for the Middle Eastern salads with a contemporary twist. My pick was UAE grown green mangoes with homeidh leaves plucked fresh from AL Ain farms, tossed in olive oil and baby tomatoes, bursting with tangy notes. This salad was suitably summery with its zesty flavors. The Seven Sands signature salad which was my partners selection was full of playful colors and clean flavors.

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For our Entrees, I decided to pick the much-recommended ‘Wrapped Bezar Prawns’ fried with vermicelli dough served with sweet chilly dip. The prawn was cooked to perfection but lacked flavor. The chilly dip that accompanied the prawn did the magic and elevated the dish. My husband decided to go with an unconventional pick(In a Middle Eastern restaurant) of ‘Grilled Beef Tenderloin ‘ marinated with olive oil served with pumpkin crisps, mash, and locally sourced vegetables. One can generally assume a restaurant that calls itself a Steakhouse puts out fine examples of steak, but you’re not expecting to stumble on a flavorful and tender steak at an Emirati dining scene. The tenderloin presented was juicy and delicious, down to the very last bite.

Middle Eastern desserts do not tickle my fancy like a cheesecake or Crème-Brule does, however, the dessert list here has one scrumptious cake that I cannot get enough of, the ‘Seven Sands Date pudding’! Hands down this restaurant serves the best version of date pudding that I have ever tasted. It’s a delightful date sponge cake; lightly textured and soaked up with toffee sauce and garnished with almond flakes. It’s an absolutely satisfying combination of smooth and gooey, and described in one word as HEAVENLY! Whether you’ve never tried a date pudding or it’s a favorite, visit The Seven Sands today to treat yourself with their version of this classic.

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Seven Sands is a culinary marriage between traditional Emirati and the modern cuisine, similar to what present day cosmopolitan Dubai symbolizes. If you are looking for well priced and well-portioned Emirati dishes with a twist, served within an aesthetically pleasing ambiance, this is the place to head to.

Where: The Beach, Opposite JBR.

Cuisine: Arabic

Phone:+971 4 551 66652

Website: www.sevensandsrestaurant.com

Timings: Sat - Wed: 8am - 1am / Thu - Fri: 8am - 2am

Price: Seven Sands Signature Salad- AED 25

Harees- AED 45

Grilled Beef Tenderloin- AED 95

Seven Sands Date Pudding- AED 25

 

A Zoo-tiful day at Al Tamimi's Hero Petting Farm

bunny Cocoon to Butterfly kids kicked off their summer break in Dubai, by visiting the regions largest indoor edutainment venue in Modhesh World, Dubai. The highlight of their visit was petting and feeding the most beloved animals at Al Tamimi Stables Animal Care Hero Petting Farm . It was indeed a real fun and unique experience! The lil love-bugs got all soppy as they fed and stroked the animals. The area featured rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ducklings, tortoises, baby goats as well as a parakeet, iguana and ball python snake. Children are constantly learning from their environment and this visit demonstrated how children got to practice development skills and social competencies such as caring, justice and empathy in a relatively short animal interaction time.

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Our lil hero’s also learned about the environment in a fun and interactive way with Al Tamimi’s pot planting Green Hero activity. At their activity, the children were given the opportunity to explore and care for plant life. They got to take home the plant they potted, which gives them the opportunity to watch it grow over time.

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At the AL Tamimi pottery painting area, the lil-wiggles got to unleash their creative side. The area featured a selection of paint and ceramics which included mugs, egg-holders, bowls, cupcakes and much more to choose from. Our wiz-kids let their creative spirit take over while designing their masterpiece, which they brought back home.  The area also features a gift shop where wooden toys and animal gifts are available for purchase as a keepsake.

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children in this era live in a virtual world. They have few opportunities for contact with the natural world and to explore the free-range outdoor and creative play. Places such as Al Tamimi’s petting farm, Green Hero activity, and Pottery painting gives children the opportunity to reclaim the magic and the joy of exploring their natural world and animal planet.

If your kids enjoy these activities and you would like to inculcate in them the thrill of watching a bird, stroking a bunny, finding a turtle and feeding a goat, then head to this location.

 

  • Where: Al Tamimi stables, Modhesh World, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai
  • Date: July 9th to August 29th 2015
  • Day and Time: 9 am to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday and 9 am to 1 am on Thursdays and Fridays.
  • Price: Each activity priced at AED 20 per person
  • More Information: https://www.facebook.com/AlTamimiStables
  • Contact: +971 50 554 9915/ getintouch@tamimistables.com

 

 

*photo credit: N03/5994991505">Rabbit via photopin (license)

An Escape to Atlantis 'Family Fun Factory'

IMG_6608I speak on behalf of every child. What’s not to love about an arcade and gaming zone! The dazzling lights and resonance invites you to escape to a world of nonstop action and thrill. Whether a ball drops into a hole or the wheel spins to hit a jackpot, they all add to the challenge of testing your skills and anticipating a big score. Atlantis hotel has your kids covered with its newest attraction this summer. ‘The Family Fun Factory’ is an indoor entertainment destination packed with arcade games, face painting, redemption zones, gifts, and arts and crafts. Last week Cocoon to Butterfly kids enjoyed an evening of amusement at ‘The Family Fun Factory’. What we loved most about this venue is that there are no additional charges for games, beyond the admission fee. No more queuing up to recharge cards for games and loading up coins to use in machines. It is not a particularly large space but is a venue guaranteed to offer unlimited gaming fun at one fixed price. We thought the price was more than fair for all they had to offer. My older competitive boy and his BFF battled it out for a top score with the interactive games. A range of rides and games offered for pre-school buddies thrilled the younger ones in our group. A favorite for the group was the redemption games where the kids and adults won tickets, which we exchanged for exciting gifts. The staff was approachable and friendly. The boys were incredibly fascinated by the cool tattoos they got to select and don. They also enjoyed the leisure of time and space they got to get creative with the arts and crafts on offer. The mascots, Princess Oceana and Finn the Dolphin paid a visit creating fond memories for our little champs

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I have often said that I have an excitement hungry kids bone or two in my body, and this is most likely one of the times it’s taken me over. In all honesty as much as the kids could not have had enough of the gaming experience, I could not have had enough. I was found chasing the redemption games for the sheer thrill of collecting reels of tickets. I have learned that rumors of the death of arcade games have been an exaggerated tale. With venues such as these, it’s easy to see why arcades have stood the test of time.

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Features:

  • Video Arcade Zone (where kids can log up high scores and defy their match)
  • Redemption Zone (30 skill based games offering kid’s the chance to sweep tickets for top scores that can be exchanged for fun prizes)
  • Novelty Zone (offering youngsters unlimited play with a chance to win prizes in reward for those with the skill)
  • Midway & Carnival Zone (challenge one another with games such as water blasting targets to accumulate against the clock)
  • Kiddie Ride Zone (range of sit on rides for younger kids)
  • Sport-Zone (play unlimited games such as Air Hockey and Sonic Basketball)
  • Snack shop (you can purchase a variety of munchies, light snacks and refreshments)
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Face painting

 Location:

Silk Ballroom, Atlantis Conference Center

Dates:

July 9th –August 23rd, 2015

Timings:

Daily 3pm to 10pm

Entrance Fee:

AED 75 per child (16 and under) for in-house guests.

AED 100 for external guests, including one free adult.

Contact: 04 426 2000

For more information Visit: www.atlantisthepalm.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Imagination sets sail with Kidzania

IMG_5947IMG_5942 'Cocoon to Butterfly' kids had the privilege of being welcomed to the simulated mini-world of Kidzania at Dubai Mall, where they lived their dreams out through interactive role-play.

This edutainment venue is a city scaled down to children’s size. It mirrors the working of a real world, complete with services and facilities from; banks, hospital, police stations, fire station, shopping area, eatery, radio station and more.

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The experience for the kids started with an airport style check in counter, where each child was issued a boarding pass and bank cheque for 50 kidZos (local currency of Kidzania). They entered through the departure gate and exchanged their cheque for kidZos at a local bank following which they set out to find a career. The kids were advised that the kidZos could be used to buy goods and services or even save in their bank account in KidZania, which provides them with an ATM card. They could earn and collect more kidZos by working in an establishment.

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Each child got to adorn uniforms which reflect the nature of their chosen career. Roles included working as a cashier in a supermarket, RJ in a radio station, piloting a commercial airline, dentist, firefighter, police and much more. Most activities are aimed at 4-14-year-olds, yet my 3-year-old found enough activities to keep him busy. I noticed toddlers are not left out as a dedicated Urbano’s Residence, which features rooms and specially designed activities awaited them. Each activity was age appropriate and could accommodate small groups of 6 to 8 kids in safe surroundings. I was at complete ease and reassured of safety as each child was made to wear an electronic bracelet for tracking purpose.

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Kidzania is not a fantasy world, but best described as a ‘World of its own’. It boasts of it's very own currency called ‘kidZos’, informal greeting called ‘Kai’, ‘Zanks’ substituted for thanks and activities supervised by a team of 300 multi-cultural professionals called ‘Zupervisors’. The 'B-KidZanian' loyalty program allows kids to get naturalized into KidZania Residents and receive the benefits during each visit. With 50 ‘establishments’ (local and international brands represented within) and 90 different roles to choose, kids learn real life skills and money management in the process of pretend-play.

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All in all, Kidzania provides the perfect experiential learning platform with a creative concept that allows kids to don roles they dream about. It was a pleasure to watch the kids soak up the awe-inspiring experience.

As the mercury rises and school break runs on full throttle, are you looking for options for your kids to be cooled off and entertained? I am not referring to kids staying cooped up in the house and digitally wired up. Are you seeking activities that are fun, unique and educational? Kidzania offers precisely that.  To make the best of Kidzania and other kids entertainment venues this season, I recommend purchasing the 'Dubai Summer Pass'.

  • The Dubai Summer Pass - Save AED 190!
  • Was AED 440, now AED 250

The pass entitles guests to visit the following attractions from the 23rd July-5th September

  • Kidzania1x child ticket (adults are Free)
  • Reel Cinemas2 x standard ticket for adults or children
  • Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo1 x ticket for an adult or child
  • The SEGA Republic1 x ticket for an adult or child + receive 100 credits to use
  • Dubai Ice Rink1 x ticket for an adult or child

Passes are available for purchase online at www.dubaisummerpass.com and at each attraction in Dubai mall. Visit the KidZania Dubai website for more details. 

 

 

 

 

Wire World Adventure Park hits town

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Little known facts about me: I am born with a zest for life. I was the girl who jumped off a plane at 10,000 feet tandem-falling from the sky, on a skydiving expedition. I was the one who stepped off the edge and bungee dived into thin air at the Niagara Falls area. I loved the thrill of abseiling down Tamarind falls in Mauritius. I have experienced the electrifying bolt of what letting go of inhibitions, and taking a leap offers. As a mom, I intend to raise kids who conquer their fears and strive at achieving the impossible. I want to cultivate the adventure gene in our kids, to get in on the action and accumulate experiences and not possessions. When ‘Cocoon to Butterfly’ was invited to Dubai Sports World venue at the Dubai World Trade Center to experience Wire World Adventure Park, I was quick to grab the opportunity, to experience the unusual and the exciting. The Park features a mobile rope course, with a variety of fun bridges and crossings for kids to navigate in a series of elevated challenges. It also features a three platform bungee trampoline – which can also be used as a kite-surf simulator - for kids and adults.

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Safety comes first and there are no compromises with that golden rule. The lil adventure tribe got fitted with their harnesses and helmets (complete with lanyard and safety clips) and walked through the rules before they set off on their course. They started out with the rope course, which boasts a series of eight obstacles on a meandering, 1.80-metre-high wooden platform installed and secured on a two-metre-high pole base. My little Abhishek is a fearless junkie, and as soon as he got locked in on the line, he took off. The other kids followed. To my surprise the ones who were battling the fear of heights faced them head on and displayed confidence as they inched closer towards taming their fears.

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The little superheroes moved on to try the Bungee Trampoline. With bungee cords and ropes, the traditional trampoline transforms  to give participants a gravity-defying experience. It was exhilarating to watch my oldest spring into air and experience the whip through his hair doing back-flips, looking like Spiderman on a mission.The crew assisting the kids was professional, friendly and helped all the kids soar sky-high, making it super exciting. This attraction is for participants who weigh between 15 to 99 kilos. So I thought to myself why should boys have all the fun, I would do this in a heartbeat. I am no less feminine because I love bouncing off a trampoline or throwing myself down heights. Hence, I gave the vertical experience a go. It was exciting to experience the sheer thrill of weightlessness.

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I wish however there were more obstacles and challenges to tackle to keep my kids going through the day. My wish is just about to come true as I was given a brief on the 2,322 square meter, Wire World Park, in Meydan, which is scheduled to open later this year. It boasts of 70 obstacles, zip lines and rope swings set across trees and rocks.

With summer in full swing, and kids on school break, are you a mommy in Dubai brainstorming to find exciting summer activities to keep your little ones entertained? This place is totally Child-tastic!! Guaranteed to have your kids stoked this summer. Feed your kids excitement and spark their sense of adventure at Wire World Adventure Park, in the regions largest indoor sports venue. The 22,000m², fully air-conditioned venue in DWTC also offers  Summer Camps and academy classes for sports.

For more information visit :  www.dubaisportsworld.ae 

Location: Dubai Sports World, Sheikh Saeed Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre

Timings: 11.00 am-10.00pm

Mobile Course: AED 3O per Person (for 2 rounds)

Bungee Trampoline: AED 35 per person (for a 5 minute session)

Combined Ticket (Mobile course+ Bungee Trampoline): AED 50 per person

Experience Iftar in Dubai

Dubai is home to some of the world's best and finest, and it boasts a cutting-edge dining scene.It has placed itself on the international map as a 'must-visit culinary destination’. It was a delicious experience savoring a wealth of flavors and cuisines on offer in Dubai this Iftar season. The offerings ranged from regional favorites to international delicacies, which was as diverse as the city itself.

Here is a run-down of the spots you will want to visit to experience an iftar, offering everything from Middle Eastern favorites to global cuisine. The list is a mix of wallet-friendly, seriously good food places, to fine-dining splurges with sparkling service.

PER TE RISTORANTE E CAFÉ 

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Per Te Ristorante e Café, one of Jumeirah’s finest Italian restaurants, hosts alternative Iftar with an Italian twist

Menu Highlights:

  • Lentil soup with mushroom tortellini
  • Arabic-inspired bread platter with muhammara sauce, hummus and arrabbiata sauce
  • Platter including burrata cheese, crab cake with pesto mayonnaise, grilled polenta, vine leaves stuffed with rice, arancini stuffed with spinach and feta cheese, baby spinach with bresaola and fig, grilled prawns with turkey bacon and more
  • Lamb shanks with fresh garden risotto
  • Seafood with Tunisian couscous
  • Grilled baby chicken with traditional Arabic spicy potatoes
  • Beef tournedos steak with creamy mushrooms and traditional jarjir salad
  • Date semifreddo
  • Crema Bruciata - rich custard topped with layer of hard caramel and served with fresh mix berries

In addition, complimentary dates, fruit platter, and Ramadan beverages are served to all guests.This season Per Te will be open from Iftar until 2am.

Per Te is located in Villa no. 54, Street 12C, Behind Jumeirah Plaza, Jumeirah 1. The restaurant is open daily from 12pm to 11.30pm on weekdays and from 12pm to late on weekends. For more information or reservations, contact 04 344 6455 or send an email to info@perte.ae.

Facebook: @PerTeDubai

Twitter: @PerTeDubai

Instagram: @Per_Te_Dubai

 

Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek

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As part of the hotel’s 40th-anniversary celebration Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek invites guests to enjoy the vast buffet for iftar, filled with an array of traditional dishes and international delicacies. The hotel is running special promotions throughout the year to celebrate their 40th anniversary. This month every guest that visits with 4 people will only pay for 3.

Iftar buffet is priced at AED 149 with a vast buffet of over 200 traditional and international dishes from 8 award winning restaurants.

For more information or bookings contact Tel. 00971 4 2057031. www.radissonblu.com 

Chez Sushi

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Dubai’s fast-casual Japanese restaurant, hosts alternative Iftars.

Highlights:

  • Japanese katsu curry – fried/grilled chicken or mixed vegetables
  • Mixed green salad
  • Miso soup
  • Steamed rice
  • Date mochi – Japanese ice cream made with dates

The Iftar menu is priced at AED 60 and AED 45 for the chicken and vegetarian options respectively.

Chez Sushi is located in Wasl Square (Al Wasl Road), Dubai Marina and Bay Square (Business Bay) and has recently opened a new outlet in Arabian Ranches. For more information or bookings, email info@chezsushi.com or call 800-78744. 

https://www.facebook.com/ChezSushi

https://twitter.com/ChezSushi

http://instagram.com/ChezSushi

 

ROSA MEXICANO 

Dubai’s casual Mexican restaurant, hosts Iftars with a twist.

Highlights:

  • SOUPS (Choice of) Guajillo Cauliflower and Lentil & Tomato
  • SALADS (Choice of): Mexican Chopped Salad and Market Salad
  • MAIN DISHES (Choice of) Crispy Stuffed Chicken and Shrimps Enchilada
  • DESSERTS - Hot Mexican Doughnuts
  • DRINKS (choice of) Jalapeno Mint & Cucumber Yogurt., Jallab Drink and Soft Drinks

Iftar menu is priced at 89AED

For more information or bookings visit http://www.rosamexicano.com/

PizzaExpress, Ibn Battuta 

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Highlights:

  • Ramadan Honey Date Dough Balls
  • Ramadan juices such as Laban Up and Kamaruddin juice
  • Make-your-own salad bar with mix capsicums, olives, roasted chicken, turkey ham and more
  • Traditional Arabic appetizers such as hommos and tabouleh
  • PizzaExpress salads such as the salad nicoise, Leggera Superfood Salad
  • A variety ofItalian soups from broccoli soup to Italian bean soup
  • Italian inspired mains such as beef lasagne and cannelloni Spinach and Ricotta
  • PizzaExpress pizzas from Sloppy Giuseppe to La Reine
  • Traditional and Italian desserts from umm ali to risotto dolce

From sundown until 9.30pm, PizzaExpress Ibn Battuta serves an Iftar buffet with a difference, priced at Aed69 per person.

For more information or reservations call 04 3685134

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review - Iftar Buffet at Raffles, Dubai

There is no better way to experience the richness of Middle Eastern culture than to indulge in a sumptuous Iftar buffet. Despite the plethora of Iftar buffet options in the UAE, the average diner finds it challenging to strike a consistent and gratifying experience. If you are going to experience one, I recommend starting with the one offered at Raffles Dubai. Last month I went on a gastronomic journey with Raffles Dubaiand it’s pre-Iftar offerings presented at ‘Azur’ restaurant. The ambiance is stunning with the restaurant overlooking the Raffles garden and an atmosphere which is a mixture of heritage and luxury. It presents a more contemporary take on Iftar including Arabic and international delicacies.

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Upon arrival the hostess dressed in an Arabian princess costume and the restaurant manager, who accompanied us to the table, greeted us. The Executive Chef Tuomas Heikkinen along with Chef Mohammed, who hails from the region is responsible for designing the menu items. They ventured out of the kitchen for a chat about the offerings.We started our experience with dates followed by a selection of refreshing Ramadan drinks, which included Tamarind juice, Date juice, Date smoothie, Laban and more.

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I was overwhelmed and delighted by a wide array of appetizers, which comprised–Smoked salmon salad, Steamed Prawn Makdous, Moulabel with beetroot (Eggplant and beetroot purée with tahina sauce), Baburma with greens (Arabic air-dried beet with roca leaf) and other diverse offerings. Among hot Meze, the gently spiced Sambusa stands out. The Manakish selection included meat, cheese, zaatar and vegetable. It was an interesting experience for my husband and I to sample a range of flavors before tucking into the main course.

For the Entrée, the centerpiece, was the obvious hearty dish of Lamb Ouzi.  The entrée counter also featured the uncomplicated Dawood Basha, which are Arabic-style meatballs in tomato sauce. The fish was succulent, well cooked in a flavorful tomato sauce. My husband and I were unanimous in picking the Fish presented as our favorite. The lavish Iftar featured 4 impressive live cooking stations dishing up Pasta, Fatteh, Shawarma and Mixed grill.

The sweet course served was extensive with Arabic perennial favorite Umm Ali and Kunafa. It also featured an international selection of desserts such as Sticky date pudding, Blueberry Cheesecake, Dark and White Chocolate Mousse and Linzer tart. The Fig Halwa was a clear standout. If you own a sweet tooth, you won’t be disappointed with the selection presented. Shisha is also available to guests, priced separately. The staff and the service stood out impeccable, striking the right balance of attentive but not intrusive.

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To share a meal is to share a portion of your culture. Living in Dubai, the melting pot of diverse nationalities and cuisines, it is a joy to experience the city's very own taste of culture and flavor. Whether you’re fasting as part of your faith or a foodie feasting to experience the culture, an Iftar in Raffles Dubai is something to relish and not to miss!!

Where

- Azur, Raffles Dubai. Call +971 4324 8888

Price

-       Aed 185 per person, inclusive of soft beverages and Ramadan juices.

-       With 2 Adults dining 2 children dine for free.

Timings

- Sundown to 9 pm.

Timeless luxury in the desert

There are a few things I like or rather love…Faith, Family, Travel, Dining and Fashion. If you’re passions match mine and you are looking to take a break from the mommie grind, the buzzing city life, celebrate a special occasion or just enjoy some occasional luxury and finesse then look no further. Here is a review just for you.

I have been fortunate to set foot on over 50 countries worldwide and have enjoyed umpteen acclaimed hotels with my flying career and on leisure. If you asked me to list my favorite holiday destinations I would churn out a massive scroll  which includes the French Riviera, The romantic Italian land of ‘La Dolce Vita’, Enchanting Swiss-German Alpine region, Vibrant New York City and the Highlands of Scotland.

The Arabian Desert dream did not feature high on my bucket list but surely has become a favorite on my travel radar after my recent experience. This week I had the pleasure of  soaking in the legendary service offered by Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah. My husband and i lived it up on our get away, as we celebrated a very special occasion. It took us 45 minutes to drive up from our Dubai home to this haven inspired by the palaces of Arabian Peninsula.  Perched against the vibrant blue Arabian Sea, the sun-kissed golden sand dunes and the Majestic Hajar Mountains it indeed is timeless luxury in the desert. So close to home yet a world away. I have to admit I have had a love affair with this property whose majesty and beauty is breath-taking.

The Reception and foyer is inset with design inspired by a peacock and ocean theme with an aesthetic touch at every turn. The peacock Alley features a contemporary grand piano and a relaxing lounge bar. Enjoy a variety of sandwiches and cakes while sipping the finest TWG tea selection.

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The suites features a palatial atmosphere adorned with contemporary accents and enhanced by a magnificent view of the Arabian Sea, the championship golf course and Hjar mountains.

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The complimentary kids club for children aged 3 and above offers arts, crafts, cartoons, games and outdoor play area. My little Duracell charged bunny was occupied and creatively stimulated while mommie and daddy enjoyed some relaxing time.

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This Arabian paradise with its outstanding restaurants offers exceptional culinary scenes. The dining experience is top notch with fine dishes presented with perfection.

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If you live in the UAE and can afford some time off from the rat race to a  luxurious romantic retreat or a family getaway without having to fetch your passport out then this is the perfect escape. With its panoramic breathtaking view, luxurious suites, fine selection of restaurants and a state of the art Spa this place offers an experience to live for. String together an array of superlative adjectives and you still get the feeling you have not given justice to the description of this paradise.

 

REVIEW: Simply Delicious! by FRHI Restaurants

This past week I had the pleasure of joining a select group of journalist, bloggers and other presumable qualified personals for a media event hosted by the FRHI Hotel and Resorts. The group represents three distinct brands which is the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel. The group assembled an array of their finest chefs and featured mouth watering signature refreshments to deliver an unforgettable gastro experience. To everyone who lives in Dubai here is my pick on the groups most coveted signature dishes, indulgent sweet treats and refreshing drinks.

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The chefs with their genuine charm and personal style of hospitality introduced the selection of dishes presented for the event. There were delightful appetizers ranging from heart-healthy fresh pick of salads, golden brown crispy crabs cakes, creamy silk textured risotto to delicate fork tender Foie gras. A definite stand out was the super crunchy crab cakes fried to perfection with a distinctive flavor. You can enjoy these light bites at 'Flow Kitchen' in Fairmont, The Palm.

The authentic carnivore that I am, it didn't take much convincing to seduce me into a juicy looking slow cooked braised short rib. I am not talking about a slab of meat cooked in high temperature. These melting tender ribs are marinated for 24 hours and ever-so-slowly braised. It was served on a bed of creamed chickpeas and topped with pickled mushrooms. The flavor was magical and the quality undeniable. If you find yourself remotely close to Fairmont in the Palm, remember to make a beeline for Frevo's Brazilian Churrascaria experience. Truly recommended.

Speaking of soulful cocktails you can never go wrong with the South East Asian acclaimed 'Singapore Sling'. My previous job offered me the privilege of staying in Raffles in Singapore where the drink was created. The team often could not wait to land into Singapore as there was a thrilling anticipation of hitting Raffles 'Long Bar' for a refreshing spirited 'Singapore Sling'. Put down your tickets. You do not have to fly across seas to enjoy this tantalising refresher. It is as simple as heading out to the Raffles Dubai to pay tribute to this classic.

Raffles display of signature dessert from their renowned 'Fashion Afternoon Tea' was set for all to see, taste and fantasies over. I am not sweet toothed but I will describe my self as 'Afternoon Tea crazy'. I have had the privilege to experience Raffles Afternoon Tea which is chic and bright unlike the usual stuffy, uptight affair. What captured my attention was the presence of the beautifully crafted chocolate shoe from the much celebrated Afternoon Tea experience at Raffles. Too pretty to eat but undoubtedly delicious. For all the lovely ladies who enjoy Fun, Chic, Tea and Dessert this is the place to head to.

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I was deliciously pleased with my experiences for the day. The FRHI group is known for its luxurious and delectable restaurant offerings and it undeniably surpassed its reputation.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. All content and comments are based on my own opinion and was not influenced by any external factors.

Review on Vorwerk Kobold vacuum cleaner

  Kobold

A home abounding with love and laughter is where the happy heart thrives.  A home brimming with clean air and crisp space is where a happy lung thrives. As World Asthma day is approaching on 5th May 2015, I would like to draw your attention to the quality of the air you breathe. Is your home a breeding ground to microscopic pests posing health hazards? Statistics state one in five children in the UAE are asthmatic whilst 40% of children in the UAE suffer from allergic rhinitis. Let’s not wait for the environment around our home, which we have control over to adversely affect our children’s health. It’s time we give clean air a thought.

Cleaning the home is a mammoth task to some and a productive experience to others. The obsessive cleaning bug bites not every one, but if you have for yourself the German state of the art Kobold range of vacuum cleaner then cleaning becomes an obsession and a joy ride. I had the unique opportunity to witness a live demonstration of the product range at a breakfast event hosted by {4WORK}. I am so impressed by this ‘WOW product’ that it left me ranting away to my family and friends ever since. There is no other way to describe Vorwerk Kobold vacuum cleaners other than sophisticated, innovative, lightweight and user friendly. I have always thought to myself, if I could get my hands on a cleaning system that is fast, remarkable quality, efficient, and value for money then it would be my wish upon a star come alive. Looks like I have landed my perfect cleaning match or rather my quest has ended. This one is on my wish list for certain!

I had the opportunity to witness this powerful yet inaudible vacuum suck up loose dirt and mop rebellious stains making the task of wet and dry cleaning done away at the same time and at ease. I had a go myself with trialing it and what I love most about this 'wonder machine' is that it is amazingly stylish (Oh I can't contain my love for all things classy!!!). It is seriously lightweight yet agile (3kg, which gave my 3 year old a chance to try his hand at vacuuming). The handle could be adjusted making it posture friendly (Never have to worry over a stiff back after cleaning…Bliss!). The swivel system makes it effortless to vacuum even the trickiest corners (Now this is innovation par excellence we are talking here). Another interesting observation I made was that only a scant of cleaning fluid (allergen free & biodegradable) mixed with water was used for cleaning. I was also impressed to note that the air, which the exhaust emits, is clean-filtered air unlike other brands. Now this is more than a valid reason to invest into this high quality cleaning system especially if you or your children are prone to or suffers from respiratory ailments.

It was also pure delight to experience the Kobold Robot machine navigate through with the aid of its inbuilt laser navigation system. I keenly watched as it handled obstacles at the same time sucked up peanuts off the floor. I was shown how the amazing roller brush system aids in removing hair and other loose substances. It operates on a self-docking system to recharge (we are talking cutting edge technology) and the system knows where it stopped and where to start next (How clever!). It can be programmed to operate to your convenience. Step out of the mess and come back to a clean and inviting fresh space.All of this without a touch of a finger!  If I owned one of these I would have it following my youngest boy (Technology at it’s best!)

The distributors for Vorwerk Kobold vacuum cleaners are {4WORK}.The CEO Gerlinde Krupp was present at the demonstration and came across as engaging and informative. Her team was on deck and formed a crucial part of the overall success of this experience. They educated me on the HEPA-filter present in the vacuum, which means it can collect and contain particles as fine as fine can be. They affirmed the gadget has a minimum life expectancy of 13 years and a warranty of 5 years.

The team demonstrated an 85-year-old Kobold machine that was still in pristine condition and doing its job just fine (Now this is quality beyond compare!).

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Having worked in the service industry for several years and overseeing the same I believe in quality products and equally believe that after care service makes any company stand out from another. Gerlinda informed that they not only visit home for a free demonstration and educate on product operation but they also make sure they are quick at your service to fix any issues related to the vacuum or parts. I highly recommend scheduling a home visit where you will have the opportunity to witness the magic of Kobold vacuum cleaning system.

You can book at # +971 4-880 0268 or info@4work.me .I am not trying to hard sell, but believe me when I say you will be pleasantly shocked to see what this amazing gadget is capable of. I was wowed!!

Verdict:

Do I want one? Absolutely.

Do I need one? The investment to get my hands on one could be steep, so I would plan ahead and budget for the purchase. However it is great value for money spent. I absolutely love it. If I had it at home, I would be a super happy heart and I would use it every single day.

Final verdict:  'The Magic cleaning system' in all true sense with an outstanding performance. It sure creates a distinction for itself when compared with its competition.

 

Disclaimer: I was invited to a Product demonstration  for the purpose of this review. All content and comments are based on my own opinion and was not influenced by any external factors.

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Ripe Food and Craft Market

pic1 Who does not enjoy the gleaming outdoors, the quintessential fragrance of lavender, delightful culinary flavors and textures of artisan crafts and unusual finds? My Easter weekend was well spent with family and friends strolling in the sunshine, browsing the stalls and enjoying a variety of flavorful bites at the Ripe Food and Craft market. There is something to tickle everyone’s fancy.

The Ripe Food and Craft market, Under the Patronage of the Dubai Crown Prince, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, is nestled in the heart of the city of Dubai in the picturesque Zabeel Park. It swings into action on a weekend and has developed a great reputation for its bustling atmosphere. Kicking off at 9am on an Arabian Friday Weekend, it features locally grown organic fruits and vegetables, delicious grab-and -go -grub, handmade crafts, arts, jewelry and other exciting merchandise. There are plenty of options to keep the kids entertained ranging from the lush outdoors to a petting zoo and carriage rides. The market offers you an array of cuisine, which spans from local delights to an international selection of scrumptious bites. As I browsed around, I found myself in conversation with a few of the participating artisans and crafters and I soon realized some amazing talents surround me. Here is a glimpse of my favorite stands.

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In all honesty, I walked in expecting very little from a farmers and craft market set in Dubai but I have to admit I walked out in awe, feeling pleasantly surprised with all of the creativity displayed in this market. With the Ripe market bursting onto the artisan and the gastro scene in Dubai, it finally signals to the community that there is more to life in this urban domain than the luxurious haute couture and the dazzling fine dining extravaganza.

 

A mom's Review- Fun City Dubai

As a mom of 3 kids aged 5 and under I have trawled through Dubai’s myriad of play areas to find a suitable one, where I could let my kids run around and burn off some steam. As for myself what I look for in a play area is a place that combines fun, safety and affordability. This weekend I enjoyed a play date with some of the C2B mommies and kids at ‘Fun City’ in Arabian Center, Mirdif. This Play area is worth a drive if you have never been. It is packed with high fun factor with a variety of play features. It is set in many locations in Dubai city, nestled within accessible shopping malls. Many of the features are similar to other play areas, but with a definite twist. My kids got excited the most over games that awarded tickets when you play and the redemption area with exciting prizes. This facility has entertainment geared for children of all ages, including an enclosed padded area for toddlers. My 2-year-old son loved it too and was able to keep up with his 5-year-old brother. Entry is on a card system basis, which gives accessibility to any of their play areas without having to register every time. To make the most of the card buy higher credit and be awarded with more points. Features:

Video games, art and craft zone, Fun and learn zones, Soft play area and gym with climbing features, entertaining rides, party hall and games that give redemption tickets.

What’s Great:

* Friendly staff

* Safety and sanitation protocols in place

* Affordable and accessible.

* Variety of play options

* Suitable for different genders and different age groups

What’s not:

* Prices are not inclusive for art.

Verdict : 4.5 (out of 5)

Overall this indoor play area is guaranteed to capture the curiosity of your toddlers while it provides a one-stop-shop entertainment for your older sparks.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I was invited to check out Fun City for the purpose of this review. All content and comments are based on my own opinion and was not influenced by any external factors.