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Spring 2013

Food & Beverage Guide A Travel Arabia Magazine Special

Dubai’s Seven Culinary Wonders

Epicurean Delight

Gastronomic treats for everyone Where to dine around the world

Your way to the best dining venues


Authentic Persian dining in the heart of Dubai.

Now open - elegant, sophisticated and ever so authentic, Shayan at Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana Dubai is home of the most delicious and delicate flavours of Persia. Steeped in old world charm and rich heritage, choose from an extensive menu the finest Persian cuisine over a sit-down dinner at our signature restaurant. Receive a 50% Cash Back Voucher when spending a minimum of AED 100 at any Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana Dubai food and beverage outlet. For a limited period only, early birds may dine every day of the week from 6:30pm to 8:00pm and get 50% off their meal. For reservations, call 04 2933000 or email fb.alghurair@rotana.com

*Terms and conditions apply.

P.O.Box 185051, Dubai U.A.E, T:+971 (0)4 293 3000, F:+971 (0)4 293 3555, alghurair.rayhaan@rotana.com


EDITOR’S NOTE

www.travel-arabia.com Publisher KGI

Dubai, with its thousands of restaurants offering cuisines from as far down as Australia, to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East itself, is indeed a bon vivant’s paradise. In fact, one of the reasons visitors keep coming back to the city is to sample as many food outlets as possible for a memorable epicurean treat. Definitely one can’t argue with celebrity chefs offering their best culinary creations. On this backdrop was born Food & Beverage Guide, a Travel Arabia Magazine Special having a comprehensive selection of dining venues across the world complete with reviews of the best and most popular restaurants in UAE.

Food & Beverage Guide debuts on the sixth year of the popular Taste of Dubai, where more than 150 dishes from 30 restaurants will be on offer, whetting everyone’s appetites. Spring 2013

FOOD & BEVERAGE GUIDE By Travel Travel Arabia Magazine By Magazine

Dubai’s Seven Culinary Wonders

Epicurean Delight

Gastronomic Dubai’s Seventreats for everyone Wonders Culinary Where to dine Epicurean Delight around the world Gastronomic treats for everyone

CEO Hekmat el Zein General Manager Shaza Sharaffdeen

Here we give you dining 101—the A to Z of where to go for your food craving.

Enjoy.

Address Travel Arabia Head Office Office G4, Building No.1 Phase One, P.O.Box 502408 Dubai Media City, UAE Tel +971 4 391 0410/1/2/3 Fax +971 4 391 6619

Dubai’s Seven Culinary Wonders

Epicurean Delight

Editor Jojo Dass dass@kalimatgroup.com Contributors Elaine Nettleton Habeeb Salloum Ayesha Attique Monica Kapila

Gastronomic treats for everyone Where to dine around the world

Where to dine around the world

Your diningvenues venues Yourway wayto tothe the best best dining

Photo courtesy of Okku Dubai

CONTENTS

Photographer Maher Youssef Creative Manager Karen Haroon Designer Najeeb Hamza Sales & Marketing Manager Syed Muhammad Arif arif@kalimatgroup.com

food festivals

P.06

Dubai’s Seven Culinary Wonders

P.08

reviews

P.24

Top restaurants of Dubai

P.36

Gourmet destinations

P.40

Sales & Marketing Executive Crisna De Guzman crisna@kalimatgroup.com Circulation Manager Ihab Abdallah Distributor Jashanmal National Co. LLC

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Travel Arabia Lebanon Office Riad el solh 11072070 P.O.Box 11-1197, Beirut, Lebanon Tel +961 3 435 780 Fax +961 7 762 104

Travel Arabia disclaimer All text and layout remains the copyright of KGI unless stated otherwise. Travel Arabia is fully independent, and its views are not those of any company mentioned herein.

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No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. © 2012 KGI

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food festivals

Foodfest calendar around the world

Taste of Dubai March 14 to 16, 2013, Dubai Media City Amphitheathre Whoever brought up the idea of holding food festivals should be duly accorded the Nobel Prize. Taste of Dubai is celebrating its sixth year, bringing together 30 of the city’s 6

best restaurants, as well as prestigious celebrity chefs, premium beverage brands, gastronomic exhibitors and an incredible entertainment. Presented by Philips, and running from March 14 to 16, 2013, Taste of Dubai will introduce 12 new restaurants at the Dubai Media City Amphitheathre,

including many which have just opened to the public such as Prime 68, Izakaya and Rang Mahal by Atul Kochhar in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, and Frevo in The Fairmont The Palm. And that’s just Dubai. Elsewhere around the world, people are following suit. Below is a list of upcoming food


Melbourne Food & Wine Festival March 1 – 17, 2013 Melbourne, Australia Marking its 20th anniversary, Melbourne’s annual celebration features more than 200 events that honor the city’s strong culinary tradition and spills into regional Victoria. Full details of the lengthy festivities – including an event calendar is on melbournefoodandwine.com.au

name is LuckyRice, entering its fourth year and making stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami and San Francisco later in the calendar. The weeklong campaign explores Asian culture through food and includes special dinners at some of the city’s finest Asian restaurants. Among those sitting on the celebrity-heavy culinary committee are Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain, Masaharu Morimoto and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Visit luckyrice.com for more details.

Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival March 28 – April 1 12, 2013 Ganggu Port, Yeongdeok-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do South Korea Yeongdeok has long been known for large catches of snow crabs. In the Goryeo era (918 to 1392), the region presented snow crab to the king as a tribute. The festival is held in Ganggu Port where there is a concentration of restaurants specializing in snow crabs. Various events are organized, including: Walking on the East Coast Blue Road, Yeongdeok Snow Crab Fishing, and a snow crab auction.

Mésamerica Festival May 20 – 22, 2013 Mexico City, Mexico Any excuse is usually good enough to fly down and explore Mexico City’s mezcal scene. Having the chance to rub elbows and learn from some of the world’s best chefs, including René Redzepi, Daniel Humm and Alex Atala, definitely fits the bill. The second edition of the festival is run by Enrique Olvera of Pujol (ranked #36 on the World’s 50 Best List) and seeks to promote the country’s cuisine. Visit mesamerica.mx for more details.

festivals in case one is not enough.

Austin Food & Wine Festival April 26 – 28, 2013 Austin, TX, USA Big names including Marcus Samuelsson, Andrew Zimmern, Paul Qui and Marc Murphy will be on hand to lead over 40 cooking demos and sample from a large selection of specialty foods from the Lone Star State during the opening night’s popular Taste of Texas showcase. Visit austinfoodandwinefestival.com for more details. LuckyRice Festival April 29 – May 6, 2013 New York, NY, USA Winning the award for best festival

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival May 30 – June 2, 2013 Atlanta, GA, USA We’ve established that Atlanta just may have the most impressive airport dining in the country.  But that, of course, is only scratching the surface. Check out all the food that the city has to offer at this year’s four-day event, whose advisory council draws members from 14 Southern states and includes John Besh, Sean Brock, Andrea Reusing and Chris Hastings. Visit atlfoodandwinefestival.com for more details. Music City Hot Chicken Festival July 4, 2013

Nashville, TN, USA We can think of no better way to spend Independence Day than feasting on hot chicken at the sixth annual celebration of Nashville’s legendary dish. Don’t forget to bring along some antacids as city mainstays Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish are challenged by newcomers 400 Degrees, Smack Yo Mama Chicken and Pepperfire. Just remember that mild means hot, medium will have you in tears and hot…well, you can use your imagination. Visit mchcf. blogspot.com for more details. MAD Symposium August 25 – 26, 2013 Copenhagen, Denmark We can only imagine what heady discourse (and culinary muscle flexing) is in store at this year’s symposium in Copenhagen, which takes the theme of “guts” (last year’s theme was “appetite”). David Chang of Momofuku and food journal Lucky Peach are guest curators at the third annual conference and gathering, spearheaded by Noma chef René Redzepi. Be sure to check out both our day-by-day coverage and favorite pictures of last year’s event. Visit madfood.co for more details. Taste of Madison August 31 – September 1, 2013 Madison, WI, USA Whether it’s all thanks to Tory Miller or not is up for debate, but Madison has officially arrived on the national food scene. Benefitting United Cerebral Palsy, the two-day event featured over 80 of the city’s dining establishments last year and drew a quarter of a million people. Prices are low and portions small to ensure that attendees are able to sample a wide array of local specialties. Visit tasteofmadison.com for more details.

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Dubai’s Seven Culinary Wonders Dubai, with its multi-cultural and international set-up is indeed a city of culinary breakthroughs. The place has thousands of restaurant and not one has the same menu list as the next.

La Petite Maison (French) This is one of Dubai’s most popular restaurants, well-known for the most soughtafter food in Dubai: the fresh plates of Niçoise cuisine.

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LPM, as it’s widely known, is the Dubai outpost of a three-restaurant global group. Its reservations book is always full. The kitchen turns out un-fussy dishes such as peas, basil and tomatoes, razor clams with an herb crust and a justly popular cheesecake, all made with high-quality seasonal produce.

Prices start at 1,000 dirhams (US$272) for two. Address: Gate Village 8, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai. Enquiries and Reservations: +971 4 439 0505. lpmdubai.ae. Open daily, noon3:30 p.m. and 7-11:30 p.m.; bar 1 p.m.midnight.


Zuma (Japanese) The place is big enough for many beautiful people. Beautiful people love beautiful food, and other beautiful people. This is where they all come together to admire each other. The Dubai outlet of Chef Rainer Becker’s six-strong chain of Izakaya-style Japanese restaurants serves inventive small-plates of Japanese cuisine in a bright downstairs restaurant and strong cocktails in a dimly lit upstairs lounge bar. Prices start at 1,000 dirhams (US$272) for two. Address: Gate Village 6, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai. Enquiries and reservations: +971 4 425 5660, zumarestaurant.com. Open daily 12:30-3 p.m. and 7 p.m.-midnight.

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Table 9 By Nick and Scott (Fusion) You know to take a restaurant seriously when the plates are huge and the food is smudges. Who would have thought Gordon Ramsay’s departure would be a good thing for the Dubai restaurant scene? Well, it was. Thirty-something chef duo Scott Price and Nick Alvis came to Dubai to head up the celebrity chef ’s Verre, but

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when Ramsay departed the city in 2011 the pair stayed. They turned his European fine dining establishment into Table 9 and introduced a chef ’s table, local artwork, a more laid-back style and one of the most exciting and creative menus in the city. Prices start at 900 dirhams (US$245) for two. Address: Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira, Dubai. Enquiries and reservations: +971 4 227 111. table9dubai. com. Open daily 7 p.m.-midnight.


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Okku (Japanese) Tokyo or Dubai? In a city dominated by global brands and international chefs, Okku is a rarity. The brainchild of resident entrepreneurs Markus Thesleff and Ramzy Abdul Majeed, this sultry, subterranean nightspot serving sushi and imaginative Japanese dishes and excellent cocktails plays on the same field as the big boys. Prices start at 700 dirhams (US$190) for two. Address: The H Hotel, 1 Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Enquiries and reservations: +971 4 501 8777. okkudubai.com. Open daily 7 p.m.-2 a.m.

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WHEN TWO RICH CULTURES JOIN TOGETHER, MAGICAL THINGS HAPPEN... WHEN TWO RICH CULTURES JOIN TOGETHER, Experience the best of India & Thailand in one of Dubai’s most beautiful restaurants set in a serene temple MAGICAL HAPPEN... like atmosphere while enjoying new ageTHINGS music. Your culinary experience is subtly enhanced by the dimmed lighting and exotic decor, and you can end it with a visit to our bar for delicious cocktails. Experience the best of India & Thailand in one of Dubai’s most beautiful restaurants set in a serene temple like atmosphere while new age music. Indian Your culinary subtly enhanced by Everyenjoying Friday enjoy unlimited and Thaiexperience specialtiesisfor the dimmed lighting and exotic decor, and you can end it with a visit to our bar for delicious cocktails. AED 180 per person including soft drinks AED 230 per person including selected beverages Every Friday enjoy unlimited Indian and Thai specialties for AED 180 per person including soft drinks AED 230 per person including selected beverages

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Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai Sheikh Zayed Rd. Dubai, UAE +971 4 308 0550 rric.royaldubai@radissonblu.com Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai radisson.com/royal-dubai Sheikh Zayed Rd.Follow Dubai,us UAE on +971 4 308 0550 RadissonRoyal RadissonRoyalHotel rric.royaldubai@radissonblu.com radisson.com/royal-dubai


Rhodes Mezzanine (British) British classics with a French twist and love of Dubai. British chef Gary Rhodes loves Dubai so much that he recently packed his bags, hopped on a plane from London and became a full-time resident of the city. As a result, you can often find the energetic chef at his eponymous fine dining establishment. At Mezzanine, he oversees one of the most skilled kitchen brigades in the city, ensuring that his “British classics with French flair� are prepared and presented perfectly. Prices start at 800 dirhams (US$217) for two. Address: Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, Dubai. Enquiries and reservations: +971 4 399 8888, grosvenorhouse-dubai.com Open Monday-Saturday 7-11:30 p.m.

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Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire (French) Mad genius. If a thin line separates madness from genius, multiMichelin-starred French master Pierre Gagnaire appears to walk it. The camp magenta carpets and chandeliers are just about doolally enough to do justice to the avant-garde contemporary French cuisine turned out by the superstar chef ’s talented kitchen staff. Prices start at 1,000 dirhams (US$272) for two. Address: InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Dubai. Enquiries and reservations: +971 4 701 1128. www.ichotelsgroup.com. Open Sunday-Friday 7-11:30 p.m.

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Roberto’s (Italian) There are dazzling views off the plate, too. The vigorous Italian Roberto Rella was once famed as the manager of BiCE, where he was instrumental in taking one of the city’s favourite Italian restaurants to the status of culinary institution. His job done, he sought out an impressive property right at the heart of Dubai International Financial Centre, amid the biggest names in the restaurant industry.

Here, he opened his own place, modestly naming it after himself. Retaining the Italian classics that continue to make BiCE such a success, and adding an impressive raw bar selection and cocktails, Roberto’s is just as popular as its owner. Prices start at 600 dirhams (US$163) for two. Address: Gate Village Building No. 1 - Dubai International Financial Center - Sheikh Zayed Rd Enquiries and reservations: +971 04 386 0066, reservations@robertos.ae Opening times: Lunch: 12 p.m – 3 p.m Dinner: 7 p.m. - 11.30 p.m. Bar: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m. Lounge: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.

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Epicurean Delight

A bon vivant’s guide to gastronomic wonders It pays to know what they’re having for dinner

Arabic Cuisine

Za’atar and the ubiquitous labneh Arabic dressings and sauces are usually combinations of olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and/or garlic, and tahini (sesame paste). Labneh, a very popular and ubiquitous Middle Eastern cheese made from strained yoghurt, is often seasoned with mint, onion, or garlic, and served as a sauce with various dishes.

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Arab cuisine, which spans the whole region from Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, is strong on meat, primarily lamb and chicken, with beef, goat, and camel used to a lesser degree. Dairy products, especially yoghurt and white cheese are widely used. Butter and cream are also used extensively. Herbs and spices often come in a mix of mint and thyme, called za’atar, and are widely, almost universally, used in kitchens. Other herbs and spices are sesame, saffron, turmeric, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, and sumac. Spice mixtures include baharat. Meantime, some may find it surprising but in Arabia, hot beverages are used more than cold ones, coffee being on the top of the list, mostly in the Arab States of the

Persian Gulf. Tea is also served in many Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan. Rice is the staple and is used for most dishes while wheat is the main source for bread. Lentils are widely used as well as fava beans and chickpeas. Moreover, Arabic cuisine also makes use of vegetables such as cucumbers, aubergine, zucchini (courgette), okra, onions, and fruits, primarily citrus, which are often used as seasonings for entrees. Of course, olives as well as dates, figs, and pomegranates are also widely used. Dates, which, in the yonder days, were a must as a food supplement when crossing deserts, are a particularly important staple in the Arab diet, often eaten with coffee.


Chinese Cuisine

Cantonese, Fujian, Szechuan and more A number of sauces are based on fermented soybeans, including Hoisin sauce, ground bean sauce and yellow bean sauce. Spices and seasonings such as fresh root ginger, garlic, scallion, white pepper, and sesame oil are widely used in many regional cuisines.

Chinese food has become so popular globally that it has become, at some point, universal. From Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa, there always is something Chinese in the food. The history of Chinese cuisine stretches back for many centuries. Techniques and ingredients from the cuisines of other cultures were also integrated into the cuisine of the Chinese peoples due to imperial expansion and from the trade with nearby Asian nations states in ancient times as well as the Europeans during the modern period. This led to a variety of dishes and preparation in what could be called traditional Chinese food, leading Chinese to pride themselves

on eating a wide range of foods. Major traditions include Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Szechuan, and Zhejiang cuisines. The four main criteria for good Chinese food are: colour, aroma, taste and texture. Rice and noodles are staples of a Chinese diet. Tofu, a healthy food made of soybeans is also popular. The Chinese also have the whole nine yards of sauces and seasoning. Aside from soy sauce, other regular fixture of a Chinese kitchen are the Oyster sauce, transparent rice vinegar, chili, Chinkiang black rice vinegar, fish sauce and fermented tofu (furu). Sichuan peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon, fennel, and cloves are also used. 19


Italian Cuisine

Olive oil, cheese, wine, pasta and all

The New World gave Italian cuisine the potato, tomato, bell pepper and maize which are all now central to the preparation of Italian food.

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The cucina Italiana goes back to as early as the 4th century BCE, taking strong influences from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Italian cuisine is noted for its regional diversity and abundance of difference in taste. Italian cuisine is characterized by its extreme simplicity, with many dishes having only four to eight ingredients. Italian cooks rely chiefly on the quality of the ingredients rather than on elaborate preparation. Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine. Coffee, specifically espresso, has become important in Italian cuisine. Olive oil is the most commonly used vegetable fat in Italian cooking, and as the basis for sauces, often replaces animal fats of butter or lard. Pesto, a Ligurian sauce made

out of basil, olive oil and nuts, and which is eaten with pasta, is also popular. Italian cuisine is also well known (and well regarded) for its use of a diverse variety of pasta. Pasta include noodles in various lengths, widths and shapes. Distinguished on shapes they are named — penne, macaroni, spaghetti, linguine, fusilli, lasagne and many more varieties that are filled with other ingredients like ravioli and tortellini. The word pasta is also used to refer to dishes in which pasta products are a primary ingredient. It is usually served with sauce. There are hundreds of different shapes of pasta with at least locally recognized names. Italian pasta is traditionally cooked al dente, meaning not too soft.


Japanese Cuisine

Soba with tempura and sashimi

Apart from rice, staples include noodles, such as soba, and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef as sukiyaki and nikujaga.

Japanese cuisine is the food ingredients, preparation and way of eating of Japan. The traditional food of Japan is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes, each in its own utensil, with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. The side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Fish is common in the traditional cuisine. It is often grilled. Fish may be served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried in a light batter as tempura. Apart from rice, staples include noodles, such as soba, and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef as

sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food, in particular Chinese food in the form of noodles in soup called ramen and fried dumplings, gyoza, and western food such as curry and hamburger steaks are commonly found in Japan. Historically, the Japanese shunned meat, but with the modernization of Japan in the 1860s, meat-based dishes such as tonkatsu became common. Japan has an indigenous form of sweets called wagashi, which include ingredients such as red bean paste, as well as its indigenous rice wine sake. Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi, has now become popular throughout the world.

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Thai Cuisine

Anyone for phat thai or a bowl of Tom yam?

Thai dishes use a wide variety of herbs, spices and leaves rarely found in the West, such as kaffir lime leaves (bai makrut).

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Thai cuisine blends elements of several Southeast Asian traditions and places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. Thai cuisine is well known for its use of spices. As with other Asian cuisines, balance, detail and variety are of great significance to Thai chefs. Thai food is known for its balance of three to four fundamental taste senses in each dish or the overall meal: sour, sweet, salty, and bitter. The ingredients found in almost all Thai dishes and every region of the country is nam pla, a very aromatic and strong tasting fish sauce, which is a staple ingredient in Thai cuisine and imparts a unique character to Thai food.

Nam phrik are Thai chilli pastes.The words “nam phrik� are used by Thais to describe many pastes containing chilies used for dipping, although the more watery version tend to be called nam chim. Thai curry pastes are normally called phrik kaeng or khrueang kaeng but some people also use the word nam phrik to designate a curry paste. The soy sauces which are used in Thai cuisine are of Chinese origin. Rice is a staple grain of Thai cuisine, as in most Asian cuisines. The highly prized, sweet-smelling jasmine rice is indigenous to Thailand. Noodles are popular as well but usually come as a single dish, like the stir-fried phat thai or in the form of a noodle soup.


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reviews Mamuang” is a delightful marriage of some of the most popular ingredients associated with Thai food and culture including mango, coconut and glutinous rice. Dining out is as much about the atmosphere as it is the food and the Blue Rain is modern and minimalist with an almost spa-like feel to it. The restaurant is tucked away behind the hotel’s dramatic 10-storey high waterfall with an impressive entrance flanked by, what is apparently, the world’s biggest wine rack servicing all of the hotel’s dining outlets. Inside the restaurant, it is the cleverly placed water features that draw the eye. At one end is the wall of water that provides a soothing backdrop to the whole dining experience, while a gently trickling stream under a glass floor, a contemporary version of the water in the Court of the Lions at the Alhambra, runs the entire length of the restaurant. The service is typically Thai – gracious and quietly unobtrusive. Diners are served an iced ginger tea and cold scented towel as they are seated which further add to the Zen-like feel of the experience. Blue Rain is the Ritz Carlton’s’ signature restaurant which, given its central location in Dubai International Financial Centre, is already proving to be a popular choice for office employees in the buildings surrounding the hotel and with those living in close proximity to Sheikh Zayed Road.

Blue Rain Authentic Thai dishes There is nothing that quite compares to the levels of tastes that Thai food gives. Balancing flavours to create harmonious dishes is an art and one that Sawai Krasian, chef de cuisine at the Blue Rain restaurant Ritz Carlton DIFC does especially well. The philosophy is simple. Authentic Thai dishes using fresh ingredients are given a modern look to create a delightfully attractive menu. It is obvious that a great deal of thought has gone into the presentation of the dishes and the results are visually exciting. Choosing from the menu is difficult with so many appealing dishes so the khong 24

wang, a mixed appetiser of Thai spring rolls, crab stuffed wagyu beef, spicy satay prawns and succulent chicken wrapped in banana leaf is a good starting point. Chef Sawai is always on hand to recommend dishes to confused diners and he is especially proud of his phad thai goong mang korn - wok fried rice noodles with large meaty chunks of lobster, tofu and bean sprouts. He is also keen to recommend the panang nua wagyu, a fragrant panang curry with tender wagyu beef, chili and kaffir lime. Rounding off a Thai meal there really is only one dessert. The “Khao Niew


Shayan

The set menu reflects delicacies from the major cities of Iran namely Ispahan, Sheraz and Mashad. Situated on the third floor of the newly inaugurated extension tower of the iconic Al Ghurair Centre, is Shayan , a Persian restaurant which recently celebrated its opening. As you walk in, the humble welcoming words “Khush Amdeed” are greeted by the reception staff. The traditional Persian instrumental music fills the air as you choose the table best suited to your individual and family needs. The entire space of the restaurant has a flowing movement with a circular wooden partition in the centre. The ceiling is adorned by three large metal chandeliers which boast the traditional Persian craftsmen ship. On the left of the entrance is the kiln clad with glazed Persian tiles with the traditional motif of leaves and tendrils. Connected by a passage is the kitchen which gives a chance to the guests to enjoy the feel of live cooking. Further ahead is the beverage preparation section which has a colorful display of fresh fruits. The most impressive ornament here, which catches attention is the Samavar.

Samavar

A samovar literally “self-boiler,” is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water. Samovar is pronounced in Persian as samāvar. Since the heated water is typically used to make tea, many samovars have a ring-shaped attachment around the chimney to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate. Though traditionally heated with coal or charcoal , many newer samovars use electricity to heat water in a manner similar to an electric water boiler. Antique samovars are often displayed for their beautiful workmanship. Samovar culture has an analog

in Iran and is maintained by expatriates around the world. Samovars have been used in Iran for at least two centuries and electrical, oil-burning or natural gas-consuming samovars are still common Once comfortably settled, the menu card is presented and a brief introduction to the Persian Cuisine, is delivered. This is accompanied by “Dugh”a refreshing yoghurt drink garnished with crushed dried mint.

Family-style dining

Each table is adorned by the traditional red tulip flowers ‘Gul-e-surkh” and plant sprouts, visible in the flickering candle light, to mark the traditional table setting of “Haft Seen” which promotes family-style dining. A trolley is wheeled in each time something is served thus highlighting the air of delicacy. Upon each intervention, from presenting the menu card, to serving the food and clearing the dishes, the eloquent words “Bubaksheen” are uttered by the staff to suggest “Excuse me” and then upon serving the main course “ Noosh-e-Jan” to wish Bon Appetite The menu card suggests both, a set menu and a la carte’ to choose from. The set menu reflects delicacies form the major cities of Iran namely Ispahan, Sheraz and Mashad. The comprising dishes are typical to the traditions of these cities, served with a rich platter of vegetables , nuts and cheese a traditional yoghurt dip and a regular supply of fresh baked Persian bread. Fresh whole

fruits are served at the end of the meal. The a la carte menu serves a wide variety of starters, soups ,stews, kababs, rice, sea food, deserts and beverages. which are rooted in traditional cooking techniques but presented in the most contemporary style. The menu card is printed in both Persian and English. A slight knowledge of the Persian language enhances the culinary experience as most of the names of the dishes are suggestive of their main ingredients, thus giving an embedded dining experience. Sharbat Golab Saffran Rose and saffron drink Sharbat Albaloo Cherry drink Sheer moz Banana shake Ab Miveh Taze Fresh fruit juice Ziyafat E Shahwar A kingly feast Pish Ghazaha Appetizer Anva E Berenj Variety of rice dishes

Persian Delights

In order to linger on the culinary experience, before the guests depart, a box of Persian delights is offered to take back home. These sweets are like ripples in the water. Each time you have one, it brings back memories of the rich dining experience enjoyed at Shayan. At the heart of many cherished traditions, lies the importance of family-style dining which is the main essence of the Persian culture. This value is revealed in its purest form in Shayan. 25


Indo Thai Asian Restaurant & Bar Enjoy a wide selection of the best from India and Thailand

Craving Pan-Asian food? Step into a sensational atmosphere at Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai’s Indo Thai Restaurant and Bar and enjoy some of Dubai’s most delicious Indian and Thai dishes for a real epicurean treat. For appetizers, choose from a selection of Thailand’s Pomelo and Prawn salad—Thai pomelo and prawn flavored with kaffir lime leaves and red chili— or India’s Aloo chaat, deep fried potato tossed with red chilli, cumin powder and chaat masala garnished with chopped onion and tomato. Hot appetizers include Thailand’s famous Chicken Pandan Leaves, deep fried marinated chicken wrapped in pandan leaves and India’s Chicken Pakora, marinated chicken dipped and covered in our specially spiced light batter. Or you can have the IndoThai Platter, an assortment of the signature dishes of the restaurant. Soups are gorgeously lovely at Indo Thai Restaurant and Bar. You won’t regret 26

trying the Tom yum goong, a popular spicy Thai prawn soup flavored with lemongrass, lime and chilli. For the main course, Indo Thai Restaurant and Bar has choices ranging from steamed cod fish fillet with ginger, celery and shitake mushroom in light soya sauce; fish pathori, marinated steamed hammour fillet in banana leaf; crispy sea bass, fried spicy sea bass fillet

with sweet and sour chilli sauce; chicken or hammour biryani, an all time favorite Indian rice dish, served either with chicken or hammour, accompanied with raita sauce; lemongrass grilled chicken, marinated chicken thigh with lemongrass, lime leaves, honey and ginger, and beef striploin wagyu, marinated beef striploin with garlic, sesame oil and served with wok fried water spinach. Indo Thai Restaurant and Bar also has a selection of curries, tandoori and noodles. In addition to the open dining master room, Indo Thai features two semiprivate dining rooms for private parties accommodating up to 12 people. Indo Thai Restaurant and Bar is located on the second floor of Radisson Royal Hotel Dubai, on Sheikh Zayed Road Open 6pm to 1am daily. Enquiries and reservations: 04 308 0550 rric.royaldubai@radissonblu.com


A La Turca

by Rixos The Palm Dubai Delectable cuisine from Turkey’s eastern Anatolia, the Black Sea and Aegean coasts Famed for its traditional Turkish cuisine, A La Turca brightens Dubai’s portfolio of authentic international cuisine. Offering delectable dishes from the eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, as well as the Black Sea and Aegean coasts, A La Turca is well on its way to becoming the city’s premiere dining destination by presenting a unique spectrum of Turkey’s vast culinary heritage. The restaurant graciously accommodates its bustling demand, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, in addition to the highly-regarded weekly Friday brunch. Though the buffet is available daily for those wishing to sample an array of Turkish delicacies, an optional setting in the chicly adorned silver room is afforded to parties of up to 10 for guests who crave a specially tailored menu by the chef. The 28

latter is ideal for those special occasions, such as romantic rendezvous and celebratory dinners. Among the savoury menu offerings, the dish that has already become a favourite is Hunkar Begendi, or Sultan’s Delight, which exhibits the familiar Turkish taste combination of perfectly seasoned lamb with aubergine. Ideal for diner with a sweet tooth and adventurous palette, the Kabak Tatlisi, a decadent candied pumpkin dessert, will surely incur a loyal following among dessert connoisseurs. Adding to the warm ambience of the restaurant, the experience is perfectly paired with the melodic tunes of a live band. Additionally, guests have the option of enjoying shisha at an outdoor lounge directly adjacent to the restaurant. Perfect

for those fair-tempered fall days or breezy Dubai nights, the shisha lounge provides the ultimate closing to a satiating meal. For those with even more energy to expend, White X Lounge lays just a few steps away. Friends joining the night’s festivities are conveniently afforded a “RTA Water taxi” dropping them directly to Rixos The Palm Dubai’s shoreline at station 56.


Nineteen Elegant open-air dining

In need of a few quiet hours away from bright lights and city life? Look no farther than this restaurant in The Address Montgomerie Dubai. You can tell from the moment you step in exactly what kind of restaurant the Nineteen at The Address Montgomerie Dubai golf course is: one of the best. The restaurant is located in the heart of a golf course, which provides a picturesque scene of luscious green grass, lakes and fountains. The views from the balconies are just stunning, it’s the perfect place to be inspired to take up golf, and the ideal place to retreat to when city life is simply too much. As we approach the fall and winter seasons which allow us to entertain outdoors, you can be guaranteed that I will be found here enjoying my steak al fresco. The views from the restaurant overlook the infamously difficult last hole No 18 of the golf course, which means entertainment will be plentiful. Being surrounded by grass and lakes made me reminisce of fields from my vacations in Italy. You will be pleased to know that from the Nineteen it is hard to see any sky scrapers or the ridiculously bright Dubai skyline; you genuinely do feel like you have gone to Europe for dinner. No sea or sand in sight. The décor of the restaurant is rich and decadent, and had a rather modern medieval feel to it, with its dark wood paneled walls, rich red accents, and cellar wall with an array of vintage wines to choose from. For a food lover like me, the best part of the décor was the open kitchen which allows you to watch the chefs prepare your food. The restaurant has so much character and charm with its décor and open kitchen, that waiting for my food became a pleasure. Some restaurants have a habit of making menus into elaborate books and stories,

this is not what they do at Nineteen. The menu is simple and elegant which is perfect if you are in a rush and don’t have time to read millions of pages. The menu is vast and really does have something for everyone. Normally I am not a huge fan of meat, but when I dined at Nineteen, I was surprised by my own enthusiasm to order everything that has meat. It may have been the menu section ‘from the land’ or the fact that their regular customers have their own personalized steak knives displayed at the entrance that enticed me. Perhaps it was all these elements but nevertheless I wanted to be a part of this action. The choices for appetizers are simply mouthwatering, and you will need to ask for a few more extra minutes simply just to decide. Presentation of the food reflects the high standard of the restaurant and will make you want to sit a little more elegantly in your chair. The menu has been perfectly carved for carnivores; it is very rarely that I see my partner’s eyes light up with joy from the selection of main dishes

available. Of course, you simply can’t go to Nineteen and not order a wonderful rib eye steak, that would be a crime not to, as the steak was produced to perfection and not something to be missed. My favorite part of any meal however has to be dessert; I have an uncontrollable sweet tooth that I purely cannot overlook. So I was delighted with the array of sweets available at my disposal. I would recommend to all chocolate lovers to look no farther than the special Lava Cake, baked for 15 minutes it is well worth the wait. The Lava Cake was so good that I had to fight my partner off midway through; he simply could not keep his eyes off the searing chocolate which proceeded to flow out from my cake. With impressive views, great service and wonderful food, The Address Montgomerie’s famous Nineteen restaurant is not one to be missed. Perfect for lunch after a long day or golf, or a great way to impress friends now that the weather is cooling down. Al fresco dining has never been so chic. 29


Outdoors at Olea ‘One of the best things about this buffet was the price, at around AED 200 or so for adults and half price for children I think it offers fabulous value based on the stunning outdoor setting, an ideal location for an elegant and romantic meal for two or a lively and relaxing family brunch.’ The vast outdoor terrace in front of The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi’s Olea Restaurant made me think of a Southern Italian seaside resort. The natural, gentle dunes studded with small trees and tropical plants provided the perfect backdrop to the crystal blue waters of the Arabian Gulf in the distance. The wrought iron furniture and mosaic tables set for an elegant lunch dotted about the piazza provided inviting opportunities for long, leisurely outdoor meals when you wish time would just stand still. Just over an easy, hour’s drive from Dubai, it was a perfect holiday style day out for the family. The huge variety of good quality Inter30

national cuisine meant all the family were happy and could choose from Middle Eastern, Indian or Continental dishes expertly prepared. I liked the idea of just baked, warm Saj bread to accompany the Middle Eastern food that was offered with a selection of authentic zaartar or labneh. We’ve lived in the Middle East for many years and so recognized the curved iron griddle for Saj and asked for some fresh bread, perhaps a note explaining this would mean newer visitors could also try it. The fresh seafood salad counter was equally impressive and it was hard to decide what to forego and what to sample as everything looked so tempting and was extremely well presented. I opted

for the crab and wasn’t disappointed. But the razor clams, prawns and seafood salads were all just as inviting. The younger members of the family plumped for familiar sushi rolls but these were more Californian in style than pure Japanese and served without the traditional tangy ginger and fiery wasabi accompaniments. Another nice touch were the live cooking stations interspersed with the pre prepared buffet offerings, so you could have some food cooked to order and your liking brought to your table. The restaurant itself is the dining area set aside for breakfast and sumptuous buffet lunches and themed dinners. I particularly liked the openness of the whole space that lent itself brilliantly to the al fresco dining terrace but yet wasn’t too far from the buffet stations themselves. The subtly changing emeralds, blues and faint pinks on the curved liquid display screens were a clever reminder of the shimmering sea outside and fascinating to look at. But one of the best things about this buffet was the price, at around Dhs 200.00 or so for adults and half price for children I think if offers fabulous value based on the stunning outdoor setting, an ideal location for an elegant and romantic meal for two or a lively and relaxing family brunch. The sea views will feed your mind and inspire you to paint while the food will satisfy the most demanding of palates. Yas Island is the more well-known draw for visitor to Abu Dhabi, but go a few minutes further to Saadiyat Island for a memorable day out of doors while gorgeous temperatures allow you to do so.


The Rare experience

Desert Palm Retreat’s restaurant has more than just exquisite food

Savour flavour in idle chat while watching an exciting polo match or marveling over Dubai’s glitzy skyline, flickering like a million fireflies in frenzy. Rare – (râr). Uncommon. Excellent; extraordinary. For the bone-weary city soul, lunch or dinner at Desert Palm’s award-winning Rare Restaurant is indeed an experience uncommon, excellent and extraordinary. It’s where you go when you want more than just food—not to mean, of course, that the meal is a disappointing letdown; in fact, it’s, hands down, superbly exquisite that should go with quality time spent as you and your special someone, family, friends, or business partners savour flavour in idle chat while watching an exciting polo match at daytime, or marveling over Dubai’s glitzy skyline at night, flickering from as distance like a million fireflies in a frenzied dance ritual. All this from candlelit tables inside floor-to-ceiling glass windows or at the cozy restaurant’s terrace, while chefs ensure that preferences are met to the last detail for the bon vivant in you, and the

assistants indulge in the pleasure of being your servants. At Rare, guests can enjoy wood-fired steak and game meticulously prepared by expert cooks while mouth-watering aromas emanate from the Beech oven and grill as Black Angus, an Australian Wagyu, and Argentinean Chimichurri are complemented by seasonal game and line-caught seafood, fresh vegetables and fragrant herbs. What’s more is that Rare is the gem of a sojourn at Desert Palm, a retreat some 20 minutes’ drive away from the city proper, and where home is a private villa with temperature-controlled swimming pool or a suite with state-of-the-art amenities; where Dubai’s non-stop activities slow down and juxtapose with a traditional Arabic residence; and where guests have all the time in the world to pamper themselves like pop icons with the spa, gym, and even a quick horseback riding lesson. A Rare experience by all accounts. 31


And there’s the kick—something that is not, ergo virtual. A little while later came more fireworks, I should say, this time in the form of nitro. For a quick backgrounder, sorbet clears your tongue and mouth to better prepare you for the next course, in our case, the Mieral pigeon with purple curry recipe. So there came the chef with a trolley tray and his paraphernalia: one cup each of lemon juice, pomegranate syrup, and sugar syrup; a metal pitcher of nitrogen, and a larger bowl from where he put a little bit of this and that altogether before continuously stirring the mix till foggy mist came out as the -196 degree Celsius nitro coagulated with the syrups to form sorbet –voila! For a moment there though, someone’s mind was busy wondering whether the same goes for witches’ brew in huge pots— but that’s for Halloween and the guys at Amador can think of something by then. In all, dining at Amador is an experience in gastronomy, a lesson even for as the food came in, the waiter would give you a quick crash course about what you’re having just to make sure you don’t get lost in the preparations and all, or probably to help you remember which one could have caused the indigestion if ever you’d have any afterwards. Amador opened in April this year. It seats a total of 120 people. Low lights. Dark wood. Cozy and anonymous. Pipedin music. Classy crowd. Good for couples on a date, a rendezvous or gatherings for a celebration.

Amador

Virtual oyster and ice cream on the spot The degustation menu takes you all around the world in one sitting

Fattened pigeon from Mieral poultry in France. Shrimp for Caledonia. John Dory fish from New Zealand where the indigenous Māori people call it kuparu because of its odd, flat, oval shape and a large dark spot on the body it uses to flash an “evil eye” when threatened. Indeed, the degustation menu at Amador Restaurant and Cellar in Park Rotana 32

Abu Dhabi is meal from across the globe on your table presented in minimalist form. Not bad at all for AED489 as it also comes with what the avant-garde three Michellinstarred Chef Juan Amador’s restaurant is becoming the city’s buzz for: virtual food. Virtual oyster came on our table—a greenish round soft gel you finish in one gulping. Did tasted like oyster but it’s not.


Chamas

A meat lover’s paradise

‘All meat portions have been marinated only with sea salt. The difference in taste comes from the meat itself.’ – Chef Guilherme Reis Have you ever had a day when you crave meat but couldn’t be bothered cooking it at home? Next time, head to Chamas. Situated in Intercontinental Hotel, Abu Dhabi, the interior of this Brazilian Churrascaria Restaurant & Bar is warm, inviting and visually appealing. The view outside is stunning with the restaurant directly overlooking the Marina. Once we made our selection from the rather impressive Brazilian-style salad bar, we headed to our favourite corner of the busy restaurant. And settled down for what we had come here for: the meat. The first visitor to roll up to our table was the drink tray with an assortment

of fruits. As we chose our favourites, the friendly staff pestled them together to make each of us our unique concoction. There were no menu cards to make a choice from but communication with the staff was simple.

As Passador meat carvers passed from table to table, slicing different cuts of beef and lamb from skewers, the cards on the table indicated our preference. Show them the green side and they will turn up at your table bearing endless skewers of freshly barbecued meat. Turn over the card to display the red side and they will leave you alone to enjoy what is already on your plate. And there was plenty on my plate. A sliver of marinated beef from the back of the neck, a slice from the flank, beef sausages,

the ribs and a portion of the top sirloin or the lower portion of the ribs. There were also portions of the baby beef and Sirloin cubes. I had saved my hunger for the Picanha and the Tri Tip though. The charred-onthe-outside but rosy, glistening pieces inside of the Picanha come from the centre of the bull’s rump. And the Tri Tip is a softer sliver carved out from the bottom portion of the Sirloin. “The concept is simple,” explained Chef Guilherme Reis. “All the meat portions have been marinated only with sea salt. The difference in taste comes from the meat itself. It is amazing how different meat parts, cooked in the same manner in the barbeque, can produce such different tastes.” There were more meat on offer. Lamb chops, lamb legs and lamb kofta got their way to your table along with chicken drumsticks and chicken wings. Once we had our fill of meat, it was time to choose the Sobremesas (dessert, the only Brazilian word I could pronounce) from a selection of pineapple carpaccio with Malibu sauce and bitter sweet chocolate mousse, Brazilian style flan, a pumpkin and nuts pie topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, lemon meringue pie or a selection of fruits and ice cream. Stuffed and contented, as we headed home, we knew we would be back. 33


Miyako

A ‘Capital’ Japanese experience

Opened as the first Japanese restaurant in Dubai, Miyako is as authentic a Japanese restaurant as can be with a lively and vibrant atmosphere. Japanese Head Chef Shigeru Sato at Miyako emphasizes on the basics of traditional cooking and uses fresh ingredients to create an extensive and original Japanese meal spread. The restaurant’s wide-ranging menu features mouth-watering dishes including ‘Takowasabizuke’, Marinated raw octopus; ‘Wasabi aburi mentaiko’, Seared spicy cod roe; ‘Chicken nanban teishoku’, Set sweet and sour chicken thigh; ‘Kaisen Kaminabe’, Simmered prawn, oyster, scallop, salmon, hammour and vegetables; ‘Sukiyaki’, Beef hot pot with cabbage and mushrooms amongst many other delicacies. A nine-course “Kaiseki” menu; Teppanyaki set-menus with artistic influences from special Teppanyaki chefs; along with a wide variety of sushi and sashimi spreads are offered at the restaurant. The wine list is well selected with grapes and 34

producers from around the world with an additional list of delicate sake and sochu. Redesigned four years ago, Miyako’s design features a clear, traditional Japanese setting. A blend of red and gold colours

meshed with dark wood, stone and steel as the main design elements, the restaurant features several interesting dining areas. While the main restaurant offers a cosy seating area the other areas of the restaurant can be categorized in the following way:

Teppanyaki

A private Teppanyaki Room offers space for six guests with a central Teppanyaki table. Two additional Teppanyaki tables are located at the end of the restaurant. Communal seating is offered here as done in the private Teppanyaki Room.

Tatami

The Tatami Room is a space to experience traditional Japanese seating

Sushi & Shashimi

The Sushi Bar has been shaped as a half round and features a large variety of the freshest fish and other seafood sliced to perfection and prepared in traditional and authentic way. Sushi, Sashimi as well as hot food is served on this large marble counter Miyako meaning the ‘Capital’ in Japanese is truly a centre for a gastronomical Japanese experience.


Friday Belgian Brunch at Grand Millennium Dubai’s Belgian Beer Café

It’s a feast of everything Belgian from mussels to beef carboande voul-auvent, rabbit stew, grilled salmon, toast cannibal, and shrimps croquette.

Enjoy a truly Belgian feast with an extensive menu, offering various platters along with traditional Belgian mussels, beef carboande voul-au-vent, rabbit stew, grilled salmon, toast cannibal, shrimps croquette and selection of cheese and desserts. The Friday Belgian Brunch is priced at: · AED 275 per person with free flow of selected Belgian brews, house beverages, grape and bubbly · AED 375 per person with free flow of special Belgian brews. Every Friday from 12:30pm until 3:30pm Guest can enjoy a three hours of

free flow. Enjoy daily “Hoppy Hours” from 11:30am until 6pm on selected beverages. Located just off the Sheikh Zayed Road, the Grand Millennium is conveniently accessible from the Mall of the Emirates and the Ibn Battuta Mall, as well as within easy reach of the city’s prime business and leisure attraction including the beach and golf courses. The 343-room five star hotel features a range of awardwinning restaurants and bars, a beautiful rooftop pool, superb spa and health club with nine-treatment rooms, state-of-theart meeting rooms, a magnificent ballroom and exceptional banquet facilities. 35


Top restaurants of Dubai

Dining in the city has never been this good Dubai has established itself as the Middle East’s leading culinary destination, attracting a string of top international chefs and offering plenty of top-notch international dining, with cuisines from around the world, often in memorable settings (and with prices to match). Arabian food is, of course, particularly 36

excellent and well represented, and you might occasionally come across some local Gulf specialties. Not that you have to spend a fortune to eat well. Streetside shawarma stands can be found all over the place, turning out tasty meals for less than a couple of dollars, while there are also hundreds of good and usually

extremely cheap curry houses aimed at expat Indians and Pakistanis, particularly in places like Bur Dubai and Karama. Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants. It usually pays to reserve in advance at the best restaurants in Dubai. Major credit cards are accepted in all upmarket hotels.


Al Dawaar

Hyatt Regency Hotel Dubai Deira Enquiries: +971 04 209 1234 On the 25th floor of the huge Hyatt Regency, Dubai’s only revolving restaurant offers stunning city views complemented by an upmarket (if rather expensive) international buffet.

Al Mahara

Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim Dubai The Coast Enquiries: +971 04 301 7600 Centred on an enormous fishtank, this subterranean seafood restaurant is one of Dubai’s most expensive. Men are expected to wear a jacket at dinner; no jeans. Open daily 12.30–3pm and 7pm–midnight.

Al Nafoorah

Emirates Towers Boulevard Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road Enquiries: +971 04 319 8088 The best Lebanese restaurant in town, with beautifully prepared hot and cold mezze, grills and a good wine list, including Lebanese vintages. Open daily 12.30–3pm and 8pm–12.30am.

Amala

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, The Palm Jumeirah Dubai The Coast Enquiries: +971 04 453 0444 Recently opened Indian fine-dining restaurant in the new Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel, this place has had rave reviews for its opulent décor and superb classical North Indian cooking – and the set-price dinner at 225dh is a good deal. Daily 6pm–1am.

At.mosphere

Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road Enquiries: +971 04 888 3828 At.mosphere is the world’s highest bar and restaurant, located on the 122nd floor of the soaring Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Choose between The Lounge for a drink, light meal or pricey afternoon tea and The Grill, offering upmarket steaks in its svelte dining room. The Grill daily 12.30–3pm and 7–11.30pm; The Lounge daily noon–2am. 37


The Boardwalk

Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club Dubai Deira Enquiries: +971 04 295 6000 The mainstream menu of international food is reliable enough, but it’s the terrific views from the outdoor seating on the restaurant’s boardwalk that steal the show. Open Sun–Thurs noon–midnight, Fri and Sat 8am–midnight.

Table 9

Hilton Dubai Creek Dubai Deira Enquiries: +971 04 227 1111 Formerly Gordon Ramsay’s Verre, this outstanding restaurant has recently relaunched under his former protégés Nick Alvis and Scott Price, offering the same top-notch modern European fine-dining, but with a more flexible menu, relaxed ambience and lower prices. Signature creations like the house liquorice meringue and crispy egg have already won rave reviews. Daily 7pm–midnight.

The Thai Kitchen

Park Hyatt, Garhoud Dubai Deira Enquiries: +971 04 317 2222 One of the best and most romantic Thai restaurants in town, set on the Park Hyatt’s idyllic Creekside terrace and offering a sumptuous range of unusual regional specialities. Licensed. Dress: smart casual. Open daily 7pm–midnight, also Friday brunch 12.30–4pm.

Pierchic

Al Qasr hotel, Madinat Jumeirah Dubai The Coast Enquiries: +971 04 366 6730 A fabulous seafood venue at the end of a wooden pier with stunning views of the Madinat Jumeirah resort and Burj Al Arab. Open daily 1–3pm and 7–11.30pm.

Zheng He’s

Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah Dubai The Coast Enquiries: +971 04 366 6730 One of the top Chinese restaurants in Dubai, with sumptuous décor and superb classic and contemporary Chinese fare, including excellent dim sum. Open daily noon–3pm and 7pm –11.30pm.

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Gourmet destinations

Where to dine around the world Dubai

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Al Iwan Chic showcase for simple Arabic dishes with a strong Moroccan accent. Part of the Burj Al Arab Hotel, with an attentive, helpful front-of-house staff, the Al Iwan is perhaps more popular with visitors than locals, but remains one of Dubai’s finest culinary treats. The Al Muntaha, up on the top floor of the hotel, probably just pips the Al Iwan by dint of those incredible views, but its mod Med menu, fine as it is, doesn’t offer the full Dubai experience. If you’re only having one meal in the hotel, compromise with pre/post cocktails in the bar here, before heading back downstairs to the Al Iwan. Burj Al Arab (00 971 4 301 7600; www.burj-al-arab.com/dining/al_iwan Al Mallah A busy Lebanese shawarma house in the Satwa district. Terrific, tasty street food for a few pounds. If the day is cool enough, sit at a pavement table and watch the traffic flow past like a lazy river. The delicious juices and fruit cocktails are served in old-style, dimpled pint mugs. Al Dhiyafha Road (00 971 4 398 4723). Al Minsaf Cruise the creek through the centre of Dubai aboard the 56-metre Al Minsaf. Go for lunch, sunset cocktails or dinner - or simply throw a private party for 400 of your closest friends. 00 971 4 399 49 94; www.bateauxdubai. com Basta Art Café This café is the best thing in Bastakia, the “old quarter” of Bur Dubai. Sip iced tea with mint, or enjoy a salad in the quiet courtyard under the gnarled old tree. It’s shady, child-friendly and a great spot to sit with a book during the heat of the day. Al Fahidi Street (00 971 4 353 5071) Blue Bar Despite the name, this is more jazz than blues; you can survey the scene from a high stool or chill out on one of the squashy couches. Belgian beer is the drink of choice. Novotel World Trade Centre, Zabeel Road 2nd (00 971 4 332 0000). Open 2pm to 3am. Boardwalk Oddly enough, Dubai has only one

restaurant on the creek, the Boardwalk. For a view across the water and the delightful sensation of being over it, this restaurant on stilts is unbeatable. Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club (00 971 4 295 6000). Celebrities Don’t be put off by that slightly naff moniker; this is a stylish Arabic honey-pot, spicy and perky, with fine views of Dubai. Good value too (no mean feat in this city of notoriously over-priced hotel dining rooms): try the seven-course tasting menu for a guided tour of the kitchen’s myriad specialities. One&Only Royal Mirage 00 971 4 399 9999; www.oneandonlyroyalmirage. com Elements Modish designer café, perfect for leisurely (and nicely authentic) tapas nibbling, or espresso pick-me-up. Bur Dubai (00 971 4 324 4252) Kan Zaman Riverside dining down in Dubai’s Heritage Village area that manages to be both romantic and buzzy at the same time. The main attraction is the ambience, and, of course, the al fresco tables. Plenty of international fare to sample on the long and winding traditional menu, although it is probably best to stick to the Arabic staples, as you watch the waters flow down into the Persian Gulf. Bur Dubai, Dubai Heritage Village (00 971 04 393 9913). Lotus One This is a lively Thai restaurant offering gallons of cocktails and a resident DJ. It has the food (try the shark fillet wrapped in betel leaf ) and mood (low-key music) exactly right. Ground Floor, Convention Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (00 971 4 329 3200). Open noon to 3pm, 7pm to 3am. Ravts Proper curry, near Al Mallah. Specialises in Pakistani dishes and caters to the large expat community from the Indian subcontinent. Satwa High Stret (00 971 4 331 5353). Sho-Cho Securing a weekend reservation here is

one of Dubai’s greatest culinary challenges. The offerings are rare for this city: excellent Japanese food that is also reasonably priced. The sushi, teriyaki and tempura are carefully prepared and simply presented. Fish tanks built into the walls create an interesting atmosphere. Be warned: from about 10pm the noise level starts to rise, with a young and beautiful crowd pouring in for the sake and cocktails. If you want an intimate evening, get here early. Dubai Marine Beach Resort (00 971 4 346 1111; www.dxbmarine.com. Open from 7.00pm to 2.30am. Tagine Tucked away in the Royal Mirage hotel on Jumeirah beach, Tagine is well worth the small trek out of the city centre. The restaurant’s sumptuous Moroccan decor (huge candles, harem-style rugs and lanterns) and North African cooking make it a good choice for a lively evening (there is live music too). The bathrooms are gorgeous. One&Only Royal Mirage (00 971 4 399 9999; www.oneandonlyroyalmirage. com The Glasshouse The three-course set brunch is pretty good, and includes everything from panfried snapper to Cumberland sausages. But the food is secondary to the promise of unlimited champagne from noon till 3pm. Also a good choice for a business lunch. Hilton Dubai Creek (00 971 4 227 1111). The Meat Company Located on the sea front of the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, this restaurant, taking its cue from its name, is particularly good for steaks, and has a comprehensive selection of wines. Shop 148 Souk Madinat, Jumeirah (00 971 4 368 6040; www.themeatcompany. co.za The Thai Kitchen Sit around the kitchens and watch the chefs prepare excellent Thai cuisine. Dishes are served in a variety of small cups, plates and saucers, perfect for sharing. Alfresco dining is available in the covered terrace. 00 971 4 602 1234; http://dubai.park.hyatt. com/hyatt/hotels 41


Sicily Sicilian food is hotter, spicier and sweeter than in other parts of Italy - the focus is on seafood in general and swordfish in particular. Pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines, fennel, peppers, capers and pine nuts) is a popular Sicilian dish, as is cassata - a ricotta cake and rich ice cream rolled into one. Cannoli, tubes of pastry filled with cream, ricotta or chocolate, shouldn’t be missed, and the dolci di mandorie - almond cakes and pastries - can also be particularly good. Caffe Mamma Caura (Marsala) Contrada de Ettore Ingersa, Marsala. Although you might expect this modest, amazingly inexpensive waterside café to cater mostly to tourists waiting for the boat to Mozia (it’s near the northernmost of the ferry landings), the number of big family parties and men in dark suits suggest the guests come from Marsala itself. The shady terrace overlooks saltpans and windmills and the restaurant has no menu - just a

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board listing whatever Signora Cuara has cooked that morning. You could try the arancini - spherical, orange-sized fritters of risotto stuffed with spinach and ricotta or ham and cheese. Alla Kasbah (Mazara del Vallo) The handwritten menu at Mazara’s pre-eminent Arabic restaurant is almost as unintelligible as the waiter’s thickly accented Italian. Mazara’s main industry is tuna fishing, and tuna features heavily on the menu: spaghetti with bottarga (dried tuna roe), agrodolce (tuna in a thin sauce that is both sweet and vinegary) and tuna fried with almonds, parsley and lemon. It’s not, however, a gourmet experience: the notion of rare, or still-pink, tuna has yet to arrive here. Portions are huge. Address: Via Itria 10, Mazara del Vallo. Enquiries: (00 39 0923 906 126). Pelermo Some of the best snacks in Palermo are sold at the different markets and most of it is available for take away. Purpu (chopped and boiled octopus) and cooked artichokes

are found alongside the fruit and vegetables. Every market has stalls selling pani cu’ la meuza - bread rolls filled with sautéed beef or tripe, topped with fresh ricotta and caciocavallo cheese. The best market is at Vicciria, just off Via Roma between Corso Vittorio Emanuele and the San Domenico church. A’ Cuccagna CUCCAGNA This long-established, wood-panelled restaurant offers authentic Sicilian food, including pescespada affumicato (smoked swordfish). Open Tue-Sun. Address Via Principe di Granatelli 21a, 90139 Palermo. Enquiries : 00 39 091 587 267; fax: 00 39 091 584 575; www.acuccagna.com, email: info@acuccagna.com Ai Normanni Di Giulivi Just off Piazza dell’Indipendenza, this reliable place attracts many locals. The spaghetti ai Normanni is a terrific concoction of shrimps, aubergines, fresh tomatoes and grated peanuts. Open Tue-Sun. Address: Piazza della Vittoria 25, 90134 Palermo. Enquiries: 00 39 091 651 6011.


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Paris The home of great food, Paris boasts a plethora of restaurants offering fantastic French fare - ranging from traditional bistros to smart, trendy restaurants and Michelin-starred establishments. Please note that as many restaurants are closed in August, it is advisable to phone ahead of your visit.

CAFES

Café Beaubourg With the sophisticated Café Beaubourg, designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc, the Costes brothers reinvented the café in its quintessential postmodern version. Its ranks of terrace chairs overlooking the Centre Pompidou remain an art world rendezvous. Address: 43 rue Saint Merri, 75004 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 48 87 63 96. Café Carmen This over-the-top mansion near Pigalle was once home to Georges Bizet, who composed his masterpiece Carmen here, in between entertaining friends such as Marcel Proust and Charles Gounod. Today, this restaurant-café has salons with high ceilings and classic French cuisine. Address: 22 rue de Douai, 75009 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 45 26 50 00; www. cafecarmen.com Café de Flore The legendary hangout of Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir is still the place to experience Parisian café society. It remains multigenerational, international and a steady favourite with writers, artists and film directors. With its understated 1930s style, slightly tongue-in-cheek service and ability to take on a new feel at different times of the day, it’s suitable for anything from a business breakfast to a nightcap. Address: 172 boulevard St-Germain, 75006 Paris. Enquiries00 33 1 45 48 55 26; www. cafe-de-flore.com Café de la Nouvelle Mairie Good desserts and great wines for students and music-industry bods. Address: 19 rue des Fossés St Jacques, 75005 Paris. Enquiries : 00 33 1 44 07 04 41

RESTAURANTS

Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee The Hôtel Plaza Athénée has long been a favourite with the seriously rich fashion set, but it now attracts serious foodies too. The multi-starred chef Alain Ducasse has forsaken his 16th-arrondissement manse for the neo-rococo frills of the avenue Montaigne. The period dining room, known simply as Alain Ducasse, has been cleverly restyled by young designer Patrick Jouin, setting the scene for dishes that range from crayfish with girolles mushrooms and beef Rossini to an audacious lobster curry. Open for lunch Thu-Fri and dinner Mon-Fri. Annual closure from mid-Jul to mid-Aug and Christmas week. Address : Hôtel Plaza Athénée, 25 avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris. Enquiries : 00 33 1 53 67 65 00; www.alain-ducasse. com L’Entredgeu Parisians can be a bit sniffy about the 17th arrondissement (an overflow residential zone for those who can’t hack the prices in the richer 16th), but it has some terrific restaurants that are worth a detour. The best is L’Entredgeu, on the western edge of the district. Here, surely, is everything you want from a neighbourhood restaurant in Paris: unpretentious, solid, bourgeois cooking that references the regions, and a dining room straight out of central casting (sepia lace curtains, checkerboard flooring, red vinyl banquettes, a velvet door curtain, zinc bar, and so on). Chef Philippe Tredgeu’s cooking is authentic and robust but with refined touches, in dishes such as quail with foie gras or lamb with endives roasted and topped with a savoury crust of Parmesan. Depending on the season, the menu (€32) might feature excellent game, seafood and quality charcuterie. Deeply satisfying. Address: 83 rue Laugier, 75017 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 40 54 97 24 L’Epigramme If Yves Camdebord’s Le Comptoir du Relais is full - which it invariably is- don’t fret. A short walk away is this new bistro, a little treasure trove of raw brick, chalkboard menus, wooden beams and hearty terrines. The menu is impressive value for this part of town (€28) and generally features

classics (scallops with cauliflower purée, for instance) as well as more adventurous dishes such as marinated mackerel with Mediterranean vegetables and Parmesansablé, and flavoursome oxtail, beef cheeks and pressé de veau (a kind of terrine) with a puy lentil salad. There is game in season - at reasonable supplements - and all dishes are executed with an accomplished grace. This is chef ’s food which, along with a short but reasonably priced wine list (with many bottles under €20), explains why L’Epigramme is a popular chef ’s haunt. Address: 9 rue de l’Eperon, 75006 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 44 41 00 09 Le Bistrot Paul Bert Rue Paul Bert is currently one of the most talked-about restaurant streets in Paris, home to Sylvain Sendra’s fantastic, if tiny, bistro Le Temps au Temps; the retro-funky Unico, in a preserved 1970s butcher’s shop; and Bistrot Paul Bert, the pick of the bunch. The fact that it, too, was once a butcher’s shop, and then a bar (and judging by the motley floorings and tiles, it has seen various other incarnations in its long lifetime) only adds to the atmosphere. The presentation of dishes is ultra-simple, but a kitchen so obviously on top of its game and so well served by its suppliers can get away with it. The milk-fed pork, for instance, is slow-cooked with apricots, prunes and almonds until spoon-tender, and served with meltingly soft fried potatoes; and the signature dessert is a colossal ring of choux pastry with a rich, pralinecream filling. The three-course lunch for €18 is one of the city’s great dining bargains; in the evening it’s a very reasonable€34. Next door is the BPB’s sister seafood restaurant, the equally seductive, though necessarily pricier, L’Ecailler du Bistrot. Address:18 rue Paul Bert, 75001 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 43 72 24 01 Apollo Housed in the old RER station building from 1846, Apollo has been decorated in 1970s style, with white leatherette and coloured plastic. The restaurant’s à la carte menu is inspiring. Address: 3 place Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 45 38 76 77. www. restaurant-apollo.com 45


L’Arome Lunch is the bargain here (€34), with two choices for each of the three courses, often seafood-based and always prettily presented. A starter might be four lightly cooked, fresh king prawns, with ultra-crisp romaine heart and a basil-oil dressing, followed by a main of swordfish steak with a herb salad and vegetables from master farmer Joël Thiébault - always a good sign. Although some of the ingredients hint at a Spanish influence, the wine list is strictly French and predictable; but mark-ups are reasonable and there is a small selection by the glass. Address: 3 rue Saint Philippe du Roule, 75008 Paris. Enquiries : 00 33 1 42 25 55 98; www. larome.fr Le Chateaubriand Basque-born chef Iñaki Aizpitarte has been called a revolutionary and is something of a celebrity these days, which makes it almost miraculous that he is still cooking at this time-worn local bistro whose spartan decor has remained unchanged for decades. Lunch is a simpler, more conventional affair than dinner (€40), which is when Aizpitarte really lets his imagination run riot, with smeared avocado sauces, beetroot foams, and everything deconstructed to within an inch of its life. This is the kind of avant-garde cuisine that provokes involuntary gasps when it is placed before diners. Ingredients may come from Japan, Morocco or Spain, but the dishes themselves are grounded in classic French techniques. The wine list is particularly good, with a bottle of Les Vilains from the Spanish border for €27, for example. Address: 129 avenue Parmentier, 75001 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 43 57 45 95 Atelier Renault Hanging gantries and plate-glass façades in a weird and wonderful mix that is at once a car showroom, cocktail bar and restaurant. The food is light-heartedly modern French. Address: 53 Champs-Elysées, 75008 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 167 84 14 14, www.atelier-renault.com Au Bon Accueil Jacques Lacipière opened this pleasant, light-filled bistro on a quiet side street in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in the early 1990s. It has since become one of the 46

capital’s most reliable addresses for carefully prepared French bourgeois cooking. The dining room is smart, but the atmosphere remains relaxed and calm and the courteous service makes everyone feel welcome. Address: 14 rue Monttessuy, 75007 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 47 05 46 11; www.aubonaccueilparis.com. Balzar Balzar, located in the Latin Quarter, continues to be a much-loved rendezvous for lovers of raie au beurre (skate cooked in butter sauce with capers), gigot d’agneau (leg of lamb) and steak tartare, despite a change of ownership. Waiters in white aprons serve everyone with the same courteous and jokey professionalism. Address: 49 rue des Ecoles, 75005 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 43 54 13 67; www..brasseriebalzar.com Bertie Located next to Théâtre Edouard in the 9th arrondissment, Bertie offers contemporary interiors by Parisian designer Christophe Pillet and modern French cuisine. Address: 6 rue Edouard VII, 75009 Paris. 00 33 1 53 05 50 55; www.bertie.fr Bon Situated in the smart 16th arrondissement, Bon is Philippe Starck’s first restaurant in Paris since Le Café closed in 1994. It’s big and trendy and offers organic food. Address: 25 rue de la Pompe, 75016 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 40 72 70 00; www.restaurantbon.fr Brasserie de L’Isle St-Louis The joy of dining at this old-fashioned brasserie lies not in its food. Yes, the steaks and choucroute (sauerkraut) garnie are perfectly acceptable, but the real pleasure is in crowding onto the long tables with their eclectic mix of tourists and Parisians, from rugby fans to refined local residents. Open noon to midnight, Thurs-Tue. Address: 55 quai de Bourbon, 75004 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 43 54 02 59. Chez Michel Chez Michel is the English dream of a French restaurant, flying a flag for gutsy, competitively priced traditional cooking. The waiting staff is jeans-clad, yet the food can be surprisingly smart. Chef Thierry Breton makes a big deal of his Breton

roots and you can buy his fabulous salty, raw-milk butter to take away. Booking is essential. Open for lunch Tues-Fri and for dinner Mon-Fri. Address: 10 rue de Belzunce, 75010 Paris. Enquries: 00 33 1 44 53 06 20. Chez Paul An old Bastille stalwart, Chez Paul could be the archetype for the Paris bistro with its tiled floor, zinc bar, tightly packed tables and photocopied, handwritten menu of age-old favourites that never seems to change. Half a century ago Monsieur and Madame Paul ran the restaurant. It has since expanded, but is always packed with Parisians and tourists, who relish the timeless, noisy atmosphere. Address: 13 rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris. 00 33 1 47 00 34 57 www.chezpaul. com Georges The fashionable Georges restaurant forms part of the ever-expanding Hôtel Costes empire. The suitably avant-garde design by young French/New Zealand architects Dominique Jacob and Brendan McFarlane includes large red aluminium blobs scattered around the room, some large enough to accommodate tables. In the afternoon it’s a peaceful place, perfect for lingering over a coffee. But it is certainly popular among the night-time crowd, for whom the buzz is more important than the modish but over-priced fare. Open Wed-Mon. Address: 19 rue Beaubourg, Centre Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 44 78 47 99; www. centrepompidou.fr La Coupole La Coupole is part of Montparnasse’s artistic legacy and it remains an experience - even though it has lost its bohemian spirit and gained a ghastly rotating sculpture. In general, the food is so-so (although the oysters and other seafood are superb) but the setting is a treat. There’s an undeniable whiff of glamour to the huge Art Deco interior, which attracts both Parisians and tourists and ensures a lively atmosphere. Address: 102 boulevard Montparnasse, 75014 Paris. Enquiries: 00 33 1 43 20 14 20; www.lacoupoleparis.com


Istanbul Mikla At the top of the 18-storey Marmara Pera Hotel at Meşrutiyet Caddesi 167/185, is arguably the most ambitious and revered restaurant in the city. (Others will tell you that accolade belongs to Murat Bozok’s Mimolett.) Finnish-born chef Mehmet Gurs’ menu fuses local and Scandinavian influences, so you’ll find shoulder of lamb cooked for 24 hours with pomegranate molasses and pilav, rose-scented chicken and smoked lamb loin (even smoked potatoes) alongside gravlax and dried beef. Address: Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15, Istanbul Province. Enquiries: 00 90 212 293 5656 www.miklarestaurant.com 360 Istanbul This rooftop restaurant-bar in a glass-walled penthouse is one of the city’s trendiest spots. Come to see the amazing 360-degree views of St Antoine’s and the Bosphorus and the rooftops of Beyoglu. The fusion menu is made for sharing, with most things mezze-sized: duck dim sum;

chicken satay; polenta-crusted calamari with almond aioli; grilled sardines in vine leaves. There’s also pasta, and fun pizzas like the Bollywood, with tandoori chicken, or the Local, with sucuk, olives, and goat cheese. A good post-dinner drinks spot when DJs play. Try the Bomb Baby (vodka, fresh watermelon, mint and cardamom) or Porn Star (Bacardi, citrus, papaya). Address: Istiklal Caddesi Misir Apt K:8, Beyoglu, Istanbul. Enquiries: 00 90 212 251 1042; www.360istanbul.com Abracadabra Sup with the arty set in a converted waterside villa at Abracadabra, where seasonal local ingredients are conjured by flamboyant chef Dilara Erbay into experimental forms, such as raw ‘meatballs’ made with salmon. Address: 50 Arnavutköy, Istanbul. Enquiries: 00 90 212 358 6087; www. abracadabra-ist.com Beyti Beyti Güler is the Horatio Alger of grilled meat, graduating from a modest

eaterie to a grand establishment frequented by visiting statesman and starlets. Beyti is the only living Turk (and only one of two in history) to have had a type of kebab named after him: it’s an eyelet of lamb. The meat at his restaurant is simply cooked in the Balkan style - which means mildly seasoned. Address: Orman Caddesi 8, Florya, Istanbul. Enquiries: 00 90 212 663 2992; www.beyti.com Saray Although Turkey is famous for baklava and milky sweets, they are not typical desserts but rather something to be eaten on their own. The place to do so is in a muhallebici, a type of café selling exotically named sweets such as ‘nightingale’s nests’ or ‘ladies’ thighs’, as well as thickened and caramelised milky rice puddings. This is also a good place to try the tavukgögsü, a sweet gummy pudding made with chicken that would be less difficult to avoid in another less-tempting establishment. Address: Istiklal Cad 102-104, Beyoglu, Istanbul. Enquiries: 00 90 212 292 3434; www. saraymuhallebicisi.com 47


Beirut Momo at the Souks It serves a clever mix of Moroccan and French food in an elegant room, with a lively bar. About US$120 for two without wine. Address: Beirut Souks Jewelery n°7. Enquiries: 00 961 1 999767; www. momobeirut.com Casablanca It brought fusion cooking to Beirut and has remained a city favourite. You need to book. About US$140 for two without wine. Enquiries: 00 961 1 369334 Tawlet It has fabulous, fresh and copious food. There is now also a selection of some 150 Lebanese wines at shop prices to drink here or take away. About US$60 for two without wine. Address: Sector 79, Naher Street. Enquiries: 00 9611 448129; www.tawlet.com 48

Chez Sami It’s everyone’s favourite fish restaurant (so, again, you’ll need to book), a little way out of the centre at Jounieh. About US$140 for two without wine. Address: Maameltein - Jounieh Old Road. Enquiries: 00 961 9 910520; www. chezsamirestaurant.com

Al Halabi Serves some of the city’s best mezze. About US$80 for two without wine. Enquiries: 00 961 4 523555. Indigo on the Roof at Le Gray It’s wonderful for a rooftop dinner on a warm evening, with strains of jazz from the bar. About US$160 for two without wine. Enquiries: (00 961 1 972000; www. campbellgrayhotels.com Centrale As much an architectural destination as a culinary one, Centrale combines deftly produced French nouvelle cuisine with the bold vision of architect Bernard Khoury. Address: Mar Maroun Church Street, Beirut. Enquiries: 00 961 1 57 58 58; www.centralerestaurant.com


Tokyo

Tokyo. Enquiries: 00 81 422 47 1008

Doma Doma This is a very good chain of inexpensive izakayas - casual eating and drinking places that serve good food. You’ll find izakayas everywhere; they’re where Japanese people go to unwind. Typical dishes range from chicken yakitori to okonomiyaki (a kind of yam pancake with toppings) and salads. Open 5pm to 5am. Address: Minakawa Building B1, 1-22-10 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. Enquiries: 00 81 3 5728 1099; www.doma-doma.com

Kanda Kanda is typical of the new wave of restaurants: very discreet, very word-of-mouth. In fact, it’s so discreet, you’ll have difficulty finding it unless a Japanese speaker takes you there, because it is in a quiet residential neighbourhood with a door marked only in Japanese. Inside, the rooms have an IKEAlike simplicity that belies the skill of the kitchen. But Kanda is worth seeking out: it is currently one of the most voguish restaurants in Tokyo, filled with food-lovers but also with the city’s fashion editors and other assorted movers and shakers (feted French chef Alain Ducasse is a fan). Seasonality and freshness of ingredients are the two core obsessions of Japanese chefs, and the quality of raw materials is paramount at Kanda. Address: 1F Ka-mu Moto-Azabu Building, 3-6-34 Moto-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo. Enquiries: 00 81 3 5786 0150

Iseya Very cheap, very good food, in a rowdy atmosphere. A recommended dish is the jumbo syumai dumplings, filled with juicy pork and other ingredients. Another very good dish is tsukune (meatballs) with tare (a thick soya sauce). Open noon to 10pm. Address: 1-2-1 Gotenyama, Musashino,

Kobe Fuwatorohonpe Okonomiyaki is a yam-based pancake roughly comparable to an omelette or a pizza and hugely popular with young people. This is the Tokyo branch of an izakaya in Kobe, a city well known for its okonomiyaki. Toppings might include shrimp-andcheese gratin or pork-and-cheese mochi

Daidaya Past meets future at Daidaya restaurant, where tatami mats combine with revelatory cuisine: foie-gras sushi is the highlight. Address: 8-5 Ginza Nine, No1 Building 2f, Ginza-nishi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Enquiries: 00 81 3 5537 3566

(sweet rice). Based in Ebisu, it is small, cosy and chic. Open 6pm to 5am. Average price about £20 per person. Address: Manei Satobuilding 1F, 1-14-3 Ebisunishi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo. Enquiries: 00 81 3 3770 0816. Tempura Tenichi Situated in Ginza, a district like London’s Mayfair: expensive and exclusive, with many of the city’s most upmarket restaurants. A set lunch here includes prawns, three types of fish, four types of vegetable and then anago (conger eel), kakiage (rice with tempura batter) or gohan (plain rice) and miso soup. Address: 6-6-5 Ginza Chuo-ku, Tokyo. Enquiries: 00 81 3 3571 1949 Toriyoshi This is a yakitori specialist par excellence. The skewers of grilled meats served here are unlikely to set you back more than £30 or so for dinner. This chain currently has about 30 outlets, including four in Kichijogi (a young area, but not so fashionable or self-conscious as Shibuya). At Toriyoshi you can have a nine-course meal for as little as £14. Address: Toriyoshi Harmony Harajuku Building 1F, 4-28-21 Jingumae, Shibuyaku, Tokyo. Enquiries: 00 81 3 3470 3901.

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Sydney Aria A dressy spot to enjoy Matthew Moran’s steamed pink snapper with caviar sauce and sweeping views over the Harbour. If you were any closer to the Opera House, you would be in it. Address: 1 Macquarie Street, Circular Quay East, Sydney. Enquiries: 00 61 2 9252 2555; www.ariarestaurant.com Bird, Cow, Fish This is run by chef Alex Herbert and her husband Howard Gardner, who manages the restaurant. The restaurant is simple but it is also one of Sydney’s most impressive. In a bright corner site that combines restaurant, café and cheese shop, Herbert displays a discerning eye for the best and most seasonal Australian produce. She combines this with an intensity of cooking that extracts the most intense flavours. You may eat Pan-fried Hiramasa kingfish or a seared Coorong hanger steak with shoe-string fries. Address: 500 Crown Street, Surry Hills Enquiries: 00 61 2 9380 4090; www. birdcowfish.com.au Catalina Sitting on the front balcony of this waterfront gem, with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and platter of sushi, is like sitting on Sydney’s veranda. The food can be described as modern Australian with Mediterranean flavours and the salmon is smoked on the premises. Address: 1 Sunderland Avenue, Lyne Park, Rose Bay, Sydney. Enquiries: 00 61 2 9371 0555; www.catalinarosebay.com.au; email: reservations@catalinarosebay.com.au Flying Fish Flying Fish, a newcomer in freshly gentrified Pyrmont, offers the knockout views expected in ‘Harbour City’. Nothing can quite compare with eating outside with the lights of Sydney framed in the inkyblue water. While the restaurant’s reputed million-dollar interior generated the early press, chef Peter Kuruvita’s food, like his yellowfin tuna with sweet crackling pork, is now winning plaudits. Those who want to keep going after dinner can hang out at the cocktail bar, or wander onto the wharf, drink in hand. Open Tue-Sun. 50

Address: Jones Bay Wharf, Lower Deck Suite, 19-21 Pirrama Road, Sydney. Enquiries: 00 612 9518 6677. www.flyingfish. com.au, email: info@flyingfish.com.au Fratelli Paradiso Sydneysiders have adopted the European tradition of going out for breakfast, many of them grabbing a croissant and coffee on the way to work. For a ‘brekkie’ with a difference, head to Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point for designer rice pudding (aka riso al latte), pane bianco or crispy crepes. Address: 16 Challis Avenue, Potts Point, Sydney. Enquiries: 00 612 9357 1744. Hugo’s Grab a pavement table and watch the surf roll in as most of Bondi rolls by. Great for brunch. Address: 70 Campbell Parade, Bondi, Sydney. Enquiries: 00 61 2 9300 0900 Lucio’s The Sydney business lunch may not be what it once was, but the Bentleys, BMWs and Range Rovers parked outside Lucio’s suggest otherwise. Lucio Galletto has been serving sophisticated Italian food to media and political heavyweights and artists (whose work lines the walls) since 1983. The signature dish here is the blue swimmer

crab with tagliolini, but the whole baked fish and involtini of spatchcock are also remarkable. The service is impeccable, the ambience relaxed and sunny. Address: 47 Windsor Street, Paddington, Sydney. Enquiries: 00 61 2 9380 5996. www.lucios.com.au, email: info@lucios. com.au. Quay With killer harbour views and a chef who has put modern Australian cuisine on the map, Quay at Circular Quay is not to be missed. Peter Gilmore’s creations give the vista a run for its money, even on a sparkling summer’s day. His confit of pork belly with scallop, mud crab with tomato sorbet and poached quail with prosciutto and shaved cuttlefish are enough to make most people swoon. But the wine list is ruinously expensive, as are many of the daily specials. Upper Level, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay West, The Rocks, Sydney (00 61 2 9251 5600; www.quay. com.au Wharf Restaurant Casually-priced modern Mediterranean cuisine. Address: Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney. Enquiries: 00 612 9250 1761. www.wharfrestaurant.com.au; email: events@wharfrestaurant.com.au


AL DAWAAR REVOLVING RESTAURANT Watch panoramic views of the city skyline and the sea while you dine at Al Dawaar, Dubai’s only rooftop revolving restaurant at Hyatt Regency Dubai. Indulge in a sumptuous International buffet featuring dishes from European, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines. Lunch: AED175 per adult Dinner: AED235 per adult For reservations, please call +971 4 317 2222

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Travel Arabia F&B Guide-March 2013