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DHS 10 JULY 2010 ISSUE 387

My UAE. My Heritage.

All that glitters is Gold

SMS to win glittering prizes You could win a host of sparkling prizes and enjoy fun and entertainment for all the family at The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Souk Al Bahar and Gold & Diamond Park during this yearÕs Dubai Summer Surprises. Weekly Prizes: ¥ BMW cars* ¥2 x gold bars ¥ Emirates business class ticket to the golden cities of Prague, Amsterdam or Madrid ¥ Longines watch from Rivoli Grand Prizes: ¥2 x Emirates business class tickets to the golden cities of Prague, Amsterdam or Madrid ¥Longines Gold watch from Rivoli ¥ Luxury gold jewellery set Simply spend AED 200, take your receipts to any Guest Services SMS the coupon number and your name to 5034, and prepare to be dazzled! 17th June - 7th August 2010 | Mall Trading Hours: 10:00 - 24:00 daily Log on to our Facebook & Twitter pages to win additional prizes! |

Contents Features 19 100 cheap thrills, for Dhs100 (or less) A century of fun activities for a century of dirhams, or cheaper


33 The UAE’s best new brunches Time to discover a new world of brunching 40 Mirdif massive The best places to eat, drink and shop in this suburban quarter of Dubai 44 20 pizzas tested We gorge ourselves on a mountain of pizzas to find the best in the UAE for you. Yeah, you – you owe us, Emirates


p46 JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 9

The round-up 14 Salaam The month of July in a handy two-page guide 17 Competitions A raft of more generous prizes for you to get your hands on. Boy, we’re good to you 46 Films The new comic book adaptation Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and a preview of M Night Shyamalan’s sci-fi epic The Last Airbender 49 Eating out Dining out at Abu Dhabi’s celebrity Chinese, Hakkasan, plus the country’s best steakhouses revealed and our pick of the summer menus 63 Arts The hit 1950s coming-ofage musical Hairspray touches down in the UAE this month – producer Julian Chenery tells us all about it, plus a round-up of the month’s best exhibitions

87 Sports & outdoor The UAE’s most famous football commentator gives his thoughts on the beautiful game, and our fitness expert, James Houghton, provides some healthrelated wisdom


90 Club diary Afrika Bambaataa talks intergalactic beings, plus all that’s happening on the UAE’s club scene 93 Travel Did you know that Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, is a gourmet dining hotspot? Read on… 105 Hot lists Which bars, restaurants, brunches and spas top our illustrious charts this month? 114 Backchat Dubai 92’s Catboy shows his sentimental side

73 Shopping Check out the bargains at the Dubai Summer Surprises shopping festival, while our new columnist, Emirates Woman editor Sophia Triantafillou, answers your fashion queries 79 Mind & body A visit to the Armani Hotel’s amazing new spa, plus his ‘n’ hers treatments at Radisson Blu Yas Island’s spa 10 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


Great Summer Offers at Dubai’s Most Stylish Beach Resort * From

Dhs 950++ per night (1st June – 8th September 2010) Stay three nights and enjoy the fourth night complimentary. One&Only Royal Mirage, your true ‘oasis’, offers 65 acres of lush landscaped gardens, one kilometre of private beach, eight restaurants, three large temperature controlled pools, an award-winning One&Only Spa and traditional Oriental Hammam facilities. Located in the heart of new Dubai, this resort is conveniently located just 10 minutes from the exciting waterpark ‘Aquaventure’, and minutes from world-class shopping malls, combined with family entertainment at ‘Ski Dubai’ and its children’s snow park.


Special Family Added Value AQUAVENTURE WATERPARK: Stay a minimum of three nights and get two complimentary passes, per room per stay KIDS EAT FREE: On a minimum stay of 3 nights, up to two children below 12 years of age share parents’ accommodation on a complimentary basis and eat free in selected restaurants, when accompanied by parents. INDULGE AT THE SPA: Adults enjoy 50% discount on every second treatment booked at the One&Only Spa and Oriental Hammam.

The Palace

Residence & Spa Arabian Court


* Terms and conditions apply. For further information and to make a reservation, please contact your preferred

travel agent or One&Only Royal Mirage, Dubai, UAE. Telephone: +971 4 399 99 99, Facsimile: +971 4 399 99 98 Email:

This month we’ve been... Editor-in-Chief Obaid Humaid Al Tayer Group Editor & Managing Partner lan Fairservice Group Senior Editor Gina Johnson | Editor Mark Evans | Deputy Editor Helen Spearman | Senior Designer Sheila Lyn Carino | Contributing Editor Hugo Berger | Features Editor Gareth Rees | Editorial Assistant Karen Sequeira | Picture Researcher Wayne Fernandez | Chief Sub Editor Iain Smith | Contributors Victor Besa, James Brennan, Louise Browne, Vikram Gawde, Alex Hawkes, James Houghton, Catherine Jarvie, Richard Luck, Farooq Salik, Primrose Skelton, Simon Smedley, Sophia Triantafillou General Manager Production and Circulation S Sasidharan | Production Manager Sudhakar Chandran | General Manager – Group Sales Anthony Milne | Senior Advertisement Manager Dale Isaac | Saffron Goodyear | Advertisement Manager Varsha Bhatia | General Manager, Abu Dhabi Joe Marrit | Advertisement Manager, Abu Dhabi Darryl Wiley | Annual Subscription GCC Dhs120 other countries US$70 (including Airmail charges)

Head Office: PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 282 4060, Fax: +971 4 282 4436, E-mail: Dubai Media City: Office 508, 5th Floor, Building 8, Dubai, UAE, Tel: +971 4 390 3550, Fax: +971 4 390 4845 Abu Dhabi: PO Box 43072, UAE, Tel: +971 2 677 2005, Fax: +971 2 677 0124, E-mail: London: Acre House, 11/15 William Road, London NW1 3ER, UK, E-mail: 34,432 copies June 2009

Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai

12 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

On the radio with Catboy, p114

Eating a lot of pizza, p44

Visiting Udaipur, p101

Editor’s note I am, by my very nature, a spender. Money and I just don’t get on, and every time I have it I seem desperate to give it away, usually to one of the emirate’s myriad of malls. I’m a weapon of mass consumption. It wasn’t always like that – I remember owning a Mr Bump moneybox, that was kind of see-through so you could see the coins drop inside, and all I wanted to do was fill the thing, just to see what it would look like packed with money. I was 27 when I owned that. No, OK, I was six (although I’ve not shaken off my obsession with Mr Bump, the greatest of all the Mr Men), and back then money wasn’t real, it was just a thing that I could drop into Mr Bump to see him change colour on the inside. But, I suppose, as we get older and, apparently, wiser, money takes on new meaning. Abu Dhabi is, by its very nature, a money city. Money matters here, there are big deals to be done, buy, sell, blah, blah, blah. But Abu Dhabi is also a fun city and while you might not think it, there’s more than enough to do here without it costing the earth. Don’t believe us? Page 19 onwards declares 100 of those very things, all for Dhs100 or less. Read, do, have fun, and leave the heavy spending to me. Enjoy the issue.

We're officially part of the Twitterati. Follow us at WhatsOnAbuDhabi for exclusive updates on nightlife, restaurants and more around the UAE. Tweet yourself.

Salaam! July abridged

What’s hot Health Men don’t really do health. A doctor, like a dentist, is somebody to stay away from at all costs. Good news, then, that the Government has launched the UAE Men’s Health Alliance to educate blokes about their health. Film stars The Middle East International Film Festival has changed its name to The Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and organisers are promising big names will be there. We’re hoping too see Clooney or Jolie on the red carpet. Funk and soul music Abu Dhabi has its fair share of house and R&B nights, but good funk and soul nights are thin on the ground. The new Hot Buttered Soul night, at Etoiles on Mondays, is about to change all that.

What’s not


Al Jazeera Sports Buying up the rights to all the big sporting events is fine, but you have to provide a quality service. Signing up for the World Cup package proved a huge headache and then… they lost the picture for at least a couple of seconds during every match. Sort it out. Junk SMS Receiving a text message is a joyful experience. But not when it’s telling you there’s 20 per cent off at Pencil World. Stop it. You’re ruining our mobile experience. Online interruption Don’t get us wrong, we really love Twitter, but it’s far from smooth. We don’t care if you’re busy; we want to tell strangers what we had for dinner last night. And, Facebook, you’re not perfect, either. 14 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

July in numbers Vital statistics


is the number of games in the English Premier League next season. We meet the man who’ll be presenting them in Abu Dhabi, p87


calories in your average plain pizza. We ate 20 of them to find the best in the UAE, p44


The weight in kilos of the largest hammour ever caught. We find out about other fish that you can eat from the Gulf, p61


years ago, in 1895, that the word ‘brunch’ first entered the English language. We check out the 20 best of the UAE’s version of the meal, p33


Number of Michelin stars attained by Birmingham’s restaurants – the most of any UK city outside of London, p95

This month we’re going to… RACING SCHOOL Find out if you can cut it as a driver at the Yas Marina Circuit. In just one day, you’ll be taught all the basics of racing, before being allowed to take either a super-fast Aston Martin GT4 or a SuperSport SST around the track. And you’ll leave with an official Automobile Touring Club licence, and not one speeding fine for driving over 120km/h. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Dhs1,500. Tel: (02) 4460384. www.

Five Questions… Le Clown Gordoon Guess list It was 33 years ago that Jeff Gordon first slapped on his red nose and became his alter ego, Le Clown Gordoon. Revered in the circus world as the father of modern clownery, he performs with the Big Apple Circus in Abu Dhabi this month

Some famous faces to keep your beady eyes out for over the next couple of months




Want to enjoy all the thrills of the

circus? We have three sets of family The father of modern clownery? tickets – that’s four tickets a set – and they could be yours. To be in with a That tag came in the 1980s when chance of winning, log onto www. myself and a few other clowns starting and tell us: What is the correct name for the mixing traditional clowning with new master of ceremonies at a circus? a) Ring master elements. We did some material that b) Broach keeper c) Necklace owner went over the heads of the children and only the adults got it. storyline that a cheery, friendly clown is How did it all start for you? actually a bloodsucking murderer, like in After I graduated I was interested in Stephen King’s It. The way that I deal with combining my interests in theatre and athletics. I found the circus was the perfect that is to say ‘that’s your issue not mine. I’m a way to do that. So I applied to the Ringley clown, not a therapist.’ Brothers Clown College and was accepted. Please tell us you’re going to do the lots Thirty-three years later, I’m still going. of clowns getting out of a little car gag? That’s a long time. Are you worried you’ll When you have three shows a day and end up bitter and washed up, like Krusty you’re cramming into a little car with 22 from The Simpsons? other sweaty clowns, it loses its glamour Not at all. This ‘tears of a clown’ image is pretty quickly. And in Abu Dhabi I’ll be the pretty much an invention by the media. I only clown in the show so I don’t think it have met some pretty dour clowns in my would be that impressive if just one clown time – but in my experience, most of us are gets out the car. pretty happy. Jul 23 to Aug 3, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition We’re a bit scared of clowns… Centre, Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi, That’s just another myth that’s promulgated 8pm, Dhs200, Dhs75 for children. Tel: (02) by the media. You know, it makes for a good 6664442.

FANTASY ON ICE If you were a fan of last month’s Lord Of The Dance spectacular, this is another event you shouldn’t miss. The action takes place on a specially constructed ice rink that’s half the size of a football pitch, where skaters will be performing some truly astounding dance routines and stunts. Jul 4 to 15, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi, 8pm, Dhs200, Dhs75 for children. Tel: (02) 6664442.

LIWA DATE FESTIVAL Liwa is the centre of the UAE’s date industry, and to mark the harvest the town organises an annual date festival. As well as farmers coming along to show off their crops, there’s also date cooking contests, craft tents and rides for the children. It’s a bit of a trek, so the organisers have put on a free daily bus service, leaving from Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi at 8am every day. Jul 17 to 26, Liwa, Al Gharbia Region, Abu Dhabi, free. Tel: (02) 6212975.

RYAN GIGGS The story of English football may have been very different if this man had chosen to don the white shirt. Unfortunately for the three lions, Giggs prefers the red dragon of Wales. Rumour has it the Welsh Wizard will be appearing on Abu Dhabi Sports’ English Premiere League show next season. Check out our interview with host Mohammed Najeeb, p87.


TIESTO Tijs Michiel Verwest, or DJ Tiesto as he’s now known (we see why he changed it) is preparing to hop on a flight for the capital according to our man in the know. The Dutch mega spinner might have move away from his trusty trance sound but he still loves a good laser. Expect a big show if this one comes off.


STEVIE WONDER Please, please, please, let this happen. A bona fide musical legend with 22 Grammy Awards and a host of hits to prove it, Stevie has never called to say he loves us and it’s about time he did. Our insider says he’s heading to the capital after summer. We’ll be front and centre if he does – this could be the concert of 2010. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 15

WIN! WIN! WIN! Want to get your hands on these lovely prizes? To be in with a chance, click on, register your details and answer these easy questions


Fancy soaring through the skies over the beautiful coastline of Ras Al Khaimah in an agile microlight plane? Well, that’s exactly what one lucky reader could be experiencing soon, thanks to our great competition in association with Dreamdays. You’ll be taught how to fly the machine, before taking to the skies to co-pilot the mini aircraft for a 30-minute voyage. To be in with a shot of winning, just tell us: Which of these is not a type of aircraft: a) Airbus A380 b) Boeing 747 c) Nissan Sunny


If luxurious, champagne-soaked brunches are your bag, enter this competition now. The Elements brunch at Abu Dhabi’s Fairmont Bab Al Bahr hotel and the Spectrum On One brunch at the Fairmont Dubai are among the best brunches in the UAE, with both of them being regular top five entries in our brunch Hot List. And you and a companion could be enjoying either of them, plus an overnight stay in the hotel thanks to us. For a chance to win, just tell us: Which of these days is traditionally seen as unlucky? a) Friday the 11th b) Friday the 12th c) Friday the 13th


When it comes to luxury pampering, few places do it like The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina. And you and a pal could win one of the signature spa rituals, such as the Balance and Reflection massage and the Muscle Release massage, use of the pool and fitness centre then lunch at the quality international Mazina restaurant. If you fancy your chances of winning this superb prize, answer this: Which of these would you usually find in a marina? a) Cars b) Aeroplanes c) Yachts


Quality French food and a vast selection of wines has made Oscar’s Vine Society restaurant at the Crowne Plaza a stalwart on Dubai’s dining scene. We’re giving you the chance to find this out for yourself with a meal for two at the restaurant, plus a weekend stay with breakfast at the hotel. For a chance to win this prize, just answer this question: Which of these professions would be likely to win an Oscar? a) Chartered accountant b) Zookeeper c) Film director

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 17






44444444444444444444444 From cage fighting to crazy golf, dancing to dinner deals, we’ve trawled the UAE to find you 100 boredom beating, action-packed activities for less than Dhs100 SAILING LESSONS

If you’re under 16 and dream of sailing your own boat through the calm waters of the Gulf, start with these super cheap lessons at Abu Dhabi International Sailing School. Abu Dhabi International Sailing School, near Marina Mall, Breakwater, Abu Dhabi, Dhs100 per lesson. Tel: (02) 6813446


Heaven is a half-pipe with ramps, obstacles and more at The Springs bargain skatepark. The Springs, Emirates Hills, Dubai, 6am to 10pm, Dhs10 to Dhs15. Tel: (04) 3627790


Wedge yourself into a small, wobbly vessel with a pal and paddle about the waters of the Gulf for an hour, for only Dhs100 for two. If you don’t like your friend much, you can have two single-seater crafts for 90 minutes. Tel: (04) 4329392.


Learn the ancient Japanese art of karate without any catching flies with chopsticks, waxing cars or painting fences.

Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Corniche, Abu Dhabi, Mon and Wed, 6.30pm, Dhs25 for introductory lesson. Tel: (02) 970272


EK Volleyball Club arranges training and games around Dubai for all abilities, both indoor and on the beach. Dhs25 for a two-hour community game. Tel: (04) 3581603.


If you like to propel paint at people but you don’t like to spend money, this is for you. All the equipment and 100 paintballs for just Dhs85 (Dhs5 extra at weekends and on public holidays). Sharjah Golf and Shooting Club, Sharjah, Dh85. Tel: (050) 2032288.


JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 19


Enjoy the age-old Bedouin pastime, with a show above the desert dunes and a lesson for Dhs100 for two. You’ll also be able to lay your mitts on an owl, an American eagle and a vulture. Just try not to ruffle any feathers. Dhs100. Tel: (04) 4329392.


The first 100 people to book a stay at the new Citymax hotel will get three nights for only Dhs100 per night. Cheaper and much swankier than your average Travelodge. From Jul 1, Citymax, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Barsha, Dubai, Dhs100. Tel: 8002489629.


Channel your inner Forest Gump with an hour of indoor table tennis. Insportz, behind Dubai Garden Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dhs20 per hour, including equipment. Tel: (04) 3475833.


The Umm Al Quwain Marine Club boasts some of the best waters in the region, and at these prices it has to be worth a splash. Umm Al Quwain, Dhs100 for first 15 minutes. Tel: (06) 7666644.





If you’re up for a game of the fast, heart-pounding sport, the cheapest squash courts in Abu Dhabi available for hire for non-members are at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi. Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Corniche, Abu Dhabi, 7am to 10pm, Dhs50. Tel: (02) 6773333. This energetic lesson will teach you the traditional African dance style of soukous. ADCB Building, Salam Street, Abu Dhabi, Sun and Wed 9am, Dhs40. Tel: (02) 6732222


Al Wadha Mall’s children’s Fun Zone is, as the name suggests, a fun place to spend some time. But our favourite is the Strike Zone, where you get to shoot your pals with laser tag guns. Strike Zone, Al Wadha Mall, 11th Street, Abu Dhabi, 10am to 11pm, Dhs40. Tel: (02) 4437654.


Hatta Fort Hotel has a 25-metre range with eight targets, should you fancy yourself as the new Robin Hood. Hatta Fort Hotel, Dhs50 for 30 minutes including equipment. Tel: (04) 8523211.

Learn how to make the perfect spaghetti, linguine and ravioli, plus delicious Italian sauces, at these two-hour pasta-making classes. Amalfi, Le Royal Méridien, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, Sat 10am, Dhs75. Tel: (800) 101101. There are kickboxing and boxing classes every night in Dubai Marina, each lasting a calorie-busting 90 minutes. Have a go if you think you’re hard enough. Dream Tower, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily 6pm and 8.30pm, Dhs60 per class. Tel: (050) 2861673


The Abu Dhabi Water Polo Club is willing to teach you how to play water polo, and all for the tiny price of Dhs25 per session. Abu Dhabi Country Club, 19th Street, Abu Dhabi, Wed, 8.30pm, Dhs25 per session. Tel: (02) 6577777.


We all know keeping slim in the UAE can be an expensive business. But this aqua aerobics class at the Hiltonia Beach Club is ridiculously cheap at just Dhs70 for non-members and Dhs35 for members. Dhs70. Hiltonia Beach Club, Hilton Hotel, Abu Dhabi, Weds, 9am. Tel: (02) 6924205.


It’s a hellish game, and if you don’t know how to play it you’ll be run as ragged as a hobo. Fortunately you can sign up for a 45-minute lesson for just Dhs65, grasp the fundamentals and take some other fool to the brink. Dhs65. Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3371234.



Spending a day poolside can be an expensive business in Abu Dhabi. Not so at Traders Hotel, where it costs just Dhs65 to use the pool and Dhs100 to use the pool and gym. Traders Hotel, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi, 6am to midnight, Dhs65. Tel: (02) 5098888. www.

UNLIMITED BIKRAM YOGA Sweat and stretch it out on the cheap. First-timers at Club Stretch can get a pass for unlimited Bikram classes over a week for only Dhs100. Club Stretch, Al Mina Road, Satwa, Dubai. Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3452131.


Al Ghazal Golf Club is regarded as the best sand course in the world. And a quick 18 holes on its compressed sand fairways and greens won’t break into your savings account. Al Ghazal Golf Club, near Abu Dhabi International Airport, Dhs90. Tel: (02) 5758040.


UAE residents get a two-for-one deal until the end of September at Arabian Ranches’ floodlit Par 3 Academy Course. If you and a pal are looking to improve your games without breaking out the big bucks, this is for you. Arabian Ranches, Dubai, Dhs95 for two. Tel: (04) 3663000.


Ideal for golfing beginners who haven’t got their own gear yet, Al Hamra is offering a game on their Par 3 course for Dhs60 with club rental for Dhs20. Al Hamra Golf Club, Ras Al Khaimah, Dhs80. Tel: (07) 2447474.


Until September, anyone under the age of 17 can play completely free at Abu Dhabi Golf Club if accompanied by an adult. Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Sas Al Nakhl, Abu Dhabi, free. Tel: (02) 5588990


If you’re sick of parting with Dhs600 a time for your weekly round of golf, make your way to Sharjah Wanderers golf club, pay just Dhs50 and partake of 18-holes on the challenging sand course. Sharjah Wanderers Golf Club, Sharjah Wanderers Sports Club, 6am to 8pm. Tel: (06) 5586239.


Enjoy a round of drinks after a round of golf for Dhs99 at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club this summer. Breeze around the Par 3 course then relax with two drinks and reflect on your glory or otherwise. Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, Deira, Dubai, Sun to Thurs 9am to 9pm, Dhs99. Tel: (04) 2956000.


Hatta Fort Hotel’s floodlit mini-golf course costs just Dhs30 for nine holes. Clubs and lessons are available. Dhs30. Hatta Fort Hotel, Hatta, Dubai. Tel: (04) 8523211.


If you thought it would be costly to learn how to become an ace snapper, think again. The Lightchasers photography group offers lessons for Dhs20 a week. Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, Zayed The First Street, Abu Dhabi, Dhs20. Tel: (02) 6218053.


This is not the best theme park in the world. It’s not even the second best. In fact, it is so rickety it looks like a set from a zombie movie. But that’s its charm. Last time we visited we spent three hours shooting paintball guns, driving around on various dodgy looking vehicles, ice-skating and playing on the swings. Some of the best pics in the What’s On family album. Hili Fun City, Al Ain, Dhs15. Tel: (03) 7845542


Burn off that excess UAE fat without harming your bank balance too much at these ever-popular boot camps in Abu Dhabi. Original Fitness Company, Corniche Beach and Sas Al Nakhl Beach, Sun to Fri 6am and 7.30pm, Dhs100. Tel: (02) 4069404.


Pizza has been on our minds a lot this month (check out our 20 tested, p44) and if we’ve learned anything, it’s that pizza is a serious business. So we were shocked to discover Carluccio’s is willing to let your children loose in their kitchens for just Dhs70. They’ll even be given a free apron to take home. And you will be able to sip a free coffee while your little darlings are taught how to make your dinner. Jul 18 and Aug 1, Carluccio’s, Mirdif City Centre, Dubai, 10.30am to 11.30am, Dhs70. Tel: (04) 2843728.


Take a trip to the top of the world and take in the view. Our reactions to the height ranged from amazed to downright terrified. What will yours be? At The Top, Dubai Mall, Old Town, Dubai, Dhs100, Dhs75 for children age 4 to 12 (if booked ahead) and free for under-3s. Tel: 80028843867.


Dubai Creek Striders love nothing better than a brisk jog about Dubai. Join them for Dhs10 per run. If you want a club vest – of course you do – it’s an extra Dhs50. Free.


JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 21


The Rainforest hydrotherapy experience at The Banyan Tree guides you through steam rooms, tropical showers, ice caves and more, ending up in a giant vitality pool. A truly unique way to spend a relaxing hour. Until August 31, Banyan Tree Al Wadi, Ras Al Khaimah, Dhs77 per person per hour. Tel: (07) 206777


Whether it’s a special occasion or you just can’t be trusted with sharp objects, a professional shave forms the backbone of the What’s On gents’ grooming schedule. We see Abed at Nivea Haus a few times a month for a 20-minute tidy up. Nivea Haus, Dubai Mall, Old Town, Dubai, Dhs50. Tel: (04) 4340777.


If you’re pretty super with a string instrument or blinding with a bassoon, the UAE Philharmonic Orchestra is looking for you. You will have to audition, of course. But you’ll be OK. You’re a musical genius, aren’t you?


Hit the indoor track with some mates for a birthday party alternative, or just to fill a Friday afternoon. The Arrive & Drive package costs Dhs100 for 15 minutes and includes all equipment and suits. Booking ahead is recommended. Dubai Autodrome, Motor City, Dubai, Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3678700.


Abu Dhabi Striders is the capital’s biggest and oldest running club. It costs just Dhs5 to join them on their twice weekly runs. Behind Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche, Abu Dhabi, Sun 6.30pm. Corner of 11th and 34th Street, Wed 6.15pm, Dhs5.Tel: (050) 6670601.


If, like us, you’re more fell in a ravine than Torvill and Dean, you’ll need a guru to guide your glide and turn disgrace into grace. Put down Dhs70 and in 30 minutes you’ll be pirouetting like a pro. Well, skating in a straight line, anyway. Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha, Dubai, Dh70. Tel: (04) 3371234.


Become a sushi-making genius at these classes at the award-winning Soba restaurant in Abu Dhabi. Soba, Le Royal Méridien, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, Sat 10am, Dhs75. Tel: (800) 101101.


If you’re unsure if this is the sport for you (all those early mornings, all those dragons…) then give it a try for free. The UAE Dragon Boat Association has 11 clubs all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi and is always looking for members. Abu Dhabi and Dubai, free.


Dhs100 gets you access to the 3,000 square metre snow park at Ski Dubai. Don your suit then hit the hills for tobogganing, bobsledding and tubing. There’s also a snow cavern with interactive experiences and an observation tower. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai, Dhs100. Tel: 8005347873.



Last month’s Wimbledon is sure to have had you striding onto the courts like Federer only to discover you’re sadly lacking in the talent department. There’s plenty of time to boost your skills, by starting with an hourlong lesson for just Dhs90. Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha, Dubai, Dhs90. Tel: (04) 3371234.


Your posture and your bank manager will love you if you sign up for these ultra-cheap but excellent classes at Abu Dhabi’s only dedicated yoga studio. Yoga Tree, off 30th Street, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi, Dhs50. Tel: (02) 6676579.

i JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 23


If you’re into agriculture then the lure of a falaj irrigation system in the palm garden of Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s 1950s summer retreat is sure to turn you on. If not, it’s a lovely little piece of the UAE’s recent past, and it’s only Dhs1. Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 8.30am to 8.30pm, Fri 2.30pm to 8.30pm, Dhs1. Tel: (04) 8521374


Do you own a bicycle? If you do, this one’s free. Dubai Roadsters are a club of people who meet up to cycle at various UAE locations on a weekly basis. They also organise overseas tours. Explorer Adrian Hayes is a member. And if it’s good enough for him… Free. Tel: (04) 3394453.


Scamper up Wafi’s 50ft climbing wall for only Dhs40 for two hours. Lessons are obviously recommended for beginners, but once you’re confident in your climbing kit the sky is the limit. Pharoah’s Club, Wafi, Dubai, Dhs40 for a two-hour session. Tel: (04) 3240000


Bowling, as we’ve discovered recently, is a relatively cheap pastime. Nowhere in Dubai is cheaper than Al Nasr Leisureland, where you’ll part with just Dhs15 and receive comical footwear and a frame of bowling. A beer is Dhs15 as well. Bowling and a beer for Dhs30. Bargain. Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha, Dubai, Dhs15. Tel: (04) 3371234.





Dubai Fencing Club has all the gear and a real idea how to turn you from mouse to musketeer. It offers classes in epée and foil for all levels, with equipment such as masks and weapons included. Quay Health Club, Mina A’Salam, Al Sufouh, Dubai, Dhs50 for a group class. Tel: (050) 7944190. Expressions Of Dance And Drama teaches youngsters in dance classes covering 17 different styles, from ballet to ballroom to salsa. Royal Marina Health Club, near Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, various times, Dhs40. Tel: (02) 6262533.


If you’re looking for a dose of culture, why not head out of the city and pay a visit to the National Museum of Ras Al Khaimah? The fort was occupied by the emirate’s ruling family right up until the 1960s and is now home to a variety of archaeological and historical artifacts. Tickets are just Dhs2. Behind the Police Headquarters, Ras Al Khaimah, Wed to Mon 8am to noon and 4pm to 7pm, Dhs2. Te: (07) 2333411


With a few of these super-cheap lessons you’ll be a better rider than the Lone Ranger and the UK’s Princess Anne put together in no time. Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club, 19th Street, Al Mushrif, Dhs50. Tel: (02) 4455500.

Although there’s a spanking new ice rink at Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi this old school rink is the original, the best and the cheapest in the capital. Abu Dhabi Ice Rink, Al Madina Al Riyadiya, off Airport Road, 10am to 10pm, Thurs ladies only, Dhs10. Tel: (02) 4448458

Not only are these lessons incredibly cheap at Dhs65 each, you’ll also save a fortune on buying armbands and inflatable rings for the little ’uns. British International School, Khalifa A, various times. Tel: (050) 8838091.


Throughout the summer, we often head to Abu Dhabi’s best shooting club to take out some targets. Caracal Shooting Club, Armed Forces Officers’ Club, near Musaffah Bridge, Abu Dhabi, 10am to 11pm, Dhs100 for rental and bullets. Tel: (02) 441644.


Until the end of August you can purchase a canvas and enjoy the use of all paint and equipment for four hours for less than Dhs100. Dhs55 for a 12"x12" canvas, Dhs75 for a 15"x20" and Dhs95 for a 23"x24". Who said an artist has to struggle? Jam Jar, Warehouse 45, RKM Properties, Al Quoz, Interchange 4, Dubai, Mon to Thurs 10am to 8pm, Fri 2pm to 8pm, Sat 10am to 8pm, Dhs75 to Dh55. Tel: (04) 3417303.



Dinner & for your ZUMA LUNCH

Try world class Japanese food – even when you’re on a budget. The Ebisu Express lunch menu at Zuma consists of miso soup and any main course for only Dhs58. Our pick is the sliced duck served with somen noodles, spring onions and sancho. Zuma, Building 6, Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai, Sun to Thurs, noon to 3pm, Dhs58 (plus ten per cent authority fee). Tel: (04) 4255660.


All we want in life is a sushi buffet, with sashimi, miso soup and green tea. The Shangri-La has been reading our mind and come up with Sushi-La in their Lobby Lounge where you can stuff yourself silly for only Dhs66. Shangri-La, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 11.30am to 2pm, Dhs66. Tel: (04) 4052703




Consistently our number one restaurant in Dubai, Rivington Grill’s business lunch is a triumph. Opt for two courses at Dhs80 or three for Dhs100 and take your pick from the modern British menu. Try the Yorkshire pudding salad then a pie. Then maybe the lemon meringue ice cream. The price might be guilt-free, but sadly the calories still count. Rivington Grill, Souk Al Bahar, Old Town, Dubai, Sun to Thurs, noon to 4pm, Dhs80 to Dhs100. Tel: (04) 4230903.



26 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

On Friday evening, the best Pakistani restaurant in Abu Dhabi puts on a fantastic food spread for just Dhs48. Even the decidedly horrid-sounding lambs’ brain curry was delicious. Al Ibrahimi, Electra Street, behind Sands Hotel, Abu Dhabi, Fri 7pm to 11.30pm, Dhs48. Tel: (02) 6346258

Sample some of Dubai’s finest Levant dishes and possibly the best fattoush we’ve ever had with this lunch deal from Dhs49, depending on dishes. Duck out of work and head to Old Town for a good feed, Lebanese style. Mezza House, Burj Boulevard, Old Town, Dubai, Sun to Thur, 1pm to 3.30pm, Dhs49 to Dhs59. Tel: (04) 4205444.


One of our favourite bars has come up with an evening to keep everyone happy – which means men get a good deal for once. On Tuesdays, ladies pay Dhs69 for unlimited drinks, while the chaps get change from Dhs100 for the same. Even better, the first 20 ladies through the door don’t pay a dirham. Warehouse, Le Méridien Dubai, Airport Road, Garhoud, Dubai, Tues 9pm to 11pm. Dhs69 for ladies and Dhs99 for men. Tel: (04) 7022560 La Mamma


Get a taste of Okku with their brilliant midweek lunchtime deals, ranging from Dhs59 to Dhs99, depending on the number of courses you indulge in. We go the full four-course whack. Obviously. With the new summer menu (see page 57) and these prices you may want to book ahead. Okku, The Monarch, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sun to Thurs noon to 3pm, Dhs59 to Dhs99. Tel: (04) 5018777


Vegetarians beware – on Monday nights at Spur it’s a feeding frenzy with unlimited beef ribs (served with fries and onion rings) for Dhs98. Spur, Festival City, Dubai, Dhs98. Tel: (04) 2738282.


We’ve had more than our fair share of pizza this month (see page 44). But we can never have enough; hence we often head to this quality Italian restaurant to enjoy their pizza and a drink deal for just Dhs55. La Mamma, Sheraton Abu Dhabi, Corniche, 12.30pm to 3.30pm, Dhs55. Tel: (02) 6970258.


Drinks r Dhs100 Mango Tree


international place in the heart of Abu Dhabi. City Café, Al Maha Arjaan Hotel, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi, noon to 4pm, Dhs95. Tel: (02) 6106622. www.

so heavy that you’ll abandon your retail adventure for the sofa. Mango Tree, Souk Al Bahar, Old Town, Dubai, Sun to Thur, noon to 3pm, Dhs80 to Dhs100. Tel: (04) 4267313



Finding decent Irish grub in Dubai is a battle, but finding a Friday brunch for Dhs65 sounds downright impossible. Luck of the Irish wins through though, with a main course and three drinks for that princely sum available each week at Dubliners. Dubliners, Le Méridien Dubai, Airport Road, Garhoud, Dubai, Fri 11am to 6pm, Dhs65. Tel: (04) 7022560

Wind down from the week or get ready for the weekend with unlimited cheese and wine in the Qamardeen Hotel’s lobby lounge. ALL YOU CAN EAT STEAKHOUSE Qamardeen Hotel, Burj Boulevard, Old Town, Dubai, Thur and Fri, 6pm This quality restaurant serves a range of meat, Indian and Chinese to 9pm, Dhs99. Tel: (04) 4285923 foods, with as much as you can EIGHT COURSES fit in your stomach costing just AT AFYA Dhs54 every day of the week. Take in eight different Chinese Rainbow Steakhouse, Al Muroor dishes over lunch at the Road, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, international Afya restaurant for a 12.30pm to 3pm and 7pm to ridiculously low Dhs60. 11.30pm, Dhs54. Tel: (02) 6333434 Afya, Traders Hotel, Between The MANGO TREE Bridges, Abu Dhabi, noon to 3pm, LUNCH Dhs60. Tel: (02) 5098888. www. Stroll across the bridge from Dubai Mall into Souk Al Bahar to enjoy ALL YOU CAN their shopper’s lunch. At Dhs80 for EAT BRUNCH two courses or Dhs100 for three, An all you can eat brunch, for it’s a great chance to sample the less than Dhs100? Too good to Thai menu at a great price. The be true? Not at this great little papaya salad is fantastic and not

For a paltry Dhs45 you can get yourself a slap-up, two-course Italian meal at one of the most under-rated restaurants in the capital. Lemon Tree, Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, 31st Street, Al Muroor, noon to 3.30pm, Dhs45. Tel: (02) 6574858.


The rough and ready underground pub serves up a cheery Friday brunch, where you get as much bar food as you like, plus two drinks at a rock bottom price. Heroes, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street, noon to 4pm, Dhs65. Tel: (02) 6210000. Margaux


For Dhs100 you can enjoy a three-course lunch at Manhattan Grill or Indian restaurant iZ, including coffee and water. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Sun to Thurs 12.30pm to 3pm, Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3171235.


Looking for lunch during the week? For Dhs99 you can enjoy a mezze buffet, grilled meat and Middle Eastern delights from the a la carte menu, dessert and coffee at Park Hyatt’s impressive Café Arabesque. Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira, Dubai, Sun to Thurs 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs99. Tel: (04) 3172222. www.


We love the work that chef Chef Sebastien Didierjean and his team are doing down at Margaux. You can now enjoy a two-course lunch with a glass of wine for just Dhs99, with a list of daily specials including fricassee chicken on Thursdays and veal stew on Sundays. Yummy. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai, noon to 2.30pm, Dhs99. Tel: (04) 4397555. www.


JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 27


There’s no better historical way to spend your weekend than making the trip to the 16th century village in Hatta’s Hajjar Mountains. Two watchtowers, a mosque and a number of traditional houses. All for free. Hatta Heritage Village, Hatta, Sat to Thurs 8am to 8pm, Fri 2pm to 8pm, free. Tel: (04) 8521374


This summer, your children can learn the art of creating chocolate treats for just a Dhs100. Best of all, you can eat what they make when they’re finished. Choco-La, Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Between the Bridges, Abu Dhabi, Thurs and Fri, 11am, Dhs100. Tel: (02) 5098527


To some it’s a tangy dip for potato chips, to others it’s a form of dancing. It’s never both. If you’d rather move like a whippet than pick it and dip it, sign up for Shelter’s salsa lessons for just Dhs40 a session. Shelter, Industrial Area 4, Al Quoz, Dubai, beginners Tue 7pm to 8pm, intermediate Tue 8.30pm to 9.30pm, Dhs40. Tel: (04) 4345655.


Visit sites boasting artifacts from the seventh to the 15th century. It’s free, but you’ll need a permit to go on site, which can be obtained from the Dubai Museum. Behind Emirate’s Hospital, Jumeirah, Dubai, 8.30am to 2pm, free. Tel: (04) 3496874


If you thought seeing the animals at the UAE’s best zoo was a pricey affair, think again. Visiting Al Ain Wildlife Park will cost you no more than Dhs15 for adults and Dhs5 for youngsters. Al Ain Wildlife Park & Resort, Sat to Thurs 4pm to midnight, Fri 10am to midnight, Dhs15. Tel: (03) 7828188.


You too can be a mean, lean, cage-fighting machine with classes in mixed martial arts. We won’t lie, you might throw up, be in agony for days afterwards and feel the need to get a dodgy tattoo, but you’ll also get super fit, super fast. World Black Belt Centre, Sheikh Rashid Rd, Near Mazaya Centre, Dubai, Dhs80 for a public class. Tel: (050) 1045008


Learn all about the ancient Chinese medical philosophy of Chi and how to improve your health at these well cheap classes. Méridien Tapping Technique classes, Khalifah Street, Abu Dhabi, Weds, 11am, Dhs30. Tel: (050) 8641074


Whether you have never progressed further than a flailing doggy paddle or you’re a regular swimmer looking to perfect your butterfly, Speedo is offering a one-hour lesson for Dhs45 this summer and their qualified instructors can solve either problem. Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Tel: (04) 3944898.


Get your little angel well on the way to being the next Gordon Ramsay (or Jamie Oliver if you prefer) with these cooking classes at Al Raha Beach Hotel. Al Raha Beach Hotel, Sas Al Nakhl, Abu Dhabi, Fri, 10am, Dhs60. Tel: (02) 5080486.


The cheapest ten-pin bowling we could find in the capital was at the Armed Forces Officers’ Club, where it costs only Dhs8 per game. Steeee-rike! Armed Forces Officers’ Club, near Musaffah Bridge, Abu Dhabi, 10am to 10pm. Tel: (02) 4415900. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 29



Make a personal gift, entertain the children or try to re-enact some scenes from Ghost at Café Ceramique. We like to add a competitive edge and get the staff to judge. Not recommended on a first date. Café Ceramique, Town Centre, Beach Road, Dubai, 9am to midnight, from Dhs27 including equipment. Tel: (04) 3447331.


If you’re handy with a brush but have nowhere to paint, DUCTAC’s open studio policy is a blessing. For Dhs75 you can have three hours of studio time, including use of equipment such as easels. Available times vary so call ahead and book first. DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 9am to 10pm, Fri 2pm to 10pm, Dhs75. Tel: (04) 7845542.





If you enjoyed the recent Abu Dhabi Wakeboard Festival, you may want to give the sport a go. And these 15-minute lessons at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Ghantoot won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Golden Tulip Hotel, Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi, Dhs25. Tel: (02) 5629100.

It’s the end of the month, money is tight, but it’s approaching cocktail hour on a Thursday. We’ve all been there. But what can be done? You make your way over to Cin Cin at Fairmont Dubai and enjoy a free cocktail before 10pm. After that they’re just Dhs20 each. That’s six you could sip for the bargain prices of Dhs100. Bottoms up. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Dhs20. Tel: (04) 3325555.

The Time Tunnel attraction at Khalifa Park gives you the chance to sit on a monorail train tour, with a visual show that teaches you the 7,000-year history of Abu Dhabi. And what’s more, it’s only Dhs3 for adults and free for children. Khalifa Park, Salam Street, Abu Dhabi, 10am to 10pm, Dhs3, free for children. Tel: (02) 6717000 A gentle ride down Abu Dhabi’s picturesque Corniche promenade is one of the most fun and cheapest activities in the capital. If you don’t have your own wheels, then rent some. Fun Ride Sports, Corniche, Abu Dhabi, Dhs20 per hour. Tel: (02) 5566113.


Get with the ballroom dancing fever with these low cost lessons in Abu Dhabi. Raha International School, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, Sun 7.30pm, Dhs40. Tel: (02) 6262533


Every little lady wants a pony. Every little lad has dreamt of riding into battle astride a snorting stead waving his sabre at the enemy. Or is that just us? Make your nippers’ dreams come true with a 45minute riding lesson for Dhs100. Giddy up. Tel: (04) 4329392.


Dhs30 will buy you 91 balls, but for Dhs75 you can swing away to your heart’s content at an unlimited number of the little white blighters. The club can provide clubs if you don’t have your own, and the changing facilities – with Jacuzzis, sauna and steam room – are worth the money alone. Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City, Dubai, Dhs30 to Dhs75. Tel: (04) 6010101.


The last thing you’d expect to see within seconds of New Look and Forever 21 is a crocodile. But this is Dubai after all. Visit the zoo at Dubai Mall (tucked behind the giant aquarium) and you’ll find otters, penguins, piranha, water rats – our favourite – and more. Underwater Zoo, Dubai Mall, Old Town, Dubai, 10am to midnight, Dhs50, Dhs20 for children under seven. Tel: (04) 4485200.

WHAT’S ON READER OFFERS After you’ve tried the 97 activities above, relax with one of these special What’s On reader offers


A three-course set menu and free-flowing ice tea at the popular noodle bar for Dhs79. Only if you’re a What’s On reader with a copy of this issue, mind. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, Dhs79. Tel: (04) 2227171.

30 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


If you have a copy of this wonderful issue – which of course you do – you can enjoy a huge buffet lunch at Boulavar for just Dhs99. Apparently there are more than 99 foods, so that’s one per dirham. Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, Dhs99. Tel: (04) 2227171.


If you have a spare Dhs75 you can eat a three-course lunch at celeb chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s Dubai restaurant. During July only. And don’t forget to take What’s On with you. Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, noon to 2.30pm, Dhs75. Tel: (04) 3293293

2 1 It’s a brunch-eat-brunch world out there. But with so many new brunches on the scene, which one to choose? Let us guide you through the best of this year’s new contenders The Talk





The Talk refuses to be pinned down to one particular cuisine, with a pizza oven, pasta station, tandoori oven, rotisserie, hot and cold buffet and a sushi bar.



Food stations galore, plus a buffet.


Freshly prepared pizza and pasta, a carvery, barbecue on demand, fresh oysters, vegetable juice shooters, hot and cold buffet, plus all manner of desserts and a cheese station.



Pastries are delivered to the table by the very people who created them – The Talk’s dedicated team of pastry chefs. There are also stations devoted to vodka and mojitos.

Chef Pierpaolo Fadda worked with the highly acclaimed Heinze Beck at the three Michelin star La Pergola in his native Rome. So he knows a thing or two about Italian cooking.



The Talk is the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach’s main restaurant and it’s pretty impressive, offering a private dining room, lounge bar, serious wine cellar and a roof terrace for alfresco drinks and dining.

The Qamardeen Hotel is not much talked about, but Esca is gaining a reputation for good grub, especially of the Italian variety.



Dhs180 sans grog, Dhs350 if you want to enjoy unlimited drinks. Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, noon to 3.30pm. Tel: (04) 4498888.


Dhs295 with bubbles and house beverages, Dhs195 without. Esca, Qamardeen Hotel, Downtown, 12.30pm to 4pm. Tel: (04) 4285923. www.southernsunme. com/qamardeen

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 33


International. FORMAT


Chef Kevin Pohl offers up a buffet and an a la carte menu. There’s also a carving station, but the highlight is the seafood spread boasting oysters, mussels, clams, prawns and all manner of fish. SELLING POINT

The two happy hours from 6pm to 8pm, during which drinks are discounted by 50 per cent and bar snacks by 20 per cent. LOCATION

The 52nd floor, with grand views of Dubai Marina and the Palm.







Thai from Spice Emporium, international buffet at Blue Orange and meat from steakhouse Hunters.



A blend of buffet and food cooked to order.


Huge platters of freshly grilled meat and fish from celebrity chef Richard Sandoval’s talented team.



There’s a petting zoo (yes, you read that right), cinema, acrobats and smoking cocktails. Take your pick.

There’s a live DJ and a mariachi band, but beach and pool access gives this brunch its edge.


With the action spread across three restaurants you have the luxury of choice. Spice Emporium is where the serious eating goes down, Blue Orange is where the party’s at and Hunters is nice and relaxed. During the cooler months we’ll be on the poolside patio. COST

Dhs450 with Laurent Perrier and house beverages, Dhs299 without alcohol. The Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai, 1pm to 4pm. Tel: (04) 5117136. www.starwoodhotels.comn



There’s a la carte, a cold buffet, a live cooking station and plenty of desserts, including the obligatory chocolate fountain. SELLING POINT

It has to be the a la carte menu. The hot buffet is dead. Long live freshly prepared victuals. LOCATION

It’s not that well known and, as a result, it’s pretty tame, but if you’re looking for a quiet spot for a sophisticated nibble, this is it. COST

A bargain at just Dhs199. Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City, Dubai, Fri and Sat noon to 3pm. Tel: (04) 7011128. 34 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


The Playa Buena Vista brunch takes place on the beach, in the pool and in one of our favourite Mexican restaurants. Couldn’t ask for more, really. COST

Beach and pool access with lunch for Dhs300, plus a 30 per cent drinks discount from 5pm to 7pm. Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina, Dubai, 10am to 6pm. Tel: (04) 3165550.


Belgian. FORMAT

A cold buffet with some superb meats and cheeses, salad and fresh bread to keep you going. Then there’s an a la carte menu of hearty Belgian classics. SELLING POINT

The finest selection of quality European beer in the UAE. LOCATION

A true European pub atmosphere, something that’s still quite rare in the UAE, despite the huge expat invasion. COST

Dhs199, introduced this year, which took this brunch from obscurity into the top five of our Hot List. So cheap we still can’t quite believe it. Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City, Dubai, 1pm to 4pm. Tel: (04) 7011128.

Dhs400. Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai Marina, Dubai, noon to 4pm. Tel: (04) 3194000.


Italian with an emphasis on creatures from the deep blue sea, though there’s some pasta and fabulous bread. FORMAT

Shared platters of beautifully fresh seafood. SELLING POINT

The sharing concept makes for a friendly meal with mates. LOCATION

Souk Al Bahar is at the centre of Dubai’s food renaissance and there’s a terrace with a view of the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain. COST

Dhs190 per person with a minimum of four diners, with Dhs100 extra for alcohol. Souk Al Bahar, Old Town, Dubai, noon to 4pm. Tel: (04) 4230982 Bice Mare


The Observatory


Various, including seafood, roast beef, pizza and pasta. FORMAT

It’s mainly a buffet, but the pizzas are made to order. SELLING POINT

In winter it would be the outdoor seating. Nowadays, make sure you ask about the most recent deals when you book your brunch – there’s always a bargain to be had, including room deals at the hotel. LOCATION

Media One has eased itself nicely into the brunch scene in this part of town. COST

Dhs240. Media One Hotel, Media City, Dubai, noon to 4pm. Tel: (04) 4271000.


Barbecue. FORMAT

Based on the South African braai, you help yourself to as much freshly grilled meat and salad as you can handle.

Belgian Beer Café


It’s a barbecue. That’s pretty unique in Dubai. There’s also a DJ, too, who ensures a real party spirit with some fun tunes – so expect things on the boisterous side. LOCATION

The Habtoor Grand is a pretty fancy address, but Grand Grill is committed to keeping it simple. It’s a restaurant, with a grill and plenty of meat. COST

Dhs295 with alcohol, Dhs265 without alcohol. The Grand Grill Steakhouse, Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa, Dubai, 12.30pm to 4pm. Tel: (04) 3994221.




Covering all corners of the world. FORMAT

A giant buffet, with live sushi station and a barbecue.



Think bar food – burgers, bangers and chips.

This one’s for the nippers. There’s entertainment including a children’s pool, face painting, computer games and more.


A huge buffet stacked high with hearty tucker. SELLING POINT


Heroes is as unpretentious as it can be. No one’s going to look down their nose at you if you arrive in shorts and flip-flops.

Assymetri’s a cool, modern Italian restaurant at the Radisson Blu Yas Island. Once the weather cools off, grab a seat on the terrace, with its ace views over the nearby Yas Links golf course.


The underground pub is the best place to escape the summer heat. COST

Dhs65, plus two drinks. Ridiculously cheap. Heroes, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street, noon to 4pm. Tel: (02) 6166132.


Dhs130 including soft drinks and water, Dhs160 with alcohol. Assymetri, Radisson Blu Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 12.30pm to 3.30pm. Tel: (02) 6562000. www. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 35

Biryani Festival at Handi for Aed 99/- per person* *Subject to 20% service charge and municipality fees

P.O.Box 42211, Dubai – United Arab Emirates Tel +971 4 2232222, Fax +971 4 2278222,






Joints of roast lamb, turkey and beef, served with all the trimmings.

An international buffet, covering all the food bases.

Seafood, from fresh oysters to fresh fish, lobsters and prawns.





Head to one of the cooking stations and have slices of meat cut before your very eyes.

A lengthy buffet, which covers one end of the restaurant.



An a la carte menu, plus a live cooking station, where you can see your choice of fish being cooked before your eyes.

Cooper’s is a smart, English-style pub with brick A meagre Dhs275 will get you a decent walls, leather armchairs and a wooden bar. brunch and a night’s stay in the hotel. Sounds COST like a bargain to us. Dhs159, with free flowing drinks, makes for LOCATION Holiday Inn may not be the most glamorous an affordable Friday feast. SELLING POINT brand, but the new hotel is smart, modern Ignore the blazing sunshine outside, this could and clean. Ditto the Silk Route restaurant. COST be an afternoon lunch in a nice country pub. Dhs275, with unlimited bubbly plus a room Cooper’s, Park Rotana, near Khalifa Park, Al for the night. The brunch on its own costs Maqtaa, Abu Dhabi, noon to 4pm. Tel: (02) Dhs150 with bubbly, Dhs125 without. 6573333. Silk Route, Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi, 31st Street, BELGIAN CAFÉ 11.30pm to 3.30pm. Tel: (02) 6574848. www. CUISINE A swathe of classic Belgian treats, from pots of Pearls & Caviar mussels, to chunky fries and mayo to waffles.


It’s 100 per cent seafood. The best brunch in the capital for fish fanatics. LOCATION

Pearls & Caviar’s restaurant is impressively chic. Once summer is over, the cool upstairs bar will be open for business too – a huge bonus for sundowners. COST

Dhs199 with unlimited house drinks or Dhs299 with champagne. Pearls & Caviar, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi, 1pm to 4pm. Tel: (02) 5098888.


A la carte, but you can order as much from the menu as you like. SELLING POINT

A slice of Europe in the capital – there aren’t too many places in Abu Dhabi that offer such a European feel. LOCATION

The Belgian Café accurately resembles a fin de siècle European bar. You could easily forget you’re in the Middle East. COST

Dhs265 with free-flowing drinks or Dhs165 for just one drink. Belgian Café, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, 11am to 3pm. Tel: (02) 6666888.



Just what is says on the tin – Asian food, including sushi, dim sum, stir-fry and noodles. FORMAT

Choose your stir-fry ingredients at the live cooking station, or help yourself from the buffet. Plus brunch-goers also have access to the pool. SELLING POINT

Their huge live cooking station – it has to be one of the biggest in the capital – plus pool access too. LOCATION

An impressively large Far Eastern restaurant, with an open kitchen slap bang in the middle. COST

Dhs170 including booze, Dhs125 without and Dhs60 for children aged 12 and under. Jing Asia, Crowne Plaza Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 12.30pm to 4pm. Tel: (02) 6563000. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 37


Silk Route

Assymetri Yacht Club


Take your pick from an international spread that includes Italian and Arabic food, plus meat from an outside barbecue. FORMAT

It’s the classic buffet style all the way. SELLING POINT

The Mexican cooking station, with its ace fajitas and burritos, is worth the visit alone. LOCATION

A 24-hour diner with a colourful interior. COST

Dhs148 with soft drinks, Dhs178 with freeflowing wine. Choices, Yas Island Rotana, Abu Dhabi, 12.30pm to 4pm. Tel: 6564000. Jing Asia





Pan-Asian, taking in dishes from China, A quality international selection. All the dishes are fresh and enticing, while the Arabic Japan and Thailand. The sushi is particularly good. mezze is particularly impressive. FORMAT


It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Order as much as you like from the menu.



Book a table for four people, and they throw in a massage for you in the hotel spa.

It runs from 2pm to 6pm, so no need for an early start after the night before.



Gingers is a bright, clean and modern all day diner.

One of the best bars in Abu Dhabi, and once its outdoor terrace is in use again, it’s the best bar in the capital.


Dhs150, including house beverages. Park Rotana, Al Maqtaa, Abu Dhabi, noon to 4pm. Tel: (02) 6573333.

38 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


Dhs165 for as much food as you like, but only one drink. Yacht Club, InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, 2pm to 6pm. Tel: (02) 6666888.

Norwegian Salmon

Egyptian Olives



It's because we keep diverse shopping needs in mind. Across 78 supermarkets and hypermarkets across the Gulf, we bring satisfaction to more than 410,000 shoppers a day. Put simply, we bring you a world of choices, every day.











I S S A M Long hailed as the reliable suburb for families, Mirdif has had something of a facelift of late, with the arrival of a new mega mall. We go exploring in the ‘Dif to bring you our top picks of the shops, dining and more

MIRDIF SHOPPING CITY E American CENTR Eagle Outfitters

Like Gap’s younger cousin, this shop is full of casual clobber that won’t break the bank. The regular sales are ideal for your holiday wardrobe (we picked up three cotton tees for Dhs75) and, while we’re not normally in favour of cheapo fashion, the quality of the garments mean you’ll probably wash these clothes when you get back, rather than binning them. Tel: (04) 2316631.

Bobbi Brown

Yalla! Bowling

40 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

Queen of the neutrals, Bobbi Brown has created an empire (and a fortune) from making women look like better versions of themselves. This sleek store stocks her must-have products,

all wrapped up in the trademark black packaging, and offers make-up lessons for the truly uninitiated – or just those who want a mini-makeover before going out. Tel: (04) 2843676.

Boutique 1

One of What’s On’s regular haunts come payday, Boutique 1 has set up (a massive) shop at the new mall. Packed – in a glamorous fashion, of course – with exclusive labels, the 13,000 square foot store is inspired by art galleries, so expect white spaces and items showcased to stylish effect. In additions to top togs by the likes of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenberg and Paul & Joe, you’ll also find books, homewares and stationery. Tel: (04) 2843777.

Crate & Barrel

New to the UAE, Crate & Barrel is what your balcony has been craving. There are some lovely interior pieces but the brightly coloured picnic plates, tablecloths and plastic tumblers are the main draw. It’s not cheap, at Dhs300 for a solid wood salad bowl, but the quality is excellent and you’ll get a much-needed injection of energy into your summer. Tel: (04) 2843151.





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See By Chloé

See By Chloé is a delicious mix of girlie and hip, and is the ideal shop Deepak’s is a Satwa classic, if you dream of looking like the but if you can’t face the sweaty cute singer in a rough rock band. torture of Plant Street in July, More youthful (and affordable) then head to this branch for your than the main Chloé line, this fabrics. It has everything from store is a welcome addition to this basic cottons and suit material big brand mega mall. Don’t leave to embellished silks for gowns, without a handbag. but don’t be overwhelmed – the Tel: (04) 2840409. staff can talk you through the tailoring process. Tel: (04) 2840785. Abou El Sid People are often encouraging us to Michael Kors walk like an Egyptian, but it’s not We developed a soft spot for often that eating like one is advised. American designer Kors after he Based on the fine fair on offer at created Rene Russo’s wardrobe for Abou El Sid, we’d say it’s just as The Thomas Crowne Affair remake worthwhile. Despite the location, and appeared as a judge on Project it’s a cosy little restaurant and the Runway (it’s a very inspiring show, Egyptian staff extend a more than OK?). He was previously at Céline friendly welcome. The food is a but now runs his own label, much lot better than your standard mall to the delight of celebs such as grub, with tahini, taameya (falafel) Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez. and stuffed sausage Abou El Sid’s If you want a piece of his versatile way – with tasty rice and herbs – and self-assured style, then this is solid starters and carbtastic koshari the shop for you. – macaroni, rice and a rich tomato Tel: (04) 2843462. sauce – and fettah (Egyptian risotto) the pick of the mains. Tel: (04) 2840040. Pottery Barn Made famous worldwide by Phoebe’s ‘apothecary table’ in Fat Burger Friends, Pottery Barn is full of classic furniture and enviable accessories. It’s all pretty grownup (with prices to match) but the napkins are gorgeous and a few key pieces should up the game of your humble abode. Tel: (04) 6062610.



Mango Tree Bistro


The man we wish was our grandfather continues to expand his UAE empire with a third branch of Carluccio’s. Keeping with the duck egg blue theme, this Italian café is a calming spot for refuelling from breakfast until supper. Particularly recommended is the spinach and ricotta ravioli with butter and sage, followed by a traditional panna cotta. Tel: (04) 2843728.

Fat Burger

When What’s On tummies are rumbling, it has to be a burger. And if you’re looking for quality, lean meat, crunchy lettuce and a fresh bun, Fat Burger is the place to go. The California burger bar has 95 restaurants around the globe, billing itself as ‘the last great hamburger stand’ and it’s hard to disagree. We especially love that the staff harmoniously sing your order and for us it’s always ‘One fat burger, one fat fries, one Coke’. What could be better than that? It’s like The Beach Boys reassuring you about your dinner decisions. Tel: (04) 2843741.

Lemongrass Express

Sometimes only the spicy, creamy goodness of penaeng chicken (Dhs38) from Lemongrass can get us through the weekend. MSG-free and super-quick, this Express branch of the muchloved Thai restaurant alone worth a trip to the mall. A true star of the foodcourt. Tel: (04) 2843437.

Mango Tree Bistro

Speedier (and considerably cheaper) than its Souk al Bahar relation, this Thai pad is a surprisingly good slice of spice in the busy mall. The menu is massive, full of sharing platters, cold and hot starters, classic dishes and some specialities. We opted for a beef salad then shared a whole barbecue chicken, a red curry with tender duck and a pad Thai packed with plump prawns. And then had a little sleep. A nice one for the evening too. Tel: (04) 2843635.


This smart Canadian café knows the way to our (increasingly clogged) hearts: mini burgers. There are also a number of sandwiches and salads available, from the grilled three-cheese on white, to the somewhat healthier organic chicken salad. Don’t skip dessert though; those clever French-Canadians make a killer crème brulee. Tel: (04) 2843807.

PF Chang’s

Hailing from the States, this hugely popular chain of Chinese restaurants has arrived in the UAE amid much fanfare. Is it worth it? Well, mostly. The lettuce chicken wraps are an ideal snack, while the Mongolian beef with spring onions was surprisingly tasty. Our advice is to stay away from the more ambitious dishes – scallops served in a mall are rarely going to be a winner. Tel: (04) 2316660. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 41



Great for a mid-shop pick me up massage or quick spruce before heading out, Lily Pond is one of the more reliable beauty salons in Dubai. A manicure is a mere Dhs55 so it won’t break the bank either. Tel: (04) 2845923

Sister’s Beauty Lounge

One of our favourite spots for a facial and (almost) pain-free waxing, Sister’s is now also open in Mirdif. Offering hair, body and beauty services, the friendly therapists use products by Tigi, Dermalogica, OPI and Essie to buff you to perfection. It’s also one of the few salons offering eyelash extensions (Dhs600 for a full set). Tel: (04) 2843554.



Children up to eight years old can dig for gemstones, play on bumper boats, ride the flumes and more at this 2,200 square metre water-themed entertainment centre. They’ll also meet the Aquapals, a collection of characters including Muriel the crab and Nelson the whale. Tel: (04) 2316306


Film fans wanting more than the usual sticky carpets and limited screens need to book a seat here. With a whopping 20-metre screen, two 3D screens, two Gold Class screens and all manner of VIP upgrades in all cinemas, this is the place for a truly luxurious movie-going experience. See you in the big chairs. Tel: (04) 2840001.


Yes, you might look a bit of a wally in the suits, but for a shot of adrenaline iFly’s wind tunnel can’t be beaten. This indoor sky dive is suitable for everyone over the age of five (unless over 100kg and/or pregnant), so amateurs and experts alike can pretend they’re in Point Break for a few exhilarating moments. Each 45-minute package includes equipment, training and two flights. We recommend reading the FAQs on the website, which includes such gems as ‘Is it possible to eat inside the tunnel?’ That would be a no. Dhs195, Dhs145 for under-13s. Tel: (04) 2316292.

off some steam during the neverending summer holidays. They’ll be issued with a rechargeable card and can win tokens redeemable against toys and more games. It’s not strictly for young ones though, and we don’t mind admitting that we’ve dabbled on the dance mat… Tel: 800 5347873.

Yalla! Bowling

We challenge you to wear those clown shoes without singing songs from Grease 2. Yalla! is one of the newest (and cheapest) bowling alleys in the city, with loads of super helpful staff, a graffiti theme and 12 lanes boasting state-of-the-art video simulation. “We’re gonna bo-o-o-wl tonight”. Dhs20 to Dhs25 per game per person. Tel: 800 5347873


Boutique 1

Magic Planet

Yup, you’ll also find the noisy paradise of Magic Planet at MCC. Packed with games, rides, attractions and more flashing lights than Las Vegas, this is a great place to let children blow

Magic Planet

UPTOWN MIRDIF A closer look at this buzzing ‘burb Shopping


While it’s far from the kind of shopping destination Dubai dwellers are used to, Uptown Mirdif has more than enough to keep its residents happy. There’s a huge Paris Gallery, Beyond the Beach and a wealth of mother and baby shops, in addition to Spinneys and several furniture outlets.

Café culture rules in Uptown, with Starbucks, Le Pain Quotidien, Mugg & Bean and Caribou. It’s an alcohol-free zone, and Desert Palm hotel and the bars at Festival City are the nearest watering holes. The restaurants are more day dining spots, however, there are also a couple of places that deserve a special mention.

42 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

The staple food for the suffering masses come Saturday morning, GBK’s menu is a shrine to all things burger. There are some unusual additions to the usual meat and bread, including beetroot, pineapple and babaganoush. Don’t knock it until you try it. Uptown Mirdif, Mirdif. Tel: (04) 3700775.

Pane Caldo We first visited this fresh-faced Italian in Muscat and came back raving about the antipasti platters, so we were thrilled to find one on our Dubai doorstep. The menu covers many Italian regions, and includes asparagus gnocchi, fresh fish, pizzas made to order and cracking cannoli. Uptown Mirdif Mall, Mirdif, noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 2888319.


The New Dunes Café offers you an all-day dining experience with live cooking stations, where food is freshly prepared by our world-class chefs as part of our international buffet. Aside from this, an à la carte menu is available to suit every mood and palate from breakfast through to dinner.

For reservations, please call 04 405 2703. Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, P.O. Box 75880, Dubai, U.A.E.

Only at Shangri-La


Team What’s On joined forces with Catboy and Geordiebird to put the UAE’s pizzas to the test. Carb sweats broke out, health was compromised and here are the results


MARGHERITA Fresh tomato sauce, more tomatoes and salty mozzarella on a crispy thin crust. Basic but beautiful. It’s a great one to nibble on, over a few drinks on DP’s terrace or by Epicure’s pool. Dhs55 Epicure, Desert Palm, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3238888 What’s On rating: 19/20



EDITOR’S DIAVOLA PICK Covered in bright, shiny discs of spicy pepperoni, this pizza hits you like a tasty truck. The charred edges of the crispy base sealed the deal. Dhs43 Various locations. Tel: 800 74992 What’s On rating: 17/20


DIAVOLO The topping of tomato, mozzarella, basil, sweet marinated onions and peppers with a chilli kick set the taste buds a-tingling, and the base was perfect. Thin and crispy, thanks to a wood-fuelled Italian stone oven. Dhs36 to 47 Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud. Tel: (04) 2170000. What’s On rating: 18/20

PERCELLINA A wafer-thin, crispy crust, just the right amount of cheese and tomato sauce, some chewy salami and not too much grease. The best pizza in Abu Dhabi in our books. Dhs80 InterContinental Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6666888 What’s On rating: 17/20


ZOLA E SPECK The intriguing sounding pizza zola e speck is smothered with tonnes of Gorgonzola cheese and smoked Italian meat. The ingredients combine perfectly to create an unusual, but delicious taste. Dhs60 Sheraton Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6773333 What’s On rating: 16/20

DIAVOLA Simplicity is the key word here. No overthe-top, piling on of ingredients; just fresh tomato, cheese and spicy pepperoni, plus the unmistakable taste of a thin base cooked in a traditional oven. Just as it should be. Dhs80 Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4262626 What’s On rating: 18/20



BAFANA BAFANA CB & GB’S Wowsers. So loaded with South PICK African barbecued sausage, sweet peppers, grilled onion and button mushrooms we could barely see the base. Bursting with colour and flavours. Dhs40 Qamardeen Hotel, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4286888 What What’s On rating: 15/20 44 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


SOHO This olive and garlic pizza is hidden by a mountain of fresh, peppery rocket and sliced parmesan so you get your greens and lose the gloopy cheese. Crunchy, fairly healthy and a new favourite. Dhs38 Various locations. Tel. (04) 3945616, What’s On rating: 14/20


CAPRICCIOSA We went off-piste with this quail egg and anchovy combo, but wish we’d stuck to the sweet chilli chicken topping we know and love. Sometimes pizzas can get a bit too exotic… Dhs66 Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3412575 What’s On rating: 14/20



CAPRICCIOSA Turkey ham and mushrooms galore. Marzano is a proven cure for the morning after the night before, but the thin crust stops it being too stodgy. And it tastes even better cold. Fact. Dhs50 Soul al Manzil, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4201136 What What’s On rating: 14/20

CROWN CRUST HALF & HALF GRILLED CHICKEN It’s a crown shaped pizza with a crust as chunky as a well fed Italian mama, decorated with balls of cream cheese, meat balls, chicken, peppers, tomato sauce, mushroom, onion and black olives. It looks like a child made it and is far from authentic. Medium Dhs32, Large Dhs45 Various locations. Tel: 600569999 What On rating: 8/20 What’s


PIZZA CALABRESE We went for the salami and pepperoni at this popular Italian. Plus, there’s an open kitchen, so you can see your pizza being created. Dhs80 Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6979000 What On rating: 14/20 What’s


MIXED METRE-LONG This huge, one-metre long pizza is a feast for the eyes and the appetite. But quality matches the quantity with tonnes of topping, a thick, crunchy base and an even thicker layer of cheese. Dhs50 Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6210000 What’s On rating: 14/20


YOUR CHOICE This beast would easily feed all the knights of the round table. Toppings include crunchy courgette, spicy beef and too many others to mention. Dhs54 Various locations. Tel: (04) 3966999 What’s On rating: 13/20


VEGETARIAN As green as Al Gore, this veggie delight boasts courgette, peppers and broccoli. As carnivores we missed a bit of meat, but it’s a cracker for our leaf-loving friends. Dhs43 Various locations. Tel: (04) 2888192 What’s On rating: 13/20



MEAT CALZONE The calzone pizza served at Le Royal Méridien had a crispy outer shell and ample cheese and tomato sauce. But the chefs could have been more generous with the pepperoni we were promised. Dhs70 Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6742020 What’s On rating: 13/20


VEGETARIAN The vegetarian pizza had just the right quantities of cheese, tomato paste and vegetable topping and, as it was cooked in a wood-fired oven, had a nice, smoky taste. Our only slight complaint was that it could have done with a tad more cooking. Dhs45 Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6574888 What’s On rating: 12/20

EXTRAVAGANZZA FEAST The worst base we’ve ever tasted. Like cardboard. The topping of pepperoni, sausage, beef, onions, green peppers, mushrooms and olives was far from inspiring. Small Dhs23, medium Dhs37, large Dhs47 Various locations. Tel: (04) 3455151 What’s On rating: 6/20


CALABRIA Not a winner in our books. Looked more like a quiche and tasted like a poor man’s pie. Sadly we won’t be adding this one to our speed dial. Dhs38 World Trade Centre, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3314673 What’s On rating: 4/20


PEPPERONI A nice effort from the chefs at this quality Italian, however, the pepperoni pizza we ordered was somewhat oily and the base was a bit too floury and stodgy. Dhs69 Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 5581161 What’s On rating: 9/20

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 45

FILM Scott Pilgrim Vs The World



Scott Pilgrim Vs The Last The World Airbender


Angelina Jolie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Liev Schreiber, Zoe Lister Jones, Yara Shahidi, Phillip Noyce (director)

Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Anna Kendrick, Jason Schwartzman, Edgar Wright (writer-director)

Jackson Rathbone, Dev Patel, Nicola Peltz, Cliff Curtis, Noah Ringer, M Night Shyamalan (writer-director)


‘Who is Salt?’

‘An epic of epic epicness’

‘Four nations, one destiny’


Top CIA operative Evelyn Salt (Jolie) had to go on the run after a Soviet defector (Daniel Olbrychski) accused her of being a Russian spy.

The nerdy Scott Pilgrim (Cera) discovered that, in order to win the heart of the comely Ramona (Winstead), he must vanquish her seven ex-boyfriends!

Young avatar Aang (Ringer) was entrusted with saving the nations of Water, Earth and Air from the war-like nation of Fire.


See Brad Pitt’s beautiful beau in a film that appears worthy of her remarkable talents.

Either open up a can of whoopass on your love rivals or see what happens when cinema and computer gaming collide.

See whether the once hot M Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable) has lost it once and for all.


Sharp, action-friendly spy thrillers such as No Way Out, the Jack Ryan movies and the Jason Bourne saga.

Edgar Wright’s oeuvre which includes romzomcom Shaun Of The Dead, Home Counties cop movie Hot Fuzz and the sublime slacker sitcom Spaced.

Recent Shyamalan films such as Lady In The Water and The Happening, in which case you probably need psychiatric help.


Law Abiding Citizen scribe Kurt Wimmer wrote Salt with a male lead in mind. Angelina Jolie only came on board after first choice Tom Cruise dropped out.

Ramona’s exes include the incumbent Superman Brandon Routh and the future Captain America Chris Evans.

Based on the hit TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender, Shyamalan had to change his film’s title following the release of a certain James Cameron epic.


We should be in for a Jolie good show.

Edgar’s right on the money, yet again.

If this isn’t a hit, it could be goodnight, Shyamalan.





46 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

FILM | NEW RELEASES The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Expendables


The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Expendables



Nicolas Cage, Alfred Molina, Monica Bellucci, Alice Krige, Jay Baruchel, Jon Turteltaub (director)

Jet Li, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone (writer-director-star)

Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, ‘Chiyaan’ Vikram, Govinda, Prithviraj, Mani Ratnam (writer-director)

Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo, Laurence Fishburne, Alice Braga, Nimród Antal (director)

‘From the director and producer of National Treasure’

‘Choose your weapon’

‘Ten Heads. Ten Minds. A Hundred Voices. One man’

‘Fear is reborn’

Ordinary Joe Dave Stutler (Baruchel) found himself recruited by master sorcerer Balthazar Blake (Cage) to save New York City from evil warlock Maxim Horvath (Molina).

Soldier of fortune Barney Ross (Stallone) assembled a team of mercenaries to overthrow a brutal Latin American dictator.

Bandit Beera Munda (Bachchan) kidnapped the wife (Rai) of the policeman who murdered his sister. Naturally, it’s only a matter of time before the bad guy and the good woman fall in love.

The world’s finest warriors became prey for the be-dreadlocked stars of the Predator series.

Enjoy a brand of live-action adventure that Disney Studios once specialised in and are still rather good at.

Revisit a time when Stallone, Willis and Schwarzenegger were more famous for breaking heads than for smuggling growth hormones, supporting George W and running California into the ground.

Familiarise yourself with Bollywood’s ultimate power couple, Abhishek Bachchan and his wife and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai.

Watch a pulpy, highly entertaining feature of the sort we’ve come to associate with Predators producer Robert Rodriguez (the Spy Kids movies, Sin City, Once Upon A Time In Mexico)

The Harry Potter pictures and the similar-but-not-to-the-extentanyone-could-sue Percy Jackson & The Olympians.

Action movies where engaging the brain isn’t the first (or, for that matter, the last) order of business.

American action movies but would prefer there to be as much emphasis upon acting and emotion as there is on blowing things up.

John McTiernan’s original Predator film or Kontroll, director Nimród Antal’s highly diverting debut.

If supporting actress Alice Krige looks familiar, it might be because she played the villainous Borg Queen in Star Trek: Voyager.

Chemical engineer-turned-karate champion Dolph Lundrgren has killed more people on screen that Arnold, Bruce and Sly combined.

Raavan was ‘remixed’ for Western audiences by Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour movies.

Robert Rodriguez came up with the idea for Predators way back in 1994 when he was shooting his first Hollywood picture, Desperado.

Should please lovers of bona fide family entertainment.

A film more fun in theory than in practice.

Bacchan and Rai could teach Brangelina plenty about superstardom.

A definite improvement upon the dire Alien Vs Predator films.




★★★✩✩ JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 47

EATING OUT “Not that you can tell from my rather flattering headshot – the extra chin is hidden beneath the facial hair – but we like food, a lot. Fortunately, it is dotted about this month’s issue like a sumptuous feast on a royal banquet table. There’s the UAE’s newest brunches and our pizza test up front, then here in the Eating Out section you’re about to find out what we thought of Dubai’s West Beach Bistro (p51), the mighty Hakkasan (p53) at Emirates Palace in our glorious capital, plus our essential guide to steakhouses (p54), a round-up of all the new summer menus (p57), The Critic (p60) muses on designer restaurants and we tell you what fish you should be eating (p61). Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we, well, we do it all over again.”


Gareth Rees, Features Editor

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 49


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West Beach Bistro

West Beach Bistro. It really should be on a beach. The name suggests as much but, unfortunately, it’s not. It’s on The Walk, in an overly large room at the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach. Nevertheless, a valiant attempt has been made to create the kind of casual dining atmosphere one might enjoy at a beachside restaurant. Sure, there’s a bar, its empty stools bereft of barflies. And, yes, there’s the band playing the odd jazz classic – Chet Baker’s My Funny Valentine swayed nicely through the air on our visit. Unfortunately the lighting’s not quite right, the design is a little utilitarian (where are the private booths?) and the waiting staff ’s uniforms are a bit too Burberry check. The space lacks soul. But we’re being picky here, because chef Jason Wass’ tidy and appealing menu certainly does not. After all, people visit restaurants primarily to eat. And they will eat well here, beach or no beach. An eminently talented chef, Wass plied his trade with London luminaries Pierre Koffman and Tom Kitchen before joining the team at Gordon Ramsay’s Verre in Dubai in 2008. But the dishes gracing the menu at West Beach Bistro are pure gastro pub, albeit presented with a finesse honed in high-end restaurants. It is one of the most exciting we’ve seen of late. Eight starters, eight mains and eight desserts. Eight being the magic number. Any more becomes confusing. Any less seems stingy. There were also chef ’s specials that would benefit from being advertised on a board rather than whispered by the waiters and soon forgotten. Though we remembered the razor clams, which were excellent.


Chef de cuisine Jason Wass launches an exhilarating menu at the Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach

Artichoke soup with black truffle didn’t come with the salsify chips aspromised, but was delicious. Rich, creamy, all the things it should have been. Small chunks of poached lamb fillet were delightful, but an unnecessary accompaniment to the meaty sweetbread – always an exciting ingredient – and shallot ravioli with sweet onion confit. A good size roast rack of lamb, cooked medium as requested and served with a warm couscous salad, spiced aubergine (egg plant to some) and mint yoghurt, was pink, tender and as warming as a woolly jumper on a cold day. Beef tenderloin, bloody and rare – just how we like it – and the size of a man’s fist was as plump as a panda’s paunch and as juicy as the gossip at a coffee morning. And it came with lovely shreds of braised oxtail and roast bone marrow –

slurped straight from the bone, naturally. You may not like it, but you will respect the marrow. For dessert, we had everything. The chef ’s special, a platter of six of the eight desserts – the missing ones being cheese and roasted fig – boasted baked custard tart, spiced apple soufflé, rhubarb and strawberry strudel, cappuccino cheesecake, pear and almond tart and chocolate fondant. All consummately prepared, if we had to pick, which we clearly don’t, it would be the fondant. West Beach Bistro. Life’s a beach. This is a restaurant. And a fine one at that.

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Need to know Location: Mövenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, JBR, Dubai Tel: (04) 4498888 Web: Open: 6.30pm to 1am Cuisine type: European Must eat: prime beef tenderloin Bill for two: Dhs500

In Tweet form… West Beach Bistro. My Funny Valentine, a talented chef and an exciting gastro pub menu that makes up for the setting. Follow us at WhatsOnDubai and WhatsOnAbuDhabi JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 51



A taste of things to come

The Emirates Palace muscles in on the celebrity restaurant scene with its chic Chinese offering It’s a tried and tested formula – take a successful brand from one of the food capitals of the world, set up a branch in the UAE and watch the tables fill up with eager diners. Dubai’s achingly cool Japanese spots Nobu and Zuma set the benchmark in the region for this trend. Abu Dhabi, never one to lose ground from its somewhat showy neighbour, followed suit with the opening of Marco Pierre White’s steakhouse, and now they’re at it again. Hakkasan, at the Emirates Palace, is the latest incarnation of the bring-a-brand merry-go-round, making the jump from its London base (they have a branch in Miami, too) to the UAE. Created by Alan Yau, the man behind the hugely popular Wagamama fast-food chain (although expect little in the way of similarity), Hakkasan was the first Chinese restaurant to win a Michelin star, and is, as you’d expect, adored by the good and the great of London. Over in our own capital, it’s pretty much as you were, with its intricate and alluring (and, dare we say, expensive) décor sure to please the eye of even the most A-list of celebrities. As for the food, first mention must go to the house speciality of dim sum – a basket of perfectly steamed dumplings packed with culinary oddities such as jellyfish and venison. Amongst the other starters, the jasmine tea smoked beef ribs were a standout dish, with chunks of super-soft beef, smothered in a smoky, sweet sauce so tender it disappeared the moment it hit our tongue. While roasted mango duck – alternating slices of crisped duck and mango,

New eateries worth venturing outside for RED BOX LOUNGE Being trapped in a box is a childhood fear, but we won’t delve into those murky waters. We will, however, pop into the Red Box Lounge at Galeries Lafayette and sample the ‘pretty multinational’ cuisine on offer. Cakes, risotto, salads and a seafood grill. Remember: big fish, little fish, Red Box Lounge. Galeries Lafayette, First Floor, Dubai Mall, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thurs to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3827300. www.

swimming in a syrupy, tart lemon sauce – was also a delight. Make sure your feast continues with the charcoaled silver cod in champagne and honey sauce. The flaky chunk of silver cod is seared black on the outside and doused in subtly sweet gravy, and would put up a decent fight against any of its famous Japanese miso cod counterparts. The wild prawns in a delicate green tea sauce were a treat, although when it came to dessert the heavy chocolate soufflé with banana icecream was our fifth choice, after our (very) apologetic waiter informed us our previous choices weren’t available yet. Admittedly, this was only Hakkasan’s second day of business, so we’re sure this will be rectified by the time of our next visit. Which, given the standard of the rest of the meal, will no doubt be very soon.

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Need to know Location: Emirates Palace Tel: (02) 6907733 Web: Open: 6pm to 11.30pm Cuisine type: Chinese Must eat: silver cod in champagne and honey sauce Bill for two: Dhs1,200

In Tweet form… Hakkasan. International success arrives at Emirates Palace. Chinese delights that don't disappoint. Order dim sum and tea smoked beef ribs. Follow us at WhatsOnDubai and WhatsOnAbuDhabi

BRUNETTI The list of delights on offer at Aussieborn Italian café Brunetti had us out of our seat and hot footing it to Dubai Mall even before we reached the bit about the 24 varieties of cake. It has a gelateria offering gelato (ice cream), a cioccolateria for the chocoholics, a pasticceria producing pastries by the basket load, a menu of traditional Italian dishes and some exciting teas and coffees. Really, what more can one ask of an Italian café? Ground Floor, Dubai Mall, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thurs to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 339 8173. MEZLAI It’s a strange phenomenon in Abu Dhabi that you can eat food from almost any country in the world apart from the UAE itself. That’s all about to change with the opening later this month of Mezlai at the Emirates Palace, a restaurant specialising in contemporary Emirati cuisine. Expect spiced rice dishes, seafood and roast lamb to figure large. Emirates Palace, opening hours TBC. Tel: (02) 6907999. www. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 53


STEAKHOUSES Steak – it’s enough to bring out the growling, salivating cave person in all of us. There’s nothing more primal or more comforting than a beautiful bit of flesh cooked to juicy perfection. This month Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill's executive chef John Cordeaux imparts his knowledge of the mighty meat, plus there’s our pick of the UAE’s steakhouses



and no He's talked the talkt if Marco Pierre White chance to find ou executive chef John ll's Gri & Steakhouse a chance lk the walk. For Cordeaux can wa w.w to win, go to ww following question. and answer the comes from A rib-eye steak al? which anim a) Parrot b) Orangutan c) Cow


A properly aged, well-marbled piece of beef, salt, pepper and butter. I’m not a fan of steak spices and rubs for great cuts of beef as they smothers the natural flavours.


Simply grilled served with béarnaise sauce, grilled new potatoes, Roma tomato and balsamic salad.


Press the steak gently with the tip of your finger. Rare should be soft and supple, well done should be firm and medium inbetween. I like mine medium-rare.


tenderloin – the marbling gives a rib-eye a more juicy texture and a greater flavour profile.


Is all about great food, simple cooking, clean and tasty presentations – no fluffy hype, just professional, friendly and knowledgeable service. The quality of the sides is always key. Many forget how important it is to make a great mashed potato or hand cut French fries. Simple desserts and a robust wine list that caters to all tastes but does not break the bank. Comfortable chairs, quality stemware and flatware, appropriate music and superlative service.


My grandfather took my father and I to London’s Sloane Club when I Personally, I prefer US Prime, bewas eight and we were treated to cause of its distinctive flavour, steak Diane ‘flambéed’ tableside. I superb marbling and value for mon- will never forget those flames from ey. Wagyu is fabulous and a great the headwaiter’s rather generous treat, but I like to chew my beef and splash of brandy. And beef, as I had savour the flavours. Wagyu tends to never tasted before. melt in your mouth like butter.


This is a matter of opinion, but our guests at the MPW Steakhouse overwhelmingly prefer tenderloin and rib-eye. I would suggest beef tenderloin is the most popular. But 54 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

…THE BEST STEAK EVER The best steak I’ve ever eaten was a 350g rib-eye at a Morton’s steakhouse in New York City. My desert island steak would be a strip loin served with a rich creamy green peppercorn sauce.

JOHN CORDEAUX’S PERFECT STEAK Follow this formula and you will never ruin a beautiful cut of meat again INGREDIENTS A steak of your choice, groundnut oil or melted butter, salt, pepper PREPARATION Make sure your steak is at room temperature for 20 minutes prior to cooking. Heat a griddle or frying pan over a high heat until hot, but not smoking. Brush the steak with oil and season. Place the steak in the pan (it should sizzle). For medium, cook on one side without touching for three to four minutes, reduce to a medium heat and cook for a further two to three minutes. Turn and cook for a further six minutes. Remove from the pan and rest to allow the meat to hold its juices.




Our pick of the UAE’s meaty eateries



Terra Firma, but it’s ideal for a romantic meal – especially if the evening is cool enough for the veranda.

Traditionally a little formal, but new chef Fabio Pineda is promising to ditch the fine dining and make things more exciting.

Dark and alluring, but with just enough reserve. There’s a small but lively cocktail bar for pre and post-dinner tipples, too.

Warm and intimate. It’s like being in a cosy little barn.

Always busy, with a chatty, warm atmosphere to match.


Clean and contemporary with soft lighting, dark floors and furniture and a star-studded feature wall illuminated with lilac light.

Dark leather, dark walls – one adorned with bow ties (you heard) – and crisp, white table linen. Classic steakhouse with that dab of eccentricity.

Shadowy lighting envelops the bright furnishings at dinnertime, and we love the high-back chairs.

The dark walls, dark furniture and dim lighting mean you should remove your sunglasses before entering to avoid injury.

Pictures of cowboys on the walls and silver statues of bucking broncos. Yep, this is an American restaurant.


Spot on for a steakhouse, with pan-fried scallops in whisky sauce and a superb lobster bisque to start, juicy Aussie beef from David Blackmore for mains – the 300g Angus is our pick – and a mischievous half-cooked chocolate cake to finish.

A new two-course lunch menu is just Dhs140 with dishes such as strip loin sarnies and Wagyu burgers on offer. Dinner is a pricier affair, but again, chef Pineda is shaking things up with prime rib-eye for Dhs195.

We’ve worked the hot grill at Ruth’s Chris and it’s all about meat and heat – with a lot of butter. Forget calories, this is pure indulgence. Pick your preferred cut of US prime steak, devour it and then order the utterly devine cheesecake.

Australian Wagyu and Angus beef steaks share the menu space with classic English dishes, like fish and chips and Cornish crab cakes.

The US theme continues with dishes like Louisiana crab cakes, and Philadelphia cheesecakes, plus, of course, there are some fine, chunky steaks to be had.


The restaurant is a bit of a hidden gem, unless you’re a golfer. But it’s worth asking your caddy (or us) for directions.

Fairmont Dubai is nice and central and has just undergone a Dhs35million refurbishment project.

The Monarch Dubai has earned its place on the UAE culinary map with the hugely successful Japanese restaurant Okku and, of course, the meaty fine Ruth’s Chris.

British super chef Marco Pierre White couldn’t have picked a cooler location in the UAE than the glitzy new Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

The nearby Pregos restaurant has a great wine bar, and is a perfect spot for your post-meal tipple.


Dhs1,000 for two (excluding drinks).

Dhs850 for two (excluding drinks).

Dhs1,000 for two (excluding drinks).

Expect a bill for two to come in at around Dhs800.

Around the Dhs700 for two.


The most impressive steakhouse menu in Dubai.

We’re excited to see what other improvements are in store for this Dubai institution.

Grill burning at 1000°C. Check. Huge slab of prime US beef. Check. Butter. Check. Cheque, please.

Marco, we take our hat off to you, sir. You’ve graced Abu Dhabi with a seriously good steakhouse.

All-round excellence means the capital’s first US-style steakhouse is up there with the best.


Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai, Tue to Sun 7pm to midnight. (04) 7011128. www.

Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3118316. www.

The Monarch Dubai, 1 SZR, Dubai, Sun to Thurs 7pm to 11.30pm, Fri and Sat 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 5018666. www.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi, 7pm to 1am. Tel: (02) 6543333. www.

Beach Rotana, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi, noon to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6979000. www.


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Summer lovin’ Nothing has food lovers jumping with joy quite like a new menu. Enjoy our round-up of the summer’s best new offerings CAFÉ CHIC

Nobody does lunch quite like the French, and Café Chic doesn’t disappoint with it’s new three-course lunch menu offering Gallic classics like escargot and Pot-au-Feu for the traditionalists, along with some fine fish dishes. The sea bream in citrus sauce with a nice glass of white is a great shout. Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 12.30pm to 2.45pm, Dhs170 to Dhs190. Tel: (04) 2170000. www.


At this time of year, Europeans rave about asparagus – seriously, there's some passionate debate between food nerds – and this month, Bistro Madeleine has a three-course menu honouring the gorgeous green spears, served with a carafe of wine for Dhs180. Our pick? Asparagus mousse with white chocolate. InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Dubai, noon to 5pm and 7pm to 11.30pm, Dhs180. Tel: (04) 7011128.


Summer is truffle time, ladies and gents. Now, people react to the fabulously expensive fungus in different ways. Some are indifferent. While others go completely bonkers for the fungal little blighters. We’re firmly in the bonkers camp. Our favourite Dubai steakhouse is offering a four-course truffle-heavy menu for Dhs325 this month. Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City, Dubai, Tue to Sun 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 7011128. www.


Foie gras and truffle terrine, caramelised sweetbread tart (yes, please) with summer truffle and chocolate fondant with honey truffle ice cream. What do they all have in common? Yep, it’s more truffle. All three dishes are from the fivecourse Italian truffle tasting menu available this month for Dhs350 at Ember. The Address Dubai Mall, Dubai, 6.30pm to 11.30pm, Dhs350. (04) 4388888.


Why are there not more Spanish tapas restaurants in the UAE? Hungry diners are gobbling up the tasty little morsels across Europe and we think it’s about time tapas replaced sushi as our cuisine de jour. Seville’s saw the light years ago and with sous chef Carles Colomé’s new menu, offering adventurous delights like black squid ink paella with vongole clams, it’s sure to stay ahead of the game.


Wafi, Oud Metha, Dubai, Sat to Mon midday to 1am, Tue to Fri noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 3244777.


It’s all new at Exchange Grill, with chef Fabio Pineda introducing both a new lunch menu and a revamped dinner menu. The Dhs140 lunch menu promises wagyu burger, crab cakes and seared tuna, whilst the dinner menu offers beautiful steaks and a fair few seafood dishes. You can see a full review of the new menu in our August issue. Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sun to Thurs 12.30pm to 3.30pm, daily 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3118317. www.


Last time we talked to Gary, the celeb chef was looking forward to working with Mezzanine head chef Paul Lupton on an exciting new menu. The result is

enough to make a grown man cry with happiness. Roast fillet of beef with snail, garlic and parsley risotto, braised squab pigeon, red mullet with spring onion champ potatoes. There’s also a ‘pudding plate’ with bread and butter pudding, jam roly-poly and sticky toffee pudding. Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Mon to Sat 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3176000. www.


Following a recent visit from celebrity chef Sam Leong, Noodle House is incorporating a number of new dishes into its menu, including the chef ’s speciality wasabi prawns and delights such as steamed noodle with crab and ginger and salt and pepper calamari. Chopsticks at the ready, noodle fans. Various locations, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Tel: (04) 3749536.

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 57



Chef Sebastien Didierjean is really changing things up for summer at Margaux with new lunch and dinner menus. Slip out of the office for the two-course daily Dhs99 lunch menu – we’ll be there Tuesday for mussels in white wine with homemade chips, and Friday for bouillabaisse – and enjoy chilled pea soup, cold lobster with Greek veg and lamb ravioli for dinner. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai, noon to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 4397555.


Okku has never disappointed us, so it’s no surprise that the new menu is an unmitigated success. We tried it recently and with every nibble our taste buds fell further under Okku’s spell. By the end of the night they were ready to elope. Miso baked lobster on crispy rice, truffle fried rice, grilled sansho-pepper rib-eye, grilled foie gras and eel – need we go on? The Monarch Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, noon to 3pm and 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3998888. www.okkudubai. com


And you can bet chef Chris Lester and his team will do the produce proud. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown, Dubai, noon to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4230903.


Our favourite Abu Dhabi restaurant has introduced a new five-course blind tasting menu, with surprise chef 's choices (don’t worry, dietary preferences are checked beforehand). We recently ate some jaw-dropping blue lobster soup, crab ravioli and a tender Black Angus steak. Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi, 6.30pm to 11pm, Dhs333. Tel: (02) 5098888.

Exchange Grill

There’s nothing like seafood for the summer, and we recommend trying the new set menu at the excellent Finz restaurant at the Beach Rotana. The three-course meal starts with a king crab salad and gazpacho soup, followed by a seared tuna loin with quinoa and fruit chutney, finishing off with a chilled charentais melon with mint and yogurt sorbet. Better still, this will only cost you a mere Dhs225. Expect to see us on the table next to yours. Beach Rotana, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi, 12.30pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm, Dhs150 for two dishes, Dhs225 for three. Tel: (02) 6979000.

Rivington Grill


Always on the ball when it comes to seasonal produce – albeit the British seasons – RG will be incorporating a host of fruit into their menu this summer. Expect cherries, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, Tayberries, peaches, nectarines and Mirabelle plums, as well as salad leaves like dandelion and watercress, marsh and rock samphire and, come August, skate wings to all make an appearance. July’s star is the Scottish girole mushroom.

58 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


Café Chic

THE CRITIC James Brennan knows food. Having written on everything from bhajis to burgers for a string of international publications, James is now the Middle East chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants judging panel. Don’t miss his monthly musings every issue

A warning for those with sensitive ears, you’re about to hear a name get dropped. Gordon Ramsay (whoops, butterfingers...) once told me that he could have lots of restaurants around the world and not cook in any of them, for the same reasons that Giorgio Armani can have his name on millions of suits without committing a single stitch. And he had a point. Just because you made your name as a chef, it doesn’t mean you can’t trade off it as a restaurateur. But what about people who became famous for their achievements outside the culinary world opening up restaurants? Fashion designers, for example. Like Giorgio Armani? The recently opened Armani Hotel in Burj Khalifa is everything you’d expect from this doyen of Italian style and sophistication, with its cool clean lines and filthy rich guests. Of course, the place is meticulously fitted with Armani-branded dining options, from the elegant Italian fine-diner Ristorante, to an Indian restaurant (Amal) and the obligatory contemporary Japanese (Hashi). But why should we trust restaurants that bear the name of fashion designers any more than we’d trust pharmaceuticals designed by David Hasselhoff? 60 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

“WHY SHOULD WE TRUST RESTAURANTS THAT BEAR THE NAME OF FASHION DESIGNERS ANY MORE THAN WE’D TRUST PHARMACEUTICALS DESIGNED BY DAVID HASSELHOFF” It’s all about image. Today’s undisputed and infallible heroes are not world leaders, musicians, film stars or chefs. They are the people who can make us look good. The more we wear them, the more we buy into their brand and lifestyle, so that hotels, homes and restaurants are the logical next step. It’s a little too soon to be conclusive, but the early signs for Armani’s restaurants are good. And with all the power and money behind the Armani brand, you’d expect them to be. Are there better, cheaper restaurants in town? Undoubtedly. But that’s missing the point. Just as they’ll happily pull on an Armani suit, people will eat in his restaurants in the hope that some of that understated cool, refinement and finesse will rub off on them. Of course, Giorgio isn’t the only designer with a finger in the UAE’s

restaurant pie. At the other, more spangly end of the bling-o-meter is Roberto’s eponymous Cavalli Club, though the results are rather less palatable. Yet the place is regularly jam-packed (presumably with people for whom sparkly things are more important than tasty ones). And a Gucci hotel – no doubt with one or two shockingly stylish eateries –is slated to open in Dubai at the end of the year. Designer restaurants may well be here to stay, but will we see chefs start to turn the tables on their sartorially superior counterparts? The rumours are unconfirmed, but I have heard that Gordon Ramsay has put his name to his own brand of designer jeans. Apparently they’re somewhat inyour-face, exceptionally uptight and a little too far up your own backside for comfort.

Armani Ristorante

Cavallli Club


Fishy business Everyone loves hammour. But the species’ future is in danger. Time to try some sustainable alternatives.

We all like a nice piece of fresh fish. In fact, more than 66 per cent of us eat fish at least once a week, according to the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) and the

World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The problem is, 60 per cent of the time that fish will be hammour. And lovely though the national fish is, stocks have declined by 87 to 92 per cent since 1978 due to overfishing, according to a recent assessment carried out by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD). And it’s not the only Gulf fish that is in danger – also to be avoided is Shaari, Fersh,

Zuraidi, Kanaad, Yemah, Safi Arabi and Qabit. “Sixty per cent of fish caught locally is being fished above sustainable levels,” Nessrine Alzahlawi, spokesperson for EWSWWF’s recently launched Choose Wisely consumer awareness campaign told us. “It’s high time consumers were made aware of the problem and informed about what alternative sustainable varieties are out there.”

Fishy you can put on your dishy Faskar Two bar sea bream

Anfooz Yellow bar angelfish


Ebzimi Black streaked monocle bream

Jesh Um al hala Orange spotted trevally

Naiser Ehrenberg’s snapper

Yanam Sordid sweetlips Shaari Eshkeli Pink ear emperor

On the menu Some seriously juicy food news has made the specials board this month BETTER BY HALF It’s the age-old problem – what type of cuisine to choose for dinner? Maybe the answer lies on the first floor of the Fairmont Dubai, where Spectrum On One offers Indian, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, European or Middle East cuisine. And the best bit? Until September 11 you’ll have your bill sliced in half. That’s right, 50 per cent off. Spectrum On One, Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, 6.30pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 3118316. www. FAMILY YUM Asado – the very word conjures up memories of sizzling flesh and succulent steaks. It’s time you made another booking at our favourite Argentinean restaurant, and this time for the whole clan. Dhs180 per person for the Fiesta de la familia (family feast) set menu is as reasonable a price as one could ask for. It’s where the What’s On family dinner will be taking place this month. Do not disrespect the family. Asado, The Palace, Downtown, Dubai, 7pm to midnight, Dhs180. Tel: (04) 4287888. FRENCH REVOLUTION We love to go for a spin in Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi’s revolving restaurant Al Fanar. So we’re pretty excited about the menu changes promised by new French chef Alain Roin, who earned his spurs under Michelin-starred chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Bernard Loiseau. Al Fanar, Le Royal Méridien, Al Markaziyah Abu Dhabi, noon to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (02) 6742020. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 61

Summer fun for everyone, everywhere! This Summer in Abu Dhabi, you'll discover fantastic deals on everything! Buy one ticket and get another free on the stellar Big Apple Circus and Fantasy on Ice shows. Plus, get even more value offers for hotels, restaurants, mall specials, and ADNEC! It all awaits you June 24 - August 4, across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Call 800 555 or visit for details.

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Top of the pops Camp-tastic Wider world Five to see


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JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 63


Top of the Pops One of the leading international musicals of the past decade is about to hit the Dubai stage. Mixing homegrown performers with West End stars, theatre producer Julian Chenery takes time out of rehearsals to talk big hair, big numbers and even bigger moves So why Hairspray? When I first saw it in London two or three years ago, I was immediately struck by how much fun it is. The music is infectious and it leaves you with that feel good factor. The songs are so uplifting – to be in the audience is exciting enough, but to be on stage performing these numbers has got to be one of the most uplifting things you can do. It’s got things for so many different people and it’s full of comedy. It’s just a wonderful show. What we aspire to do is very common in the UK, where we’re based. During the summer, professional theatres across the country will have a youth-style workshop where they’ll take a show – usually a musical – and people come and join a summer workshop scheme and they prepare as professionally as they can to put on a show to a paying audience. Sounds good, but what makes this special? We decided not only are we going to use very high-quality, professional creative people, like my choreographers, co-directors and musical directors, to work with local people and young adults to put on the show, but we thought it would also help to 64 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

A brief history of Hairspray Who’d have thought, all the way back in 1988, when the man who is arguably America’s greatest – or at least strangest – alternative film auteur, John Waters, released his celluloid tale of dance, hair and race relations, that it would have a life beyond late-night re-runs and DVD curiosity? Set in suburban 60s USA, it brought the world Ricki Lake, gave Sonny Bono (former musical partner of the inimitable Cher) a late career boost, and featured the gloriously ironically named Divine as Tracy’s dragged-up mom, Edna Turnblad. So far, so B-movie. But one Broadway adaptation and its inevitable Hollywood remake later, and Hairspray the musical is a multi-award-winning keeper – a stalwart of stages from Broadway to the West End, and now, of course, Dubai. With great tunes, great energy and some crazy costumes, what’s not to love? As the song says, you can’t stop the beat.

have professionals at the highest level working every day with the students to teach them what they’ve been taught themselves. For Hairspray, we have the Olivier Award-winning Leanne Jones playing Tracy Turnblad. Leanne opened the show in London as the lead and played her for 18 months and she is absolutely delighted to be coming to Dubai. But more importantly, as a young performer herself, she knows what it’s like to go up the ladder – how she started, and how she enjoyed working with people who can directly teach you skills, tricks, tips and pass down information just by working together and putting on a show together on a daily basis.

Camp-tastic With more people staying in the UAE over the summer months than ever, there’s a growing need to offer fun, indoor activities for children to participate in: hence the rise of the summer camp. Where better to send your budding Kahlo or Van Gogh than to one of the art summer camps that are springing up like Warhols on a printing press all over the UAE? The Farjam Collection’s inaugural Art Camp has been created in conjunction with Zayed University and presided over by students from the UK’s prestigious Oxford, Cambridge and Durham universities. Its philosophy, according to the Farjam’s exhibitions and collections manager, Emilie Faure, is “to create, explore and enjoy”, giving kids the chance “to discover art in all its varieties”. Over at trusty old DUCTAC, meanwhile, the creative brief is wider still. All aspects of the arts are catered for, from art and pottery to dance and film-making. If there’s a better way to keep your artist-in-waiting occupied this summer than one of these camps, we’ve yet to discover it. Jul 18 to Aug 12, Art Camp at the Farjam Collection, Dhs500, including all craft materials and activities. Tel: (04) 3230303. www. Jul 4 to Aug 12, Art Summer Camp 2010, Mall of the Emirates, Dhs900 for one week, Dhs1,500 for two. Tel: (04) 3414777. Any other plans for this year? My main company, Shakespeare for Kids, is extremely successful in the Middle East and Gulf – we’ve just returned from bringing our version of Macbeth to Dubai and Bahrain. And we return to Dubai in January with A Midsummer Night’s Dream – we’re just going through final auditions for that. We have got a lot of other surprises to spring in other shows that we’re bringing over, other shows, plays and musical concerts – I think there’s a big demand for high-quality theatre, music and culture from all over the world in Dubai. We’re delighted to be part of it. There’s an argument that too much of what shows in the UAE comes from international touring companies. What are your thoughts on that? I think the legacy, or the history, of why a lot of stuff has been imported from overseas is the way that theatres in the region have traditionally worked with pro-

moters and producers to bring shows in. There hasn’t been an infrastructure for theatres to become production partners, the promoter has been the ‘inbetweener’, if you like, linking the venue and the show. That said, there should be more homegrown stuff and I hope that something like Hairspray will help that. I think that people like ourselves who inspire young people to look at the performing arts as something that’s important to them can become the cornerstones of companies that are based in Dubai and the UAE. With the number of different cultures and nationalities represented in the region, it would be lovely to create our own hybrid mix of theatre, which would be inclusive to everyone. That would be the really exciting thing. Jul 13 to 17, Centrepoint Theatre DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3414777. www.

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JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 65

The Rotana 20,000 one night stay giveaway

Spend AED 699 in one of our 53 Rotana restaurants across the UAE and get a complimentary night stay in one of our UAE hotels & resorts. Wherever your culinary mood takes you, we have the choice for you across our 53 Rotana restaurants, where you can spend AED 699 and receive a voucher to scratch and find out in which of our UAE hotels & resorts you won the one night stay. Why not go with a group of friends and earn more than one voucher, after all, you get one complimentary night with every AED 699 you spend. That’s not all! Rotana Rewards Exclusive members will also benefit from their regular summer promotion and will get a dining voucher worth 50% off, redeemable on their next visit. To learn more about the participating Rotana restaurants, simply visit *Terms & conditions apply.



An entirely more dazzling, but no less thought provoking, approach is taken in The Third Line’s current group exhibition, I. U. [Heart]. While ostensibly a show about Iran filtered through the eyes of individual Iranian artists, it too takes a broader look at the nation’s recent history with the USA, the most obviously striking of which is Shahab Foutouhi’s Towards Salvation (In Commemoration Of Epic 11 September), a monumental installation of dragonflies encircling two ‘towers’ of light, that is the largest single installation the gallery has ever shown. Other witty out-takes in a show that aims to identify, among other things, the interaction between Iran and the US, include Mahmoud Bakhshi’s red, white and blue carpet of stripes with no stars. The language may be less literal than Hager’s, but both exhibitions offer a powerful insight into the world we’re living in today.


There’s no doubt that the interaction and antagonism between the Middle East and the West has been at the heart of early 21st century history. The legacy of the attack on New York’s World Trade Centre in 2001 and the subsequent wars that resulted from it are finding an increasing presence in art on the international stage, two examples of which make it to Dubai this summer in very different ways. As a photojournalist, Tina Hager describes herself as “crouching in the corner of history”. Modest, considering her fascinating record of the Iraq war that begins at the West Wing of the White House (where Hager served as an official photographer) and continues to this day. Iraq: Transition To Peace, reveals a country recovering from turmoil and, for all its pictures of George W Bush and Condoleezza Rice, goes behind the headlines to reveal the fortitude of the land and its people with admirable restraint.


Wider World

Until Aug 15, Iraq: Transition To Peace, Portfolio Gallery, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04 3232395. E-mail: Until Jul 31, I. U. [Heart], The Third Line, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3411367. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 67



Another group show featuring the likes of UAE and XVA first-timer, US artist Sameer Reddy, and gallery regular Saba Qizilbash. Contrasting yet complimentary, Reddy’s bold, bright photographic imagery works beautifully against some of the exhibitions the more studied works. Continues in September. Until Jul 31, XVA Gallery, Bastakiya, Bur Dubai, Dubai, free. Tel: (04 3535383.


Doing exactly what the name says, this colourful selection of largely abstract art sets out to uncover some of Iran’s freshest new talents, including Shahpour Pouyan, Mansour Rafie, Mohsen Jamalinik. Total Arts at the Courtyard, Courtyard Building, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3475050.


Group photography show at the Al Quoz gallery, in which six international practitioners prove there’s rather more to their photographic method than mere point-and shoot. At times lyrical and beautiful, it’s a worthwhile introduction to ‘art’ photography. Until Sep 25, Carbon 12, Street 8, Al Serkal Avenue, warehouse D37, Al Quoz, Dubai, free. Tel: (050) 4644392.


Last chance to catch this historical look at the significance – not to mention the skills – of this most ancient of Islamic crafts. If you haven’t already done so, trip along to Emirates Palace this month while you still have the chance. Until Jul 28, Gallery One, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, free. Tel: (02) 6908207.


For her first solo show in the UAE, 2009 Abraaj Capital Art Prize winner Zoulikha Bouabdellah employs her now-familiar neon forms to create installations of Arabic letters that evoke both human movement and the spirit of legendary Egyptian performer, Umm Kolthoum. Stunning. Until Jul 23, Gallery IVDE, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3403965. 68 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


The Essential Arabian Library 17 Arabian Heritage Titles

In celebration of the centenary of Sir Wilfred Thesiger – The Last Of The Great Explorers – we offer three books and a limited edition print together with 14 other selected Best Selling books from The Arabian Heritage Collection.

Free Limited Edition Print of Wilfred Thesiger’s unique photograph Launching a Dhow, taken in Abu Dhabi in 1948 after his legendary second crossing of the Empty Quarter. Size: 16” x 12”, valued at Dhs 350.

Sir Wilfred Thesiger. Born June 1910.

Dhs 120 Described as a “Masterpiece” in The Times, this classic of travel literature is a must-read for anyone interested in the Arab world and its people. The special Centenary Edition celebrates the anniversary of Wilfred Thesiger’s birth in 1910, and includes 87 photographs and a fold-out map.

Dhs 185 This enchanting book is a showcase of the people of the Emirates during the mid-20th century. A superb collection of photographs by Ronald Codrai, documenting times gone by.

Dhs 185 This book is a breathtaking pictorial edition of the travel classic Arabian Sands, and contains the same colour map which appeared in the first edition of Arabian Sands in 1959.

Dhs 185 A wonderful photographic memoir by world renowned photographer Ronald Codrai. This book focuses on Codrai’s time spent in the Arab world during the past half-century.

Dhs 165 The ultimate authorised biography of Sir Wilfred Thesiger – written with Thesiger’s support before he died in 2003 and with unique access to the rich Thesiger archive – investigates this fascinating figure’s family influences, his wartime experiences, his philosophy as a hunter and conservationist, his writing and photography, and his friendships with tribal people.

Dhs 185 This enchanting book focuses on a time when the Gulf could claim to be home to the largest surviving merchantsailing fleet in the world. This personal record of the seafarers of the Emirates is a true historical jewel – a must for every library!

PO Box 2331 Dubai UAE Tel +971 4 282 4060 Fax +971 4 282 7898 PO Box 43072 Abu Dhabi UAE Tel +971 2 677 2005 Fax +971 2 677 0124

The entire collection now only Dhs 1450! Dhs 295

Dhs 295

A wonderfully illustrated book that covers the fascinating history of shawls from their earliest origins. The history of the Kerman shawl, which has never been revealed before, is one of its delightful highlights.

This title by Daniel and Serga Nadler takes an in-depth look at the world of silver and how it is valued by different cultures around the globe. “Silver triumphs in every step as the Nadlers cheer it on From Fetish to Fashion�.

Retail Value Dhs 3000

Dhs 55 Arabian Destiny is an insightful autobiography and a very personal account of the life of the late Edward Henderson – a man whose life was inextricably linked to the history of the UAE.

John Loring, Design Director, Tiffany & Co.

Dhs 85

Dhs 185

Dhs 120

A concise but complete description of the Arabian countries benefiting most from 21st century affluence sweeping the Middle East. Edward O’Sullivan summarizes years of experience and specialized knowledge into a single volume. A fascinating read!

The UAE - Visions of Change is part of Noor Ali Rashid’s “Royal Collection�, and comprises of beautiful historical images, in black and white, sepia and colour. This book highlights the extraordinary transformation undergone by the UAE over the past 40 years.

Dr Frauke Heard-Bey’s definitive history book of the UAE is a must-read for all individuals fascinated by life in the seven Trucial States before the wealth of oil, and events leading up to the 21st century UAE.

Dhs 145 This intimate and colourful view of the Emirates is a faithful reproduction of one of famed British artist Trevor Waugh’s journals, kept while travelling the length and breadth of the land.

Dhs 55

Dhs 75

A beautifully written heartfelt tale of the coming together of two cultures, and a love and understanding between a Western and Arab family. The Times called this book “a deeply sympathetic evaluation of a culture�.

A stunning compilation of poetry by Dubai’s visionary leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “Sheikh Mohammed reveals his passions but tempers them with justice and tolerance. These two qualities make for a legacy of any man on this earth�. Paulo Coelho

Dhs 125 Beyond the city’s limits, turquoise-blue waters with sandy beaches, symmetrical palm trees and ancient desert landscapes provide photographers with many opportunities.

Dirk Laubner



Patrick Lichfield

Dirk Laubner

This marvelous tribute to Dubai is a true portrait of a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, an emirate and its people. Patrick Lichfield’s iconic images speak of a rich study of one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

Patrick Lichfield’s photography has spanned four decades of change. His iconic images from the early 1960s to the present day, include notable personalities and events that characterised their times.

A cousin of Queen Elizabeth, The Earl of Lichfield, launched himself as a photographer in 1962. He soon progressed from photographing London’s party set to editorial work for national daily newspapers. Success in notable London magazines, such as the highly influential magazine, led to commissions from ,  and #& ! magazines in the United States.


International aerial photographer, Dirk Laubner, has produced a fine portrait of the emirate that reveals why Dubai is such a popular tourist destination. Published in a single, five-language edition, Dubai – An Aerial Tour is a collection of brilliant images of the emirate and a fascinating record of Dubai from the air as we see it today. Placing tourist attractions and significant landmarks in perspective, it provides a magnificent aerial tour for visitors and residents alike.

Dhs 185 Dubai


an aerial tour


an aerial tour

This book by internationally acclaimed photographer Dirk Laubner takes you on a breathtaking aerial tour around the emirate of Dubai. This five-language edition is a must-have for visitors and residents alike.

Dubai is an emirate of spectacular sights. With post-modern architecture and high-rise towers that jostle with one another, the city’s aerial views provide a magnificent insight into its different landscapes – be they manmade islands or landscaped villas, magnificent highways or grand hotels, verdant green parks or giant shopping malls – taking the reader on an awe-inspiring scenic tour.

Since that time, his pictures – ranging from formal and informal portraits, including many members of royalty as well as celebrities, prominent figures from the world of fashion and beauty to high profile advertising – have become well known around the world.

Dubai  #&!#!#

P a t r i c k


L i c h f i e l d

In recent years, Patrick Lichfield has been a frequent visitor to Dubai, a destination he admires and enjoys and one which certainly provides a wealth of fascinating subjects for his camera. '  #& !#!# is the outcome of these visits; it is a rich study of one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing cities.

"%##"!# !#

For bulk orders contact Javed Akrami (04 205 2496 / 050 588 8956 / or visit to order your collection today!



p74 Scorching summer bargains p76 Sophia says... JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 73


Scorching summer bargains

With outdoor activities grinding to a halt, it’s time to crank up the air-con and get ready for Dubai Summer Surprises. With giveaways galore in shops across the city and stuff to do for all the family, you need not sit in front of the TV for the next couple of months The mercury is rising and Modhesh is back. When the strange yellow creature appears it can only mean one thing: Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS). The shopping festival runs until August 7 and is costing a whopping Dhs60 million, with organisers saying it is bigger and better than ever. Shopping is a pastime in Dubai, but there is nothing better than saving money – while spending, of course. This year, 25 malls and 6,000 retailers are participating in DSS, with 40 of Dubai’s most renowned spas also offering special rates on selected treatments and therapies for women and men. Plus there are numerous free events to keep all the family entertained this summer. As DSS heats up, we look at what’s in store.


From high street to high-end, retailers are offering up to 75 per cent off much of their stock. And it’s not only last season’s clothes being dusted off from the stock room floor – there are lines from the current summer collections, too. Credit cards at the ready. For casual everyday wear head to Aéropostale, which has up to 60 per cent off everything from T-shirts and jackets to shorts and vests. For catwalk trends look no further than Forever 21, which is offering a part sale on six keys ranges including ‘trendy’ and ‘denim’, and Mango which has 50 per cent off selected items from maxi dresses to jeans, bags and belts. Shoe emporium Aldo is 74 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

offering massive reductions of up to 60 per cent on a range of styles for both men and women. Ladies, grab the gorgeous gold skyhigh stilettos and save them for winter – you won’t regret it. Debenhams is doing a buy-two-get-one-free promotion on labels including perennial favourites Warehouse and Oasis, as well as Designers at Debenhams, Coast and Dorothy Perkins, while Next is giving the first 150 daily customers who spend Dhs600 a voucher worth Dhs300 – get your winter wardrobe stocked up now. For luxury designer gear head to department stores Bloomingdale’s in The Dubai Mall and Harvey Nichols in Mall of the Emirates which are offering from 30 to 50 per cent off selected items including shoes, clothes and accessorise from top labels including Helmut Lang. Upmarket fashion chains BCBGMAXAZRIA and Escada have 50 to 70 per cent off selected dresses, while Galeries Lafayette has incredible offers on labels such as See by Chloe, Vanessa Bruno and Nicole Miller. What’s On found Burberry heels down from Dhs3,095 to a more affordable Dhs2,160 and a pair of Diesel jeans at Dhs489, down from Dhs699. For more unusual pieces, head to Wafi where Desert Rose has sales on unique jewellery and Boutique 1 in Jumeirah Beach Residence which has slashed prices on many big designer names including 3.1 Phillip Lim, Diane von Furstenburg, J Brand and Paul & Joe.


If you still haven’t got round to getting a new TV for the World Cup, there are just two weeks left to enjoy the beautiful game on a decent sized telly. Customers who spend Dhs500 at Jacky’s Electronics will get a free

meal at Americana and be entered into a draw for the chance to win a 42” LCD TV. There are also a range of incredible deals on Notebooks and laptops. Every Notebook sold comes with a scratch and win voucher where customers can walk away with free accessories worth up to Dhs500, and for every Dhs399 spent in store customers receive free food at a range of outlets including KFC, Pizza Hut and Krispy Kreme – now that’s what we call a sweet deal. Jumbo Electronics, Plug-Ins and Harman House are also giving away free vouchers and gifts on selected purchases and there are discounts throughout each store across all the malls on cameras, laptops and other electronic items. There are also piping hot deals at Carrefour at Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre with selected electronics marked down by 25 per cent. We found portable CD players starting from Dhs199, a top-of-the-range Canon camera at Dhs599 and mobile phones from an incredibly low Dhs139.

HOME AND GARDEN Now is a great time to do up your house or apartment. There’s no guilt about being inside, and it’s cheaper to get great looking home accessories and furniture. Head to The




SEGA Republic

Fashion show

Featuring 17 games and rides, including a rollercoaster and simulators, loads of fun awaits at SEGA Republic. We challenge you to survive the half-pipe. When: From July 1 Where: The Dubai Mall

Check out the latest fashions in abayas from local and GCC-based designers. When: July 8 to 11 Where: The Dubai Mall

Kids Olympic Games Grab the kids and head down to Mirdif where they can work off some energy at this competitive event. Children from nine months to 10 years are welcome and even parents can join in. When: July 25 to 31 Where: Mirdif City Centre


Kids Fashion Week

Dubai Mall for discounts at iwanngohome and Index Living Mall where a huge range of items from furniture to kitchenware, through to bedding and household accessories all have up to 75 per cent off. In Miri at Mall of the Emirates, handpainted ornaments and rugs have up to 50 per cent off. At ID Design, spend Dhs500 and get a gift voucher worth Dhs250 and at Home Centre customers get a Dhs50 voucher for every Dhs250 spent. Lifestyle has slashed prices on home accessories with vases, dried flowers and glasses all hugely reduced. And Dubai Garden Centre has a range of discounts and promotions on selected outdoor furniture.


This year DSS is offering a variety of packages aimed at both sexes. Spa enthusiasts can enjoy amazing discounts of up to 50 per cent, two-for-one offers and pampering complimentary extras on a number of treatments including therapies massages, scrubs, reflexology sessions, Ayurveda treatments and Moroccan baths. Raffles Amrita Spa has a host of summer packages including hot stone therapy, massages and scrubs, as well as wraps and facials. The treatments start from Dhs599 for

Dedicated to young fashionistas across the emirate, this show has little ones walking the catwalk for the likes of Benetton, Pumpkin Patch and Kenzo. When: August 1 to 7 Where: Deira City Centre

Hello Kitty Jungle Party Head to the Star Atrium for live musical shows from the colourful cast of Hello Kitty. When: July 1 to 31 Where: The Dubai Mall

60 minutes. At Amara at the Park Hyatt Dubai, guests can rejuvenate with two summer offers – the Spirit Of The Summer or the Sensual Summer Ritual. See page 84 for details. The Spa at The Hilton Jumeirah has 30 per cent off facials, massages and body treatments from 9am to 4pm on weekdays and the Ritz-Carlton Day Spa is offering use of the pool and hotel facilities for Dhs200 when a massage or facial is booked. A great way to make the most of the DSS promotions is to grab a friend and head to a spa together. Cleopatra’s in Wafi is offering buy-one-get-one-free on exfoliation treatments followed by a full body massage for Dhs710 between two. One distinctive of this year’s spa packages is the emphasis on men, with several of the city’s finest offering anti-fatigue massages and salon grooming packages specially created for gents. Elixir at the Habtoor Grand Resort & Spa has the Ultimate Men’s Energiser for Dhs630 and Raffles Amrita Spa has The Noble Man – a deep-cleansing facial designed for the skin care needs of men.

Min Bladi Al Emarat Explore the traditions of the UAE and get a unique insight into Emirati culture through presentations, shows and activities. When: July 17 to 26 Where: The Dubai Mall

Collectors Show Featuring amazing artefacts and collections from fashion and jewellery to coins and cars, this unique exhibition is well worth a visit. Where: BurJuman When: July 12 to 24

Fame the musical Relive those childhood memories of one the world’s best loved and most popular musicals as The First Group Theatre puts on this hit show. When: July 13 to 17 Where: Madinat Jumeirah.

Hairspray Professional actors from London’s West End join Dubai youngsters to perform this funny and charming musical set in the 1960s. It will have you dancing in the aisle. When: July 13 to 17 Where: DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates.

MODHESH WORLD Nothing says DSS quite like Modhesh, and as the mascot of the festival he quite rightly has his very own amusement park. Spread over 37,000 square metres at Airport Expo, Modhesh World is made up of 40 themed zones and includes popular attractions such as Magic Planet. Plus,for worn out parents there are live games from the World Cup. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 75

SHOPPING Got a fashion question for Sophia? E-mail

Sophia says... We dragg the oh-so stylish Sophia Triantafillou away from the helm at Emirates Woman into the grubby What’s On office to answer your wardrobe woes I’ve noticed some men around Dubai with the bottoms of their trousers rolled up, exposing a bit of (usually white) ankle. What’s that about? Ali, 32, The Greens, Dubai Unless you are over six feet tall, tanned and devilishly handsome, this trend is not for you. Best suited to men of the French or Italian variety, cropped or rolled up trousers is a trend that is difficult to pull off with panache. If you do want to give it a go, you will need to invest in pair of Capri pants (three quarter cargos are a no-go zone) and the footwear of choice should be loafers, or flip-flops if you are heading to the beach.

Necklace: New Look Headband: Aldo

Top: Reiss

Dress: Hoss Intropia

Blazer: Mango

Jeans: Diesel

Bangles: Mango

Finances are on the (very) tight side, but every time I open my wardrobe in the morning I want to weep. I desperately need some new clothes – what should I be buying to update what I’ve already got? Please don’t make it designer… Nadia, 19, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi I have some boat parties coming up so I need a few new bikinis – the only problem is that in this plastic fantastic town there are a bevy of inflated beauties around and I’m a little lacking on top. What styles, colours etc, will give me a ‘boost’? I can’t face detagging photos that make me look like a Tenyear-old boy. Desperate of Dubai Avoid bandeaus altogether as this will flatten you completely. Think halter all the way. You can even get these with padding if you are so desperate for a ‘boost.’ The busier the colour the bigger the breast, so knock yourself out with Pucci-esque prints. 76 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

You can, without a doubt, look fabulous on any budget – you just have to be creative and always remember that money doesn’t buy style. First on your fashion agenda should be to choose your style. Are you a boho beauty, rock chick or do you love classic elegance? Once you have established this, head to your favourite mall to stock up on your basics – things that you can build an entire wardrobe around. Whatever your style, you will need a great pair of blue jeans, a good quality (cotton) white T-shirt or vest, a black dress that can be worn by day or night and a day jacket – think boyfriend, biker or blazer. If you have any dirhams left, buy some great bangles, a chunky necklace and pretty headband to perfect your look.

Summer is well and truly here and I’m already sick of wearing linen. Is there a cool alternative? I’m a size 14 and not a massive fan of skirts or shorts so feel a bit stuck. And look rather crumpled. Pippa, 26, JBR, Dubai For starters, you shouldn’t be wearing linen in the first place. Possibly the most unattractive fabric ever invented, it crumples, hangs and sweat stains in all the wrong areas. It’s all about cotton. Think easy summer shirts teamed with cropped trousers and stylish slip ons which will keep you cool on the fashion (and weather) front.

My girlfriend’s birthday is coming up and it’s a bit soon to give her jewellery, so I was thinking about clothes. She says she’s a UK size 10 to 12 and I can spend up to Dhs500. Can you help? Dan, 34, Old Town, Dubai FACT: It is NEVER too early to give a girl jewellery. I’m not talking five carats, but she may like a pretty bangle or brooch. If this is still ‘too soon’ for you, stay away from clothes altogether, it will stress you out trying to find them and her more so when she has to pretend she likes them. Opt for a nice canvas bag and fill it with goodies she loves like picture frames, perfume, CDs and sweets.

Frame: Zara Home

Canvas bag: New Look Perfume: The Body Shop

p81 p82 p82 p84



His ‘n’ hers Armani/Spa Dermalogica facial Spa deals JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 79



We take a nap and get iced at Radisson Blu Yas Island



TALK US THROUGH IT… A complete body rubdown, starting with your toes and working up to a head massage. The emphasis of the massage is on gentle strokes, rather than pain – you’re rubbed down in chamomile and sandalwood oils, which are renowned for their calming properties – so it’s soon snooze time.


have worn them home if they hadn’t been a tad on the transparent side.

THE BEST BIT? The deep back massage from Karen the masseuse was sublime. She should insure her magic hands for millions.

SLEEP FACTOR? Half way through the treatment I suddenly found myself sharing a taxi with Megan Fox, Yoda and Carlton from The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. Yes, I was dreaming and was well and truly out for the count.

ANY AWKWARD MOMENTS? Not really, apart from the fact I was constantly dropping off during the massage. But I think that was pretty much to be expected.

WHO SHOULD GET INVOLVED? Insomniacs, jet-jagged travellers or those that like to stay up well past their bedtime.

HOW WERE THE DISPOSABLE PANTS? Large, stretchy shorts. I would

HOW MUCH AND HOW LONG? Dhs375 for two hours.

TALK US THROUGH IT… There are three parts to this deep cleansing and anti-wrinkle treatment for the face, neck and décolletage. It begins with a gentle exfoliation, followed by a soothing facial massage. The final firming and tightening of the skin is done by the application of anti-ageing, nutrient-packed ice cubes, which melt into your skin on contact. THE BEST BIT? The ice cubes. Believe it or not, after being soothed into a state of relaxation with the massage and facial treatments, the ice cubes are not too cold, just very refreshing and they smell amazing – lavender, nice. ANY AWKWARD MOMENTS? I was a little bit apprehensive before the ice was applied. But it was nothing to worry about. HOW WERE THE DISPOSABLE PANTS? Pretty standard. White and badly fitting. Nothing to write home about. SLEEP FACTOR? The ice cubes aren’t applied until the end of the hour-long treatment, so surprisingly, sleep factor remains high. The soft face and neck massage along with some temple rubbing soon ensures you’re nodding off. WHO SHOULD GET INVOLVED? Anyone looking for brighter,

fresher skin – which is probably all of us. And as it leaves no red marks, it’s great for a special occasion or a night out. HOW MUCH AND HOW LONG? Dh355 for 55 minutes, with a facial analysis thrown in. The Spa, Radisson Blu, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 9am to 9pm. Tel: (02) 6562000. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 81


Dermalogica Facial WHERE? In one of the many villas that line Al Wasl Road, Dubai is Pastels, a beauty salon and hairdressers. Behind unassuming gates lie some seriously skilled therapists and luxurious products, with treatments to sort you out – literally – from head to toe. WHY? Our skin has taken something of a battering of late. Between late nights, sunburn, the UAE’s smoggy air and not drinking our recommended two litres of water a day, it was time to bring in the professionals. Juliette at Pastels suggested a Deep Cleansing Facial from Dermalogica, ideal for younger skin that needs de-clogging and hydrating. We didn’t envy her job.


HOW? Dermalogica is unique in that it uses face mapping to determine various problems and the massive range of products mean your facial will address each one. The face is split into 14 ‘zones’ that the therapist studies – we had some problems in zone two (between the eyebrows) which can mean we may indulge in rich foods a little too often. No comment. A recent poolside toasting session had left its mark too, so after steaming and extractions (the least painful we’ve ever had) there was some intensive moisturising. A quick massage and we were done – sporting super-soft skin and promising to wear sunscreen. Pastels, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, Dubai, Sat to Thurs 9am to 7pm, Dhs330 for 75 mins. Tel: (04) 3947393.

82 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

Armani/Spa Armani is a foreign country: they do things differently there. We take a trip to the spa to see if la dolce vita is waiting Imagine a restaurant with no menu. Where you simply book a table, answer some questions and your meal is decided for you. That’s pretty much the concept at Armani/ Spa. There’s no treatment list as such, so your only decision is how long to make your appointment, from 90 minutes to a full day. Upon arriving you have a brief consultation with a therapist who discusses options with you; wraps, massages, facials, body parts, pressure, complaints… Then a customised treatment is devised. Kooky. For those who haven’t visited Armani yet, its dark neutrals, minimal design, masculine overtones and that inimitable style (they have black shower caps for crying out loud) conspire to create a hotel truly unique to Dubai. The spa is no different. Far from the oh-so popular Asian-inspired spa retreats we see throughout the region, Armani is bringing some Italian chic to our dusty shores. It’s all cool greys and marble, linear lines and long corridors. The space is luxurious but stark, no doubt appealing to the moneyed businessmen we saw stalking around (several looked remarkably like Mr Armani himself, which was momentarily thrilling). It’s unlikely, however, that Giorgio’s offering will become the destination du jour

for Dubai’s ladies who spa – it simply feels a little too functional and is missing the all important free use of a sauna/steam/Jacuzzi, although there was some lovely dried fruit in the relaxation lounge and guests are free to use the outdoor pool. Back to the treatment. For our 90 minutes we were prescribed a deep tissue massage and mini facial with scalp massage. It was excellent. Our South African therapist was exceptionally well trained, the gorgeous room was studded with tiny glass tiles and completed with an electronic bed for maximum comfort, while the massage was, quite simply, one of the finest we’ve ever had. Warm compresses were placed down the spine and a custom-blended Armani cedarwood oil was used to coax muscles into a state of somnolence. Our brain wasn’t far behind and, despite the pressure points and deep massage, a little nap was had. The mini facial followed but was something of a sleepy blur, so it was a nice surprise to wake up looking fresh and glowing. In short, the products are beautiful, the staff are fantastic, the space is knock-out and the treatment was one of the best. If you’re looking for an effective massage at an impressive address then look no further, but if you need the feminine touches of a day spa, then Armani might not be in fashion for you. Armani/Spa, Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, daily 9am to 9pm, Dhs650 for 90 minutes, Dhs800 for two hours, Dhs1,100 for three hours, Dhs1,500 for a half day and Dhs2,500 for a full day. Tel: (04) 8883888. www.



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For bookings and information, Call InterContinental Abu Dhabi on 800 423463



Spa Deals


Go from rough to rockin’ with our pick of the best discounts in Spa Land

EXCLUSIV E READER OFFER! The spa at Le Méridien Dubai is offering What’s On readers a whopping 50 per cent off a hot oil hair and scalp massage followed by a blow-dry. Present this page and you’ll pay half price. Natural Elements, Le Méridien Dubai, Airport Road, Garhoud, Dubai. Tel: (04) 2170000

MANDARA SPA The name says it all. Revitalise yourself at the Monarch Dubai with their Rejuvenating Summer ceremony. Take 110 minutes out of your busy schedule and get an aroma foot ritual, traditional body scrub, back neck and shoulder massage and a foot massage all for Dhs595. This package also includes access to the sauna, steam, Jacuzzi and swimming pool. Mandara Spa, 3rd Floor, The Monarch Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 5018270 THE SPA AT THE PALACE Take a break and indulge in a De-Stress Massage with Detoxifying Clay Mask at The Palace. You’ll get a footbath, then a thoroughly relaxing massage and body treatment plus a selection of herbal tea and fruits, for Dhs685 (one hour and 30 minutes). Also included is access to the fitness centre, oriental bathhouse (complete with steam room, Jacuzzi and monsoon showers) and the outdoor pool overlooking the Burj Khalifa. Until Aug 31, The Spa, The Palace, Old Town, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4287805 AMARA SPA Get into the spirit of DSS at one of our favourite spots, Amara Spa, with the Spirit Of The Summer package for Dhs350 from Sunday to Thursday (Dhs400 for Friday and Saturday). You’ll start with an outdoor rain shower in a private terraced garden, get a foot and hand rose petal bath, and a 45-minute body massage with soothing oils. There's also complimentary full-day use of the 25-metre swimming pool, fragranced steam room, lounges and gymnasium. Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira, Dubai. Tel: (04) 6021660. www. MAN/AGE The chaps aren’t left out this month with cash back vouchers from Man/Age. Spend Dhs300 and you’ll get Dhs50 to spend either at the spa or at M2M tailors. Splash Dhs500 and you’ll receive a voucher worth Dhs100. That’s our kind of mathematics. Man/Age, Rimal, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residences, Dubai Marina, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4355780.

84 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

e r i F y M t h g i l Re ly u J h t 9 y a d i r F


Man of the match Mohammed Najeeb is the face of UAE football, having presented sports shows for 35 years. He'll be fronting the English Premier League coverage next season for Abu Dhabi Sports, who recently won the rights to broadcast all of the games Picture the scene. The UAE football team is embroiled in a crucial qualification game for the 1990 World Cup with China. With less then three minutes left on the clock, the UAE are 1-0 down, needing to win to secure a place at Italia ’90. Then, suddenly, a reversal of fortune leads to the UAE firing in two quick goals. They win the match. Watching in the television studio is the UAE’s most famous football presenter, Mohammed Najeeb. As the camera cut to him after the final whistle, instead of providing expert analysis on the glorious victory, he’s choking back the tears. “I was in the studio with my pundit and when the second goal went in, we were just overcome with emotion,” recalls Mohammed. “Before we scored, I was saying ‘it’s not fair, we’re playing better then them and we’re still down.’ All of a sudden we were winning. “We both had tears in our eyes and the director was yelling ‘for God’s sake, get it together. We will be on air very soon.’ But we couldn’t help it, we were so taken

Sports scooped the rights to broadcast the English Premier League (EPL) from ShowSports. Mohammed – a diehard Manchester United fan – will be involved in both the Arabic and English coverage of the sport. “We’re all so excited because the EPL is still the best league in the world,” he boasts. “Why? Because when a great team like Manchester United plays a small team like Hull City, there is competition. Any team can beat any other team. This doesn’t happen in Spain or Italy. “In fact, when I heard from the EPL that we had been successful in our bid, tears came to my eyes again. It was almost as emotional as when we beat China back in 1989.”

HOW TO WATCH… "WE BOTH HAD TEARS IN OUR EYES AND THE DIRECTOR WAS YELLING ‘FOR GOD’S SAKE, GET IT TOGETHER. WE WILL BE ON AIR VERY SOON" – MOHAMMED NAJEEB aback,” he chuckles. The event has gone down in the UAE’s footballing folklore and helped make Mohammed a star to the country’s local population. But he’s also renowned for his forthright opinions on footy the scene in the Arab World. Once he even offended the whole of Saudi Arabia by claiming the country’s football clubs weren’t up to scratch. And whenever a football

legend has visited Abu Dhabi, Mohammed’s the man who comes to meet them. Now he counts footy legends such as Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson and Lionel Messi, who he met when Barcelona played the World Club Championships in Abu Dhabi last December, as pals. And he’s set to become a household name for the country’s expat population after Abu Dhabi

t Abu Dhabi Sports will be showing all 380 EPL games live. t Satellite viewers will need to buy a Humax HB decoder and smartcard, which will cost Dhs999 in total. t Users with a Humax decoder can buy a smartcard for Dhs370. t Cable users can subscribe through their cable provider. The EPL package should cost around Dhs75 a month. t Internet users can also stream the matches online. It will cost Dhs370 for all the matches, although it is recommended you have a broadband width of at least 2Mb to view the games clearly. Tel: (02) 4144000. JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 87

Got a fitness question for James? E-mail o editor-w @m


at the right times, you’ll have more energy to train, you’ll recover better from intense workouts and you’ll maximize the muscle building process.

Our resident exercise guru answers your health and fitness questions

Is there such a thing as the ‘fatburning zone’? Grace, Dubai Marina

What is the best way to get back into a fitness routine after not exercising? Dennis, Discovery Gardens, Dubai Getting back into an exercise routine is a fantastic step forward. Where I find most people fall down is that they get frustrated that they cannot pick up where they left off. What we need to realise is that times change and our bodies adapt to our way of life. Use it or lose it. With this in mind, I would suggest that firstly you go and have a check-up with your GP, just to ensure that you are all good to get back into things. Assuming everything is OK, you could then either enlist the help of a fitness trainer or go it alone. If you decide to go it alone, then set yourself small, realistic and measureable targets. As an example, start with bodyweight exercises and create yourself a small circuit. Repeat the circuit two to three times and time how long it takes. Once you have your benchmark time, aim to improve it upon your next attempt and so on and so forth. What are the best exercises to get rid of the dreaded ‘love handles'? Sohail, Karama, Dubai Despite the endearing name, the fat on the sides of your abdominals is often the last to go when you’re losing weight. Firstly, you did not get love handles overnight and they won’t go away overnight. Secondly, you can’t simply ‘spot-tone’ and do movements that


88 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

focus on this specific area. Although it’ll strengthen the ab muscles underneath, it won’t get rid of the fat on top. To lose your love handles, you need to reduce your overall body fat. That means focusing on your nutrition and training hard. Ask yourself if you’re been slacking off on either weight training or Energy System Development (ESD), or cardio, since even the most dedicated athlete often favour one or the other. Focus on compound movements with short rest periods between exercises. Should I eat before I exercise, or is it better to exercise on an empty stomach? Marcus, Jumeirah, Dubai Some people say that training on an empty stomach burns more fat. However, in my opinion, and what I have learnt from some of the world’s best nutritionists and coaches, is that in order to build strength and lean muscle you need to fuel your body properly before and after your training session. By eating the right foods

Ah, the legend that is the fat-burning zone. It states that a certain level of exercise results in a larger number of calories burned being derived from fat. This does not mean that stored body fat is the selective source. It only describes the relative percentage of utilisation of three substrates: fat, carbohydrates and protein. The truth is, the fat-burning zone actually describes the percentage of calories burned that are derived from fat as an energy source. Do you know when you are burning the most calories from fat? Sorry, but the highest percentage of fat utilisation is at rest. The more intense the exercise becomes, the more carbohydrate is used as a source. Losing weight is about the number of calories burned, not the number of those calories that come from fat as a source. If the fat-burning zone idea actually worked, we could get extremely lean by simply sitting still. Unfortunately, I feel that the fat-burning zone has been the culprit for many a boring and wasted workout. What Mr Fitness James Houghton doesn't know about staying healthy isn't worth knowing. In his seven years as a personal trainer, he's helped West End actresses lose the pounds and worked with the Arabian Gulf rugby sevens team to keep them in peak condition.

wagamama The Greens Tel 04 361 5757 wagamama Al Fattan Towers Tel 04 399 5900 (Open daily 12noon to 12 midnight, deliveries until 11.30pm)


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Programme Includes:

Dune Bashing Sand Boarding & Camel Riding BBQ Dinner - Arabic Tea & Coffee Soft Drinks & Refreshments Photograph in Local Dress Henna Painting & Tattoos Enchanting Belly Dancing Show Sheesha (Hubbly-Bubbly) & lots more entertainment throughout the evening

Per Person

Dhs. 200/-

Pick-up & drop-back facility included Timing: Pick up: 3:00 - 3:30pm - Drop off: 9:00 - 9:30pm

24 Hrs. Reservation E-mail: Web:

ISO 9001:2008 Certified

CLUB DIARY Get your groove on


Ministry of Sound @ Sanctuary MoS heavy hitters Gareth Cooke and Scott Langley bring Summer Sessions to Sanctuary, while Mass Ramli and Mark Pickup keep the back rooms busy. Sanctuary, Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, 9pm to 3am, Dhs100, ladies free before 11pm. Tel: (04) 4475532. www.


Leeroy Thornhill @ SYNF Former Prodigy dancer Leeroy shows his skills on the Alpha decks. Should be fun. Alpha, Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud, 9pm to 3am, Dhs100, free for ladies before 11pm and Dhs75 after. Tel: (04) 34479479. www.



Asylum The lunatics are taking over the asylum, well, 400 Club anyway, with the Sheikh Zayed Road venue transformed into a clubbing madhouse. Expect white padded walls, drinks served in syringes and models in straitjackets dancing in cages. Sounds crazy… The 400 Club, Fairmont, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3324900


Terry Francis @ iLL Communications


Terry Francis @ iLL Communications Top British DJ Francis is a legend in clubland, famed for his blend of electrotechno and earthy house. Rooftop, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 10pm to 3am, Dhs130, ladies and FACE card holders free before 11pm. Tel: (050) 7258277.


Cassy @ iLL Communications

15 Stanton Warriors @ SYNF We go to battle with Dominic, one half of breakbeat duo Stanton Warriors, to find out how hard he really is… What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done? Played breakbeat music to a thousand house-loving Italians on the Space terrace in Ibiza. Not fun. Could you hot-wire a car? No, but Mark can re-wire a keyboard. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep? Four days. You end up going a bit mad. Ever punched a wall in anger? I punched a window once and slashed my hand up. Far more hardcore than punching a wall. What’s the best thing you’ve ‘liberated’ from a hotel room? The entire mini bar most weekends. Do you have any good scars? One on my thumb from punching that window. Ever spent a night behind bars? Never. Prefer hotels. Could you start a fire without a lighter or matches? With the right bassline, yes. Complete the sentence. My handshake… …works well on the turntables. Alpha, Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud, 9pm to 3am, Dhs100, free for ladies before 11pm and Dhs75 after. Tel: (04) 7022640.

DJ Mark Pickup @ Relax@12 Fresh from his Sanctuary gig, Mark Pickup heads to Abu Dhabi with his box of San Fran deep house. Relax@12, Aloft, Abu Dhabi, 8pm to late, free. Tel: (02) 6545138. www. Charl Chaka @ Blizzard The football maybe all but over but Barasti’s megadome is still in demand. Charl Chaka plays jackin’ house for the music-loving masses. Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai, 5pm to late, free. Tel: (04) 3181313



Step On @ Home New addition Rude Larry adds more mayhem to your weekly indie fix. Chi @ The Lodge, Al Nasr Leisureland, Dubai, 8pm to 3am, Dhs100, free before 11pm, ladies free before midnight. Tel: (04) 3379470 WEEKLY

Blizzard @ Barasti Head down to the beach for 70s, 80s and 90s music from ‘Retro Jedi’ Rohan Nunez. And it's all in air-conditioned comfort. Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai, 5pm to late, free. Tel: (04) 3181313


Just Sundays DJ Enzo Mirak helps you get over the back

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CLUB DIARY to work blues with commercial house and radio hits. Cavalli Club, Fairmont, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3329260


20 Afrika Bambaataa @ MUZIK WHAT'S ON PICK

There was no problem, because we were conscious of our roots and all I did was return my ancestral name back to me. You went in search of those roots with a trip to Africa as a young man. How did that influence you? Africa was amazing. To see many places, speak to the people, feel the vibration of the land, music and animals. To hear Brother Fela Kuti and Afro-beat music for the first time. It was dynamic, spiritual, exciting and powerful. And now you’re in your 50s. Are you still able to embrace music and technology like you used to? Now, how you know I am in my 50s? I am way older than that and way younger than that. I am as ancient as the sun, moon and stars but as young as a newborn flower. I love technology when it is used to help all beings on this planet, but dislike it when it’s used to cause destruction. That is why intergalactic beings from other planets and dimensions are now watching what our world leaders and scientists do. Oh. Erm, back here on planet Earth – you were inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. How did that feel? It was nice to hear I was nominated, as it is now nice to hear there are petitions all over the net to honour me with The Nobel Peace Prize.


Bewitched@ Relax@12 Progressive house and more at the everpopular capital city spot. Relax@12, Aloft, Abu Dhabi, 8pm to late, free. Tel: (02) 6545138. www.aloftabudhabi. com


Kiko Navarro @ Armani Prive Pacha DJ Navarro takes a break from Ibiza with a night at Prive. Expect deep house, afro fusion and a very glam crowd. Armani Prive, Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, 10pm to 3am, free. Tel: (04) 8883888. Cassy @ iLL Communications Covering all manner of musical and cultural influences, Cassy is guaranteed to bewitch Rooftop goers with her blend of European house. Rooftop, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 10pm to 3am, Dhs130, ladies and FACE card holders free before 11pm. Tel: (050) 7258277.


Derrick Carter @ We Are Chi Chicago’s finest DJ and producer graces the decks at Chi, blasting out underground house. Chi @ The Lodge, Al Nasr Leisureland, Dubai, 8pm to 3am, price TBC. Tel: (04) 3379470 Mr Mr @ Relax@12 Dubai favourite heads to the capital to give Abu Dhabi dwellers a dose of house. Relax@12, Aloft, Abu Dhabi, 8pm to late, free. Tel: (02) 6545138. Matthew Charles @ Blizzard Barasti’s beach dome is put to good use with Matthew Charles and his beats. Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai, 5pm to late, free. Tel: (04) 3181313


We get deep, meaningful and a bit bizarre with the Godfather of hip hop, the one, the only… Afrika Bambaataa You started life as Kevin Donovan. How did the folks react when you changed your name?

The peace prize? Wow. Weren’t you involved in gangs growing up? All armies or gangs always had songs, chants or music to cheer you up for battles, to sooth, to relax, to dance, or to love or kill. Music plays a major role in everything we do on this great planet. What about hip hop? Hip hop today is controlled by corporations. But hip hop culture is still being taught by the true pioneers of the movement. These are the ones that need to be running these so-called hip hop labels. Any advice for someone starting out in the business? To know what you’re getting into. To do the research. Without a clear study of whatever art or profession you are entering, then you can get hurt down the line, become a slave to the rhythm as Grace Jones sang, and without knowledge anyone with knowledge can trick or trap you, even without you knowing. How long will you be doing it for? I will be making music in this life and beyond this life. Rooftop, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 10pm to 3am, tickets Dhs150, ladies and FACE card holders free before 10pm. Tel: (050) 7258277.




Zane Lowe @ Home The big man in a beanie is back. His last gig was an eclectic spectacular of drum‘n’bass, indie, R&B and more, voted by one What’s On staffer as ‘the best DJ performance he’s seen in the UAE’. Unmissable. Chi @ The Lodge, Al Nasr Leisureland, Dubai, 8pm to 3am, Dhs100, free for FACE card holders all night and ladies before midnight. Tel: (04) 3379470. www.

Derrick Carter @ We Are Chi

Dirty Disco @ SYNF Nu disco, classic house and more from Da:Funct, Just Some Kid and Matt McBriar. Alpha, Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud, 9pm to 3am, Dhs50, free for ladies before midnight. Tel: (04) 7022640

Lady Lea @ Home Big in South Africa, Lady Lea visits our shores for a night of funky, progressive house, SA style. Chi @ The Lodge, Al Nasr Leisureland, Dubai, 8pm to 3am, Dhs100, free for FACE card holders all night and ladies before midnight. Tel: (04) 3379470


Battle of the DJs @ Relax@12 It’s Stew Magoo vs Chad Phunk in this battle of the funky house DJs. Sure to be a winner. Relax@12, Aloft, Abu Dhabi, 8pm to late, free. Tel: (02) 6545138.

30 Zane Lowe @ Home



M.A.N.D.Y Minimal German techno served up by one of the finest acts in dance. Don’t miss it. Rooftop, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 10pm to 3am, Dhs130, ladies and FACE card holders free before 11pm. Tel: (050) 7258277. www.

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 91


p95 Birmingham p101 Udaipur JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 93

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Yummy Brum


Take a culinary tour of Birmingham, England’s second city, a metropolis bursting with flavour It’s probably better known for its Dunlop tyre factory than its Michelin-star restaurants. But while Birmingham was once the industrial powerhouse of Britain, now it’s gaining a worldwide reputation as a culinary force. With its rich manufacturing heritage, Birmingham is still famous for global food brands like Cadbury’s chocolate, HP Sauce, Bird’s Custard and Typhoo Tea. Yet it’s Birmingham’s kitchens, rather than its factories, that are whetting the appetites of epicureans in search of the UK’s next gastronomic hotspot. In Purnell’s, Simpson’s and Turner’s, it has three restaurants with a Michelin star, which is more than any other English city outside of London. On top of that, Lasan, an upscale Indian restaurant in the city’s historic Jewellery Quarter, was recently named Britain’s best local restaurant on Gordon Ramsay’s F-Word TV show. It’s one of a glut of up-and-coming eateries vying to grab Birmingham’s next haul of Michelin accolades. Together they make up a burgeoning movement of high-end restaurants that for the last few years have been at the heart of a gourmet renaissance. But it hasn’t always been this way. For many years the London press took great delight in lambasting Birmingham as a food and restaurant backwater – a fact that local chef Glynn Purnell knows only too well. “It is frustrating,” he bemoans in the understated reception room at his restaurant in the financial district. “When I first started up in Birmingham in 2003, it was named a culinary desert. It was supposed to be the second city,

Selfridges and St Martin’s Church at dusk

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 95



Where to eat MICHELIN STAR Simpson’s 20 Highfield Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 4543434. www.

FUTURE STARS Love’s The Glasshouse, Canal Square, Browning Street, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 4545151.

Turner’s of Harborne 69 High Street, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 4264440. www.

Edmunds BALTI Al Frash 6 Central Square, Brindleyplace, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 6334944. 186 Ladypool Road, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 7533120. Lasan 3 to 4 Dakota Buildings, Shabab James Street, St Paul's Square, 136 to 165 Ladypool Road, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 2123664. 4402893 restaurant

Purnell’s 55 Cornwall Street, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 2129799. www.

Victoria Square

Shahi Nan Kebab 353 Stratford Road, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 7722787






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Summerfield Park

National Indoor Arena

Edgbaston Reservoir



Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery






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Opus 54 Cornwall Street, Birmingham. Tel: (+44) 121 2002323.

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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Highgate Park





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Calthorpe Park

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Edgbaston Pool


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and although there have always been great places to eat, it was all roll-your-sleeves-up, faggots and mushy peas, Chinese, baltis, curries, curries and curries. When I first opened people were scratching their heads wondering why it didn’t say Patel’s on the front, let alone Purnell’s.” It’s true that the city’s diverse multicultural population has helped to shape its restaurant scene. This is the birthplace of the balti, invented in the Sparkbrook area of the city by Pakistani and Kashmiri migrants in the 1970s. Cooked and served in a wok-like steel bowl, and traditionally eaten with scoops of naan bread rather than cutlery, the no-frills curry can be found in hundreds of small independent restaurants in Birmingham, and many more across Britain. But the balti is most ubiquitous in its ancestral heartland – the network of streets a few miles south of the city centre known as the Balti Triangle. It’s there, in a tiny balti-house called Shahi Nan Kebab that we share a table with Andy Munro – balti aficionado, spokesman for the Asian Balti Association and the man who’s trying to reclaim the balti for Birmingham. As we get stuck in with our hands, he tells me about his application to get the Birmingham balti granted protected geographical status, like Cornish clotted cream or Arbroath smokies. “I’m going to call it the ‘Birmingham balti’, because that’s where it started,” he says over his steaming chicken and mushroom




(Above) On the canal (Right) The BT Tower

(Above) Sea bream at Lasan CORBIS

balti. “I don’t really care – if anyone says they want to do a balti chicken, they can. They can do it in Scotland, and do it badly for all I care. But what I want is the Birmingham balti to be the Birmingham balti.” While the balti has long enjoyed legendary status and a devoted following that’s bordering on the fanatical, it’s only recently that Birmingham began to flourish at the other end of the culinary compass. Birmingham, or Brum as it is affectionately nicknamed, is traditionally a working class city. During the Industrial Revolution it was known as ‘the workshop of the world’ before it became a manufacturing hub for the British motor industry, producing the Mini and Rover car marques. Brummies are typically among the most down-to-earth people in Britain, customarily self-effacing and usually with an irreverent sense of humour. No wonder it’s taken a while for them to get used to the idea of fine dining. “As soon as people hear the words ‘Michelin star restaurant’ it puts the fear of God into them,” says Purnell with a distinctive Birmingham twang. “They think it’s going to be too expensive, full of people in dicky-bows and waiters with serious faces. We take our food seriously, but we’re also in the hospitality industry. Our job is to invite, to make people feel at home. It’s executed at a very high level, but anyone can understand it wherever they’re from, from Buckingham Palace to a council estate.” Purnell’s own council estate upbringing in Birmingham

JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 97

TRAVEL | BIRMINGHAM Birmingham be dismissed as the concrete jungle it was in the 1960s and 1970s. Inner city decay has made way for urban regeneration, and recent developments like the TASTE OF BIRMINGHAM BBC GOOD FOOD Mailbox, the Bull Ring and the Featuring local restaurants, plus exhibitors from SHOW canal-side Brindleyplace complex all over Britain, from Aga Rangemaster See the likes of Gordon have brought exciting shops, bars ovens and kitchen appliances, to Yum Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and and restaurants to the city, along Yum Tree Fudge. James Martin cooking live with a new lease of life. Jul 16 to 18, Cannon Hill Park, at one of Britain’s biggest and Next to Purnell’s in the Michelin Birmingham, Dhs80 to Dhs229. best food shows. Guide is Simpson’s, a modern E-mail: info@marketingbirmingham. Nov 24 to 28, NEC Birmingham, Birmingham. French restaurant occupying a com grade II-listed Georgian townhouse in the Edgbaston area, not far from the Botanical Gardens and the resonates throughout his food. One Cornflakes in a Michelin-star map is evident in his restaurant, famous cricket ground. Owner of his signature dishes is poached restaurant? You’d better believe which is full of grainy monochrome Andreas Antona and executive chef egg yolk with smoked haddock it. From the sauce to the garnish, photographs of the city’s diverse Luke Tipping have retained their infused milk foam, scattered with Purnell’s food is strewn with and often maligned architecture. Michelin star since the restaurant curry oil and cornflakes. “My mom childhood references, quirky “I paid a guy to go and walk moved to Birmingham from nearby used to cook me haddock,” he flourishes and post-modern gags. around within a square mile of Kenilworth in 2004. Then there’s reminisces. “We used to go down “My food’s got a sense of humour,” the restaurant and take pictures. Turner’s on Harborne High Street, the Bull Ring market and get the he says with a mischievous grin. Now people have lunch and they which offers one of the cheapest smoked fish, which she’d put in “If you know me and you eat my say, is that New York, or is that the Michelin star lunches available a pan with milk on the electric food, then you get it. If you’re going Parthenon in Athens? No, it’s the anywhere, at Dhs130 for three cooker. She’d poach the eggs in the to put Birmingham into the shell town hall in Birmingham.” courses. Owner and head chef milk, because the milk tasted more of a person, that would be me. I’ll Indeed, a stroll around the Richard Turner, like Glynn Purnell of haddock than the haddock did. tell you how it is. We do have a joke town centre reveals a city with a and Luke Tipping, was born and So my dish is basically egg with about ourselves, but at the same rich history, a vibrant present and bred in Birmingham. smoked haddock foam. And then time it’s quite a nice way of looking a penchant for reinventing itself. They are three young chefs who cornflakes because I was always at yourself. You can’t take yourself Grand Georgian and Victorian have sparked the city’s restaurant starving and my pockets were always too seriously.” designs sit beside undulating renaissance, but the hope is that full of cornflakes. I used to go in That Purnell is deadly serious modern edifices like the Selfridges many more will follow in their the cupboard, get the box, grab a about establishing Birmingham store at the revamped Bull Ring footsteps. “It’s make or break in the handful of cornflakes, whack!” as a destination on the culinary shopping centre. No longer can next couple of years, I think,” says Purnell. “For me, Birmingham has just started to make a bit of noise, we need to maintain that and just embrace what we have. My dream is to have a three-star restaurant in Birmingham. Now we’re one step closer.”

Food festivals in Brum

Need to know How to get there: Emirates flies daily from Dubai to Birmingham, from Dhs3,495 Accommodation: The City Inn hotel on Brindleyplace is within walking distance of the bars and clubs of Broad Street, the Bull Ring, the Convention Centre and the Mailbox bar and restaurant complex. From Dhs400 per night Lasan 98 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

Currency: GBP1 = Dhs5.3



Dune Bashing - Sand Boarding - Camel Riding Henna Tattoos - Shisha - Belly Dance & Lavish Buffet cum BBQ Dinner - Coffee - Soft Drinks

DHS 150 Per Person

Pick-up and drop by 4WD Timings: Pick-up 3.30 to 4.00pm, Drop Back 9:00 to 9:30pm (approx.)


On a Traditional Two Tier Arabian Wooden Dhow Two Hours Cruising - Soft Music Lavish Buffet Dinner -Tea - Coffee - Soft Drinks

DHS 120 Per Person

Timings: 8.30pm to 10.30pm (approx.)


Dune bashing at Big Red, Sand Boarding, Thrilling Mountain & Wadi drive, Hatta Freshwater Pools, Heritage Village, Lunch at Hatta Fort Hotel

DHS 300 Per Person

Pick-up and drop by 4WD Timings: Pick-up 8.00am, Drop Back 2.30pm (approx.)



Exclusive charter or on Sharing basis in the hottest sailfish venue in the world. Fishing equipment - Equipped & Fully Insured - Experienced Skipper & Crew - Light Refreshments

DHS 400

Sharing Per Person

0 DHS 200 e Upto Exclusiv 8 Pax.

Pick-up and drop-back facility included


Cruising - Swimming - Snorkeling - Banana Boat ride & hand line Fishing Refreshments & Buffet Lunch served on board.

DHS 320 Per Person

Pick-up and drop back facility included Timings: Pick-up: 7.00 to 7.30am, Drop Back: 6.30 to 7.00pm (approx.)


Cruise to Scenic Fjords, Swim, Snorkel & Do Dolphin Watching Refreshments & Lunch served on board. Six Hours Dhow Trip from Khasab Harbour Pick-up and drop back facility included

DHS 520 Per Person


City Palace In Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

A royal welcome


Rajasthan is rich with magic, mystery and adventure, but only in Udaipur is it possible to fully experience the former wealth and splendour of the Maharaja

palace roof and the royal treatment officially begins. The red carpet, although dutifully present, is hardly worth a mention. Welcome to Udaipur, a fairytale concoction of palaces that stretch over city blocks, float upon lakes or hide above the clouds. A fantasy turned reality by the ruling dynasty of Udaipur, the Maharajas, in the mid 16th century, who, wishing to trump the splendour of rival Rajasthani rulers, set about enlarging Lake The arrival of a boat at the jetty of Pichola, before planting two the Lake Palace Hotel never goes sparkling white palaces slap bang unnoticed. The towering figure of in the middle of the water. With an authentically clad Indian butler, the City Palace Complex also with his refined moustache and stretching dominantly across the uniform glistening in deep red eastern shore of the lake and the and gold, is immediately on hand Monsoon Palace perched upon to guide you under the shelter one of the distant hillsides, the of an equally large and elegant Maharaja had smugly created an parasol up the hotel’s winding exotic palace playground. stairs. Once at the top, a shower Modernity and expansion of of regal petals descends from the the surrounding city, combined


with the ecological effect on Lake Pichola, has inevitably sucked some of the grandeur and mystique from the palaces. Measly monsoons in recent years have left the once huge expanse of water little more than a large pond during the summer months, sprouting a ring of green vegetation around the lake’s former banks. Yet with the present-day Maharaja astutely converting part of its current residency into an impressive museum and allowing both floating palaces to become luxury hotels, Udaipur still offers hospitality fit for a king – albeit with a touch of faded charm. Cropped behind the City Palace Complex, the old city certainly adds an element of rough and tumble. All the city’s narrow winding streets lead uphill to Jagdish Temple, where the chaotic explosion of colour, smell and sound reminds you that you

Gangaur boat are firmly lost in the subcontinent. Endless shops selling every conceivable form of Rajasthani handicraft spill out into the path of the unwary passerby and the occasional meandering cow. Here the tradition of Rajput painting is still in visible flow. Local artists beaver away in shady courtyards recreating the formulaic twodimensional, yet deeply intricate miniatures that were once used JULY 2010 WHAT’S ON 101



LRe-watch the 1983 film

Octopussy, where Mr Bond suavely frolics in the Lake Palace, Monsoon Palace and Old City. LSip on a decadent dry Martini, shaken not stirred of course, in the open air Sunset Terrace at the Fateh Prakesh Palace Hotel. The terrace boasts arguably the best views of the nearby Lake Palace Hotel and you will be served by an elegant waiter in white Rajasthani uniform complete with saffron-coloured turban and regal sash. LBecome a court painter for a day and spend a few hours under the talented eyes of one of the city’s artists who will help you create your very own Rajput miniature using traditional techniques on vibrant silk. Help can be stretched to its euphemistic limits for those less artistically inclined. LDine like a Maharaja on the finest local cuisine at Ambrai. Set within the walls of the stunning Amet Haveli Hotel on the western banks Lake Pichola, the restaurant’s evening views of the illuminated Lake and City Palaces are nothing short of magical. They do a mean tandoori chicken, too. LVisit the Maharajas’ impressive collection of vintage and classic cars at the Garden Hotel. An automobile fanatic’s paradise, it includes the 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom featured in Octopussy and comes with a delectable allyou-can-eat vegetable thali and soft drink for the not-so kingly sum of Dhs12. 102 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

Lake Pichola to portray the extravagant lifestyle of the Rajasthani elite. Today these artists exist not only to delight tourists, but also to help restore colour to the whitewashed city walls. Life-sized paintings of princely figures from the royal court atop noble elephants are found in their former glory dotted around the Old City and City Palace Complex. To view the best examples of these, while getting maximum royalty for your rupee, buy a package entrance ticket for the City Palace Museum, which also includes a tour of the lake. Although only roughly 30 per cent of the City Palace Complex is open to the general public – the majority remains the private residency of the Maharaja – the museum alone is worth a good half day’s wander owing to its exhausting collection of Mughal statues, regal paintings and evocatively coloured rooms. The tour leads you through bright bedrooms with stained glass windows – where meticulous miniatures depicting royal tiger hunts or famous past battles have again been given a fresh lick of paint – and up through winding

Sajjan Niwas Suite at Taj Lake Palace staircases to the palace’s upper terraces. The views from the top are some of the finest of Lake Pichola. A short walk along the bank of the lake leads to Bansi Ghat jetty, which has a production line of small boats that follow one another across the murky water like a chain of idle ducks. The boat tour provides a tranquil way to absorb the imposing lakeside palace walls and distant cascading hillsides. After ten minutes or so, it stops off for a brief visit to Jagmandir Island, home to the Maharaja-owned palace-cumhotel. Guarded by a façade of aggressive looking stone elephants, the entrance to Jagmandir is striking but the interior is less

so. There is little but a central courtyard to explore inside, which although large, mainly comprises redundant space and has seen better days. While it is a pleasant and shady enough spot to enjoy a refreshing beverage or two, it is impossible not to glance enviously across at the ethereal Lake Palace Hotel. These days, the only way to infiltrate the Lake Palace’s watery defences is to splash out on one of the hotel’s 66 rooms or 17 suites. The palace was leased to Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces in 1971, which has since completed extensive restoration work to the property, helping to make it one of India’s most unique hotel experiences. With its fountain-filled courtyards and pillared enclosures, the palace was once an obvious cool retreat for the Maharaja during the summer and a similar rationale can be applied now. However, as tempting as it would be to stay forever in the marble womb of the Lake Palace, the definitive spot for sunset in Udaipur lies at the top of the Avaralli hills. Sajjan Garh Palace – or the Monsoon Palace – is a half hour’s rickshaw ride away from the city centre, followed by a brief but hefty climb in a jeep to the top. Although far less aesthetically pleasing and far more neglected than Udaipur’s other palaces, it nevertheless offers unrivalled panoramic views. And it’s the pink desert sun’s closing ceremony that really captures the imagination, providing a suitably rich and sumptuous royal farewell to the city, lake and hill palaces of Udaipur. GETTING THERE Flights from Dubai to Udaipur with Emirates via Delhi cost from Dhs3,000. The rail journey from Delhi to Udaipur City takes 12 hours and will set you back a mere Dhs150 for a first class ticket.

“Welcome to Udaipur, a fairytale concoction of palaces that stretch over city blocks, float upon lakes or hide above the clouds”


When it comes to Family Fun, we mean business. Welcome to Cristal Hotel. For the executive who’s on the go all week, Friday offers you a relaxed, extra special family treat. International buffet in GEMS Restaurant with kids entertainment including a magic show, face painting and Coco the clown, all for only AED 119* per person. (Children under 5 free) Call us a Hotel if you want, we prefer to be thought of as dynamic hospitality. Try us, you will enjoy.

Call 02 652 0000 Zayed the 1st Street, adjacent to Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre * Subject to 10% service charge and 6% tourism fee


Part of the Cristal Group.




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Brunches Bars Restaurants Spas

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1 Elements –

2 LeVendome Brasserie –

3 Sofra –

4 Chamas –

5 Al Fanar –

Lively without being rowdy, so you can safely take your mum without her being offended.

Classy and exclusive. Raucous behaviour is not welcomed at the Emirates Palace.

Chilled with a capital C. Sofra brunch is a great way to unwind after a hard week at the office.

With the live South American band playing and the smell of barbecued meat drifting across the restaurant, there are few more pleasing environments in which to brunch in Abu Dhabi.

Where is everyone this summer? Probably dining at this hugely popular brunch. Best to book in advance.

A grand selection of international cuisine. Our favourite is the sushi.

The finest, most opulent brunch spread in the capital. From the lobsters and salmon to the umm ali dessert, it’s all impeccable.

It’s a bit of a trek from the tables, but worth the walk as it’s a superb international spread.

On arrival, you’re handed a two-sided card. Turn it to green to keep the meat coming, turn it to red when you’re ready to explode.

A fine array of fresh seafood and salads.

You’re on the doorstep of the Between The Bridges area, which is packed with bars and clubs should you want to extend the party.

The Emirates Palace is the world’s most expensive hotel. Says it all.

The terrace is a no-no during the summer months, unless you’re a lizard, but there are worse places to be than the smart interior.

The InterCon is a bit out on a limb, but great bars such as Yacht Club and Belgian Café should keep you from heading elsewhere.

Avoid if you have a fear of heights as the revolving restaurant is 31 storeys up. But you get some astounding views from up there.

Birthdays, leaving parties or any other special occasion.

Hanging out with the jet set.

The huge restaurant is spacious enough to accommodate revellers and families.

Meat, meat and more meat.

A memorable brunch in a truly unusual restaurant.

Dhs399 with Moët & Chandon champagne, Dhs299 with wine and beer, Dhs222 without alcohol.

Dhs565 includes the finest Laurent Perrier Rosé champagne.

Dhs220 for unlimited wine and soft drinks. About average for Abu Dhabi’s brunching scene.

Dhs165 with one cocktail is good value, but if you want to down drinks you could notch up a hefty tab.

Dhs220 with wine. It’s slap bang in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s brunch price range.

Why not take advantage of the Fairmont’s summer offer, where you can get a room plus the champagne brunch for Dhs1,299?

You’re paying through the nose for this brunch, but it is pure, unadulterated class.

Head to the Shangri-La’s purpose built World Cup tent to watch the few remaining crunch games of the tournament.

The finest meat restaurant in the capital. Full stop.

“Food tastes better when you’re revolving.” So said The Simpsons’ Principal Skinner. And he’s right.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi 11.30am to 3pm Tel: (02) 6543000

Emirates Palace, West Corniche, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 3.30pm Tel: (02) 6907999

Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi noon to 4pm Tel: (02) 5098888

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi 1pm to 3pm Tel: (02) 6666888

Le Royal Méridien, Khalifah Street, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 3pm Tel: (02) 6742020

106 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010


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One To One

Pearls & Caviar

7 Belgian Brunch –

8 Pearls & Caviar „

9 One To One ‰

10 Rosebuds ‰

A relaxed a la carte menu in a cool bar.

Expect the chatter and stir of a friendly pub lunch.

Becoming more popular by the week. There’s a healthy hustle developing here.

Fun, friendly and cheery.

Rosebuds has a Cuban band playing, but it’s more of a family occasion than a party brunch.

Pan-Asian dishes. That means Chinese, Japanese and Thai choices.

From meatballs to mussels, it’s the kind of hearty grub that’s associated with the Belgian Café.

Seafood is king at Pearls & Caviar. The finest fish cooked right before your very eyes.

Three fine restaurants stacked on top of each other with three different cuisines. It’s Oriental food from Wokcano, steaks from 18oz and international from Resto.

Steaks, curries, roast meats and a live omelette cooking station. Even the fussiest eater won’t feel left out.

The outdoor terrace is just a pipe dream. Time to get acquainted with the cool interior.

The Belgian Café is so convincingly European in style it’s easy to forget you’re in the Middle East.

Pearls & Caviar’s waterfront location has great views of the Grand Mosque.

The One To One hotel is a bit tricky to find, but it does have a couple of good bars and a nightclub.

Brauhaus and Trader Vic’s, two of Abu Dhabi’s best bars, are right next door.

As the Yacht Club brunch finishes at 6pm, it drifts perfectly into an evening out.

A quiet pub lunch or a merry afternoon out.

Seafood fanatics.

Groups of friends who want a knees-up without breaking the bank.

Enjoying your brunch without your children getting bored, as a clown and face-painter are on hand to amuse the little angels.

The Dhs165 includes only one drink, so can get a bit pricey if you want to drink cocktails all afternoon.

Dhs165 will get you mountains of food and one beer. Not excessively expensive.

Dhs299 with champagne, Dhs199 with other drinks. On the upper end of the scale, but bubbly’s included in the bill.

Dhs200 with alcohol and Dhs140 without. Pleasantly affordable.

The Dhs174 includes one glass of beer or wine. This isn’t the place to knock back endless drinks.

More of a mixture of lunch and dinner than a classic brunch. But still a great way to spend four hours during the summer.

The Belgian waffles are worth the entrance fee alone.

It’s getting busier by the week. Once the upstairs bar comes back into play, expect a rapid rise up the charts.

One To One drops a few spots this month as the nearby alfresco The Village pub is strictly out of bounds over the summer.

It’s too hot to take the youngsters to the beach, so take them to Rosebuds instead.

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi 2pm to 6pm Tel: (02) 6666888

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi 1pm to 4pm Tel: (02) 6666888

Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi 1pm to 4pm Tel: (02) 5098888

One To One Hotel, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi noon to 3pm Tel: (02) 4952000

Beach Rotana, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 4pm Tel: (02) 6979000

6Yacht Club „



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Left Bank

1 Left Bank –

2 Belgian Café –

3 Relax@12 –

4 NRG „

5 Brauhaus „

Packed out at weekends with friendly punters.

A happy mix of all ages and nationalities mingle to enjoy the European hospitality.

A newcomer on Abu Dhabi’s bar scene, Relax@12 is generally packed out at weekends.

Noisy, with a boisterous horde of discerning sports fan congregating to cheer on their teams.

The German watering hole has a warm, welcoming vibe.

Souk Qaryat Al Beri, which is full of bars should you fancy a change in surroundings.

Chamas and Yacht Club are both just yards away.

On the roof of the 12-storey high Aloft Hotel, the bar has great views over the whole of the city.

Le Méridien Village is a dated but cheery collection of bars and restaurants.

The Beach Rotana is one of Abu Dhabi’s classiest hotels. It’s a shame the nearby roadworks sometimes create traffic gridlock.

Either a springboard for a big night out or a few lively drinks with pals.

A relaxing drink after work or a nice spot for dinner, it all works.

A starting point for a night out on the town.

Watching this summer’s packed sporting calendar.

If it’s a large a stein of German lager or some quality Teutonic dishes you’re after, then Brauhaus is your man.

Beers and wines are quite cheap, cocktails aren’t.

Don’t expect a cheap night out, but then you are paying for quality Belgian beers.

Reasonably cheap and cheerful.

Booze is cheap, but the bar food can be a bit pricey.

You’ll pay a little bit extra for the unusual German beers on offer.

Left Bank has the coolest interior in the capital. So while drinks on the terrace are just a distant memory, it’ll rule the roost.

Order up a Leffe blonde, a bowl of mussels and a Belgian waffle and you’re in for a great night.

One of the capital’s hottest new night spots. The bar’s lofty location is a big draw.

The place to catch what’s left of the World Cup.

Brauhaus is where you should choose to hide during the summer months, hence its rise up the charts.

Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi Sat to Wed 7pm to 1am, Thurs and Fri 7pm to 2am Tel: (02) 5581680

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi 6.30pm to 12.30pm Tel: (02) 6666888

Aloft Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Khaleej Al Arabi Street 5pm to 2am Tel: (02) 6545000

Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi 4pm to 1am Tel: (02) 6446666

Beach Rotana Hotel, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 11.30pm Tel: (02) 6979000



Trader Vic’s

6 Yacht Club „

7 Heroes ‰

8 Chameleon „

9 Stills ‰

10 TraderVic’s ‰

Nice and chilled to begin with, but there’s a nightclub vibe later on.

This underground bar is packed, noisy and smoky at weekends. Just how a real bar should be.

Small and intimate, with subdued lighting and cosy alcoves.

The contemporary design and lengthy bar make Stills feel like a trendy, city bar.

The live Cuban band lay down a Samba beat to create a party vibe.

With great bars and restaurants, the InterCon is a one-stop shop for a night out.

Its central Abu Dhabi location makes for easy access but difficult for parking.

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr is a sparkling new out of town stopover.

Barouk and Jing Asia are two quality restaurants both within walking distance of the bar.

Some of the city’s best food and beverage outlets – such as Pregos and Benihana – are housed at this hotel.

Proving to visitors Abu Dhabi does have a good nightlife.

Playing air guitar to the rock classics being churned out by the house band.

Fine cocktails and fine wines.

A relaxing couple of post-work pints and a pie.

Cooling down this summer with a giant fruity cocktail.

Eye-wateringly expensive.

The prices are low and they get even lower during the many happy hour promotions.

Too many nights out at Chameleon won’t impress your bank manager.

Beer is about average for the capital, while the food is slightly pricey.

Your bar tab might resemble the debt of a Third World country if you order too many rounds of cocktails.

A chart topper during the winter months thanks to its great terrace. But the interior’s pretty cool too, and the ace line-up of DJs playing here this month – including Said Mrad, Hosse and Malik Alari – merits a rise up the chart.

Heroes is the perfect place to escape the summer heat.

The classiest venue to catch the few remaining games of the 2010 World Cup.

Stills’ fish and chips are made with cod, not hammour. So it’s authentically English.

Try the Mai Thai. It’s the drink that made the Trader Vic’s brand world famous.

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 1am, Thurs and Fri, 7pm to 2.30am Tel: (02) 6666888

Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street, Abu Dhabi noon to 1am Tel: (02) 6210000

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi 6pm to 3am Tel: (02) 6543333

Crowne Plaza Yas Island, Abu Dhabi noon to 12.30am Tel: (02) 6563000

Beach Rotana, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm Tel: (02) 6979000





3 Hakkasan

4 Chamas –

5 Ushna „

As soon as you walk through Bord Eau’s doors, it’s as if you’ve been whisked away to a luxurious Parisian dining room. It has charm and sophistication in spades.

The joy of diners – all glad to be eating at Marco Pierre White’s Abu Dhabi outpost – is clearly evident.

It’s been open less than a month, but Hakkasan’s celebrity name is already drawing the punters in.

Any given day of the week Chamas will be teaming with hungry carnivores chewing their way through mountains of meat.

Chic and sophisticated, but definitely Indian.

Think Paris – oil paintings, chandeliers, linen tablecloths and silver cutlery. It’s grand without being stuffy.

The dim lighting, dark walls and roaring fire (albeit a fake one) in the corner, create a snug, warming atmosphere.

The small alcoves divided by carved wood panelling create an intimate atmosphere and conceal the fact that this is a huge restaurant.

A cavernous, modern restaurant, with an open kitchen in the corner bringing the place to life.

Warm lighting, earth-coloured walls and comfortable seating create an inviting atmosphere.

The finest ingredients, flown in direct from Europe, and Chef Jean Hurstel’s imaginative menu packed with classic French dishes explain why Bord Eau is the best in the capital.

An uncluttered menu, full of simple but superb English dishes. From the Cornish crab cakes to the Lancashire hotpot to the Eton mess, it’s all faultless.

Think traditional Chinese dishes, with a touch of seven-star luxury. The dim sum are astounding, as is the silver cod in champagne sauce.

Ignore the delicious selection of bread and instead wait for the charred beef, lamb, turkey and chicken that are sliced straight onto your plate by the waiters.

Delicately spiced curries that are world’s apart from the less subtle versions served in many back street diners.


With plenty of designer stores and cool bars, the nearby Souk Qaryat Al Beri is worth a postprandial visit.

The shiny, new Fairmont Bab Al Bahr is also home to ace Italian joint Frankie’s and super-cool Chameleon bar.

The Emirates Palace has an ATM machine that dispenses real gold. Need we say more?

The nearby Belgian Café and Yacht Club are great bars for a soothing drink post-meat feast.

You can’t turn your nose up at the amount of quality bars and restaurants at the Souk Qaryat Al Beri.

Dhs800 is about average for a three-course meal for two. And it’s worth every fil.

As you have to pay extra for vegetables, you could rack up a hefty bill. Dhs800 is about average.

Your bill’s going to hit the four-figure mark. Expensive, but understandably so.

Dhs600 for two is still a bargain.

You’re meal shouldn’t cost more than Dhs500, sans alcohol.

Iron a shirt or put on your best frock for a meal in Abu Dhabi’s most elegant restaurant.

Marco may not be in the kitchen these days, but if his name’s above the door you can trust the chef who is.

We love Hakkasan. And once it irons out a few minor teething troubles, it could well challenge for top spot in our Hot List.

We’ve eaten at Chamas almost every month since it opened two years ago. And we’re yet to tire of the place.

When we feel like a curry, Ushna’s where we head.

Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Between the Bridges, Abu Dhabi 6.30pm to 11.30pm Tel: (02) 5098888

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Between the Bridges, Abu Dhabi 7pm to 1am Tel: (02) 6543333

Emirates Palace, West Corniche, Abu Dhabi 7pm to 11pm Tel: (02) 6909000

InterContinental Abu Dhabi, Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi 7pm to midnight Tel: (02) 6666888

Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Between The Bridges, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 11.45pm Tel: (02) 5581769





2 MPW Steakhouse & Grill –



1 Bord Eau –


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6 Toki ‰

7 Nautilus ‰

8 Kazu –

9 Finz –

10 Mombasa Grille –

Toki’s quickly becoming the capital’s favourite Japanese restaurant, so you’d better book if you want to guarantee a table.

Modern and stylish. With views of the luxury marina and F1 racetrack, this is Abu Dhabi glamour at its finest.

Lively, with the large open kitchen and sushi bar in the centre powering the restaurant.

The waterside chalet is a tranquil and romantic dining spot.

Busy without being heaving. You won’t feel you have to rush your meal to make way for incoming diners.

The dark walls and neon lighting create a sophisticated, sexy and decidedly Japanese feel to the place.

Minimalist, with pristine white walls and neon lighting.

Like the rest of the Yas Hotel, it’s minimalist and modern, while the rows of bamboo rods are a nod to the Far East.

A nautical theme, with fishing nets, lobster baskets and shark skulls adorning the walls, as well as a giant fishtank in the corner.

Think the Lion King or Tarzan, with spears, masks and animal skins lining the walls.

A vast menu full of regional Japanese dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in the Emirates.

The freshest fish, crabs, lobsters and shellfish cooked to perfection in a range of purées.

The sushi’s superb, but it’s the succulent meats and fishes from the robatayaki grill that are the standout dishes.

Either choose one of the a la carte dishes, or the catch of the day in a variety of sauces.

Named after the cosmopolitan Kenyan port of Mombassa, the restaurant serves up an impressive range of international food. From African ostrich steaks to Indian curries, it’s all top notch.

Hilton Abu Dhabi’s at the traffic-free far end of the Corniche.

If you haven’t been to Yas Hotel yet, get there now. It’s a stunning landmark.

Once you arrive at Yas Island, you’ll find there are more than enough bars and restaurants to have made the trip worthwhile.

We recommend heading to the nearby Trader Vic’s for a refreshing post-meal cocktail.

We recommend hitting our number one Abu Dhabi bar, Left Bank, after your meal as it’s mere yards away.

You’ll pay about Dhs300 per person, without drinks.

Expect to cough up Dhs800 for three courses for two people.

You can quite easily enjoy a satisfying three-course meal for less than Dhs500.

Expect your wallet to be Dhs700 lighter after a meal for two here.

Three courses for you and your companion shouldn’t set you back more than Dhs600.

Toki is still the best Japanese restaurant in the capital. But on our last visit, it seemed a tad empty. Hopefully it’s just a temporary summer blip.

The best seafood restaurant in Abu Dhabi. Simple as that.

A recently introduced new menu, with numerous new dishes, earns Kazu a place in our Hot List.

Freshly-caught fish and top quality European ingredients make for fine dishes. It’s a simple equation that the chefs at Finz live by.

If you thought international restaurants were jacks of all trades, masters of none, think again. Mombasa Grille destroys this myth.

Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche, Abu Dhabi 7pm to 11pm Tel: (02) 6814151

The Yas Hotel, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi 7pm to 11pm Tel: (02) 6560600

The Yas Hotel, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 3pm and 7pm to 11pm Tel: (02) 6560600

Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi 12.30pm to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm Tel: (02) 6979000

Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi Sun to Thurs, 3pm to 11pm, Fri, noon to 3pm and 6pm to late Tel: (02) 5581868








Eden Spa

1 Anantara Spa –

2 Chi Spa „

3 Zen Spa ‰

4 Anantara Spa „

5 The Spa „

They’re masters in the art of pampering. The therapists are among the best in the business.

Professional and friendly. Not much in the way of unwanted small talk, and that’s a good thing in our book.

They’re all about making sure you feel comfortable. They want to make sure the temperature of the room and the music being played is to your liking.

The predominantly Thai therapists are charming, friendly and welcoming.

A multinational team of therapists, hailing from as far a field as Zimbabwe and Nepal.

In a word? Luxurious. Treatments such as Journey To The Island of Java and Gateway To Arabia are as opulent as they sound.

From Filipino Hilot massages to caviar facials, it’s extensive to say the least.

Loads of choice and the creative team are always devising new treatments.

All your usual massages, plus some unusual ones too, including exfoliating sand baths and water-based Vichy spas.

Two different menus for men and women, both packed with imaginative options.

A palatial spa, set in its own wing of the world’s most expensive hotel.

A total of ten tranquil treatment rooms, all decorated with dark wood walls, giving a Tibetan Buddhist temple vibe.

Modern, clean and spacious.

Enjoy a rub down on the massage table as you gaze through the windows at the undulating desert dunes.

There’s a functional feel with minimalist décor and dim lighting.

It’s a seven-star hotel and on the pricey side. A 60-minute back massage is Dhs475 and that’s the cheapest treatment on offer.

The Chi Spa is pretty costly, but your treatment will be so good you won’t feel short-changed.

It’s a five-star hotel but prices aren’t excessive. For example, the aromatherapy massage costs Dhs348 for an hour.

Expensive, but not unreasonably so.

We’d say it was mid-range.

Book the caviar facial and you’ll come out feeling a million dollars.

We recommend getting here early to relax before your spa in the huge hot tub.

The signature treatment, which combines Thai massage, acupressure and aromatherapy, is up there with the best massages we’ve ever had.

The spa itself is a good enough reason to visit this luxurious desert retreat.

We tried the Deep Sleep and Indigo Ice treatments this month (p81). Both are simply sublime.

Emirates Palace, West Corniche, Abu Dhabi 10am to 10pm Tel: (02) 6909000

Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri, Between the Bridges, Abu Dhabi 10am to 10pm Tel: (02) 5098888

Beach Rotana Hotel, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi 10am to 10pm Tel: (02) 6979000

Qasr Al Sarab, Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi 10am to 10pm Tel: (02) 8862088

Radisson Blu Hotel, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi 9am to 9pm Tel: (02) 6562000


HOT ON EELS y Hotel THa,EAlH Diar Regenc

Zen Spa


11 Zenzu Sp ul Health Club & Spa, So 12 Body & ach Hotel Al Raha Be Street, tness, 32nd Fi & a Sp al 13 Orient en Al Bate a Mall Spa, Marin 14 Man/Age ealth & Fitness, H 15 Le Club um Hotel Millenni Abu Dhabi

6 Serenity Spa ‰

7 Hiltonia Health Club & Spa ‰

8 Eden Spa ‰

9 Sharinas Wellness Spa ‰

10 The Lounge –

They’re friendly, welcoming and genuinely concerned about giving you just the treatment you want.

Like a every British granny they’ll offer you tea, tea and more tea. We love our grannies and we love a nice cup of tea.

They’re all knowledgeable, but therapist Fe has been there for 15 years and is a bona fide genius, particularly when it comes to massages and facials.

Unobtrusive and knowledgeable, the girls here are consummate experts in the art of massage.

A crack team of hairdressers and masseurs. They’re all dedicated to making the men-folk look and feel better.

The full gamut of massages, plus a few unusual ones thrown in. We particularly like the Aroma Massage, which combines body exfoliation and a deep tissue massage.

A wide-ranging menu, including waxing, manicures and luxurious treatment packages.

With a spa, hamman and hair salon, it’s extensive to say the least.

From waxing to blow dries, Sharinas covers all the treatment bases to make ladies look better.

The whole spectrum of treatments – from haircuts to hammam baths.

On the mezzanine floor above a shop, this Renaissance-style spa has rooms for facials, massages, Moroccan baths and hair styling.

A cosy little spa with Oriental themed décor. No complaints from us.

The huge relaxation pool is the centrepiece of this bright and airy spa.

It’s based in a huge villa in Khalifa A. A decadent escape from the hectic pace of city life.

A large villa that’s centrally located but also has plenty of parking.

Reasonably priced. Dhs450 for the 90-minute Aroma Massage is an undisputed bargain.

Surprisingly affordable. The Tropical Bliss massage costs Dhs695. And as you have two masseurs rubbing you down it’s pretty good value.

The Spa Prestige Moisturising Facial will set you back Dhs660. About mid-range for the capital.

You’ll pay less than you would for the equivalent treatment in a hotel spa.

Dhs240 for a full body massage isn’t going to break the bank.

A hidden gem that deserves to be found. Probably the best female-only spa in the capital.

Hiltonia has the perfect location, as there’s rarely any traffic jams in the area, making for easy access for a lunchtime treatment.

Try the ultimate pampering experience. It’s one of the best treatments we’ve ever had.

A ladies’ only spa that’s a great girls’ day out. Perfect for a hen outing.

For those of you with a Y chromosome, this is the best male-only spa in town.

Serenity Spa, above Paris Gallery, Zayed The First Street, Khalidiyah, Abu Dhabi 10am to 10pm Tel: (02) 6778880

Hiltonia Beach Club, Corniche, Abu Dhabi 10am to 9pm Tel: (02) 6924324

Le Méridien, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi 9am to 11pm Tel: (02) 6446666

Corner of 35th and 62nd Street, Khalifa A, Abu Dhabi 9am to 9pm Tel: (02) 5562601

Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Abu Dhabi 11am to 10pm Tel: (02) 6677377


Backchat with Catboy

Whilst speaking to my parents the other day I was saddened to hear that my aunt is selling her house. Auntie Stella has lived in this simple two-up two-down for as long I can remember. It has been a constant in my life since my life began. This is the house where I discovered that real butter would always taste better than margarine on toast (made with white sliced bread, of course). It’s the house where I went to over 30 birthday parties, ate countless butterfly cakes and played numerous games of pass-the-parcel, wishing for the prize but dreading the forfeit. This is the house where my cousin Lindsey (now a lawyer in the Big Smoke that is London, and who will kill me for writing this) and I recorded make-believe radio station tapes, talking in-between David Bowie tracks and interviewing each other about nonsense. If only somebody had put a stop to it then, maybe you wouldn’t have to endure what you do now on the drive to work every morning . I have a million other memories and snapshots of this little house. Stella always

has a real Christmas tree and it is always, without fail, too big for the room. Every Christmas evening my ever-growing family would crowd into the kitchen and living room to eat, drink, laugh, reminisce and while away the evening before heading off to different homes in different cities and, in my case, a different continent. Other than a few emails or an occasional hello on Facebook, that annual festive get-together is the glue that bonds a family. Part of me was tempted to ask Auntie Stella how much she wanted for the house. I’m at that age where I’m drowning in a sea of change, clinging on to every memory I can before they float away forever. I have been wondering if I’ll ever feel this way about my time in the Middle East. Some expats leave Dubai when they’ve had enough. They feel like they’ve been chewed-up for however long before being spat-out straight into the departure lounge. They leave wanting nothing more than to never see another replica Burj Al Arab for the rest of their days.

I’m not there yet, and probably never will be. I love it here. There are things I don’t get along with, but there were plenty of those feelings in Britain, too. For the most part, life is pretty good in the Emirates and has been since I arrived here. So, earlier this week I thought I’d have a go at summoning some short-term nostalgia. I drove to my old villa in Mirdif. I lived there for my first four years in the UAE and only left because the landlord had perfected his Basil Fawlty impression a little too well. I started thinking about how many drives home from the studio I’d done along that road past Festival City. Everything I drove past held a different memory. Uptown Mirdif – that was just a Spinneys and a pile of bricks when I arrived. Open House takeaway, where I’d spent at least a quarter of my wages on butter chicken. And the villa itself, where there had been barbecues, pool parties, karaoke nights, numerous cat experiences, neighbours who became good friends, and others I was glad to see the back of. Lots of late nights and even more early mornings. I realised that at any point throughout the rest of my life I would be able to return to this little corner of Mirdif and these feelings would return… Or, at least until someone builds the world’s biggest, solid-gold, diamond-encrusted, camel-shaped hotel on top of it. Catboy presents The Catboy & Geordiebird Breakfast Show, weekdays on Dubai 92.

Don’t miss next month’s What’s On for the ultimate guide to Ramadan 114 WHAT’S ON JULY 2010

What's On | July 2010 | Abu Dhabi Edition  

The UAE's Best Selling Entertainment Magazine

What's On | July 2010 | Abu Dhabi Edition  

The UAE's Best Selling Entertainment Magazine