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WHAT’S ON AWARD WINNERS

REVEALED... Your definitive list of where to eat, sleep and have fun in 2021

ALSO INSIDE

FOODIE GUIDE TO WASL 51 ABBA MANIA HIKING AND PADEL TENNIS


AP

PL

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MEGRANATE PO

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ERRY

EUROPEAN ORGANIC JUICES

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drink organic super juices

“The content of this this promotion campaign represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission and the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) do not accept any responsibility for any use that may be made of the information it contains.”

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CONTENTS FEATURES

AND THE WINNER IS... WHO WON WHAT AT THE WHAT’S ON AWARDS 2021 P14

36 WASL 51 Page 14

A neighbourhood foodie guide to the new precinct

36

42 DANCING QUEENS Two Abba celebrations come to Dubai this year

42

What’s On_3


CONTENTS COVER

REGULARS 10 Yalla! Quick fix of news

74 Last-minute staycation Family fun at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers

50

Cover: Sheila Deocareza

Stay in touch

45 CONSUME

66

46 EAT Perfect pizza at Moon Slice; superb sushi and short ribs at Mimi Kakushi; and finger lickin’ chicken burgers at Oporto

68

52 IFTAR REVIEW A French twist on the traditional iftar at Brasserie Boulud

WhatsOn.ae Our stunning website is packed with news, restaurants, culture, shopping, sport and spas. It’s your online destination for stuff to do in the UAE. Get clicking.

Page 48

55 CULTURE

65

56 AGENDA Six unmissable art events to attend in the UAE

63 ACTIVE 65 PADEL

What’s On Digital Your essential guide to what’s happening in Dubai is also available on the App Store.

Smash – a new gym and padel centre opens on The Palm

59 4_What’s On

59 BANKSY

66 HIKING

See world’s largest collection of recreated Banksy art at Mall of the Emirates

Sign up for a new multi-day hiking adventure

60 COMEDY

Experience the sights and sounds of Africa without leaving the UAE

Dubai Comedy Festival and The Laughter Factory

68 SIR BANI YAS

Get in touch twitter.com/ WhatsOnDubai facebook.com/ WhatsOnDubai instagram.com/ WhatsOnDubai youtube.com/ WhatsOnDubai


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Ocean’s delight

Take a summer getaway to a Thai-inspired beach haven at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort

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verwater villas. Glass-bottom floors. Luxury spa treatments for grown-ups and superb entertainment for children. These are just a few reasons why a staycation at the glorious Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort is the perfect family holiday – even if it’s just minutes from your home. Choose between the beachfront villas on the sand, or the stunning overwater

EXCLUSIVE SUMMER VILLA DEAL

Book a beach access villa on the sand, or one of the famous over water villas, and enjoy 30 per cent off room rates and complimentary breakfast each morning.

villas jutting out from the ocean. Enjoy world-class facilities, including 400 metres of pristine private beach and a choice of international finedining at seven impressive venues, including the What’s On Award-winning seafood restaurant Beach House. Take full advantage of the exclusive villa promotion now with 30 percent discount on accommodation throughout the summer. Rates start from Dhs1,995. T&Cs apply.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO MAKE A BOOKING, CALL (0)4 5678999, EMAIL RESDUBAIPALM@ANANTARA.COM, OR VISIT ANANTARA.COM/EN/PALM-DUBAI


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taste THE DESTINATION OF EXCEPTIONAL

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai celebrates six accolades at the What’s On Awards 2021. How many have you tried?

01 TONG THAI

Favourite Thai (Highly Commended)

Unparalleled Thai service with a menu that showcases unique regional dishes and authentic classics from everyday fare served on the streets of Bangkok, to lesser known treasures from its villages.

02 PRIME68

Favourite Steakhouse (Highly Commended)

Located high on the 68th floor, Prime68 presents a new generation of steakhouse, where supreme quality ingredients are served in style. Try the celebrated Friday lunch experience from Dhs295.

WITH OVER 12 AWARD-WINNING VENUES, THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE…


03 WANDERLUST BRUNCH Favourite Brunch (Highly Commended)

The Wanderlust brunch is a one-stop culinary journey around the world. With more than seven live cooking stations, including the famous Nathan’s Hot Dogs, freshly shucked oysters and much more, this food odyssey – complemented by a soundtrack courtesy of DJ Adam J – will satisfy all master epicureans.

05 LA FARINE

Favourite Business Lunch (Winner)

Great food, in a friendly setting, served up in double quick time landed La Farine Café & Bakery the award for Favourite Business Lunch. Try it now for just Dhs89.

04 IZAKAYA

Favourite Japanese (Winner)

Lively, fun and experiential, Izakaya is a great place for ‘Social Sushi’. Pop in on Tuesdays for the popular Sushi and Bubbly Night with unlimited sushi from just Dhs195.

06 SARAY SPA

Favourite Spa (Highly Commended)

Elegant and tranquil, Saray Spa offers a relaxed environment for all your well-being needs, from exquisite hammam experiences to signature pampering sessions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL (0)4 4143000 OR VISIT JWMARRIOTTMARQUISDUBAILIFE.COM/DINING


05.21 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Obaid Humaid Al Tayer MANAGING PARTNER & GROUP EDITOR Ian Fairservice

HEAD OF CONTENT – WHAT’S ON Laura Coughlin laura.coughlin@motivate.ae ONLINE REPORTER Elise Kerr elise.kerr@motivate.ae ONLINE REPORTER Miles Buckeridge miles.buckeridge@motivate.ae ONLINE REPORTER Lauren Fletcher lauren.fletcher@motivate.ae JUNIOR ONLINE REPORTER Aarti Saundalkar aarti@motivate.ae SENIOR VIDEO EDITOR Surajit Dutta surajit@motivate.ae CONTENT CREATIVE ARTIST Joachim Guay joachim.guay@motivate.ae WEB DEVELOPER Firoz Kaladi firoz@motivate.ae

ART DIRECTOR Sheila Deocareza sheila@motivate.ae JUNIOR DESIGNER Remy Thokchom thokchom.remy@motivate.ae

GENERAL MANAGER – PRODUCTION Sunil Kumar sunil@motivate.ae ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER Binu Purandaran binu@motivate.ae PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Venita Pinto venita@motivate.ae

CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER Anthony Milne anthony@motivate.ae PUBLISHER David Burke davidb@motivate.ae GROUP SALES MANAGER Varsha Bhatia varsha@motivate.ae SENIOR SALES MANAGER Taran Singh taran.singh@motivate.ae SENIOR SALES MANAGER Violeta Popescu violeta.popescu@motivate.ae DIGITAL SALES DIRECTOR Sabir Khodabux sabir.khodabux@motivate.ae

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Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai

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EDITOR’S LETTER

I HOPE YOU’RE WEARING YOUR EATING PANTS…

You know the ones, with the especially loose elastic, because this issue we’re showing you where in Dubai you can find the most deliciously wonderful restaurants. Compiled by you, the voting public, our ultimate list of 2021 What’s On Award-winning restaurants covers everything from best deliveries to fancy fine-dining restaurants, and everything in between. Think of it as your food to-do list for summer. Moving from one foodie celebration to another, we also explore new dining district Wasl 51 in Jumeira. This little nook, we discovered, has many exciting indie restaurants and cafes, including Dubai’s first dedicated focacceria, which only serves three items on its menu: burrata, tiramisu and focaccia. Can you imagine a better combination than that? Me neither. So, as Shakespeare nearly wrote, if music be the food of love, play on… and pass the napkin. Enjoy the issue,

Get in touch twitter.com/ WhatsOnDubai facebook.com/ WhatsOnDubai instagram.com/ WhatsOnDubai youtube.com/ WhatsOnDubai

What’s On_9


BRILLIANT THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN MAY

VISIT MYRRA BY OPA

When: Throughout May Gobble paella with your spanakopita at this new, very colourful, Greek and Spanish restaurant at Club Vista Mare, created by the team behind the What’s Onawarding winning restaurant Opa. a Club Visa Mare, Palm Jumeirah, daily, 11am to 1am. Tel: (0)4 770 1433. @myrrarestaurant

THE ST. REGIS DUBAI, THE PALM TO OPEN

When: May Pipped to open this month, The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm will have 264 rooms and 26 suites, all designed in St. Regis’ luxury style. They’ll be four restaurants, including seafood spot Cordelia, a ladies’ only afternoon tea, the Iridium Spa and two infinity pools. q @stregisdubaithepalm 10_What’s On

ENJOY A DAY AT WILD WADI FOR LESS

When: Until May 10 To celebrate its reopening, Wild Wadi Waterpark is giving UAE residents oneday access to the exciting waterpark for just Dhs99. Book online. q tickets.wildwadi.com


THE LAUGHTER FACTORY

When: May 13, 14, 19, 20, 21 Agnostino Zoida, George Zach (above) and Ari Matti Mustonen headline this month’s Downright Nasty! tour. Tickets cost Dhs160. @thelaughterfactory.com

MAKE A DOME YOUR HOME

When: Throughout May Fifteen geodesic tents make up Hatta Dome Park, the new glamping experience next to Hatta Wadi Hub. The tents come with WIFI, a mini fridge, TV, and your own firepit. q visithatta.com

DUBAI SPORTS WORLD

When: Throughout May Book slots for football, badminton, volleyball and padel inside DWTC. Prices vary between sports. Download the app to book. q dubaisportsworld.ae

DUBAI COMEDY FESTIVAL

When: May 13 to 22 Prepare for 10 days of comedy shows at select venues across the city. q dubaicomedyfest.ae

2-FOR-1 BREAKFASTS AT THE HIDDEN HOG

When: Weekends, until May 31 What’s better than a proper full English breakfast? Getting two of them, that’s what. The deal is valid every Fri and Sat from 9am to noon before the end of the May. q @thehiddenhog

EID AL FITR

When: May 13 (TBC) The religious holiday marks the end of Ramadan, which should mean a long weekend for residents. Check out whatson.ae for the best Eid break suggestions. What’s On_11


What do you love about the UAE? For so many people the UAE really is the modern day land of opportunity. This country has given so much to people from across the world and has changed millions of lives for the better. That’s a bigger picture answer I know, but in terms of the lifestyle here, there is so much to do. It’s an amazing place to live.

KIRSTY CAMPBELL THAT DUBAI GIRL

U

AE Famous is a What’s On page focusing on people out there making the scene. They’re out there around town, shaping the UAE into what it is, creating the culture, food and life around us. We asked them what’s good in the UAE. We asked them what’s bad in the UAE. We asked them to tell us more, more, more about their wonderful selves…

Who are you, and what’s made you UAE famous? I’m the founder of That Dubai Girl, a platform for supporting women, giving advice and championing local businesses. What started as an inclusive social media community for all women in the UAE has grown into a thriving mini ecosystem of like-minded small businesses and entrepreneurs, which is based on mutual support and big thinkers. Why did you start That Dubai Girl and what’s with the name? I’m sure most young people in Dubai can relate to some of the cliquiness that inevitably results from a buzzing social scene like we have here. Women want to be respected and supported, yet we still face criticism from other women – particularly on social media. I’d had enough and 12_What’s On

“WE’RE ABOUT INCLUSIVITY – ALLOWING WOMEN TO BE WHATEVER THEY WANT TO BE” decided to do something about it. The That Dubai Girl brand is about inclusivity and allowing women to be whatever they want to be, and knowing that they will be supported by other women. We are all That Dubai Girl. And now you’ve expanded into an events business... Facebook was just the start. We now have a free members app with incredible discounts on beauty, dining, fitness and much more. Last month we launched The Urban Market, showcasing amazing brands from local vendors. We also run monthly friendship events, which is an opportunity for ladies to meet new friends. What upcoming events do you have? We are extremely excited to be in partnership with What’s On next month for the Lock In!

Above: That Dubai Girl team

We’ll be bringing hairstylists, make-up artists, and beauticians to help kick start the ultimate weekend of fun. Why do you use That Dubai Girl to champion homegrown brands? The UAE is home to such a wide variety of cultures and nationalities, and that inevitably results in vibrant, diverse local businesses that add so much to this economy. We work closely with talented and ambitious local entrepreneurs and aspire to give them a platform to show what they’ve got to offer.

What stresses you out about the UAE? As a small business owner, I’m someone who wants everything done yesterday! When I need to do a task, I’m immediately working at breakneck speed to get it done. Everyone’s different and I understand that I can’t always expect everyone to be as 100 miles an hour as I am! Maybe I could be more patient, but no one’s perfect. I’ve had to learn to adjust and, luckily, I have an incredible support network to help, especially my TDG team! Do you reckon Dubai is your forever home? My friends have a running joke that I’m going to be an old lady, retired on a yacht in Dubai Marina called ‘That Dubai Girl’. That certainly seems a very long way off, but living a happy and successful life as an entrepreneur in the UAE would be a dream come true. a Download the That Dubai Girl app now for exclusive deals, discounts and recommendations. @thatdubaigirl_


CHOOSE TO VACCINATE. PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST COVID-19.

FOR MORE DETAILS doh.gov.ae | 800-1717


14_What’s On


W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / T H E B I G O N E S

THE BIG ONES

B E S T R E S TA U R A N T NAMMOS DUBAI

In the original venue of Nammos in Mykonos, celebrities from all over the world – including Mariah Carey, Valentino, and Leo DiCaprio – regularly swan in, eat lunch and party day-to-night by the beach. With this kind of clientele swinging through the doors, it made sense to bring the brand to Dubai, a ‘twin seaside town’ if ever there was one. True to the Greek provenance, the menu exudes a lightness of touch that takes you to the Mediterranean. The food is exceptional, the service impeccable, and it’s about the closest thing to being on a Greek island that we’ll be on for a while. q nammos.gr/nammos-dubai What’s On_15


W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / T H E B I G O N E S

THE BIG ONES

BEST CHEF

TRESIND’S HIMANSHU SAINI As always, when it comes to Chef Of The Year, we love to champion those who have helped shape the dining scene here in Dubai. Chef Himanshu has been integral to propelling the UAE’s status as a foodie destination. He is as much an artist, as he is a chef. Considered one of the youngest tastemakers in Indian cuisine today, he stepped out into the world of gourmet cuisine with the aim of changing the perception of Indian cuisine, globally. And he has succeeded tenfold through his innovative and often otherworldly dishes at Trèsind. q tresindstudio.com

B E S T I N D I E R E S TA U R A N T SONARA CAMP

Now, you won’t find this restaurant in the heart of the city, and you certainly wouldn’t call it your neighbourhood haunt. But you would call it a gamechanger. Part experience, part gastronomic adventure, our Indie Restaurant of the Year has changed the way desert experiences are meant to be enjoyed. They are no longer just about buffets and belly dancing. They can be magical, culinary, fine-dining experiences that will blow your mind. q nara.ae/sonara

BEST NEWCOMER

THE MAINE LAND BRASSERIE Since opening in early 2020, The MAINE Land Brasserie has become one of the busiest restaurants in the city – hardly surprisingly given the restauranteur that runs it. Joey Ghazal’s restaurants – of which there are now three – are some of the most popular in town, largely down to the excellent cuisine, stylish atmosphere, and buzzing vibe. Its newest venture, in Business Bay, is perfect for a romantic dinner, a quick post-work hangout or a full-blown party, The Maine has proved it is a force to be reckoned with. q themaine.ae 16_What’s On


STAY MORE, PAY LESS

This summer stay more and pay less at Address Beach Resort. Extend your getaway and worry not because the longer you stay, the more you save. Wake up to unparalleled views of the Arabian Gulf, Ain Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. Choose from lavish breakfast or breakfast and dinner meal plans and spend the day at the world’s highest infinity pool on Level 77. Looking for the best way to use your savings? Then visit the highest spa in Dubai, our signature The Spa, for an immersive relaxation experience. Offer is bookable on our website till 30th September 2021. Valid on all stays till 30th April 2022, except blackout dates from 26th December 2021 - 1st January 2022. *Terms and Conditions apply.

BOOK NOW: 971 4 879 8899 | stayatbeachresort@addresshotels.com ADDRESSHOTELS.COM

It’s time to #CelebrateU, join our loyalty programme at UbyEmaar.com


T H E R E S TA U R A N T S W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S A B O V E D H S 4 0 0

ABOVE DHS400 FOR TWO

FAV O U R I T E B R U N C H

Secret Brunch at The Ritz, Café Belge Transport yourself back to the roaring twenties with this Gatsby-themed brunch, brought to you by brunching legends, Secret Parties. The undeniably fun concept has kept fans coming back every single Friday. q @secretbrunch_ritz Highly Commended: Wanderlust Brunch, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

FAV O U R I T E MIDDLE EASTERN R E S TA U R A N T Ninive

FAV O U R I T E A S I A N R E S TA U R A N T

Easily one of Dubai’s most beautiful restaurants, this Bedouin-inspired majlis is the perfect place to enjoy excellent Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine in a luxurious yet comfortable locale. q ninive.ae

Shanghai Me

Highly Commended: Huqqa Dubai

Highly Commended: 3Fils Restaurant

Mixing fine dining with a modern Chinese menu, Shanghai Me delivers a quality experience. Regularly visited by Dubai’s royal family, this sophisticated spot is ideal for lunch or dinner, or even late night drinks. q shanghaime-restaurant.com

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W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S A B O V E D H S 4 0 0

FAV O U R I T E E U R O P E A N R E S TA U R A N T Folly by Nick & Scott

Chefs Nick and Scott smashed it out of the park when they took over this glorious spot in Madinat Jumeirah. With its unbelievable views of the Madinat waterways, fabulous alfresco dining and drinking spots, and a menu of outstanding yet inventive European cuisine – it’s not hard to see why folly nabs the top spot. q folly.ae Highly Commended: Bagatelle Dubai

FAV O U R I T E I N D I A N R E S TA U R A N T

Ellora by Vikas Khanna, JA Beach Hotel Ellora by Vikas Khanna is a firm favourite thanks to its fresh ingredients, traditional cooking methods and inventive menu. q jaresortshotels.com Highly Commended: Amala, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

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FAV O U R I T E I TA L I A N R E S TA U R A N T

FAV O U R I T E J A PA N E S E R E S TA U R A N T

If you want quality Italian cuisine in an equally stunning setting, Il Borro remains a Dubai favourite. q ilborrotuscanbistro.ae

When you have a culinary background as impressive as celebrity chef Akira Back’s, it’s no surprise that his Dubai namesake restaurant would be such a hit. q akirabackdubai.com

Il Borro Tuscan Bistro

Highly Commended: The Artisan

Akira Back, W Dubai – The Palm

Highly Commended: Nobu


Porterhouse Steaks & Grills, Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort A multi-award winner, and for good reason, with fantastic steaks in a glamourous setting, Porterhouse knocks spots off the rest. q sofitel-dubai-thepalm.com/porterhousesteakhouse Highly Commended: Prime68, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

FAV O U R I T E M O D E R N A M E R I C A N R E S TA U R A N T Chicago Meatpackers

Dubai diners can’t get enough of Chicago Meatpackers. It’s a combination of the brilliant Atlantis, The Palm views, the lively atmosphere, the pup-friendly setting and the top notch dining menu. q meatpackers.ae Highly Commended: Original Wings & Rings

FAV O U R I T E SEAFOOD R E S TA U R A N T

The Beach House, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort The faultless experience at The Beach House at Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort has seafood lovers returning again and again. Add to that stunning on-the-beach views and you’ve got yourself the perfect seafood restaurant. q anantara.com/the-beach-house Highly Commended: Alici

FAV O U R I T E G R E E K R E S TA U R A N T OPA Dubai

OPA burst onto the culinary scene with finesse and flair and never looked back. From plate-smashing entertainment, to excellent Greek food, OPA continues to shine brighter than its baby blue shutters. q opadubai.com Highly Commended: Shimmers

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FAV O U R I T E STEAKHOUSE


W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T C O N C E P T S

BEST CONCEPTS

FAV O U R I T E BUSINESS LUNCH

La Farine, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

FAV O U R I T E DELIVERY Go! Greek

Contemporary cafe and bakery, La Farine is not just pocket-friendly, it’s delicious, healthy and served up by friendly staff. A must-try if you’re in the Business Bay area around lunchtime. q @lafarinedxb

Delicious gyros, fresh salads and big portions – Go! Greek’s authentic street food fare has become the city’s favourite delivery option. We’re fans of the pulled beef pita, stuffed with juicy meat and a handful of wellseasoned chips. q @cloud.restaurants

Highly Commended: La Cantine du Faubourg

Highly Commended: Operation: Falafel

FAV O U R I T E AFTERNOON TEA

FAV O U R I T E H E A LT H Y E AT I N G R E S TA U R A N T

FAV O U R I T E P U B G R U B The Tap House

The Tap House at Palm Jumeirah’s Club Vista Mare offers visitors a sleek gastropub vibe with great views out to sea. But its brilliant weekly pub grub deals are what people love the most. Our favourites? It’s a toss-up between the Wednesday curry nights (Dhs99), or Nan’s British Saturday and Sunday roasts (from Dhs99). q @taphousedubai Highly Commended: The Irish Village, Al Garhoud

FAV O U R I T E C A F É Cassette

This breakfast beauty located in the unassuming Al Quoz Courtyard offers an extensive menu, serving brekkie favourites such as a classic Benedict, avocado smash and French toast. q @cassettedxb Highly Commended: Around The Block

22_What’s On

Quintessential Afternoon Tea, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai This is arguably the UAE’s most iconic afternoon tea spot. The service is friendly, the finger sandwiches dainty and delicious, and the peoplewatching is first class. q @ritzcarltondubai Highly Commended: Bijou Patisserie, Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk

Wild & The Moon

There’s no fear in overdoing the calories when ordering from Wild & The Moon as every dish is packed only with healthy goodness. q @wildandthemoonuae Highly Commended: Common Grounds


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AFTERNOON DELIGHTS

Experience a What’s On Award-winning combination at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

I

n the heart of Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai’s lively beachside boulevard, lies The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, a delightfully surprising hideaway, steeped in rich character and charm. Nestled amongst three acres of secluded lush surroundings and natural open space, the luxurious oceanfront oasis blends a relaxing intimate retreat with the opulence and vibrancy of Dubai, just footsteps away. Now you can experience two award-winning concepts in one at the much celebrated five-star hotel. To celebrate the hotel’s recent wins at the What’s On Awards 2021, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai relaunches its special spacation package, which not only

AFTERNOON TEA Treat yourselves to an elegant afternoon tea featuring traditional and cranberry scones with accompaniments, a selection of elegant finger sandwiches, complemented with a sweet assortment of macaroons and cakes, for the perfect ending to a refined affair. Prices start at Dhs195. Daily from 12.30pm to 5pm

THANKYOU WHAT’S ON READERS!

features a 60-minute massage at the hotel’s beloved spa, but guests can also choose between a two-course lunch at La Baie or the signature Afternoon Tea experience in The Lobby Lounge. It also includes access to all spa facilities, including plunge pools, steam rooms and relaxation lounges, in addition to the resort’s swimming pools and the only private beach along JBR. The special spacation package costs Dhs580 per person on weekdays and Dhs680 per person on weekends and public holidays.

POOL & BEACH DAY PASSES Stay cool during the summer with these leisurely pool and beach day packages. Weekday packages cost Dhs250 with Dhs150 F&B credit. Weekend packages cost Dhs350 with Dhs200 F&B credit. Entry for children costs Dhs75 on weekdays and Dhs100 on weekends and public holidays. Daily from 9am to 7pm

FOR RESERVATIONS, CALL (0)4 3994000, EMAIL DINE.DUBAI@RITZCARLTON.COM OR VISIT RITZCARLTON.COM/DUBAI


B E S T E N T E R TA I N M E N T W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T E N T E R TA I N M E N T A N D L I F E S T Y L E

& LIFESTYLE

FAV O U R I T E B A R

Nola Eatery & Social House With great drinks deals, a popular ladies’ night, and excellent Deep South-style cuisine (beignets, anyone?), it’s no wonder Nola continues to be your favourite bar in Dubai. q @noladubai Highly Commended: CÉ LA VI Dubai

FAV O U R I T E S H O W

FAV O U R I T E L A D I E S ’ N I G H T

Bongo’s Bingo – the show that combines the fun of Legs Eleven and Two Fat Ladies with intermittent crowd karaoke and pubquiz-style challenges – is your What’s On winner this year. q @bongosbingodubai

Cove Beach Dubai’s ladies night brings you five hours of fun and frivolity with Rosé All Night. For just Dhs149, you’ll be treated to free-flowing drinks, while DJ Chris Wright spins. q @covebeachdubai

Highly Commended: Short+Sweet Theatre Dubai

Highly Commended: Secret Ladies Night, Atmosphere

Bongo’s Bingo

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Rosé All Night, Cove Beach Dubai


Not Another Ladies Day, W Dubai – The Palm

FAV O U R I T E AT T R A C T I O N

Yoga, unlimited bevvies and a treat off the lunch menu has the weekend extending into Sunday with this daycation pass at W Dubai – The Palm. And, of course, there are the views of the Dubai Marina skyline to bring it all together just perfectly. q @wdubaipalm

TEPfactor Dubai

Think of the 1990s TV show The Crystal Maze and you’ll have some idea of what you’re getting yourself into at TEPfactor Dubai. It’s the ultimate adventure experience and your top attraction in the city for a second year in a row. q @tepfactor.dubai

Highly Commended: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

Highly Commended: Xstrike UAE

FAV O U R I T E A P P Privilee

From unlimited access to five-star beaches, private pools, gyms and thousands of fitness classes, being a part of the Privilee community is almost a rite of passage for residents, especially for those with families. q @privilee_uae Highly Commended: The Entertainer

FAV O U R I T E S TAY C AT I O N Longbeach Campground

Longbeach Campground is the perfect glamping resort for groups of friends, couples and families. The resort offers complimentary activities that everyone will enjoy, including beach access, anw outdoor cinema and water sports. q @longbeachcampground Highly Commended: Sonara Camp

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W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T E N T E R TA I N M E N T A N D L I F E S T Y L E

FAV O U R I T E D AY C AT I O N


W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S U N D E R D H S 4 0 0 / / B E S T S PA S A N D G Y M S

T H E R E S TA U R A N T S BELOW DHS400 FOR TWO

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E B R U N C H Bull & Bear, Waldorf Astoria DIFC Highly Commended: Brass Monkey

WINNER

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E M I D D L E E A S T E R N R E S TA U R A N T

I N D I A N R E S TA U R A N T

Highly Commended: Lezzet Turkish Restaurant

Highly Commended: Mohalla

CZN Burak

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Zafran


FAV O U R I T E J A PA N E S E R E S TA U R A N T Izakaya, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai Highly Commended: Miyako

WINNER WINNER

FAV O U R I T E I TA L I A N R E S TA U R A N T Motorino Dubai, JA Ocean View Hotel

FAV O U R I T E S E A F O O D

Aprons & Hammers, Palm West Beach Highly Commended: Boardwalk

Highly Commended: Luigia, Rixos Premium JBR

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E A S I A N R E S TA U R A N T Asia Tang, The Springs Souk

Highly Commended: Tong Thai, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

What’s On_27

W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S U N D E R D H S 4 0 0 / / B E S T S PA S A N D G Y M S

WINNER


W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S U N D E R D H S 4 0 0 / / B E S T S PA S A N D G Y M S

T H E R E S TA U R A N T S BELOW DHS400 FOR TWO

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E S T E A K H O U S E The Selfish Bull

Highly Commended: Lezzet Turkish Restaurant

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E B R I T I S H R E S TA U R A N T Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen

Highly Commended: Reform Social & Grill

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WINNER

FAV O U R I T E G R E E K R E S TA U R A N T Mythos Kouzina & Grill


FAV O U R I T E L AT I N A M E R I C A N R E S TA U R A N T Maiz Tacos

Highly Commended: La Tablita

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E A L L - D AY D I N I N G R E S TA U R A N T

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E E U R O P E A N R E S TA U R A N T

Brunch & Cake

Couqley French Bistro & Bar

Highly Commended: Nightjar Coffee Roasters

Highly Commended: 21Grams

T H E S PA S A N D G Y M S

WINNER

WINNER

FAV O U R I T E F I T N E S S FA C I L I T Y

FAV O U R I T E S PA

Highly Commended: F45 Training Dubai, DIFC

Highly Commended: Saray Spa, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

51 Gym

Anantara Spa

What’s On_29

W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / B E S T R E S TA U R A N T S U N D E R D H S 4 0 0 / / B E S T S PA S A N D G Y M S

WINNER


W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / PA R T Y P I C T U R E S

THE BIG NIGHT While the past year has been a year of change, amid the challenges have been extraordinary tales of creativity, resilience and spirit. To salute the efforts of our hospitality industry here in Dubai, we welcomed 250 guests to a socially-distanced soiree for our 20th edition of the What’s On Awards… 02 01

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07 01 Managing Partner & Group Editor-In-Chief Ian Fairservice welcomes guests 02 On location at Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort 03 TikTok star CZN Burak 04 Coveted What’s On award trophies 05 Vivienne Davidson and Frank Melloul 06 Grana Padano bites 07 Janice Fairservice and David Mansfield 08 CÉ LA VI 08 30_What’s On


THE BIG WINNERS

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16 09 The Maine Land Brasserie team celebrate their big win 10 The Sonara Camp’s first What’s On award 11 Hamdi and Maryam Osman 12 Patrick and Karen Brannelly 13 Anantara The Palm team with their Favourite Seafood award 14 CZN Burak with fans 15 Pre-awarded winners caught on video 16 Nammos Dubai wins the biggest award of the night 17 Himanshu Saini of Tresind Studio wins Chef of the Year 18 The Boxtones

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W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / PA R T Y P I C T U R E S

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W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / PA R T Y P I C T U R E S

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19 Privilee team accept Favourite App award 20 The ladies of La Cantine group 21 On location at Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort 22 Chef Romain Castet, Mitra Mrinaliny and Harry Massolin 23 The TEPfactor team

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24 Chris Wright and the Secret Parties team 25 Gilberto Hora from Shanghai Me 26 Grana Padano chef whips up a pan of perfect pasta 27 Gokhan Girmez and colleague 28 Motorino team 29 The La Cantine Group

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W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / PA R T Y P I C T U R E S

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EVENT SPONSORS

W H AT ’ S O N D U B A I A W A R D S 2 0 2 1 / / PA R T Y P I C T U R E S

Thanks to our sponsors for working with the team on such a fantastic event

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30 The team from Favourite Cafe Casette celebrate their win 31 Longbeach Campground team 32 Emcee Tom Urquhart 33 Go! Greek and Couqley teams

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WHERE TO EAT AT JUMEIRAH’S NEWEST RESTAURANT PRECINCT

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W H AT ’ S I N WA S L 5 1 ?

umeirah 1 is undergoing a foodie renaissance, with new eateries popping up on a weekly basis. One of the most exciting developments is Wasl 51, a sleek enclave of restaurants and cafes at the northern end of Al Wasl Road that’s fast becoming one of Dubai’s hottest dining precincts. From takeaway coffees that have been known to cause traffic jams, to Instagrammable breakfasts, authentic Portuguese lunches, and sublime desserts, here are all the best things to eat and drink in Wasl 51 right now.

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Lana Lusa

Photo: Getty Images

Lana Lusa is a top contender for the most attractive restaurant that opened in Dubai in 2020. Everything has been painstakingly custommade by Portuguese artisans specifically for the venue, and the menu features family recipes from founder Jessica Viveiro. Think bacalhau croquettes, garlic prawns, and flaky pastel de natas. a Lana Lusa, Wasl 51, Jumeirah 1, daily 8am to 11pm. Tel: (0)4 380 1515. @lanalusadxb

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Brunch & Cake

Barcelona transplant Brunch & Cake courts the Instagram crowd with its stunning interiors and eyepopping dishes. You can even dine in bubble domes, overlooking Al Wasl Road. a Brunch & Cake, Wasl, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Sun to Wed 8am to 10pm, Thu to Sat 8am to 10.30pm. Tel: 800 4726362. @brunchandcakedubai

What’s On_37


W H AT ’ S I N WA S L 5 1 ?

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Around the Block Traffic has been known to come to a standstill outside Around the Block, as cars queue (literally) around the block for takeaway coffees. Make it past the coffee throng, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a high-quality menu inspired by the owners’ travels. Most recently, they turned Japanese with a tasty range of wagyu sandos and ramen. a Around the Block, Wasl 51, Jumeirah 1, daily 7am to midnight. @aroundtheblock

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Mara Lounge & Restaurant Sleekly styled Mara Lounge has been transformed into a winter wonderland at present, dishing out thick hot chocolates and candy-encrusted ice creams. a Mara Lounge, Wasl 51, Jumeirah, Sun to Thu 9am to midnight, Fri and Sat 9am to 1am. Tel: (04) 347 6007. @mara.dubai

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Milk Bar

Pop into the contemporary yet cosy Milk Bar for breakfasts of baked cornbread eggs Benedict, or Turkish eggs nestled in sesame-coated simit. Sweet tooths, set your sites on the pastry counter, where Nutella-stuffed cookies, babka and Basquestyle burnt cheesecake await. a Milk Bar, Wasl 51, daily 7am to 11pm. @ milkbar.ae

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Butter Dessert Salon Another for the sweet fiends, Butter Dessert Salon turns out luscious cakes, cookies and tarts, paired with decadent coffees such as their cappuccino creme brulee. a Butter Dessert Salon, Wasl 51, Sun to Wed 9am to 11pm, Thu to Sat 9am to midnight. @butterdessertsalon

7 Saya

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The third branch of photogenic Saya Caffe has opened in Wasl 51. Expect the brand’s signature explosion of pink blooms, Instagrammable interiors (including a black-andwhite 2D room), hot drinks and desserts. a Saya Caffe, Wasl 51, Jumeirah 1, daily 9am to 1am. @sayacaffe.ae

Mylk Lab by Genki With its plant-based mylks and virtuous vegan mains (think kimchi bibimbap or the taco power bowl), you’ll walk out of this healthy concept cafe in a cloud of smug. The menu is also free of gluten, refined sugar, soy and peanut, so it’s ideal for those who have to watch what they eat. a Mylk Lab by Genki, Wasl 51, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (0)50 408 6946. @genkiuae What’s On_39


W H AT ’ S I N WA S L 5 1 ?

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Blk Cab Coffee The astroturfed patio is a great spot for coffee, but this monochrome cafe also turns out some tasty plates of food. Think doughnut and ice cream sandwiches, pepperoni pizza, loaded croissants, and the all-new ‘waco’, a Korean bubble waffle taco loaded with chicken, slaw and barbecue sauce. a Blk Cab Coffee, Wasl 51, @blkcabcoffee

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Dishtrict This globe-trotting menu doesn’t pull any punches, with its slightly madcap marriage of Indian, Thai, Japanese and Italian cuisines. Standouts include the deliciously sacrilegious Thai arancini, and the ethereal matcha milk cake, which is worth a visit in its own right. a Dishtrict, Wasl 51, Sun to Wed noon to 11pm, Thu to Sat noon to midnight. @dishtrictdxb

11 Charade

Board games and burgers combine in this vintage-style eatery, where you can tuck into chicken or beef burgers over a game of Cards Against Humanity. The old-school ‘smores will bring back all those childhood feels. a Charade, Wasl 51, Sun to Thu noon to 11pm, Fri and Sat noon to midnight. @charadedubai

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Happy Egg Along the back stretch of Wasl 51, sister venues Happy Egg, Off the Grid and Crab Shed dish out bountiful all-day breakfasts, freshly folded crepes, and spicy Cajun-style seafood (the kind that requires a bib and gloves). a Happy Egg, Wasl 51, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (0)54 436 4778. @happyeggdxb

La Fabbrica Italiana

Dubai’s first dedicated focacceria, La Fabbrica will be dishing out freshly baked focaccia, authentic tiramisu, and burrata when it opens the doors to this cosy trattoria. a La Fabbrica Italiana, coming soon to Wasl 51, @la_fabbrica_italiana

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Caf Cafe The signature move at this sleek Kuwait-born cafe is the coffee con helado, topped with chocolately cubes of ice cream sandwich. They also do a strong selection of iced coffees, including cold brew and Spanish latte, that are perfect for the Dubai climate. a Caf Cafe, Wasl 51. @cafcafe

NEW!

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Chef Mohamad Orfali

Orfali Bros

This very exciting new bistro acts as a test kitchen for the Syrian-born Orfali brothers and is currently only open for dinner. Judging by its Instagram page, sourcing local produce is key for the Orfali brothers. Check out our review in next month’s issue. a Orfali Bros, Wasl 51, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (0)42592477. @orfalibros_bistro

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TWO CHANCES TO BOOGIE TO ABBA THIS YEAR: ON A SHIP AND AT THE OPERA

Get ready for a singalong

SWEDE SOUNDS

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t has now been over three decades since the real Abba last toured, but that hasn’t stopped Abba mania gripping the planet. Today there are tribute acts, the hugely popular stage hit, and two feature films celebrating the music of this Swedish supergroup. Thankfully, for UAE residents, there are two chances to enjoy the hit songs of Abba in person this year. The first is with music show Abba Reunion, taking place at Theatre by QE2 from May 26 to 28. Created by the team behind the awardwinning Abbamania musical,

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and featuring the original Frida from the London West End show, the tribute concert recreates the songs and stage banter that made Abba such a phenomenal live draw. Tickets cost Dhs135 and are available for purchase via platinumlist. The next Abba soiree takes place in September when the worldwide smash hit musical Mamma Mia! is staged for 10 days at Dubai Opera from September 13 to 22 for the very first time. Mamma Mia! is Judy Craymer’s ingenious vision of staging the story-telling magic of Abba’s timeless songs to a

To celebrate the Swedish superstars, here are five things you probably didn’t know about Abba 01

The UK didn’t award Abba a single point in the 1974 Eurovision song contest. 01 Mamma Mia! stage performance 02 Abba Reunion tribute act

sunny, funny tale of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads unfolding on a Greek island idyll. To date, it’s been enjoyed by over 65 million people across 50 productions. Tickets are on sale now and likely to sell out. q theatrebyqe2.com and dubaiopera.com

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Abba shares its name with a Swedish canned herring company. 03

In the ‘70s, Abba was Sweden’s second biggest export behind car manufacturer Volvo. 04

Abba was first called Festfolk, which means party people in Swedish. 05

See Abba Reunion at Theatre by QE2 from May 26 to 28. q dubai.platinumlist.net See Mamma Mia! at Dubai Opera from September 13 to 22. q dubaiopera.com

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Mamma Mia! the film gave the band their first and only number one album in the US.


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EAT + DRINK + SHOP RATING FOOD A+ to CVIBE Family Friendly Party Casual Romantic Fancy PRICE (FOR TWO) Up to Dhs249 Dhs250 to Dhs749 Dhs750+

PA G E 50

Finger lickin’

An Aussie favourite lands in Dubai MIMI KAKUSHI p46 MOON SLICE p47 WAWA p51 What’s On_45


C O N S U M E

EAT // REVIEW

MIMI KAKUSHI

Welcome to the orient noveau in Jumeirah e were optimistic about Mimi Kakushi from the start. It’s run by the same people behind celebrated French restaurant La Cantine du Faubourg, casual Portuguese spot Lana Lusa, the What’s On award-winning Middle Eastern restaurant Ninive, and Twiggy, easily 2021’s most exciting opening to date. Adding a new notch to its gastronomic belt is this, a fun yet fancy Japanese restaurant perched just above Coya at the Four Seasons Jumeirah Restaurant Village. Design-wise, Mimi Kakushi packs a visual punch. A clandestine entrance leads you up a flight of stairs and through a closed door. Once inside, welcome to 1920s Osaka, a glamorous homage to the

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avant-garde oriental era, with a sultry amalgamation of big round leather booths, a large mahogany-esque bar with a cool jazz soundtrack playing in the background. The new venue also has major people-watching potential – we spotted a few of Dubai’s social elite sampling the goods when we visited. All of this added up to a fair amount of gawping, but we soon snapped out of it when the food started to arrive. A selection of small dishes left us struggling to decide if we preferred the silky miso marinated black cod gyoza (Dhs85) or the rich Wagyu and foie gras dumplings (Dhs70) – both with their glorious pouches made with the best slippery silken casings – until the unimpeachable quality of their greaseless tiger prawn tempura (Dhs90) arrived and quickly became the winner. The smashed hamachi (Dhs86) makes all other hamachi’s look like a first draft with its lip-smacking, sweet and tangy

mix of garlic yuzu soy continuing far beyond what feels decent. The main course of braised short ribs with sweet garlic soy, ginger wasabi relish and pistachio (Dhs395) was another spectacular hit, so tender and juicy you’ll wish you had left more room to enjoy it. We skipped desserts in favour of the drinks menu, which had extensive sake lists and eclectic bottles of grape, but a reasonable choice by the glass. As ever at these places, the bill racks up faster than a Land Cruiser down Sheikh Zayed Road. But as has become synonymous with The La Cantine Group restaurants, that expense feels fully justified. a Four Seasons Resort Restaurant Village. Daily 6pm to 2am. Tel: (0)43794811. mimikakushi.ae RATING Food ����������������������������������������������������������������A Atmosphere ���������������������������������������������������� Price ���������������������������������������������������


C O N S U M E

EAT // REVIEW

MOON SLICE

Creative artisanal pizza in the heart of Jumeirah here shall we order pizza from?’ It’s a simple question that most pizza-loving folk ask almost weekly, usually tossing off a half-hearted ‘the usual spot, I guess’. But, the pizzaverse is vast and varied, especially in Dubai, and even its most voracious fans likely haven’t sampled all the palatepleasing options out there. One new pizzeria worth checking out right now is Moon Slice. Run by Emirati restauranteur Mahmood AlKhamis and super chef Reif Othman, this teeny pizzeria inside Dar Wasl Mall whips up some delicious and unique artisanal pies. Sure, certain pizza purists will cast a skeptical eye at certain pizza permutations – moon Caesar salad pizza, anyone? – and derisively deem them ‘not pizza,’ but we believe the glorious trinity of cheese, sauce, and carbs deserves to be celebrated in all its forms.

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There are nine pizzas to choose from ranging from the more traditional (mushroom; pepperoni; or marinara and mozzarella) to the unique (avo; honey; or marinated chicken breast with red onion and jalepeno). We hedged our bets with one safe option, a standard pepperoni (Dhs75), and one artisanal pizza, the Moon Slice special (Dhs120). Moon Slice serves thin crust, but it’s not New York style. The ends are puffier and more flavourful, the bottom slightly sturdier, and there’s more cheese than

you expect on a pizza so refined in taste. Toppings are ample. There’s plenty of dime-sized mini-pepperoni, which are charred and juicy. The MS pizza, meanwhile, is a truffle triumph, with a blackened dough base, pecorino and truffle paste, truffle foam, a huge splodge of mozzarella and freshly grated truffle to top it all off. It’s a divine masterpiece. Should you fancy a couple of appetisers to compliment your carb load, opt for the squid ink arancini balls (Dhs65), which ooze with more melted cheese. Delivery is available – and definitely worth ordering from – but visiting the pizzeria is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, too. It’s like you’re eating within a casual pizza kitchen that happens to be in the heart of Jumeirah. It all feels very Dubai and very Reif, and that’s a great combination. a Dar Al Wasl Mall, daily from noon to 11pm. Tel: (0)4 239 8363. Reservations essential. @moonslicepizza RATING Food ���������������������������������������������������������������� A Atmosphere ���������������������������������������������������� Price ��������������������������������������������������������

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C O N S U M E

DRINK // COFFEE

Staying grounded Meet Mohamad Merhi, co-founder and managing partner at Cypher Urban Roastery

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ehri is a stickler for details. From bean sourcing, to the exquisitely handsome packaging, everything at Cypher Urban roastery has to be done to his, very precise, standards. No surprise, then, to discover that Dubai’s coffee aficionados – not short of an exacting standard or two themselves when it comes to coffee – are flocking to him for their java fix… I’ve always had a natural affinity for coffee. My family have loved it for generations. Some of my fondest memories are listening to my late grandfather, who’d tell us his life story while sipping on a cup of fragrant, freshly brewed Arabic coffee. The speciality coffee scene has boomed over the last five years here. People are really appreciating the craft that goes into brewing their morning cup, and are more open to trying new blends. They’re also interested in the story behind each bean and its journey,

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which is something that we at Cypher pride ourselves on. When we launched Cypher, I was at a point in my life where I wanted to throw myself into something meaningful. I wanted to revive the ancient art of coffee in the Middle East and redefine the relationship people have with it. This mission starts with sourcing the highest standard of coffee beans, and ensuring that people in the Middle East can enjoy some of the best coffee in the world. We believe in engaging and educating the community from farmers to brewers. We want to give back to the community and

the world around us. And we are deeply committed to the promotion of fair trade practices across the bean life-cycle. The best quality produce? I developed a fondness for Ethiopia, Kenya, Colombia and Guatemala. In my opinion these four origins consistently produce the best quality. It’s not just about coffee for us now. Last year we launched Snackwell, our 100 per cent natural fruit-based snacks. Our aim is to help coffee producers who harvest fruits alongside

coffee beans to generate other sources of revenue. We also launched Nabtih, (meaning plant). It’s a new initiative to reduce waste associated with harvesting and distribution of coffee by recycling and repurposing its byproducts. For example, we’ve repurposed jute bags – originally used to transport coffee beans – into pots for basil, rosemary and mint. Cypher also stocks sustainable products such as olive oil sourced directly from farms in Palestine. q bycypher.com


C O N S U M E

EAT // REVIEW

OPORTO

Find out why Australians in Dubai are in a flap over these chicken burgers… f you’re an Australian living in Dubai, chances are you’ve had the chicken salt conversation recently. Rumours of this supercharged seasoning have been liberally sprinkled across Aussie WhatsApp groups, as news spread that Bondi-born burger chain Oporto was opening in Dubai Festival City Mall. That Oporto would bring its legendary Bondi burger was a nobrainer, but for homesick expats it was the thought of chickensalt-dusted hot chips that really had us chomping at the bit. Upon opening weekend, phones started pinging with messages about the umami-pumping salt. First, came the devastating news that the chips came sans chicken salt. Next came the jubilation, as we learnt there was a stash behind the counter (you just had to ask for it). Needless to say, the Aussie contingent flocked to Festival City like a pack of hungry seagulls. It’s not all about that fiendishly yellow salt, however. From its birthplace on the sun-kissed shores of Bondi Beach, this Portuguese-inspired eatery has built an empire off the back of flamegrilled chicken burgers doused in a signature chilli sauce. Inspired by the flavour-packed sauces of his Portuguese homeland, Oporto founder Antonio Cerqueira created his first batch in Sydney back in 1986, a zesty combination of chilli, ginger, lemon and garlic loosely bound with oil.

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Now, in a bright and airy eatery on the other side of the world, it’s having the same nostalgic effects as when Antonio stirred up his first pot. Hot off the grill (which you can spy from the dining room), not only does our double Bondi burger (Dhs29) taste as good as we remember, somehow it tastes even better. The formula is simple: two slender chicken breast fillets (also available as single or triple), shredded iceberg, cheese, mayonnaise and a liberal dose of that slow-burn chilli sauce. We wager you’ll want more sauce, so order it slathered over flame-grilled chicken (Dhs65 for a half a chicken).

Our smoky, juicy bird comes with sides of Portuguese rice and chargrilled corn, as well as a Middle East-appropriate serve of pita, crunchy pickles and garlic sauce. In fact, the whole menu has been beefed up for its Dubai debut, with breakfast burgers, salad bowls and even a textbook-perfect lamington for dessert (Dhs18) – and if that doesn’t cure your homesickness, nothing will. a Dubai Festival City Mall, Level 1, daily 8am to 10pm. oportome.com RATING Food �������������������������������������������������������������� B+ Atmosphere ������������������������������������������������ Price ��������������������������������������������������������������


C O N S U M E

EAT // REVIEW

WAWA DINING

An unassuming, authentic Japanese eatery in Barsha… ou’d be forgiven if the recent opening of Wawa Dining flew under your radar. Unlike its flashy competitors, Japanese restaurant Wawa chose a more modest launch approach. This, along with its paired-back interiors, is what attracted us to the concept in the first place. Found in Golden Tulip Al Barsha, guests will face geisha printed curtains and a small dark passageway before entering the venue. It’s an izakaya (a casual Japanese bar), making it a fun afterwork hangout spot. There aren’t too many other guests on our visit, but the ones that are there are Japanese – a sure fire sign of authenticity.

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The menu splits between starters, sushi, noodles, seafood and signature dishes. Most of the plates are small and ideal for sharing. We’re intrigued by the deep fried tofu (Dhs47). Five parcels of batter filled with creamy tofu arrive with a fresh sweet chili jam on top. They’re tasty and nicely combine both crispy and soft textures. We’re told the salmon carpaccio (Dhs56) is a must try and gladly oblige. It’s a refreshing dish, with orange segments and truffle ponzu. Gyoza is usually a winner in any Japanese restaurant but Wawa’s is exceptional enough to tempt us for a second helping. It’s filled with Osaka beef (Dhs56)

and drizzled in teriyaki sauce before being topped with thin and crispy onion strips. We order the volcano maki (Dhs53) on the promise that it’s ‘not too spicy’, but we would’ve enjoyed its fiery sauce on the side as the rolls were completely coated in spicy aioli, overpowering everything else. Currently the only option for dessert is flavoured mochi ice cream, so we opted for another gyoza instead. Each dish is beautifully presented in a fine-dining style you’d expect in any contemporary DIFC bar, which is surprising given its casual vibe. Price wise, the dishes aren’t too far off it’s fine-dining competitors, but if casual, unpretentious dining is what you’re looking for, then follow Dubai’s Japanese crowd and head to Wawa. a Wawa, Golden Tulip, Al Barsha, daily 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 12am. Tel: (0)4 501 6189. @wawadining RATING Food ���������������������������������������������������������������AAtmosphere ���������������������������������������������������� Price ���������������������������������������������������������

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IFTAR SPOTLIGHT

MEET THE CHEF

RAYMOND WONG Chef de Cuisine, Seafire Steakhouse The most stand-out steak on our menu is the Seafire 65-day dry aged Australian Angus tomahawk. It weighs in at 1.8kg and we dry age the meat in-house, which makes it very special. Side dishes? With that steak you really want to enjoy the flavours of the meat, so I would recommend a simple peppercorn sauce. I’ve been with Atlantis, The Palm for almost five years now and I’m still motivated. When joining any establishment, my main goal is to take ownership of the restaurant and treat it like my own business. This ensures that I deliver the highest standard. I have great memories travelling for work. We’ve visited the Ranger Valley cattle farm in Australia, which is where we source our Atlantis beef. Getting to meet the passionate farmers helps us understand the produce and learn why it’s so special. I have been recognised in the industry as a leading chef in the UAE. I really cherish it whenever I received awards and accolades. Last meal on earth? I would share a traditional Sunday roast with my friends and family in Scotland. a Seafire Steakhouse, Atlantis, The Palm, Wed to Mon 6pm to 11pm. Tel: (0)4 426 2626. @seafiresteakhouse

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Brasserie Boulud

Traditional iftar with a side of European elegance French-born chef Daniel Boulud is best known for his eponymous New York restaurant, the two-Michelin-starred Daniel, as well as a slew of brasseries and bistros as far afield as London, Singapore and Washington DC. For his first foray into Dubai, he set up shop in the stunning Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, opening Brasserie Boulud last November. And now, for the first time, he – and

his Dubai-based team – have put together iftar, which combines Arabian flavours with a European twist. The meal begins with an assortment of starters to share, including local burrata with crisp artichokes and pickled zaatar, wild mushroom falafel doused in velvet tahini dressing, and truffle-infused hummus. Selections from the grill arrive next, featuring skewered prawns with smoked garlic and grilled lime, herb brushed bavette and seabream with sumac and parsley, and some lamb kebabs. If you’re a bigger group, opt for the ouzi-style lamb shank with oriental rice. The meal ends with a Chef Boulud speciality, the delightful Valrhona chocolate fondant served with a scoop of coconut ice cream to lighten the intensity. a Sofitel Dubai The Obelisk, Dubai.

Throughout Ramadan, sunset to 8.30pm, Dhs195 per person. Tel: (0)4 281 4020. sofitel-dubai-theobelisk.com/restaurantsbars/brasserie-boulud


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ART + THEATRE + FILM + MUSIC

PA G E 59

The World of Banksy

An immersive experience at Mall of the Emirates THE LAUGHTER FACTORY RETURNS p60


THE AGENDA Our pick of the top culture-related events this month around the UAE

For more cultural plans happening in the UAE, visit whatson.ae

ABU DHABI /EXHIBITION/

Murals Of History at Cultural Foundation UAE-based artists have come together for this group exhibition and have created murals inspired by Arab art history, delivered with their own unique artistic interpretation. The exhibition is an homage and a continuation of the Arab art movement. Expect to see colourful murals fusing Arab and Islamic art elements into contemporary creative styles. Until September 20 a Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street Abu Dhabi, Sat to Thur 10am to 7pm, Fri 2pm to 7pm. Tel: (0)2 657 6348. Culturalfoundation.ae 56_What’s On

/NEW OPENING/

Visit House of Artisans at Qasr Al Hosn The newly opened spot in Abu Dhabi shines a spotlight on the rich history heritage of Abu Dhabi and the wider

region. Visitors will be able to learn about a diverse range of UAE handicrafts through engaging exhibits. a Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street, Al Hosn, Sat to Thu 10am to 7pm, Fri 2pm to 7pm, Dhs30. qasralhosn.ae


CULTURE

DUBAI /FILM/

Award-winning films at Cinema Akil Two award-winning films are being screened at Cinema Akil: The Man Who Sold His Skin and Minari. Both films are award winners and can be watched at Dubai’s only independent cinema from May 1 to 10. Until May 10 a Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai, timings vary. Tel: (0)4 223 1139. cinemaakil.com

/EXHIBITION/

Drawings & Editions at XVA Gallery Leaves, flowers, trees and landscapes are what you’ll notice at first glance in these creative collages by artist Elizabeth Dorazio. But as you take in the layered creation, look a little closer and you’ll notice the human element placed in almost insignificantly, staring in awe at nature. Until June 11 a Al Fahidi, Dubai, open daily 7am to 10pm. Tel: (0)4 353 5383. xvagallery.com

SHARJAH /EXHIBITION/

Unsettled Objects at The Flying Saucer Recent and rarely seen works of art by artists across the globe can be found in this exhibition which encourages viewers to reconsider the way art is looked at and understood while provoking a re-imagining of the ways in which history is narrated and explored. It is based on late conceptual artist Lothar Baumgarten’s Unsettled Objects (1968–1969) – a projection filmed in Oxford’s Pitt Rivers Museum. Until June 15 a The Flying Saucer - Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, open daily Sat to Thur 9am to 9pm, Fri 4pm to 9pm. Tel: (0)6 568 5050. sharjahart.org What’s On_57


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CULTURE

The World of Banksy

A major exhibition featuring works by the street artist opens in Dubai ART

W

Photo: Aarti Saundalkar

e’ve hit the art jackpot, the art motherlode, the art Shangri-La, and there’s no turning back. Until June 30, Mall of the Emirates will host the world’s largest collection of recreated Banksy art. ‘The World of Banksy - The Immersive Experience’ is devoted to the world-famous street artist, and reveals over 120 works spread

throughout the gallery at The Theatre. The reproductions of graphic murals will enable visitors to rediscover iconic pieces, including Girl with a Balloon, the Flower Thrower, the Mobile Lovers, and many other works by Banksy. The exhibition is set up on the basis of the geographical distribution of Banksy’s works. The countries covered are the UK, the US, France, Canada, Australia, and Mali. With very little known about the mysterious street artist, Banksy’s

recreated exhibitions are eagerly attended by art lovers across the world keen to learn more about the enigmatic figure. ‘The World of Banksy’ will offer insight into the work, influences and inspiration of the artist, giving local art enthusiasts the opportunity to get up, close and personal with his work. Until June 30 a The Theatre, Mall of the Emirates, Dhs110 (VIP), Dhs75 for adults, Dhs45 for children. malloftheemirates.com/ events/worldofbanksy What’s On_59


CULTURE

Downright nasty The Laughter Factory returns to Dubai

COMEDY

I

f you ask somebody about where to see comedy in Dubai, you’ll get the same answer: go to The Laughter Factory. Running monthly for the last 25 years, these guys are a tour de force when it comes to bringing in the best comedy talent to the Emirates. Shows take place over a week in different venues around the city (although we’re particular fans of the Movenpick JBR and Zabeel House in The Greens locations). Each month features a different line-up from across the planet. This month’s Downright Nasty tour features a trio of awesome talent: comedy bad boy and TV scriptwriter Agnostino Zoida; Edinburgh Fringe Festival favourite George Zach; and the charming Estonian Ari Matti Mustonen. Tickets cost Dhs160 and the show starts at 8.30pm. q thelaughterfactory.com

George Zach

DATES

Ari Matti Mustonen

Agnostino Zoida

Laugh yourself silly Dubai Comedy Festival promises a month of side-splitting fun The Dubai Comedy Festival is bringing back the LOLs from May 13 to 22 with a 10-day extravaganza taking place at various locations across the city. We’re promised everything from stand-up sets to variety shows, activations and more. So far, the comedy line-up features Gad El Maleh performing a French gig at Dubai Opera on May 16. Meanwhile Lebanese American standup Nemr heads to DWTC on May 20, 60_What’s On

as does Axis of Evil comedy member Maz Jobrani on May 21. The other international stars taking the stage at Dubai Comedy Festival are yet to be revealed, but judging by past visiting comedians (Dave Chapelle and Trevor Noah among others), it should be a top week. Keep an eye on whatson.ae for any breaking news. May 13 to 22 q dubaicomedyfest.ae

May 13 and 14 Movenpick JBR May 19 Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens May 20 Grand Millennium Barsha Heights May 21 Grand Millennium Business Bay


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SPORT + WELL-BEING + TRAVEL

PA G E 66

Take a hike

Highlander multi-day hikes launch in RAK PADEL TENNIS p65 What’s On_63


A C T I V E

ACTIVE // PADEL

Smash hits

A new club on The Palm serves up an exciting new sport to Dubai

O

ne of Europe’s fastest growing grassroots sports, Padel is easy to play, fun and sociable – and now you can give it a go at Smash Padel and Fitness Club. The new fitness facility on the Golden Mile on Palm Jumeirah has three worldclass padel courts as well as an indoor and outdoor gym – more on that next issue. But what exactly is padel and how is it difference to tennis?

02

Padel is mainly played in doubles Padel courts are designed for four players and are roughly 25 per cent smaller than the size of a tennis court.

q smash.ae

03

Padel balls are smaller than tennis balls On first glance padel and tennis balls are almost identical but there’s a big difference. Padel balls have less pressure so do not bounce as much as tennis balls, and they’re slightly smaller.

01

Padel rules are similar to tennis - but you serve underarm In padel, scoring is the same as tennis but there are many differences between the sports. A padel court has walls, so shots can be played off them, like in squash. Also, unlike tennis, when a ball is served it must bounce once on the floor then be hit from below, or at, waist height.

04

Padel is played with ‘bats’ instead of ‘rackets’. Padel bats are stringless and are shorter than tennis rackets.

Photo: Getty Images

05

A 90-minute session costs Dhs95 during peak hours (weekends and from 4.40pm onwards on weekdays). Off-peak hours costs Dhs65. Keen padel tennis enthusiasts can purchase bulk packages. Ten 90-minute sessions costs Dhs900, 20 sessions costs Dhs1,600 and 30 sessions is Dhs2,100.

What’s On_65


A C T I V E

SPORT // HIKING

Walk on the wild side

Get ready for epic hikes as Highlander launches multi-day hiking experiences in November

I

n the UAE, popular hikes like Wadi Showka tend to be one-day adventures. But there are a plethora of amazing nature excursions in and around the UAE, scattered across our surrounding mountains and wadis, that could be explored for days. Ready to make that a reality is Highlander adventure. The brand was created in Croatia in 2017 with the intention of producing premium hiking experiences for nature lovers around the world and, from November, will be operating in Ras Al Khaimah. Pegged as a long-distance hiking event, Highlander is the only certified international hiking association in the world, inviting 66_What’s On


participants to hike 100/50/25 km long trails for up to five days. But you don’t need to be a pro to join – Highlander is for anyone with an adequate level of fitness, passion and endurance.

Highlander55 When: November 18 to 20 The inaugural Highlander event takes place in RAK in November covering 51km through the ancient yet picturesque mountain terrain over the three days. The trails have been carefully designed by some of the country’s most accomplished mountaineers, to make this Highlander event a trip of a lifetime. For those who are not ready for the full three-day hike, there is the option of the Highlander Experience, which is 30km over two days. In addition to the hikes, both experiences offer yoga, plus Leave No Trace and travel talks in the evenings.

The route The hike begins at the Wadi Ghalilah Dam, through the rocky wadi bed before the notoriously challenging, albeit immensely rewarding, climb of Stairway To Heaven, right to the summit. After this huge accomplishment on day one, you will camp under the stars at the UAE’s highest spot, Camp 1770, named so after its height above sea level. Here you can catch up with fellow trekkers, exchange stories and tales around camp fires and enjoy the most spectacular sunset. The following days will have you winding down along the ridge on the western side of the mountain, with breathtaking views of the rugged cliffs to

one side and the glistening coast on the other. You will discover unbeaten paths that have never been experienced before and pass picturesque mountain villages where time has stood still and you can observe the ancient civilisation.

Things to consider before joining To participate in Highlander55 or the Highlander Experience, there are a few requirements to consider beforehand. All hikers must bring – and carry – their own equipment such as sleeping bags, tents, stoves and cutlery. Nine meals and water will be provided over three days, but you need to bring your own snacks. There are daily checkpoints that must be reached, with time limits to adhere to, and although this is not a race, you will need to collect the checkpoint stamps in order to receive your completion certification and badge. As Highlander is dedicated to the preservation of nature and sustainability, littering and fire lighting are strictly forbidden.

PRICES HIGHLANDER55: Early Bird Dhs985 Regular Dhs1,185 HIGHLANDER EXPERIENCE: Regular Dhs645 | USD176

a To find out more, and register for Highlander events in Ras Al Khaimah, visit highlanderadventure.com

What’s On_67


A C T I V E

Out of Dubai… and into Africa Experience the sights and sounds of Africa without leaving the UAE

68_What’sOn


H

ave you ever wanted to wake up to an African dawn? Or dreamt of seeing gazelle nibbling the grass metres in front of where you sit with your morning cuppa, or watching a giraffe lazily munching the top of a tree just a few metres further away? Well, you can do all that at a place that’s only a road trip away. Many UAE residents are often surprised to learn that Abu Dhabi has a remote island housing 11,000 wild animals. Those who are in the know about Sir Bani Yas, however, will already appreciate the unique characteristics that make a 3.5-hour trip to the island feel more like a Kenyan escape than a staycation in the capital. The island itself is bigger than Abu Dhabi city, coming in at 87 Sq Km – that’s equal to 378 Bluewaters Islands. The three available resorts are all operated by Anantara. There’s Desert Islands Resort, and two types of villas: Al Sahel Resort has lodges in the forest, while Al Yamm Resort has villas on the beach.

What’s On recently spent two nights at Al Yamm Resort (Dhs1,520 per night). The first thing to note is that the resorts are open to all guests, allowing you to explore each hotel, its pools, and restaurants as you please. However, due to the size of the island, there are drivers to take

you between each upon your request. Everywhere you look there are various animals strolling, squawking or feeding on the grass. Arabian oryx are one of the main animals you’ll see around the resorts and – as long as you don’t get too close – they’ll peacefully graze What’sOn_69


A C T I V E

TRAVEL // SIR BANI YAS

right next to you. Peacocks are common too, and more than happy to show off their mesmerising iridescent trains. Al Yamm Resort’s rooms look out onto the mangroves and have sun loungers as well as an outdoor deck to relax and take in the serene setting. The villa has plenty of space inside, with a passagewaystyle bathroom, leading to a separate shower guarded by swinging saloon doors. Anantara Sir Bani Yas provides an extensive list of activities to keep you busy throughout your stay. A must-try is the nature and wildlife drive, which lasts about 90 minutes (Dhs320 per person) where your guide will 70_What’s On


show you the enormous range of wildlife roaming free on the island. As with any safari, there’s a little luck involved but we managed to catch a glimpse of cheetahs and get up close and personal with a friendly giraffe from within our open-top Land Cruiser. Other pursuits available include archery, kayaking and horse riding. The cultural and historical tour (Dhs295 per person) stops off at some of the archaeological sites on the island, including a cemetery of the Bani Yas tribe, which lived on the island from 1800 to 1935. Olio is Al Yamm’s signature restaurant – an endearing Italian spot directly next to the beach. Enjoying breakfast here while watching the waves crash into the shore has to be one of the best ways to start a day.

HOW TO GET THERE

From Abu Dhabi, take the E11 towards Tarif and Mirfa. Take Exit 113 and follow signs to Jabel Dhanna Jetty, and then Sir Bani Yas Island. A 20-minute ferry boat ride takes you to the resort.

up mixed grills and hot mezze next to the hotel’s outdoor pool. While this road trip might be one of the longest you’ll make while living in the UAE, it’s absolutely worth it. Sharing a vast island with fascinating animals normally seen only in faraway lands, as well as the calm ambience around the resorts, will have you returning to the city feeling reset and totally at peace. q ananatara.com

For African cuisine, Al Sahel has Savannah Grill & Lounge where, on Thursdays, guests can enjoy a traditional braai, but other days are equally great for steak and barbecued seafood – just be sure to arrive hungry as Savannah serves up big portions. We also tried the Arabic restaurant in Desert Islands Resort, which serves What’sOn_71


WIN! A MICHELIN

DESSERT DINING EXPERIENCE Chef René Frank’s food creations are full of surprises. His colourful career spans over 15 years, including his two-Michelinstarred restaurant Coda in Berlin – the first progressive dessert restaurant to be honoured in the Michelin Guide. For the first time, Chef Rene has partnered with FIVE Hotels & Resorts to present four exclusive dessert menu experiences in Dubai at The

Penthouse, Maiden Shanghai, The Delisserie and Soul Street, and we’re offering you the chance to experience it, too. You and three mates will enjoy stunning creations in the beautiful surroundings of Maiden Shanghai. Highlights on the artisanal menu include the ‘Century Egg’, a playful chocolate mousseinspired dish, and the almond and blueberry ‘Rice Bowl’.

qq For your chance to win, go to whatson.ae/win 72_What’s On


WIN! A NIGHT’S

STAY IN A SUITE FOR TWO AT PARK REGIS KRIS KIN DUBAI Experience a relaxed staycation at the Park Regis Kris Kin Dubai hotel, a stone’s throw from BurJuman. You’ll stay in a swanky two-bedroom suite with spectacular views of the city, and enjoy half-board packages. Stays are valid from June 1 to 30, and other T&C’s apply.

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WIN! DHS500

WORTH OF BILTONG, BOEREWORS, BURGERS AND MORE

Indulge in some meaty madness at South African store Lekker Meat Shop. The brand new halal butchers in Al Quoz opened at the end of April and serves a range of premium beef, lamb and chicken cuts, as well as South Africa’s finest meaty marvels. We’ve teamed up with the new venture to give away two vouchers worth Dhs500 each. Just think how many boerewors that’ll get you…

qq For your chance to win, go to whatson.ae/win What’s On_73


L A S TMINUTE TRIP Can the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers reach the heights of a fun family staycation? Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers has a reputation for delivering on its promise of luxury. With a huge portfolio of awardwinning restaurants, a spa, beach club and Gulf-facing infinity pool, it ticks a lot of those top holiday boxes. But how does it compare as a destination for families?

The location Hollywood big-shots, the Etihad Towers represent some of the most cinematic components of Abu Dhabi’s spire-studded skyline. Found at the western edge of the Corniche’s golden shoreline, and just a short walk away from the Presidential Palace, these hyper-modern monoliths occupy capital real estate.

The look and feel There’s nothing understated here. Opulence and splendor are deservedly on full and unashamed display from the lobby to the 74th floor observation deck. Design touches such as the grand artwork and marbled facades are clear markers of class, but there’s also a warmth to it. It’s an aspect mirrored in the service of the resort staff, who retained all professionalism even when faced with the decorum fail of a four-year-old skidding across the reception area in their socks.

The facilities Gastronomy is a big reason to visit this hotel with 12 excellent restaurants and bars on site, and importantly most of them are actively family friendly. There’s a large dedicated children’s pool and a sheltered play area for the kids. Plenty of traditional bucket and spade fun can be had on the beach, and if parents need an escape, the spa has 13 treatment rooms. 74_What’s On

“GASTRONOMY IS A BIG REASON TO VISIT, WITH 12 EXCELLENT RESTAURANTS ON SITE...” The rooms This is what really elevated the whole ‘family experience’ for us. We stayed in a King Premier Family Room with a View, and it was one of the best-equipped setups for kids and grown-ups as a unit we’ve experienced in the UAE. It’s separated into two bedrooms and sleeps up to five people in total. It also features a collection of engaging wooden toys, books (in English and Arabic) and games. The in-room tent was a bedtime gamechanger – it’s amazing how much easier the lights out tango becomes when choreographed to the beat of a (climate controlled) camping trip.

The food and drinks The dozen varied restaurants at Conrad ensure that even the fussiest of palates are

catered for. And what a collection of eateries it is — Nahaam, Li Beirut, Tori No Su, Sole, VaKaVa and more. It’s often the case that allday-diners become overshadowed by their glossier, nichey neighbours — but visiting Rosewater for breakfast was a hugely enjoyable family meal in its own right.

The room rates The King Premier Family Room with a View is one of the higher room categories, but you can still find half-board stays from around Dhs1,350 (plus taxes, based on two adults and two children). Standard room types are available from as little as Dhs522 (plus tax, for two adults). a Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, Corniche Road. Tel: (0)2 811 5555. hilton.com


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