Dubai -UAE

Alex: Many Europe trips have taken place since I was young, which meant the usual unbearable long haul flights. Something you’d think I’d be used to but alas, that’s not the case. Going all the way around the world this trip I decided I wanted to break up the flying as much as possible so I was finally about to leave Dubai Airport and explore the ridiculous city that is Dubai. 

After the worst flight known to man from Singapore to Dubai, I couldn’t have been more eager to check into our hotel and freshen up. We stayed at the Taj Dubai. 

The Indian themed hotel is a welcomed mix of extravagance, history and contemporary style and is located in the business district of Dubai. Walking into my room and seeing this view, my jaw literally dropped…  

I don’t know about everyone else but after visiting Japan and not being able to find affordable fruit anywhere or just any at all, seeing a whole tray of fresh fruit actually made my day and was a lovely touch after the easy check in process.

The room itself was comfortable. A large amount of space for two people, and pillows so comfortable I almost didn’t want to leave the bed.

The bathroom was adorned with marble and had a stunning bathtub with views of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.

Inside the hotel is easily one of Dubai’s most well known Indian restaurant and Taj’s signature venue, Bombay Brasserie. An amalgamation of classic and ultra-modern Indian cuisine.

Bombay Brasserie offers unparalleled views of the Burj Khalifa and I might be biased but I think we got the most sought after seat in the restaurant. I’ll be honest, Indian food is never my first choice but I am so glad I got to experience this restaurant.

Bombay Brasserie offers a stunning open plan kitchen meaning you can enjoy the chefs preparing some of the dishes so if you’re not lucky enough to score a table with a view (which we were told are booked out weeks in advance) you’ll still have some form of entertainment.

Always a fiend for a glass of French bubbles we opted for a bottle of the Veuve Clicquot ponsardin brut yellow label. Always a favourite of mine and generally my poison if champagne is involved.

In order to sample a range of the food from the menu I opted for the Bombay Brasserie set menu at 375 dirham ($130). 

A stunning plate mezze came out and to pick a favourite was near impossible. The Roti pe boti – Lamb, caramelized onion & wheat flat bread had an explosion of flavour. The caramelised onion coating on the lamb gave each bite a rich note.

Cutting through the spiciness of some of the dishes on the entree platter, (including the spiced scallops and aromatic lamb patty) was the beautifully presented beetroot in a pâté style. The earthiness of the beetroot really managed to eliminate any of that lingering chilli sensation on the palate. 

My favourite from the entree platter was the Basil tikka – Chicken, kaffir lime & basil. Each bite was juicy with a nice subtle hit from the kaffir lime.

The family style mains came out with 5 different types of curries including Saag meat – Lamb leg, garlic spinach, Dal makhani – Slow-cooked black lentils and Tari wala murg –  Grandma’s chicken curry. Each dish had their own unique flavours but my favourite out of the mains was the Cochin jhinga curry – Prawns, coconut milk and curry leaf. The dish was fragrant and the large prawns enveloped all of that thick coconut milk so each bite was extremely succulent. A must order if you’re visiting the restaurant.

Another favourite was the vegetarian Sabzi mandi – Seasonal vegetables, onions, tomatoes. As all of the other dishes were meat, it was nice to break it ups with a vegetarian dish even though it was just as heavy in terms of richness & flavour.

The mains were served with basmati rice, tandoori bread and raita. 

As most of us know, Indian food is quite heavy but I knew desserts were coming out and having not really tried many Indian sweets I was curious.

My favourite of the three desserts was the Anjeer ka shahi tukra – Bread and fig pudding. Mouthwatering & refreshing. It went well with the little tear drops of salted caramel placed around the dessert tasting board.

Also served were the only Indian dessert I know, Gulab jamun, a reduced milk dumplings in a cardamom syrup and rose gel. Super heavy but amazing. As you bite into it the syrup just bursts into your mouth. In the background is the Chenna pyesh – Sweetened reduced milk, infused with saffron. My least favourite out of the three. The saffron was a little too pungent for my liking so I left this one.

I really enjoyed my dining experience at Bombay Brasserie. The service was some of the best I received during my time overseas with the waiters divulging in some humorous banter and chit chat. The food was authentic and the ambience of the restaurant simply perfect.

I know it’s super touristy and I always say I like to do things differently to everyone else but how can you not do a Desert Safari whilst in Dubai?

Everyone I spoke to said it was an absolute must to do one of these tours and honestly thank God I listened.

Whilst spending 5 and a half hours in the Dubai desert at 46 degrees wasn’t ideal, it was such a surreal experience. We drove over the dunes for a while to reach the traditional Bedouin style camp where there was a middle eastern feast, belly dancing and so much more.

I got to ride a camel, smoke argileh, drink as much alcohol as I wanted, get a henna tattoo (not ideal if you’re going to be tanning in the sun as my friend found out), hold a falcon, wear the sheik outfits and more. It was such an unforgettable night and one that I can’t recommend enough.

Obviously being severely spoilt here in Sydney for good coffee, it was almost a game to be able to find decent a decent coffee shop anywhere. I had found % Arabica in Kyoto for the first time which was amazing so when I saw it in Dubai Mall from the distance after a seriously long day my eyes lit up. Sadly I didn’t realise that I had ordered an Arabic cappuccino, not a normal one which meant it went in the bin about 4 minutes later. Cry Cry.

On our way to the Atlantis Dubai to see the Aquarium I found a Shake Shack and I had severe burger cravings. My fourth time eating Shake Shack and lord forgive me for saying this, but potentially my last. I’m no burger fanatic, but I know a great burger when I eat one, and while I thought this was good, it wasn’t great. Five Guys has now stolen my heart. The chips were bomb AF though and even had beef bacon. Who knew.

After our little stop at The Emirates Mall, I ventured off to The Atlantis Dubai to see the phenomenal Aquarium. Definitely a must see.

The next time I go to Dubai, as much as I loved where I stayed and it’s close proximity to the Burj Khalifa, I will definitely be staying in Jumeirah. It’s close to everything, has more of a buzz about it and it’s seems as though there is almost an overkill of exceptional restaurants.

It was hot and I was hungry so after the aquarium we went to Dubai Marina and visited Pier 7 after it was recommended by numerous people. Pier 7 is known as the ‘Gourmet Tower’ of Dubai with 7 completely different restaurants offering a unique experience for every visit. The circular building allows stunning views of the cities skyline as well as views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai Marina.

As it was lunch time, a few of the restaurants were closed so we went for Fumé located on the first floor of the tower. The menu is uncomplicated, based on wholesome food from around the world.

As it was a business day at lunch time there was a great deal on where you could get two dishes and a coffee for 72 dirham ($25).

I didn’t eat all day so I took advantage of the fact you could pick two main dishes for the same price so I went with the Sirloin steak, chimichurri & steak fries. The steak was cooked well. Similar to a minute steak but it was seasoned perfectly.

After about three bites I was already full but I also attempted to eat the Nasi goreng, with chicken satay. It was protein overload with a mix of egg, chicken and the previous meat dish so I was already getting the sweats but it was so damn good that I just couldn’t resist. For $25 for two main courses and a coffee where the quality is a solid 8 out of 10 I think you’d be pretty chuffed.

As much as it pains me to admit, Bianc gave me some of the best recommendations in my life when it comes to food and nothing gives me more joy than rubbing those recommendations in her face. Especially when it comes to pancakes, her new little pride and joy.

The Cocoa Room in Dubai is literally a breakfast only venue that closes at 11.30am daily. Before taking Bianc’s suggestion to visit this place I asked a few of the locals and they all seemed surprised that I even knew what it was. Seems as though it’s a secret that the locals want to keep and it’s easy to understand why.

After perusing the menu and speaking to a waiter about the ridiculous hot chocolates he was kind enough to bring one out for me to try. Visually it was exquisite. Warm caramel & chocolate oozed from the top of the burnt marshmallows that dribbled down the side of the mug. The hot chocolate itself was delectable in flavour but extremely rich and impossible to finish, and I thought it was highway robbery for hot chocolate at Angelinas in Paris, try 35 dirham (roughly $12) for this.

Waffles were a necessity so we ordered the Blueberry Wholeweat waffles with clotted cream, blubbery compote and maple syrup which was the same price as the hot chocolate. The waffles were incredibly light. The presentation was simple compared to other dishes but tasted beautiful. I didn’t get a photo but the inside of the waffle was blue.

And now, I present to you, the pride and joy of my life and the greatest pancakes I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating in my insignificant life. The Lotus Dreams with vanilla bean ice-cream fresh fruits and butterscotch sauce and biscuits. 70 dirham. Each layer of the stack had a generous lather of butterscotch sauce sandwiched between another pillowy pancake. Excuse my honesty but each bite was orgasmic. There was constant head shaking and noises coming out of my mouth that I just could not control.

Do yourself a favour, plan a trip to Dubai and go to The Cocoa Room to get these pancakes. That is all.

So Dubai, for a first time you visit you certainly didn’t disappoint.

I’ll be back next year… next stop Singapore!

Alex

Author: forfoodssake

A Sydney food blog.

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