Diwali, the Indian festival of light, is fast approaching this Thursday 19th October.

” One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, it spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair.” – Wikipedia.

 

With twinkling diyas (Indian clay lamps), an array of festive treats and clothing as colorful as Bollywood dance sequences, Diwali is a great time of year to let out the inner Desi in all of us.

Last weekend we were invited for a Diwali brunch at Bombay Bungalow (at JBR, Dubai). This was my very first visit here, and I was absolutely awestruck with the interiors. The turquoise walls, the intricate vintage-style Indian decor is so picturesque and Instagram-worthy!

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Of all the steak houses I’ve been to in Dubai, the highest marbling of wagyu beef I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating has been at The Meat Co (a prime 9+ Aussie wagyu steak). These guys are really serious about their meat, and they are also one of the very few that offer to serve meat ‘blue’ (below ‘rare’, and served ‘sealed’, very red in the center and at room temperature). In a nutshell, they are true-blue meat experts.

I love this South African chain! Apart from their very specialized cuts, the ambiance at both their branches is magical, and the service faultless. So when I got invited to taste their brand new menu last week, the carnivore in me gave out a roar of delight! After a bout of shopping at The Dubai Mall, we made our way to The Meat Co in Souk Al Bahar. 

 

Last week I spent a really fun-filled afternoon in Ikea, and no, I wasn’t shopping for home improvements!

This Swedish home furnishings giant has built a solid reputation over the last few decades, but what makes the brand even more endearing is their stance at being accessible to all, and their very core idea that family comes first. Apart from affordably priced furniture with (almost) easy DIY assembling steps, Ikea’s inbuilt restaurant is almost always packed. 

 

“Life is like a bowl of spaghetti. Every once in a while, you get a meatball.” – Sharon Creech.

In the famous words of American children’s author Sharon Creech, if meatballs are the poetic reference of euphoric highs in life, Meatballerz is a wee slice of paradise!

Located in a very quiet corner of the Dubai Marina promenade (on the ground floor of Marina View Towers), Meatballerz is Dubai-grown concept pioneered by banker turned restaurateur Dipesh Babani.

The quirky New York-style interiors features a juice bar at the front, tongue in cheek quotes, as well as a retro-style meat grinder that had my little one rather curious.

The foodie scene of Dubai is fast evolving, and new players are introduced into the market every month. Yet only a handful can bashfully say they’ve been around for over a decade. Golden Dragon goes well past that milestone, having opened shop in Oud Metha (Dubai) as far back as 1976.

Originally an Indo-Chinese restaurant, Golden Dragon has recently revamped their menu to include more pan-Asian flavors to entice a wider set of diners. The new menu includes delectable wok-tossed dishes, soulful Thai soups, and a long lineup of interesting Dim Sums.

Calling all sushi lovers living or working in the Media City vicinity… I have great news for you! The very popular Japanese eatery Sushi Express (located in Cluster R, JLT) has opened a compact little cafe-style branch in the ground floor of Gloria Hotel, Media City Dubai.

Compact with Japanese-style sparse utilitarian furnishings allowing diners to sit in rows with a view of the chef in action, Sushi Cafe Express is the ideal stopover for a quick healthful lunch on a busy workday.

I visited the cafe on a weeknight with the family, and we had the place to ourselves. Despite the size of the place, the menu is brimming with enticing options. 

Last Friday we were invited to the Best Dressed Brunch at Great British Restaurant. Located in Duke’s on the Palm, one of Dubai’s newest five-star hotel properties that was inaugurated in March this year, the very synonyms ‘best dressed’ and ‘British’ had me stressing over what I was going to wear!

Dukes Dubai Best Dressed Brunch Great British Restaurant The Palm Dubai brunch review Friday UAE food blogger zomato blog weekend (31)

 

Friday brunches are usually laid-back and casual, and post work-week, I like to sleep in and keep my brunch look as simple as possible. Not so for this one! The Best Dressed Brunch gives you an excuse to pull out that sparkly number you’d usually reserve for a special night out. And the best part of all is that they even choose a ‘best dressed’ diner who walks away with a night’s stay at this much coveted property! So here I am, all glammed up in my Debenham’s number with bright red Mac Ruby Woo lips to boot!

Located right across the road from Mercato Mall on Beach Road (Jumeirah, Dubai), Ard Zaytoon has been a favorite with the local community for years. Originally a Lebanese restaurant, the establishment has had a change of chef and cuisine and the menu offerings are now of Turkish origin.

The interiors are bright and inviting with perky yellow-green upholstery and smiling staff. Sleek, minimalist and modern, the space has no hint of exotic Turkey… that is, until you meet the curly moustached chef clothed in traditional ‘shalvar’ and head gear. 

‘Arjwan’ is a vibrantly blue flower that blooms against all odds in the harsh heat of a Mediterranean desert. This rare, beautiful bloom has been a part of Emirati culture for centuries, and has even been used for topical medicine.

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Inspired by this desert beauty is an authentically Emirati restaurant by the same name, located inside the very pristine property of Sheraton Sharjah. I was in awe with the place as soon as I stepped in. From deep, dark woods to the aqua-blue upholstery befitting the Arjwan bloom, the ambiance here is delightfully astute and Arabesque.

A true-blue foodie would agree that the tastiest of cuisines are often hidden in the shabbiest of corners. We recently uncovered yet another hidden gem, this time in the heart of Karama (Dubai), a block or so behind West Zone Supermarket. This is Real Momos, a tiny little restaurant the size of a cafeteria you’d honk down for tea at.

The cafeteria/restaurant can be spotted a block away thanks to its bright yellow signage. The interiors are sparsely decorated, and have three small tables with makeshift chairs.