South African fine-dining cafe and diner concept Walnut Grove has opened its second store in Dubai. Their first branch is located in CityWalk, and their newer and arguably more prominent location is in the heart of The Dubai Mall, right by the waterfalls.

The savvy, brightly lit cafe looks delightfully inviting with its Parisian-inspired interiors but the real highlight of the new branch is its spacious outdoor seating area that boasts of a stunning view of the Dubai Fountains and the mighty Burj Khalifa.

A night’s stay at five-star property Marriott Al Jaddaf includes a complimentary breakfast at their all-day dining restaurant, The Market Place. The breakfast runs from 8 am till 11 am and covers a wide range of international breakfast favorites.

Having over-snoozed in my comfy queen bed with the curtains blocking out the morning sun well past 9, all my good intentions of doing a few laps at the pool post breakfast were forgotten and we headed downstairs a little past 9.30 am.

We spent a very restful, pampered weekend away at Marriott Al Jaddaf (Dubai) and during our stay we visited Scots American Grill for dinner. This fine-dining steakhouse is located on the first floor of the hotel, offers a unique menu that is a fusion of Scottish fine foods with a new-age American flair. They have an entire lineup of steaks as well as enticing seafoods, and the very helpful staff are more than happy to assist with your choices.

I was mispronouncing ‘Zou Zou’ as ‘Zaw Zaw’, but I later came to know its ‘Zoo Zoo’, an affectionate feminine Arabic name. Perhaps this beautifully bronze-lit authentic diner is named after a beloved Zou Zou the owner happened to know, a brilliant cook who had a special penchant with Mediterranean flavors and loved to feed a large brood.

Such is the warmth and familial familiarity that exudes from this beautifully decorated ‘Turkish meets Lebanese’ restaurant, located in Insta-friendly La Mer, Dubai.

I recently watched the brand new Bollywood flick ‘Thackeray’, more so for being a die-hard fan of actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui than having even an ounce of knowledge about Indian politics. No I wouldn’t recommend this movie, the slow-paced screenplay does not do justice to Siddiqui’s talent nor the fiery journalist turned politician he portrays. But what I did gather from it all was Balasaheb Thackeray’s undeniable influence on restoring the Marathi identity.

One particular scene that resonates is where Thackeray (played by Siddiqui) starts a street-food revolution introducing the humble ‘Vada Pao’ as a Marathi snack.

Turmeric, the bright orange herb that is best known for adding brightness to Indian curries, offers a plethora of health-enhancing benefits making it a prized culinary addition across India, China and the Far East for centuries. 

Perhaps you already have an ample stock of turmeric powder in your kitchen ammunition but like all things powdered, a fresh stalk of turmeric far outshines the nutritional benefits. Here’s 3 reasons why:

We are under a month away from Christmas! Where has the year gone? The 3 week school break will be here before we know it, and I have been pretty slack with planning out my holiday plans. Are you off to someplace exotic? I am in dire need of a holiday, and envy the social feeds of frequent flyers. 

But living in Dubai has its major perks, especially for the foodie in me. My tastebuds took a world tour at the newly launched Pergolas 7 Fusion Brunch with a gastronomic spread paying ode to all the major cuisines around the globe. 

Located in the palatial settings of Roda Al Murooj with an open patio looking out to the stunning pool facade, this is the perfect idle brunch that even the most discerning of guests will appreciate being invited to.

We are finally in Dubai winters! Loving the breezy evenings, but not so much the cough and flu that’s been going around. With a 7 year-old in the house, we are guaranteed lovely pesky viral bugs that she picks up from the school run, and the past week has seen a slow-down in our weekend activities as we recuperate. 

My little girl loves Thai cuisine as much as I do (not surprising given the amount of Thai dishes I wolfed down through my pregnancy!). So when I told her I’d make her a soup to combat her cold, she demanded a bowl of Tom Yum.

I have this special, super easy Tom Yum Soup recipe up my sleeve, but it needs a little modification for my bub. She doesn’t like shrimps, and obviously can’t take Thai hot like I can. As a sneaky mummy, I also decided to add a handful of other healthful ingredients, and prayed hard she wouldn’t sniff out the difference. This soup is far from photogenic, but tastes great and is full of nutritional value if I may say so myself! 

Magnum ice-cream and I go back a long time. I’ve had a love affair with this calorie-laden, Belgian chocolate coated yumminess for as long as I can remember. Back home in New Zealand, they’d come up with limited edition Magnum flavours, and I remember taking over the family freezer when they introduced the absolutely divine Honeycomb edit where the milk chocolate casing was bejewelled with crunchy hokeypokey and the inner ice-cream was this golden-hued honeycomb flavour. So glad they’ve made this flavour mainstream, my family can now share the freezer again.