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Good and bad in Dubai


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#31 Almass

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 09:59 AM

And had a lovely Persian meal at... darn it, those notes were so important to my memory!  In one of the hotels there is an upscale Persian restaurant.... I think it was in the Hyatt?

The Hyatt Regency has a Persian restaurant called "Shahrzad ". and The Intercontinental hotel has also a very nice Persian restaurant called "Shabestan".

I did come back with a load of spices -sumak, zaatar, lemon powder, etc.  Still not sure what to do with the sumak!  Except eat it straight, I love the sour tang.  And soon I intend to try my hand at yoghurt making.

Try Sumak with a Fattoush salad (coarse cut cucumbers-tomatoes-lettuce-parsley-mint leaves-onions-mashed garlic-Arabic stale or toasted bread-EVOO-Lemon juice-S/P and Sumaak).

#32 arbuclo

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 10:45 AM

Akiko, thanks so much for posting. Unfortunately I don't have the menu from May at Retro. How cool that you've experienced the chef before and could see how he'd changed. I'm definitely going to go again in August.

I was very interested to hear your review of Fatafeet. I haven't read anything bad about it but I haven't talked to anyone who has personally gone; my info has only been from publications. I won't rush there now.
A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

#33 arbuclo

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 10:45 AM

I recently went to Marrakech at the Shangri La.

We had an excellent private-ish booth for 2 sorta like in the picture in the restaurant link but we had bench seating along the wall. We were up the end of the restaurant where the live music was originating.

The best dish we had was the lamb meatball tagine, which is described in the article above about the restaurant. I also wanted to try couscous here. I always use the instant method of preparing couscous (let it sit for 5 minutes in hot water or broth) but they prepare theirs here using extended steaming periods. I wanted to see if the effort was worth it after reading about it in the Middle East thread. I decided it was good but I'm just has happy with the fast way to cook it at home. It was a wonderful setting and a great evening.
A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

#34 arbuclo

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 11:22 AM

I also was privileged to be able to go to a most fantastic eco-resort here called Al Maha. (Maha means oryx which are extinct in the wild but are being bred on the reserve.) The experience was absolutely wonderful but I should talk about the food there, shouldn't I?

All meals are included in the price so it could be average but since you're paying a premium, the food is really quite good. Breakfast and lunch are daily changing buffets. You know, the lunch buffet even had duck, so I recon it was pretty good.

The current chef had been there for 2 weeks. His name is James (I sadly cannot remember his surname); originally from Perth Australia and had been working in the UK for a while.

Dinners were generous and had reasonable choice considering the small number of people to be served. I enjoyed the food most especially because the whole experience and setting was fantastic. Had oryx walking past our window as we dined.

The first night we had this:
Menu:
*warm tomato basil tart with mozzarella, served with lamb's lettuce salad and balsamic mayonnaise
*gazpacho with pesto toast-normally I wouldn't have this because I don't like cucumber but since it was part of the meal I tried it anyway. I actually liked it! What is this world coming to?
*lemon sorbet
*Samak Salamoon Mashwee: Grilled salmon in pink peppercorn sauce, accompanied by chive mash and wilted spinach-I had this as my main course
*Lahm Chanam Bi Salset Khamr-Braised New Zealand lamb shank with tomato & cannelli beans served with red wine and rosemary reduction-Hubby's main (There was also a duck main so it was really hard to decide what to have.)
*Dessert was a passion fruit sponge, fresh fruit or a cheese plate. We had the latter 2 and shared.
*Followed by coffee and mini Arabic pastries.

The second night:
*Asparagus salad (Hubby had)-Bocconcini cheese & grilled asparagus salad with date vinaigrette
*Eggplant couscous salad (I had-was the vegetarian salad)-it was unusual eggplant since it was actually zucchini! :wink:
*Veloute De Choux fleur'-cauliflower soup with herb croutons
*Mango sorbet
*Filet de boeuf au fromage de chevre-beef filled with grilled peppers and courgettes (zucchini), topped with French goats cheese (Hubby had this)*Dajaj Mehshi be fetr-leg of chicken stuffed with wild mushrooms accompanied with tagliatelle of vegetables and thyme jus (I had--there was also a lemon sole dish and a vegetarian main too)
*Baileys flavoured cheesecake (Hubby had)
*Cheese (I had--chose a little of the cheeses I had particularly liked from last night)
*coffee and little Arabic pastries, some different than last night.

On the last day we me James and had a tour of the kitchen. He seems really keen to soon put some changes to the menu; once he settles in a bit. I'd love to go back to see the changes but it's unlikely I'll make it anytime soon. :sad: The days we had there were some of the most wonderful days we've had on vacation. Highly, highly recommended.
A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness. – Elsa Schiaparelli, 1890-1973, Italian Designer

#35 Almass

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Posted 29 June 2005 - 04:16 PM

I was very interested to hear your review of Fatafeet.  I haven't read anything bad about it but I haven't talked to anyone who has personally gone; my info has only been from publications. I won't rush there now.

View Post

I thought you were recommending Fatafeet because you had a nice experienced and I refrained from commenting out of courtesy.

The place is third rate and I am being generous here. They are located on the Creek and although it is a good location but can get very humid at times.
The main traffic of this place is to have a Sheesha (water pipe) and not so much the food in itself.
I am not too enthusiastic about this place and would prefer to have my Sheesha by the pool of the hotel overlooking the beach.

Interestingly, the latest craze is Apple Sheesha and they manage to place the tobacco inside the cut apple as the furnace and the cored apple is half wrapped in alufoil where the coal sits on top. Looks good and taste good as well.
Try it sometime.

#36 Akiko

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 04:01 AM

I thought you were recommending Fatafeet because you had a nice experienced and I refrained from commenting out of courtesy.

The place is third rate and I am being generous here. They are located on the Creek and although it is a good location but can get very humid at times.
The main traffic of this place is to have a Sheesha (water pipe) and not so much the food in itself.
I am not too enthusiastic about this place and would prefer to have my Sheesha by the pool of the hotel overlooking the beach.

Interestingly, the latest craze is Apple Sheesha and they manage to place the tobacco inside the cut apple as the furnace and the cored apple is half wrapped in alufoil where the coal sits on top. Looks good and taste good as well.
Try it sometime.


If you haven't been to Chandelier yet, GO. Not only are the meze great (grill is decent but not as good as the mezze). This is a highly enjoyable place to have sheesh (they don't didn't do the apple thing when I was there but had a good hubble bubble list!) and just chill out watching the lebanese and arabic people hanging out. Besides, there is a very interesting fountain (think mini bellagio :smile: :wink: ). Lovely way to spend the evening. I wouldn't recommend anyone go to Fatafeet for any reason.

#37 Almass

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 07:02 AM

I've been to both and for
Food: I would go for Chandelier
Sheesha: I would go for Fatafeet
Atmosphere: Fatafeet is by the Creek and Egyptian laid back while Chandelier is Lebanese see and be seen.

But, when in Dubai, I stick to my full Apple Sheesha on the pool by the sea with my GF and the gang in our swimming trunks watching the sunset and later hitting the showers before dinner.

#38 Akiko

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 08:06 AM

Sheesha: I would go for Fatafeet


Okay, I could be biased about returning here for Sheesha, it was incredibly hot the night I was there and I felt ill after smoking sheesha (for the first time, I really enjoy water pipes usually). Is it true that one sheesha is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes :blink: a tidbit that I overheard the table next to me saying. I really have a hard time believing this, sheesha seem so light... like inhaling flavoured air.

#39 The Chefs Office

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 06:16 AM

Watch out for a new chef coming to Vu's at Emirates Towers in Dubai, young Aussie loaded with Talent.

Starts there next week.
CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.co...ers/chef/sep07/

#40 Almass

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 06:37 AM

Watch out for a new chef coming to Vu's at Emirates Towers in Dubai, young Aussie loaded with Talent.

Starts there next week.

View Post


Look forward to try his food very shortly. What's his name and profile?

I enjoyed both food and service at Vu and most importantly is the fact that I can smoke my cigars in peace as the restaurant is geared for cigar smoking with both special ashtray and matches.

In fact I enjoy more Vu than Verre as at least the view is so much better. I am not too enthusiastic about the bar at Vu as it tend to be overcrowded and over boisterous to my taste.

Edited by Almass, 31 July 2005 - 06:37 AM.


#41 The Chefs Office

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 06:46 AM

Watch out for a new chef coming to Vu's at Emirates Towers in Dubai, young Aussie loaded with Talent.

Starts there next week.

View Post


Look forward to try his food very shortly. What's his name and profile?

I enjoyed both food and service at Vu and most importantly is the fact that I can smoke my cigars in peace as the restaurant is geared for cigar smoking with both special ashtray and matches.

In fact I enjoy more Vu than Verre as at least the view is so much better. I am not too enthusiastic about the bar at Vu as it tend to be overcrowded and over boisterous to my taste.

View Post



James Viles
Just left http://www.mintbaran...ng.com.au/html/ (Intercontinental Sydney)
Very personable, look for a menu that is a little more contemporary.
Comes from a good background around the Sydney scene.

Nancy Kinchela was the previous chef (in my eyes, she is absolutely awesome) and has left to Shanghai
CHEF JOBS UPDATE - September 07 !!

Latest global Chef jobs listing and news now available!

Take a look online here:

http://www.hostec.co...ers/chef/sep07/

#42 Almass

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Posted 31 July 2005 - 07:00 AM

Watch out for a new chef coming to Vu's at Emirates Towers in Dubai, young Aussie loaded with Talent.

Starts there next week.

View Post


Look forward to try his food very shortly. What's his name and profile?

I enjoyed both food and service at Vu and most importantly is the fact that I can smoke my cigars in peace as the restaurant is geared for cigar smoking with both special ashtray and matches.

In fact I enjoy more Vu than Verre as at least the view is so much better. I am not too enthusiastic about the bar at Vu as it tend to be overcrowded and over boisterous to my taste.

View Post



James Viles
Just left http://www.mintbaran...ng.com.au/html/ (Intercontinental Sydney)
Very personable, look for a menu that is a little more contemporary.
Comes from a good background around the Sydney scene.

Nancy Kinchela was the previous chef (in my eyes, she is absolutely awesome) and has left to Shanghai

View Post


Just read his profile and the menu at Mint. This all sounds very interesting and thank you for the info.

I am looking forward to try his food.

#43 ingbakko

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:54 PM

Absolute high light - Retro, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi
Restaurant is a bit dated and they are set for a renovation.
Food is by far the best in town. Be ready for an adventure.
Stephane (ex NYC) and Ex Chef Anston are powering


View Post


Hy .. I am just back from one of my frequent biz-visits to Dubai ... but first after reading egullet forums ...
Well I have been really disappointed by Retro ... the restaurant was empty (maybe bad season ) .. the service was not really at the level of a one or two star restaurant in europe ... presentation of dishes was ok but nothing really special .. but what i found not at level were the flavours ... sometime too flat sometime too strong .... I didn't enjoyed the dinner ... also the wine list was not interesting ...

Well maybe was the wrong day .. I will try again ....

In Dubai actually I never had really "special" food sometimes very good but never special ... I did try :
Nina and Tajine @ Royal Mirage
The rib house and VU's @ Emirates
Zheng's He @ Madinat
Peppercrab @ Grand Hyatt
plus several restaurants at Golf Clubs ...

all of them good some very good (Zheng's He for example) but never special ...

Ciao

#44 Akiko

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 01:54 AM

ingbakko,

you didn't have an off day, I agree with you on what you said about retro, I had previously said this

I think he's got great potential and he's being very innovative but the quality of the food and/or his technique is not there yet


Although I'm sad to hear you say it, I had been hoping the cuisine would progress more. There's a lot of ambition in those dishes but food quality and again, his technique, its just not there yet.

The place I still crave, is Chandelier :smile: I'd love to go back and eat some more mezze and have a fresh juice, or two, or three.

#45 Verjuice

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 03:28 AM

I still haven't been out for dinner more than once (Al-Nafoorah in Emirates Towers) in Dubai, and I've been living here for nearly half a year. Got to do something about that. And as far as lunch is concerned, well, I shamelessly admit that about twice a week I end up picking up a slice of dessert to go from the Lime Tree to tide me over in lieu of a proper meal. Love the chocolate cake, the brownies, the berry almond torte, the flourless pistachio cake with ginger frosting. But I think I need to branch out a bit more. :unsure:

#46 Akiko

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 09:35 AM

Its that time of the year again :smile: . We'll be in Dubai for a long weekend soon and I'm wondering if anyone has new recommendations? Or perhaps something we missed on the first time out?

I didn't get to the Spice Souk the first time around, but is it any better for quality of spices than the supermarket is? I was really very impressed with Carrefour. I know, I'm probably missing out on the atmosphere, but if there isn't some incredible spice at the souk... I might give it a miss. The less time spent in Dubai traffic, the more time for me to eat and or go spa :smile: .

But I'd be interested to hear about changes in the restaurant scene or changes in actually restaurants and the food they are turning out.

thanks.

#47 Verjuice

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 09:59 AM

In what area?

The construction in Jumeirah is truly horrific these days, but that hasn't stopped me from hitting Prasino's at the Jumeirah Beach Club (Resort & Spa) on the weekends. It's not new, but it's new to me. I discovered it a couple of months ago and now it's the only place I go because it's so mellow by Dubai standards and the food is excellent.

What are you looking for specifically, other than markets?

Cheap Lebanese food? Upscale hotel bars? Anything and everything?

#48 Akiko

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 10:18 AM

Verjuice,

I am looking for world class anything. I liked Chandelier and will go back there for the mezze but that was the only place that stood out to me when I was in Dubai last year.

Verre is not so interesting because I live in London and Ramsay's flagship (Royal Hospital Road) as well as Maze are both here. But I went to Dubai looking for amazing middle eastern last time, and I don't think I found it. What is it that Dubai does the best? That's what I'm looking for.

We're staying in Jumeirah but I've come to expect Dubai being a big construction site. We stayed at the royal mirage last time and I have some beautiful serene pictures of the beach. You'd never know from those about the racket and clanging and cranes that were right behind me.

What kind of food is Prasino's?

#49 Akiko

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Posted 25 April 2006 - 10:21 AM

And has anyone been to Buddha Bar? I believe my husband and his colleagues are interested... I might tag along if its a sight to be scene. Or a scene to be sighted :smile:

#50 Verjuice

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 12:10 PM

I haven't been to Buddha Bar yet but friends of mine have gone. I'll try and remember to ask them about it and post back.

I like the bar (44th floor? Bar 44? I can never remember) in the same hotel, Grosvenor House. It's my kind of place-- excellent drinks and quiet music so that I can actually hold a conversation with whomever I am with. I moved from Dubai to Abu Dhabi last fall, and when I visit on weekends, I gravtitate towards casual places where I can linger for hours. I hate driving in Dubai on weekend evenings in particular. And I see no reason to ever venture beyond Jumeirah, nor can I imagine living in Dubai and living anywhere other than Jumeirah or Umm Suqeim.

That said, Prasino's (described as "modern Mediterranean") isn't far from where you'll be staying. It is located at the Jumeirah Beach Club Resort & Spa. I honestly don't know if I love it as much for the food as for the ambiance. Some nights a horrid pianist will show up and play Elton John covers, in which case I usually migrate to the patio... no menu online, but it's a good solid restaurant by Dubai standards. I have been to Verre a handful of times and was not impressed. They carry a couple of very special Tokaji wines that I got excited about, but I picked a few bottles of the same stuff in Hungary last week and now I don't feel compelled to return to Verre. It's also located in the crummiest part of Dubai.

Lenotre may be a franchise but I like it anyway and one has just opened up down the Beach Road near the Lime Tree Cafe (excellent stuff to-go, by the way... and their coffees and brownies are fantastic). I hit Lenotre for pastry every weekend-- it's the only place in the country where I can get my fix of all-butter croissants and salted caramel macarons.

You asked what Dubai does best.
Dubai is an import society. It doesn't do anything best. It's charm is that you can get it all in one place. But of course that doesn't mean it's good. :smile:

And if you want to eat local food, your best bet would be to score an invitation to someone's house. As an Emirati, though, I have to say: stick with Lebanese! Al-Nafoorah at Emirates Towers is excellent. Sheikh Mohammed eats lunch there most days. I've heard good things about Vu's (pronounced "views") in the same building, but I can't say firsthand whether it's any good.
Then there are the usual suspects like the Seafood Market. Personally I can't stand the place. :wacko:

Time Out just released their annual Eating & Drinking Guide to Dubai, by the way. Available all over town. You might want to glance at a copy.

Since moving back to the Emirates last year, my passion for fine dining has comprehensively been adjusted to a become a quest for the best Lebanese takeout dive. In my opinion, that's where the savviest chefs are.

Edited by Verjuice, 01 May 2006 - 12:11 PM.


#51 Akiko

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:14 AM

Thank you Verjuice. I'll have to remember those for next time, we just came back!

My husband does a lot of business in Dubai and when I can, I tag along.

Buddha bar is an incredible space. I actually liked it much better than the one in Paris. We didn't eat there so I can't comment on the food but on a monday evening it was very pleasant. Not too crowded, lots of intimate spaces to sit and chill out with friends. I've heard that on Thursdays and Fridays its a nightmare to get in.

My husband and I did go to 44, we loved it. Completely agree with you. Great atmosphere, very good drinks, and lovely bar snacks. Its a bar/lounge that's up there with any in NY/London/Tokyo/hong Kong - but without the crowds, which makes it much nicer.

Chandelier was not up to my previous memory but still nice.

We had good meals at Shoo Fee Ma Fee in the Madinat Souk and a pleasant turkish-ish meal at Ottoman's. I would go back to either.

I happily perused the aisles at the new carrefour in the emirates mall. I found three types of Indian Mango, I'd never seen before. They are happily ripening on my kitchen counter here in London - I plan to eat them tonight to taste and compare!

Yes, one of my delights in Carrefour is that I can find - mid eastern, thai, french, and indonesian/portuguese things I like and don't get here in London- mid eastern spices, thai fruit, apericubes, and puto muffins!

Also came back with Lemon Salt which I'd never seen! What do you do with this? I love the mouthwatering tartness.

Verjuice, I love Lebanese, so next time I'll definitely go to Al-Nafoorah. In fact, I'll send my husband who will be back in about two weeks. Of the middle eastern cuisines - this is my favorite so far although, I'm just beginning to explore the differences. I looked for books on each type while I was in Dubai, but the only one accessible seems to be that big pinkish Middle Eastern Cooking book written by the Greek woman. I bought it.

#52 Franci

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 03:35 PM

Hi everybody.

I would like to get some updates on restaurants. My husband and I will be in Dubai by the end of August for a couple days.

We are mainly interested in Lebanese cuisine or Moroccan. We are getting there on Saturday night very late (landing at 10 pm), is it a problem to get dinner that late?

Reading through this post I was thinking of

Mawal (Al Bustan Rotana Hotel)
Chandelier
Al-Nafoorah at Jumeirah Emirates Towers (we are staying there)
Mejana in Le Meriedien (I couldn't find this restaurant reccomanded by Nora, is it still there?)
Shoo Fee Ma Fee in the Madinat Souq
Tagine
Marrakech Restaurant at Shangri-La Hotel
Any other reccomendation?

Maybe the best option on Saturday night would be Al-Nafoorah since we are staying there but I not sure when they'll take the last order.
Are all these places serving alcohol?

I am also interested in good dates and confiture, what do you think would be the best place for it (is it Bateel as stated in the guide I already bought?).

Thanks

#53 Nicolai

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:03 AM

Hello

The best of the best today is the new restaurant "Karam" at the Kempinsky and it is really the best Lebanese food in Dubai or the GCC for that matter.

There is a new fish place with a Lebanese twist at the Dubai Marine called Flooka.

Morrocan don't have a clear winner and the Royal Mirage is best for ambiance as food levels is very similar in the other places.

For date jam and such, Bateel is good and don't forget to get the chocolate covered dates filled with almonds or hazelnuts and carry a large water bottle.
You can find Bateel at the new Burjuman and go up to Hediard for a Blue Mountain coffee to exercice your credit card.
muhamara.com

#54 Nicolai

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:08 AM

I just realised that you are getting there at night.

In which case your only alternative is to go to Mawal at Murooj Rotana which is very close to the Towers and they start late as the BellyDancer is at 11.15pm and stay open till 03.00am.

Good food, good service, good dancing and Shisha in A/C splendour!

Nafoorah was the best but sadly not anymore.
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#55 Franci

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 06:36 AM

Nicolai, thank you so much. I'll follow your advice: Mawal the night we get there and with your other suggerstions we'll know where to go.

#56 Catriona

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 05:04 AM

Moving to Dubai at the end of the year. Had a very disappointing recon visit in terms of food, but staying in a hotel in jumeirah (the jumeirah hilton), I couldn't really have expected more.

Can't wait to have my own kitchen out there...

ETA: Had drinks at the 44 and dinner at the Buddha Bar... Drinks portion of the evening by far the better half, great bar, delicious nibbles. The drinks themselves weren't stunning (too much ice), but one of the best bar experiences I've had for a while. Novelty factor of people smoking (gasp) while having a drink, which is banned in Ireland (as in New York).

Edited by Catriona, 20 August 2006 - 05:07 AM.


#57 Nicolai

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Posted 20 August 2006 - 07:17 AM

The Hilton Jumeirah has two fantastic restaurants:
- Bice, voted the best Italian in Dubai couple of years ago
- Pachanga which is a mix of Mexican/Argentian/Cuban with live entertainment.
- Even the room service is great, ask for Farouk to prepare off menu dishes.

I hope you don't mean that you had a disappointing experience at the Hilton?

The Budha bar food is good, you shoud go for starters either the Crab salad or the Trio Tartar followed by the Wagyu filet.

As for drinks at 44 or the B bar, well it's drinks for the hordes and the simpler is always better.

However they have a top Barman at the Hiton Jumeirah Sky Bar and he does a mean Caipirinha

Have fun.
muhamara.com

#58 Catriona

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 12:54 AM

I think, like many people, I wanted more "local" food. BiCE: fine, I've eaten in the one in Milan, felt no need to do it in 45 degree heat.

I had a short time to figure out whether I wanted to move there or not, and I guess I just felt that I could have done better in gastronomic terms. The room service at the hotel wasn't bad, though, some good mezze.

The service at that place is abysmal, though, the pressure to consume more and more and more drove us away from therre in the end. Really unpleasant. So the only thing to do was eat in the rooom (you've ordered, they can't bug you every 2 and a half minutes to order more wine), and that's not really the point. I didn't goto Dubai to see the inside of a hotel room.

I wouldn't recommend the Hilton to anyone, just for that reason. Think it's probably better in either Pachanga or BiCE (otherwise the reviews couldn't possibly be good).

#59 Nicolai

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 01:53 AM

It is a shame that you were not happy with the service as they rank quite high in this department.

Maybe it was one of these stays, however, I would definitely rank the Hilton Jumeirah at the top of the list.

So until you try another hotel, we agree to disagree.

Wishing you a pleasant stay anywhere else.
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#60 Catriona

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 06:23 AM

Yes, Nicolai, I look forward to becoming an expert, and to discussing more positive restaurant/hotel experiences with you!