styledrifter

Food / nightlife / Dubai

TOMO Dubai

When it comes to evening time entertainment I am very much of a civilized dinner / sunset drinks kinda girl. Whilst the pure thought of setting my foot in a night club makes me shiver, I am ALL KINDS of ok with a classy lounge where I can stamp my foot and sway my hips side to side to some ambient tunes and have a flavorsome cocktail or two.

I recently discovered TOMO at the Raffles hotel.

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Whilst the concept of fine Japanese food is no news to Dubai (in fact we are quite spoiled in that department), what TOMO has that others don’t is

– a sensational skyline and

– to die for yuzu Bellinis. Oh, and did I mention the homemade mochi ice cream?

Would I go to TOMO again? Definitely – it’s a great place to take a few health conscious girlfriends to, seeing as Japanese food is quite lean and Paleo / gluten free. The outside terrace is the spot to be at so late September onwards the venue will be one of my preferred after work turfs. / XXX

Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by ANANTARA

The recent onset of travel photos has lead into me getting asked if I have turned into a travel blogger. Can I be greedy and say that all I want right now is to travel loads and wear nice clothes whilst at it?

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The majestic Qasr Al Sarab has been on my staycation bucket list for ages, seeing at it was located a mere 3 hours drive from Dubai and got mentions in pretty much all luxe travel guides that I had laid my hands on.

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Discovering the resort in the proverbial Middle Of Nowhere (or The Empty Quarter as the region is called) was really magical, just when we thought that we were lost the most regal looking settlement arose from the middle of the dunes. The interiors were’t too shabby either if you know what I’m sayin’.

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We braved the heat (which was bearable seeing as the humidity levels were a lot lower than to what they are in the seaside city of Dubai) and sat on the terrace overlooking the dunes pretty much the entire duration of our stay. If you aren’t staying in one of the private villas make sure you ask for that very room (as opposed to the garden ones). They were the best value for money in my opinion and seeing the sun descent behind the sand from the comfort of your sun lounger was breathtaking even for a desert dweller like myself.

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The signature Anantara spa treatments are not to be missed, I also really loved that the brand of products used in the treatments was UAE founded organic Shiffa.

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Gathering in the library at 4.30 am was tough but seeing the sun rise after the dune bashing session (one that made my boyfriend oh-so-happy) made up for the early call time. Having been to a few of the desert excursions in my days in the UAE I was a tad blasé at first. I mean, it’s just driving right? In a car crammed with screaming German grannies, lead by a driver I don’t feel too confident about and ending at a desert camp as busy as Dubai Mall on a Friday.

Rest assured all my doubts were quickly diffused. Private car took me and The Boy to a secluded breakfast spot and the driver was as knowledgeable as he was skilled at maneuvering the 4×4 in the natures own sand castles. This my friends was pure class and the only screaming granny was me.

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I would very much like to go back to Qasr Al Sarab when it gets a little cooler. It’s a perfect city escape, far enough to feel like a get away but close enough to go over the weekend. I hear the archery classes are a must try and during the winter season the al fresco dining around a fire pit are unforgettable according to other reviews. Until next time then? X

St. Regis Abu Dhabi

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Located in the central part of Abu Dhabi, overlooking the neighbouring seaside Corniche is the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.

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As expected from a brand with so much heritage (St. Regis is known for their signature butler service), the entire experience was nothing less than premium. The lobby is very regal looking and the staff are very attentive.

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I spent a lot of time at the beach – located an air conditioned walk away, the Nation Beach Club is all kinds of dreamy. What I really liked about it was that the sun loungers were elegantly interspaced, in other words there was a fair amount of healthy distance between ourselves and the neighbours. My biggest pet peeve is the congested beach clubs of tourist trap destinations like the Canary Islands. Exclusivity is all gone when the beach resembles a morning metro ride.

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The highlight of the trip was the Italian brunch at the Veranda restaurant. Served at the table (no manky buffets in sight); the food came on chefs recommendation. There was an aged Chianti in the picture too, exclusive for the hotel that elevated the experience to fuzzy new levels.

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An unforgettable weekend / XXX

SeaFu

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The Four Season in Dubai is a strong personal favourite of mine. The Jumeirah Beach Road location is a stone cast away from my home, it hosts some of Dubai’s finest food and beverage outlets and I have always had a soft spot for the heritage of the Four Seasons brand. It oozes timeless elegance.

I am yet to go to COYA which I hear is amazing and I sure know my way around a ceviche. I already know and love Nusret; being a solid carnivore I knew that was going to be the case. What really baffles me is that I had not discovered the seaside gem that is Sea Fu, until now that is.

Perfect for a date night, Sea Fu serves modern, well prepared sea food dishes in an intimate setting. Whilst this is nothing new on the Dubai restaurant scene what differentiates this venue from others is how well the concept of simple is executed. The Sea Fu staff actually know their wine pairings and it turns out that you CAN drink red wine with your scallops (the scallops in question being perfectly underdone the way they are meant to be served).

All and all, I always sum up my reviews to myself by thinking: is this an actual place I would come to and pay for the experience? In all fairness as a blogger / journalist you tend to get preferential treatment and hardly ever have a negative experience so most restaurant visits turn out nothing short of pleasant. Nevertheless I cannot wait to ”incognito” go back to Sea Fu and try their signature paella.

* What to eat? The miso black cod (which is as good as the one at Nobu if not better); the seafood platter (either the cold crustaceans or the cooked catch of the day served with lemon beurre blanc and sweet potato mash); the dim sum and the foie gras on toast, unconventionally served with a sliver of a giant mollusk that is the abalone.

* Finish your night off with an Earl Grey martini and regal views of Dubai at the neighbouring Mercury Lounge. XXX

 

Italian done the guilt free way.

A common question I get asked by people who have picked up on my wellness habits is about where to go out for a ”healthy meal”. My instant reply tends to be that healthy is a vast and non descriptive word I would rather stay clear of – amongst the latest clean eating fads I see girls embarking on eating raw (and consuming a kilos worth of cashew nuts in one slice of a raw cheesecake which whilst deprived of suspicious additives still is a calorie bomb). This topic is brilliantly explained by Diya, one of the Fitness Dorks (found at fitnessdorks.ae).

Most fine dining venues cater to everyones needs as long as you’re educated on the right choices FOR YOU and your diet, disciplined about making them and not too bothered with at times being perceived as the fussy one. 🙂

Fitness fads aside, I genuinely and legitimately suffer from gluten allergies to the extent that they at times cause a nasty onset of asthma. Does it stop me from munching my way through the entire content of a La Serre bread basket at breakfast? I shall diplomatically answer that it does, most of the times.

The one type of cuisine I have struggled with has mostly been Italian food – a girl can only eat that much carpaccio. I was therefore rather chuffed to hear that Roberto’s – the trendy DIFC based watering hole with killer terrace views was offering gluten free options to ALL the dishes on their menu.

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The gluten free bread tasted like real bread and not the crumbly weird chalky stuff you get served elsewhere. The carpaccio and Insalata Di Mare made for great lean starters especially when rinsed down with some fine Chianti.

I had a glutenfree Carbonara that with its salty creaminess and al dente wonderland left me wondering why it’s been 8 months or more since the last time I had pasta. The Italians sure are onto something!

I did totally stray and sampled one of each on the desert menu, luckily The Boy ate the remaining 90 percent of it. If you were to continue down the lean path however gluten free options of cake were available. If all else fails sorbets and fruit platters tend to be my choice to round up a healthy meal. / Teresa