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04

Jun

The one about Smiling BKK

My latest post is in definite violation of the idea behind my blog i.e the idea of recommending good places to eat, places that make my stomach growl and my bloggers hungry with every descriptive word ! I’ve decided to make an exception to Smiling BKK due to the fantastic experiece we had at that place, not once…but twice!

I was told about Smiling BKK a few months ago - a place described to me in a way I couldn’t even conjure. A hole in the wall - a Thai restaurant with no address - wild and eccentric - so weird - Thursday is a themed night - nothing is what it seems - food is below average are only but a few things I’ve heard. 

Obviously, my friends and I were sold at “themed nights” so on Saturday, clearly not a themed night, we decided to dress up Androgynous a la Thai!With our bow ties firmly wrapped around our necks and suspenders in place we headed to Smiling BKK.

(Location:nestled cozily in a back street in Jumeirah surrounded by little random neighbourhood dukkans)

A mustached Mona Lisa sign, very much in trend with 2012, greeted us at the door of a very dark yet colourfully lit place. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to furniture/household items you’ve disposed of over the years then let me assure you there’s a high chance its sitting somewhere in Smiling BKK! Its walls are filled with mismatched picture frames including those of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding day, random colourful jerseys as well as artwork that is too raunchy and controversial to be displayed at any art gallery in Dubai. 

Nothing about this place is normal! Upon being seated, you are given a tambourine like stick to rattle “if you need anything”! The menu is longer than the music list at a Japanese karaoke bar and the names of the dishes will make you re-think your favourite Thai dishes because now I know for a fact that Pad Thai will never sound the same to me!

REVIEW

Food

Not my favourite Thai place however some dishes we good. My favourites:

  1. Sticky rice
  2. Spicy chicken with cashew nuts
  3. Green curry
  4. "Fook Mi" Noodles
  5. Fried Banana for dessert since the mango w/ sticky rice was unavailable

Service

Pleasant the first time we went - I suppose the place is so small so makes it easier to get good service. Hospitable Thai waitress during our second visit who spent time chatting with us and recommending dishes.

Ambiance

FAN-TAS-TIC! and never a dull moment!

Smiling BKK 

Location: Behind Emarat Petrol Station on Al Wasl Road (next to Emirates NBD)

Telephone: +971 4 349 6677

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08

May

Disclaimer: The photos you are about to see are a result of a Level 1 photography course I took last weekend. The blurriness and colour confusion you are about to experience is normal because it is either intentional or due to several many failed attempts at adjusting my ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed.

Al Saada Bakery

I get asked on numerous occasions about the location of Abu Dhabi’s best kept mana’eesh  - the  Levant’s most popular breakfast dish which consists of dough topped with thyme, cheese, or ground meat and many other cross varieties .

Well… let me tell you that Al Saada Bakery (on Defense Road) is where you can bet on finding the best whole wheat mana’eesh.

What struck a chord with me at Al Saada was the warm hospitality I received not to mention the free lunch on two consecutive days.  All they knew was that I was a photography student who adored mana’eesh and that I needed to make sure I took great shots! The manager/owner was advising me every step of the way and the bakers insisted on posing for the camera even though I told them I was after natural shots (bless them!) . Aside from the heat in the back kitchen, the smell of the bread baking was heavenly - at that point I just forgot the fact that I was literally in an oven and the smell of the dough baking naturally knocked me into a bready coma. After I took all the pictures I needed I opted for the zaatar man’oosha - Felt so healthy and good! The bread is freshly baked every morning until about 1pm so my advice would be to go first thing in the morning and enjoy it with a tall glass of OJ - just like I would!

However, I am still on a mission to try and locate the UAE’s best 5 mana’eesh spots so watch this space.

B

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23

Apr

The one about Roberto’s

If I had to come up with a headline for this post, it would definitely be "DIFC fails to disappoint". Home to Zuma, La Petite Maison, Caramel, Gaucho and now more recently Roberto’s, a high end Italian restaurant owned by the Bice’s ex-director,named guess what? Roberto!…DIFC has easily made itself into a one stop shop for any great fine dining restaurant in Dubai. 

This week’s post is all about…

Food

Appetisers

Force me to choose a dish and I will choose Roberto’s pizza. Imagine a thin crisp pizza, with carpaccio, rocket and a hint of truffle - Scrumptious! The goat cheese and beetroot salad came in ( a far) second.

The melanzane and calamari weren’t anything exceptional ( I assume its because La Petite Maison perfects the same dishes and hence my high expectations) 

Mains 

I would highly recommend are :

  1. Breaded veal chop (will definitely order that next time),
  2. Tortelloni with cream and truffle 
  3. Angel hair pasta arrabiata with mozarella ( a dish my friend prefers to order at every Italian restaurant she visits)

The one dish I was very disappointed with was my main dish - Whole wheat linguine with sun dried tomatoes and pesto. 

Dessert

I would definitely recommend the mango and passionfruit cheesecake…absolutely loved the crust.

Service

I am absolutely certain that the staff at Roberto’s are hard core Juventus fans for the simple reason that I was asked about Alex Del Piero while I was escorted to the table. In addition, our waitress was quite keen to meet Juventina (who wouldn’t be?) and the time we wanted to bring Juventina’s cake out. 

Our table for 8 was quite large so sharing our food wasn’t ideal due to the proximity to the other end. Our waitress was kind enough to serve each of us around the table.

Ambience

As usual, restaurants at DIFC fail to disappoint and as you would expect, the place was beautiful. Roberto’s offers seating indoors as well as outdoors. If you are after a quiet dinner, I would recommend you sit indoors and if you’re after something a bit more alive then perhaps the outdoor area would work best.

Already looking forward to my next visit…

B

Roberto’s 

DIFC Gate Village 01

04 - 3860066

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11

Apr

5 minutes with B - by Sauce

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09

Apr

The one about Api Cae Gourmet

Good Morning Abu Dhabi,

Boy do I have great news for you all!…A new homegrown business, Api Cae Gourmet, has just recently popped up in Khalidiyah… and guess what? It’s great!

Walking into Api Cae last night, I had an immediate feeling of nostalgia and familiarity. It had the vibe I always loved while sitting in Princi (London)… swarming with people, staff behind the bar attending orders and the food displayed before your eyes.

Api Cae is best described as an Italian Bakery/Cafe with a daily changing menu that serves salads, anti pasti - both cold and hot and a selection of pastas and pizzas. 

Food

Appetisers:

  • Chicken stuffed in oranges: very original and flavourful but only managed to have several bites
  • Mozarella stuffed in tomatoes: juicy and very tasty
  • Grapefruit wrapped in Bresaola: Always been a fan of a fruity appetiser so that surely won my vote

Mains:

  • Pizza: Excellent especially that it’s served per slice (I opted for the pepperoni which was very good) 
  • Lasagna: If you ever imagined you had an Italian grandmother (nonna) and she cooked for you …then this is definitely something she would make!

Dessert:

  • Tiramisu: deliciously creamy! 
  • Shortbread with the blueberry mousse: Exactly how you would imagine it..The sweetness in the shortbread complementing a slight sour blueberry mousse - perfetto!

Service

Friendly service during launch party

Ambience

One of my favourite aspects of is definitely the ambience - Very bright and airy with plenty of space to move around.

Despite the no coke policy (which appears to be trend I don’t understand), I would definitely recommend Api Cae whether you want to grab a quick bite or even enjoy a lovely cup of coffee with an Italian dessert.



Api Cae Gourmet


Block A, Khalidiyah Tower

Behind Veneto & NBAD

Tel: +9712 666 8909

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24

Mar

The one about Flooka

This beautiful weekend’s Saturday lunch took place at Flooka, a seafood restaurant at Dubai Marine Club. This, of course, only happened after a painfully long ride from Abu Dhabi to Dubai - driving on the slow lane (as per my father’s orders) and listening to music I dislike, at a volume my car definitely does not comprehend.

Needless to say, this outing was planned on a Sunday - the first day of the week- when you’re clearly not thinking straight.. and you tend to put too much thought into planning the next weekend! The nautical themed lunch should be a dead giveaway……

My Review

Food: Delicious seafood dishes and really, really delicious bread. My top picks would be

  1. Fish Sujuk - I’ll have anything smeared with pomegranate molasses ..definitely a sucker for it! ( a self discovery…)
  2. Seafood croquettes - deep fried seafood balls (very tasty)
  3. Batata Harra - spicy potatoes (we made a double order)
  4. Deep fried Shrimp - so tasty! 
  5. For dessert - Booza with turkish delight (arabic ice cream) + White Coffee (Water w/ orange blossom water) are a must! 

Service: Extremely attentive especially that they had a full house.

Ambience: Definitely make sure you take a seat outdoors on the patio which overlooks the sea. The weather was beautiful and the place was packed so make sure you book in advance.

Flooka is just the place to go for a long and relaxing weekend lunch with family or friends! 

Until my next spot (Abu Dhabi venue coming soon!)

B

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19

Mar

The one about Kim Chikin

If i’ve discovered anything during these past few months, it’s that food blogging is a double edged sword.. on the one hand you now have the most legitimate excuse to indulge in new food experiences (no questions asked) but on the other hand, your calorie intake becomes directly proportional to the hit counter on your page! 

So…I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands and allow myself every Saturday to try something new. Of course, this is carefully planned whilst in the comfort of the  gym!

This Saturday’s pick was : Kim Chikin (formerly known as Bon Chon Chicken)

…and as an ortographobic (person who has a fear of spelling mistakes) a restaurant’s elimination of the letter “c” for no particular reason now had to make a compelling case in the kitchen for me to spot it!

Let me tell you a bit about my expectations - I judged a book by its cover!…in fact, not even by its cover.. I judged a book by what I had heard about its cover. 

I imagined a dingy kitchen in Bur Dubai slap-bang next to a KFC so what I saw was definitely nothing I expected! Firstly, the entire place was covered in coloured happy notes on post-its by past visitors who were clearly satisfied. The walls were all covered in wood and the place itself was filled with light. The restaurant actually had an extremely clean, modern feel to it - which I liked. 

The food was good not great but I especially loved the Bon Chon chicken offered in 3 different flavours: Spicy, Soy or Garlic Lemon - pretty amazing (except i’m not a fan of garlic however my garlic loving foodies loved it!). What makes this chicken different is definitely the batter - extremely crispy, full of flavour and juiiiicccy!

We all agreed it was definitely something we wouldn’t frequent but definitely worth checking out!

Until my next spotting,

B


KIM CHIKIN

Opposite Burjuman Centre

+9714 323 0333

+9714 316 9726

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17

Mar

The one about London (Princi, Pizza Pilgrims, Koya, Franco Manca & Da Polpo)

Abu Dhabi - I’m back! But first - I need to fill you in - after all, I did spend an amazing week in London… wandering around aimlessly in Brixton, getting drenched near the London Eye, eating ice cream in the cold whilst dragging two very pregnant friends (Suki & Miz) with me.

While the fashion pack flocked to London in anticipation for London Fashion Week, I went in search of the “Street Food” craze that has suddenly hit London (Pizza Pilgrims, Mother Flipper, Lucky Chip, Real Foods Market)

Below are my top picks (“Street Food” and simple eateries that require no reservations)

1. Princi: An Italian Bakery in the heart of Soho - I have yet to see this place empty. Excellent for a coffee and quick lunch (think pizza slices and simple salads). My favourite dessert was a custard filled pastry that I probably can’t pronounce.

2: Pizza Pilgrims: I fell in love with their van! A van with a 600kg pizza oven in its trunk is parked at Berwick Street market (Soho) near the lovely vegetable seller during weekdays. These guys really know what they’re talking about…With no place to sit you just brave the weather and enjoy the warmth/softness of the pizza! 

3. Koya: Located in Soho (Surprise surprise!) that specializes in Noodle soup ( Hot/Cold Udon) is so tasty and not touristy at all! Even the Japanese go to Koya to get their Udon fix.

4. Franco Manca: Located in Brixton and gathers quite the queue in its Market Row location. I read in reviews that the queue moves very quickly but I wonder if it was the very pregnant Suki that helped? Worth a trip around the world for… cooked in a special wood oven pizza - this pizza would be one of my top picks in town. 

*Note to self: Check opening hours before taking a long and meaningless trip to Brixton.

5. Da Polpo, Covent Garden: A no reservations and no fuss place in Covent Garden owned by the brains behind Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino. Best thing about this place is the Spinach Pizza, Lamb & Mint meatball smash and the Nutella Pizza. If there’ s one thing you should have its the thin crust Nutella pizza topped with caramelized/roasted hazelnuts! 

If I had to pick a single location in London to dine - I would definitely pick Soho for the abundance and variety of places to eat. Other frequent Soho favourites of mine are:

Yalla Yalla (Lebanese Street Food) which I have visited numerous times during previous trips

Amorino (ice cream parlour) I would encourage you to try the Nutella ice cream & the Alfonso Mango Ice cream - which we devoured even on a chilly spring day!

Although my pizza buds were very satisfied during this trip, my burger buds were not so lucky because of failed attempts to try “Honest Burger” in Brixton, “Lucky Chip” in Hackney and “Mother Flipper” in South East London  (If these burgers are as good as they say…why oh why are they only available on Saturdays or during odd hours?) ….oh well! There’s always a next time..

However, it feels great to be back and I have quite a few places that I have spotted/will be spotted so stay tuned. 

B

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04

Mar

The one about Jacob’s Ladder and Kooky Bakes

Greetings from rainy, freezing yet lovely London! 

Somethings, as they say  as I preach, are better left unplanned..(here’s why!)

My only Sunday, and first day, in London had been planned to the nth degree from what I would wear to where I would go. First stop would be the #blogeatblog event happening at Vibe (on Brick Lane) run by “Big Apple Hotdogs” where food bloggers create their own hotdog toppings and the winner would have his award winning toppings used by Big Apple Hotdogs for a year…after that event I planned to slowly make my way to the Sunday Up Market off Brick Lane to visit Kooky Bakes

Obviously that didn’t happen… rain did!

So here ..is how my day played out…

I ended up skipping the Big Apple hotdogs #blogeatblog event and opted instead for Jacob’s Ladder organic Beef Burgers at Real Foods Market …

 To Kooky Bakes …

Although I was soaked to the skin; shaking, rattling and freezing all day… no city (other than home) can make me feel the way that London does - my home away from home! 

Always feels great to be back… rain, snow or sunshine!

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29

Feb

The one about Al Mayass

I’ve been waiting in anticipation for the Armenian restaurant Al Mayass to open ever since my hungry ramadan days. I’ve also called the Sheraton Hotel (where I was told it would open) to check if it had opened yet? When will it open? Why didn’t it?…They had no idea? Why? (you get the picture) and finally…..  it opened about 2-3 weeks ago!

To those of you who have been to Al Mayass before will absolutely understand what I am about to say. This is my second time to Al Mayass in Abu Dhabi and what always begins as a 3 person dinner ends up becoming a 7-9 person dinner! People were accepting/inviting themselves faster than I could say “Al Mayass”!

Those who weren’t even aware of the dinner (you know who you are #whatsajuve) called the restaurant asking for me then claimed she was speaking on behalf of “The regulatory authority for restaurant communications” and demanded to know what we were talking about!

So now without further ado….my review.

My Review

Food

Armenian food is very close to Lebanese food yet somehow different. Dishes are the same but incorporated in an Armenian way.

What we ordered - everything on the menu! 

My recommendations

Starters:

  1. Homous Al Mayas (Spicy Homous)
  2. Moutabal Al Mayas (Made with beetroot instead of Aubergines and comes out looking like red homous)
  3. Itch matboukh (Armenian tabbouleh that’s cooked and has a bit more bulgar than the regular tabbouleh)
  4. Armenian Salad
  5. Kibbeh with dibs rumman i.e pomegranate molasses (sensational! one of my absolute favourites)
  6. Basterma Al Mayass (Pastrami canapes topped with quail eggs)
  7. Filo pastry with Cheese (Delicious!)
  8. Ras il asfoor b’ Karaz (Veal with cherries *faint right now*)
  9. Batata Harra (Spicy potatoes weren’t too spicy so mix them with Homous Al Mayas for extra spiciness)

Mains

  1. Kebab b’karaz (Kebab with cherries)

Dessert:

  1. Osmanliyye (cotton candy heaven)
  2. Ashta b’ Asal (Cream and Honey on a bed of pistache)

Service 

Great service and we were well taken care of, not only by our waiter but also by the other waiters and manager

Ambiance

Nicely decorated and feels homey as well. Al Mayass has outdoor seating on the patio but with views of a construction site. 

Alas, our dinner ended too quickly but we all agreed that it would probably be one of those places that we would visit at least once a week.

Al Mayass is located at Sheraton Corniche (next to Corniche Hospital)

Call 02 644 0440 for reservations.

Countdown: 6 days until my next visit

Until my next spot (London, I’m coming your way…)

B

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