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On our most recent trip to Malaysia, M and I weren’t on a foodcation by ourselves, but in fact we went with my parents on a farewell trip to the Malaysia we knew as my sister’s home of 8 years. Because my parents don’t solely travel just to eat, we kind of had no choice but to do more than just eat. Enter Pangkor Laut Resort.

My sister insisted we go to an island (she is wise), and M insisted we go to a non-tourist laden island.  In hindsight, this was one of the best decisions ever, as we got to spend priceless time with our parents, and unwind to the soothing sounds of waves crashing against the shore, birds chirping, and leaves rustling.

There are a few islands in Pangkor, but we decided to pick the best resort we could find, and were super pleased with our choice of Pangkor Laut Resort.

We drove form KL, it took about 3 hours to get to the jetty port, and another 15 minutes worth of a very choppy but very fun jetty ride to the resort.

We were greeted by chilled towels and mango popsicles, a welcome touch on a tropical getaway.If you arrive earlier than your check-in time, there are canopied lounge beds in the veranda that you can actually rest/read a book/take full-on naps on. Alternatively, you could also head to the beaches and other activities.

We decided to have lunch first, which was just your average overpriced resort food to be honest but it did all taste good. I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was one of the only two options, as all the restaurants came with a different set of confusing timings, dress codes and whether or not children were allowed.

Our hill villas were 2 floors up (you can actually take the elevator or the stairs) and you have to walk through what feels like the rainforest to get to your actual villa.

What received us was a cosy villa overlooking an expanse of blue sea, on a cloudy, rainy day (which to desert dwellers like ourselves is a delightful treat). My dad was thrilled by the hornbills hanging around, and fed them all the fruits we had brought for the road trip.

The villas themselves were absolutely stunning, from the recliners on the huge balconies, to the interiors to the bathrooms, we were thrilled with the deal we had gotten.

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My blog is an online diary of sorts, and while I’m not as regular on it as I’d like to be, I do try to make it a point to talk and write about places that my readers are especially keen on getting more details for. While I’ve been talking about this place for years, I still get a lot of questions about it, perhaps because it’s one of the very few places I continue to frequent even after years, as it’s one of the very few places that has consistently stayed on top of quality. Waka Dubai at The Oberoi, ladies and gentlemen. It just keeps getting better and better.

It’s not unusual for me to visit Waka regularly, because despite the excess of new restaurants popping up every other day, sometimes, after a long week at work I just want a reliable, delicious meal that will not disappoint, with a side of good vibes. The last time I went by with some friends was for the Waka Del Mercado night, when one can enjoy live latin music, and I tried their new menu, because Roberto wants to ensure that diners never get bored. I low-key wanted to happy-cry from how the food never ceases to impress me.

Here’s what we had this time around and I think you should too!

Not a new menu item but a steady favorite: the Wakamole. If you don’t like the taste of liquid smoke, then you should pass on this, but if it is your thing, you’re going to absolutely love this. If you don’t like guac as it is, then you’re probably a serial killer and need to lose my number.

Truffle porcon ceviche with seabags, scallops, porcon mushroom powder, coconut gel and shavings of fresh truffle. This was such a sweeping hit all across our table, it had us swooning and longing for more!

Le Causa Le Lucca: named after Chef Roberto’s adorable son! Smoked chicken causawith mashed Peruvian potatoes, ahi Amarillo, crispy quinoa chalaquita and squid ink paper! This was the ultimate ashes potato dish you could dream of in your wildest dreams!

Chicken anticucho with yakitori sauce, with roasted potatoes and rococo dip. Not bad, but dwarfed in comparison to the other dishes.

Another ceviche which sadly I can’t remember the name of, but like every single ceviche on the Waka menu, it was lipsmackingly delicious. Perfectly umami with all the right notes of citrus, salt, spice and textural contrasts, Waka win at ceviches.

A great option for vegans but not one of my favorites as I’m a seafood lover, these quinoa sliders weren’t the favorite course of the night but that’s only because the bar was set so high.

Ok ok ok. Prepare to be mindBLOWN. Melty Loche rice with Japanese scallops and crispy fried calamari. Think of like fiery hot Cheetos flavored cheesy rice, but without being so firey hot. I also can’t applaud enough how the dishes on Waka’s menu always have a component of textural contrast that prevent the dishes from being monotonous. This was the ultimate comfort dish, right up there with La Causa De Lucca, and a welcome addition to the menu that never gets boring!

Last but not the least, a hearty plate of spare ribs marinated in a Cantonese rub, served with a kimchi slaw. I’m not a big meat-eater, so I let my husband enjoy my rib too, and I decided to go for more of the Loche melty rice!

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A few weeks ago, my (very excited) friend who works at 1004 Gourmet told me Akira Back is opening at W The Palm. My response: “Oh, cool, who’s it by?”. I mean, nearly nobody knew who Akira Back is, let alone that he is setting up shop in Dubai,  we were too busy judgmentally gasping over the fact that Massimo Bottura has caved, but that’s another topic for another day.

Since then, however, Akira Back has been on my radar and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Thank The Lord for Zoe Bowker, as she got an early media invite and took me as her +1. You can read her review here, and be assured it will. be much better than mine so you could totally just stop reading now, really.

The first thing we noticed was how stunning the vortex-like entrance was, completely in line with the quirky W theme, and the restaurant fit-outs were easily the best I’ve seen in Dubai. Even the lights were the perfect degree of warm, and allowed us to take stunning pictures!

A quick dance at the first page of the menu reveals that Akira Back used to be a professional snow boarder, and he aims to channel a bit of his wild side through his modern Japanese menu.

Since I went with Zoe, our experience and choice of menu was very different from that of others. You see, she’s allergic to seafood, and while I’m not, I prefer to mostly just order the things both of us can eat, because it’s more of a shared experience when everyone on the table can try the same things and exchange notes. Consequently, when together at a seafood-heavy restaurant, we often end up trying what I like to call “the minority menu”, and I learn to empathize with those who have food allergies.

Here’s what we had:

Eringi pizza with “umami” aioli, micro shiso and white truffle oil. While my friend liked this a lot, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the crust (it was just a little too thin and crispy for me, and not as toasted/charred as I would have liked it to be), and I suppose a part of me kept thinking of how much better the tuna version must have been! Also, truffle oil never lives up to real truffle shavings which would have been more appropriate for a restaurant of this caliber, even if it requires the price to be a tad dearer.

The AB tacos, definitely on of the highlights of the night. The Wagyu bulgogi and roasted tomato ponzu with a slice of fresh chill on top made for a most delicious appetizer. We took a while photographing these before we ate them, so they were at room temperature by the time we bit into them, and I can only imagine how much better they would’ve tasted had they been piping hot. These were a unanimous hit on our table, and I definitely recommend ordering these if you find yourself at Akira Back. Price: AED 115 for 4 tacos about the size of 2 bites each.

Now this was a dish that made no sense at all. Zero. Nada. Zilch. 5 paper thin slices of duck prosciutto with an alleged (few slivers) of pickled onions, radish sprout and amaze butter. Truth be told, the onions tasted raw, and we couldn’t tell if there as any amazu butter there, or any seasoning at all for that matter. It felt extremely, extremely overpriced at AED 95, especially as there was absolutely no flavor to it whatsoever. Tasted like mere cold cuts, and a little yuzu/ponzu/any kind of sauce or seasoning at all could have at least elevated it just a bit, but I wouldn’t order this again and would hold on to my money.

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Serving up authentic Chinese fare for the last 9 years, Royal China has stood the test of time, the ups and downs of the economy, the high and low tides of expats, and if you’ve ever eaten there, you’ll see why.

I first reviewed Royal China a few years ago, which you can read here. Spoiler alert: I absolutely loved it, and I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t go back as much as I’d like to, but my poor excuse(s) are that (a) I get distracted by the 50 million (mostly rubbish) new restaurants opening up every other day and (b) the fact that Royal China (via Deliveroo) don’t deliver to where I live.

Fast forward to our last wedding anniversary when I knew our meal had to be Asian, a little higher-end than Din Tai Fung, and could not possibly be disappointing.

Royal China consistently stays top of mind every time anyone asks me where they can have the best dim sum in Dubai (including that time I was on Dubai Eye 103.8 with The Mothership), and I knew we couldn’t pick a more foolproof and consistent place to eat at. The only thing that was new this time around, was that we got the meet the owner of the restaurant, Benjamin, and in a single meeting he became one of our most favorite people ever, for he is hilarious! I mean, we were out for our anniversary meal and practically begged him to sit down and not leave, and we laughed non-stop!

Over the years, the fit-outs at Royal China have visibly gotten more dated, but Benjamin says it’s all part of the charm, and I kind of see it. Eating at Royal China mildly reminds me of eating at a high-end Chinese restaurant in Pakistan, where there are two national cuisines: Pakistani and Chinese. The air smells of charred meat, the service is extremely hospitable, and the upholstery shows visible signs of the things it has seen and…tasted.

We ordered some steady favorites, and suffice to say, everything was just spectacular. Whenever anyone asks me what they should order at Royal China, I tell them to just order whatever jumps out at them, because you do you, Royal China won’t disappoint. Even the simples things like the boy chow taste better here.

With pictures clearly illustrating the items on the menu, the last bit of hope of Royal China being a fine-dining establishment goes out the window, but that’s ok, the prices are so reasonable and the food is so delicious that it can easily become the place to visit multiple times a week (especially if you’re an Asian food fiend like I am).

And when you order tea, it will be a proper ceremony. Is my love for Royal China palpable enough yet, or should I keep going?

The post Royal China – DIFC’s unsung hero appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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Here’s my story of food (read ramen). I had my first bowl of ramen at Wagamama, 5 years ago. The naive, innocent, easy-to-please version of me back then was blown away. Fast forward to today, after having tasted many a bowls in Japan itself, my palate has been enlightened and educated and is a lot harder to please.

Over the last year or so, I’ve seen ramen spots popping up all across Dubai. From Tom & Serg through Wokyo and now to Daikan, Yui , Maxzi and many others, ramen is most definitely the hottest trend and everyone wants a sip of the good stuff.

Enter Neha of A Story of Food, who is so badass that this 5’2 single-mom of two boys is singlehandedly giving all the giants a run for their money. She is not operating out of a restaurant, not relying on dozens of covers a day to break even, nope, she’s just cooking from her heart, out of her home kitchen, and serving up 8 bowls a night to genuine food enthusiasts, and the waiting list is larger than life. Sometimes, she’ll have a pop-up in collaboration with a restaurant, which, by the way, is the quickest way for a restaurant to fully book-out in record time.

Her ramen is deeper, richer, and more delicious than any other I’ve had in Dubai, but it’s not just the ramen that’s a breath of fresh air, it’s the whole experience that makes you feel like you’re a part of something very special. I first scored 2 spots for M and I for her pop-up at Maisan a few months ago, and Neha and I soon became close friends because it wasn’t long before we realized we’re basically the same person, with nearly identical likes, dislikes, and an invincible love all things Japan. Cue my second bowl of her ramen, this time a one-on-one meal with a new friend, at her home, over lots of conversation that made us realize we want each other in our lives forever.

she also has two of the cutest dogs. This one is Sparky, and he has the biggest case of food fomo and the sweetest face you’ll ever see.

Before I tell you about my meals with A Story Of Food, let me give you a crash course on some main categories of ramen broth, although the combinations and types are virtually endless. Think of ramen being as diverse and personalized as a plate of curry, or even a pizza.

Broths can broadly be classified based on their heaviness in how clear or fatty they are, the soup base ingredients, and finally the seasonings.

To quote Serious Eats, “Heaviness is classified as either kotteri (rich) or assari (light). Kotteri broths will be thick, sticky, and usually opaque, packed with emulsified fats, minerals, and proteins from long-boiled bones. Opaque white bone broths are also known by their transliterated Chinese name, paitan. Assari broths are clear and thin, usually flavored with more vegetables, fish, or bones cooked relatively briefly at a light simmer so as not to cloud the broth” .

The soup base contains the main ingredients that are simmered for hours on end, to give the broth it’s characteristic depth, and is what most sets one bowl apart from another. This is where the quality and quantity of ingredients used come into play.  This soup base usually comprised of bones and aromatics, but lighter (and perhaps vegan) broths can be made using seaweed or kelp. Dashi is a standard in Neha’s bowls, and adds irreplaceable depth to her broths.

Last but not the least, the seasoning is the source of saltiness in the broth. This can be shio (sea salt), shoyu (soy sauce) or miso (fermented bean paste). The quality and type of seasoning used can make a world of difference. Then, there are oils and other seasonings that you can often find drizzled onto the very top of your bowl, which at A Story Of Food is a stunning chili oil.

To quote Serious Eats again, “While in general, shio tends to be used to season ramen on the assari end of the scale and miso for the kotteri with shoyu somewhere in the middle, exceptions abound, and it’s not uncommon to find rich bone broths flavored with plain salt or lighter seafood broths paired with miso.”

Amuse Bouche

The bowl we had this afternoon with A Story Of Food was a lovingly-prepared bowl of shio paitan broth that was clear but deep from how long and slow it was cooked, with not even a single drop of shoyu in it. It is made from scratch so much so that even the katsuoboshi is manually sliced, with a special/traditional kind of mandolin that 1004 Gourmet sourced for her!

The chicken dumplings we had as an appetizer

The meal started off with my most favorite amuse bouche till date: a thin slice of salmon folded in a shiso leaf, lightly fried, and served with a drizzle of honey. Next, we had homemade, handmade chicken dumplings with a sauce I wanted to lick off the plate. the piece de resistance was most certainly the ramen, it’s perfect 6-minute egg, and and the chicken chasu. Dessert was the most refreshing scoop of yuzu sorbet by Canvas Gelato.

And if you think the broth is a labor of love, wait till you bite into the alkaline noodles, which, put succinctly, make for more slippery and elastic noodles. When made fresh, they need only a few seconds in boiling water before they’re ready to hit the broth!

It’s a good time to call Dubai home, as I look around and see that in the post-apocalyptic world of cutthroat influencers, we are now witnessing the rise of a very supportive environment in which food entrepreneurs are seeing the light of day and thriving, with Neha at the reins.

How can you score a coveted seat at her table? The reservation system is quite simple: you follow her on Instagram, set an alarm for 11 a.m, every Friday and try your luck. She makes about 35 bowls a week, and you can consider yourself lucky if you get to slurp down one.

The post A Story of Food with Neha Mishra and the best ramen in Dubai appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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D3. The DIFC of the millennials. It’s right opposite Dubai Mall/Business but oh not quite, for I find it nearly impossible to navigate to, but thank God for Careem, I made it there last week, for none other than a much awaited collaboration: Between Roberto Segura of Craft Cafe D3 and Reif Othman of The Experience.

Chef Roberto and his right hand Chef Carlos

Reif Othman has recently pulled off a successful streak of collaborations with some of the best cafes and restaurants in town, most of them unlicensed and unpretentious. Through these collaborations, he lends his name and expertise for one night only to those he identifies for to have potential, and all the proceeds towards his share go towards a charity he is supporting in Zanzibar: Children of Hope. It makes me feel a lot better about sinking my teeth into a delectable meal knowing that a portion of what I’m spending on this meal (that goes to Reif) is going towards building a school for the underprivileged children in Zanzibar. Completely understandable that the chefs and restaurants that have been hosting him do still have to pay their staff, buy ingredients, have unavoidable overheads, and thus have to keep a portion for these expenses, but so much respect to them for welcoming Reif into their kitchens for this noble cause.

Craft Cafe is not your average cafe, the simple reason is because it comes under the watch of Roberto Segura and his trusted head chef Carlos. I’ve enjoyed many consistently good meals at Waka over the last few years, but because I don’t find myself in D3 a lot, I haven’t had the chance to sample the menu at Craft Cafe until recently. I’ll have to go back to try their menu and report back to you, but for now I can tell you of how the collaboration went.

Both chefs served up versions of popular street food items from their respective countries. Roberto Segura put together Latin American street food favorites, while Reif Othman crafted some Singaporean/Malaysian delights.

Rojak Buah. Basically a fruit salad with a peanut and prawn sauce. It sounds wrong. It shouldn’t make sense. But it did, oh it made all the sense. The balance between sweet and savory was everything the contrast-loving foodie in me wants from life. Sooo good.

Ceviche Del Mercado. One of my favorite ceviches in the city, let alone on Roberto’s menus.The pops of texture, bold punches of flavor, citrus and spices are everything I want from life.

Pan Con Chicharron: veal version. This one wasn’t my favorite, but that’s definitely just me and my ceviche biased self, because this was a universal favorite across all tables.

Arroz Con Pollo and Hainese Chicken Rice.

 

The post Craft Cafe D3 x The Experience by Reif Othman appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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The very first time I heard of and tried matcha was on our third trip to Singapore, circa 2008, when my then pesky little sister wanted to try a matcha Blizzard at Dairy Queen because her lifelong crush Nick Jonas was talking about/drinking matcha. We had no idea of the benefits of matcha, and what a gloriously delicious miracle it is, all we knew was that my sister ordered it as an homage to her prepubescent crush, and we decided to hate on it despite the fact that it was pretty darn delicious (especially with the toasted almonds on top…mmm….)

This (best ever) matcha gelato was from Nanaya Gelato in Ebisu, Tokyo

Fast forward to today, 11 years later, and I am completely hooked and obsessed with everything matcha and matcha flavored. I don’t know if it’s because matcha effortlessly became a flavor associated my my childhood (or I guess you could say my teenage), all I know is that over the years my love for matcha has only amplified, and I end up consuming copious amounts of it not because of the benefits of matcha, but simply because I love how it tastes, and how it had become my daily respite, my metaphorical cigarette break, if you may.

Now, I’m hooked onto a straight-up cuppa matcha as a standard start to my day, every single morning. There’s something about that velvety-bordering-on-creamy-without-even-having-any-milk cup of green goodness that feels like a warm hug from the inside (please excuse the coffee cliché) that makes me feel like it’s all going to be ok, and that I’m bigger than the list of unread emails.

What is the difference between matcha and other green teas?

It must be noted that all matcha is a green tea, but not all green tea is matcha. Matcha comes from Tencha leaves, which are most unique because they are grown in shade for 20-30 days before harvest, and therefore have much higher levels of chlorophyll, and thus a stunningly vibrant color. Tencha leaves are steamed and and dried, and never kneaded, which keeps the cell walls of the tea leaves intact. Once Tencha leaves are stoneground into a fine powder, it becomes matcha. Tencha also has high levels of Theanine, which is the source of its smooth and mellow taste. Gyokuro is also grown the same way as Tencha, but is processed differently, more like Sencha (they’re kneaded).

Fun facts:

  • It takes an hour to grind 40-70 grams of matcha, which truly makes it a labor of love
  • Matcha begins to oxidize and lose it’s flavor very fast, and heat can damage it, so it is best to store it in an airtight container, in a fridge or freezer
  • Tea trees for Tencha, Matcha, and Gyokuro are fertilized three times as much as other kinds of tea, in order to create the characteristic deep sweet taste
  • Matcha is a super fine powder, similar in texture to eye shadow

How Does Matcha Taste?

It’s hard for me to describe how (good) matcha tastes, because to me it’s incomparable to any other tea and in a league of it’s own. I’d recommend everyone to try it at least once. Those who aren’t fans say it tastes very “green” to them, almost a bit like wheatgrass, but to me that comparison is an abomination. Good ceremonial matcha tastes like luscious, velvety, green tea in it’s purest most unadulterated form, but with a subtle, inherent  sweetness to it.

What are the benefits of matcha?

  • It has higher levels of a catechins (type of antioxidant) called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) per gram than green tea. In fact, one cup of matcha has as much antioxidants as 10 cups of green tea.
  • Like green tea, it contains caffeine (albeit in higher ratios), but gives you more of a “zen”, calm alertness, like coffee without the jitters
  • Because you consume the entire leaf, you consume all the goodness
  • It boosts metablosim
  • Calms the body and mind
  • It’s rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins

What’s the different grades of Matcha?

Besides the very obvious difference that culinary matcha is cheaper than the ceremonial matcha, and the fact that the names are a dead giveaway of what each grade is better suited for, culinary matcha also tastes a little different than ceremonial. Even within the ceremonial grade, there are differences in the quality which are sometimes visible from the vibrance of how green the product is. Till now, the best I’ve cups I’ve ever whisked were made from matcha I personally brought back from Wazuka, the heart of where Tencha leaves (which are then processed into matcha) are grown. You can read all our our Wazuka trip here.

Ceremonial grade matcha is the cornerstone of Japanese tea ceremonies, whisked in hot water, and enjoyed straight-up. It is best tasting and highest grade of matcha available. It has a delicate and gentle flavor that is best enjoyed on it’s own, and the highest price per gram which makes you want to truly savor each sip to it’s best potential.

Culinary grade matcha is more intense, slightly more bitter even, which works to it’s favor when it’s being used as a flavoring and getting diluted with other ingredients. A visible difference is the color: culinary matcha is less vibrant than the ceremonial.

Premium grade/cocktail grade matcha is somewhere in between culinary and ceremonial, and is a combination of the first and third harvests.

How do you prepare and enjoy a cup of ceremonial matcha?

  • Equipment needed:
    • Chawan: In my experience, the Chasen is strategically shaped so that it helps achieve a frothy, velvety bowl. The wide base and straight walls pull air in and helps prevent any clumping of the fine powder as the Chasen is able to scrape the base of the Chawan.

This Chawan is perfectly sized for one big portion individual portion and the thin rims make it ideal for sipping directly from. I purchased this from avantcha.com


  • Chasen: Carved out of a solid bamboo stem, The fine bristles of the bamboo whisk help ensure that the fine matcha powder dissolves and froths up in the water. The curvature of the whisks also removes any matcha stuck to the bowl as you whisk.  Can you use a metallic whisk or brother instead? In my experience, nah. It just doesn’t yield the same results.

  • Chashaku: This is the curved bamboo spoon used for measuring out the matcha.

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Tresind Dubai is an old and steady favorite for M and I, but most of you must already know that. My steady relationship with and love for Tresind dates back to almost as long as this blog does, and you can read about some of my past (always pleasant) experiences at Tresind and Carnival by Tresind here, here, here, here, and here.

While the food at Tresind has always been utterly flawless, a lot of my trusted and knowledgable food writer friends of mine and I agreed that the interiors at Tresind felt extremely dated and dreadful. The ambience lacked any vibes whatsoever, and the low ceilings didn’t help either. Recently, however, Tresind underwent a complete revamp and rebranding and suffice to say it is extremely chic and modern now- just the kind of place you want to spent your entire Thursday night at, whether you’re on a dining table or in the lounge.

I had the pleasure of first trying Tresind for dinner as one of Zoe Bowker’s friends, and then again for lunch with my husband because he absolutely loves Tresind and I knew he’d love to see the new facelift.

The attention to detail is impeccable, and I absolutely love everything about the new look, from the upholstery to the plates to the deep blue walls! the feel reminds me a teeny bit of Weslodge and a teeny bit of Catch, which is nice.

The menu is a combination of old classics and new (but equally, if not more) prodigal additions to the menu.

The meal started with the quintessential Tresind liquid nitrogen fragrance diffuser (for lack of a better term)…

And then proceeded to the amuse bouche tray that comprised of crispy fried okra, cucumber “sushi”,

Here’s another display of things I don’t ever like, but LOVE at Tresind: lamb shank and Nihari. Oh. My. God. The depth in this curry is ridiculously phenomenal, it’s so rich it’s almost sticky, and the meat literally falls off the bone. This dish is absolutely stellar and I can’t praise it enough.

Move aside all ya bread baskets. We’ve got crispy okra with tomato salsa here, mango achaar focaccia, curd rice sushi (this one was my FAVE), and a Pani Puri sorbet. I love how Himanshu and his team continue to nail the flavors of Pani Puri, communicated through so many textures and vehicles.

This one made me do a little happy dance (at least on the inside, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being told off a few times over the years by M for actually breaking into a little seated dance, mid-meals, at Tresind). All the flavors of Dhokla, but communicated through very unconventional textures: think soup and sorbet. Served with fail tacos and khichra muesli, this was a very enjoyable course (but then again, which course isn’t, at Tresind, really?).

A vegetarian take on the galoti kabab, with a Latin twist. Sat on a tortilla paratha and topped with pickled avocado, tomato salsa and sour cream, this benign looking bite packed a punch of comforting flavors.

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Dubai is a tricky market for restaurants, and the formula for what works and what doesn’t is still a bit of a mystery. Some restaurants have managed to stay afloat though, a step ahead even, and Waka is most certainly one of these lucky few. If there are three things that are guaranteed at Waka, they are 1. Bold flavors 2. Great service 3. A good time. Our most recent shibang at Waka was their new tasting menu, Las Lineas Des Waka.

The menu is inspired by monkeys, who are symbolic of being “daring, curious and smart”, as quoted by Culinary Director Roberto Segura – quite like this menu itself! Each course is a carefully curated one, starring at least one traditional and iconic Peruvian ingredient, and aims at honoring the richness of Peruvian cuisine across it’s 3 regions. Craftily mixing traditional flavors with modern techniques, Las Lineas Des Waka takes you on a culinary journey that makes you experience a bit of Roberto’s roots, but with some quintessential Dubai flair!

Here’s how the meal went (I’ll skip some courses though, so that there are still some surprises for you when you go!:

To set the tone, we were first brought this basket of the ingredients which dominate Peruvian cuisine and can be considered the essentials in packing those bold, iconic flavors that we’ve come to love Waka for!

We started off with the most indulgent pot of handmade huancaina sauce, to be eaten with green crispy potato leaves that appeared to just be a decoration on the tree branches placed on the table! I would have liked a lot more leaves, or even some bread/chips, because this huancaina sauce was absolutely luscious and we wiped those little terra-cotta pots clean with our spoons!

Next up was a smoked crab and olive aioli salad with crispy capers, served in a crisp wafer cone, and enclosed within a smokey dome. Since I’m a fan of bolder flavors, this was my least favorite course of the night, but I’d pick this over a Beauty & the Beast rose any day, haha!

Cleverly dubbed “P.H 2.4”, this course was a stunner. Fresh sea bream. ceviche and lime mousse served atop crispy sea bream skin: sheer perfection.

I’m a big fan of all the ceviche at Waka, so it made me click my heels with joy when I saw another ceviche course, this one with Japanese scallops, avocado sauce and squid ink sauce. I also loved that this was served with plating tweezers, and made for a unique dining experience that definitely added to the enjoyment of the dish. While some might find it challenging to eat with this unusual choice of cutlery, those familiar with chopsticks should have an effortless experience.

If you like scallops, you’re in for a treat because the next course was also Japanese scallops. this time with a rocoto sauce, which is a red chili from Peru. It wasn’t spicy though, so I bathe the seeds had been removed. I loved how the toasted quinoa on top added some much welcome texture.

The Grano Bendito was in impressive display of tabletop theatrics...

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Ho boy. I can’t believe an entire week has passed since we got back from our recent trip to Malaysia; Dubai has this ability to make time fly yet feel like a week was actually 2 weeks long. Long story shot, it has been manic. It’s also the time of year that festive turkey dinners and while I really wanted a slice of that pie (pun intended), I didn’t want to work for it. Enter the festive Turkey Takeaway dinner from Grand Hyatt Dubai.

It was super easy to order, the Google Form took all of 45 seconds to fill, and it took 20 minutes to transfer the food from the takeout boxes to my serve ware. For just 750 AED, I got to order a massive 8 kilo turkey, along with 6 sides of my choice, and 4 ridiculously delicious sauces.

Because I’m a completely extra person, and because M insists on always serving our guests way more food than they can consume, we also ordered the rib-eye, and that also came with the same set of sides and sauces. Altogether, this was easily enough food for 20 people. The portion sizes of the sides would have to be a lot smaller than the portion sizes of the meats though.

The box that the food was stackd up in was an instant indication of how high the hotel’s standards are, and also raised our expectations for what was contained within. suffice to say, the contents did not disappoint.

Here’s what came in the Grand Hyatt Turkey Takeaway box:

Roasted Parsnips

Potato Gratin

Brussels Sprouts

Bakes sweet potatoes and apples

candied chestnuts!

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