Geordie Armani is the food-loving alter ego of myself, a long time Dubai resident.I usually write about affordable restaurants and cafes, not the fancy high end places that are out of many people’s budgets, so the blog resonates with the majority of Dubai residents. I love to explore new openings and areas that are up and coming in terms of dining
Some of you may have been wondering where I have been recently. I decided to take a bit of a break from blogging last year, my heart wasn’t in it any more so I thought a break from the screen would do me good. I had some horrific computer issues involving a new iPhone and passwords, and an email account that was hacked. The invitations to events stopped as I was no longer on the PR merry-go-round, and life was altogether less stressful.
After taking some time away from the food scene (I didn’t stop eating I just stopped writing about it), I decided to set up a group with a friend about saving money in the UAE. It had been something I had wanted to do for a long time but just never got round to it. The introduction of VAT in the UAE basically made me more determined to make my dirham go further. A push in the right direction from a tight Jock and Shop Well for Less UAE was born.
The most discussed topic currently is the MyCLUB Card at Carrefour. Everyone is after those elusive points so they can receive their discount vouchers. No one will ever know exactly how the system works but I have great success and manage to get back a few vouchers each month.
Here is how I do it –
Firstly download the app, its a must. You can use your card and the app similtaneously. The advantage of having the app is that you are awarded vouchers for points discount that aren’t available in paper form. How the system works is not by rewarding you on what you spend but by rewarding you on what THEY want you to spend. Big Brother is alive in kicking in Carrefour and it knows what you are eating, drinking and buying. It knows when you haven’t visited the store, it knows when you have been loyal to the store and it will reward you accordingly, with more vouchers and more chances to earn points.
When you open the app you will find a section called MyCLUB Offers, these are offers that give 15% back in points, these offers change every 10 days. The best thing to do before you shop in Carrefour is to check these offers and see if any of the products feature in your weekly shop. Sometimes these offers are marked in store but not always.
In the discounts and coupons section are the coupons that offer points back and are current, with their expiry dates marked clearly. These are only redeemable once but they don’t disappear from the app until day of expiry, which is my opinion is a flaw in the app. Once they have been redeemed they should be removed. Use this vouchers wisely to get your maximum points returned. For example, get 15% discount on pasta, seeing as pasta is a non perishable store item, and if itis an item you use, then stock up!!!
In store keep your eyes open for special deals on MyCLUB offers, they are clearly marked on the shelves, or on the floor near to the product. If the product has vouchers displayed in front of it, take the voucher to give to the cashier or you won’t get the points. If you receive the Butchery and Fishmonger voucher its a good time to stock the freezer and get some points, I received 223 points today. This receipt was for a 400 AED spend.
Please don’t fall into a trap of buying just to get points, only buy what you know you will use. We did a recent survery of staple goods from Lulu, Carrefour and Choithrams and Carrefour came out top. So even if you don’t receive a single point, don’t worry you are getting good value for money.
If you want to join SHOP WELL FOR LESS UAE, hit this link.
As I sit down to write this restaurant review, I never in my life time thought that I would say the following words … Jadaf has a hidden gem. Yes you heard right, the industrial area of Jadaf has got itself an absolute gem of a restaurant quietly hidden in the JW Marriott Hotel. Hidden gems crop up everywhere these days, I remember a few years ago when I wrote about Tom & Serg in Al Quoz, never did I think I would be talking about Jadaf of all places.
People who like food love restaurants, it’s the highlight of their day when they enter a new one. The buzz of expectation is always there for me. What will it look like, what will the menu be like, how good will the food be? Its food lovers adrenalin. When you know the Chef in charge of the kitchen your adrenalin truly hits overload. I am a long time fan of Chef Glady who I originally met when he was working at Per Te in Jumeirah. Chef Glady honed his skills with the great Italian Masterchef, Antonio Carluccio.
The restaurant is a good size and very tastefully decorated though I do feel it could do with more light. There is a stunning view of the Burj Khalifa, which I wasn’t expecting. Once we were seated along came the menu’s, my heart sank, they were on iPads. Regular readers will know I am not a huge fan of iPad menus. However on this occasion I became quite addicted, there was a little video of every single dish on the menu, I quite happily played them all! The menu is split into easy navigable sections with good clear descriptions and as I mentioned little videos of each dish. In case you didn’t know 24 Karat is an Italian Restaurant.
It was no surprise that I was drawn immediately to the lemon scialatelli fruitti de mare; lemon scialatelli pasta with mixed seafood with cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and basil. Italian restaurants are not always the easiest ones for Mr GA as he is not a lover of cheese at the best of times. Chef Glady was on hand to suggest the roasted lamb chops; roasted lamb chops with tagliotini truffle, roasted la ratte potatoes and balsamic shallots. Before our dishes arrived we shared some absolutely amazing starter dishes, the fresh tuna with caviar and grapefruit was outstandingly good as was the beef carpaccio.
Lemon Scialatelli Fruitti de Mare
Even thought I had watched the video (many times) for my choice of main course, I was truly shocked at how big it was when it arrived. Crammed full of prawns, calamari, mussels, clams and king prawns, all served on a bed of the most amazing rich tomato and basil scialatelli pasta. Truly the best plate of food I have eaten in as long as I can remember. Mr GA tells me the lamb chops were perfect, tender and cooked to perfection.
Miss GA however had already seen many photographs of Chef Glady’s dessert and she knows that he keeps the best til last. We couldn’t resist heading into the kitchen (always my favourite place) to watch Chef assemble her golden bomb; a golden chocolate bomb surrounded by an edible forest. Slowly it all came together, each and every Chef being involved in creating what can only be described as the most amazing dessert we have ever seen. A chocolate bomb packed with all things delicious and then wrapped in a spun sugar nest. The hot white chocolate sauce was poured over the bomb, we sat in silence and watched it melt before our eyes. Absolutely unbelievable.
The Golden Bomb
24 Karat was an absolutely amazing dining experience and I can’t recommend the restaurant enough. I want to wish Chef Glady and his team all the best for future servings, and thank you for inviting us not only into your restaurant but into your kitchen too. It was a truly memorable experience. (The outlet is currently unlicensed).
Doner Deli, do they serve a good German Doner Kebab?
I was recently invited to the opening of new Doner Deli store, but I rarely attend press events these days. You don’t get a real feel for the place and the food is always good. However the invitation did remind me about their branch in Al Barsha, which I had driven past many times. We love nothing more than a good doner kebab, so off we went today to check out Doner Deli.
The outlet in Al Barsha is small, clean and modern with about 7 or 8 tables. The outlet was empty when we arrived but I could see a good amount of deliveries were being prepared. I hate it when a restaurant is empty, it always makes me feel uneasy. I was starting to think that maybe we hadn’t made the right decision in choosing Doner Deli.
The Doner Deli menu is split into easy to navigate sections, wraps, durum rolls, kebab boxes, specials, salads and sides and of course something sweet. All their ingredients are grown locally but their meat (veal and chicken) is sourced in Europe and is 100% halal. Today we ordered a classic pita; chicken, served with fresh onion, lettuce, red cabbage and tomato which came with garlic mayo, deli tomato and yogurt sauce. We also ordered the chili pita with jalapeno peppers and the Health in a Box (doner meat and salad without the carb). First of all I have to say we were absolutely blown away with the size of the portions, huge!! The food was excellent, by far one of the best doner kebabs I have had here in Dubai. We were all suitably impressed. I rarely grab a delivery menu when we are dining out, but I can assure you my Doner Deli one is very happily ensconced into my delivery folder. Excellent.
There are 4 Deli Doner outlets open around the UAE, you can find more information and their full menu via their website. I noted that Doner Deli are offering an express lunch deal at just 29 AED, available 7 days a week. Today I am happy to report that not only did we really enjoy our food our total spend only came to 88 AED, thanks to my faithful Entertainer app.
A few years ago I was listening to the radio, I had tuned in half way through a show and picked up the tail end of an interview about Famous Dave’s coming the UAE. Dave was obviously very famous in America for his smoked BBQ restaurants and I was desperate to pay the outlet a visit. However, they were opening in Abu Dhabi and I rarely visit Abu Dhabi these days. I felt a pan of disappointment at this news. We recently paid a visit up to Riverland at Dubai Parks and Resorts and I can’t tell you how happy I was to see Famous Dave’s had opened there!
Everyone who works at Famous Dave’s is famous for something, our waiter enthusiastically told us that he was famous for playing Chess at an International level in his home country. Before we had even ordered our food I knew we were on a winner. The menu is extensive, but all BBQ based and all the beef is smoked, a special recipe from Dave. We thought the best thing we could do was to order one of the famous feast sharing platters, that way we could try a bit of everything. We ordered a famous feast to share for 2 -3 people. Our feast arrived and contained beef back ribs, country roasted chicken and Texas beef brisket, creamy coleslaw, baked beans, famous fries and sweet corn and corn bread muffins. Amazing!! I can’t recommend Famous Dave’s enough and I hope and pray that they open an outlet in one of the main Malls in Dubai. Riverland in my opinion is not going to be a good location for any restaurants.
A great time was had by all and the food was second to none. We will be returning, but unless it rains in the next few weekends it won’t be until the winter months. You can find more information about Famous Dave’s and their amazing menuon theirwebsite.
Last year for the first time in my life I very anxiously boarded a cruise ship. It was a strange feeling as I actually love all those little boat trips that are available to us here in Dubai. This was a whole different ball game, this was huge and it was going to be home for the following 5 nights. To say I was anxious was an understatement. Well it turned out to be that good that I did that cruise not once but twice last year!!
It was half-term last week so we booked up another cruise, this time we boarded the Costa NeoRiviera at Port Rashid. The embarkation process took about 15 minutes and in no time at all we found our cabin, had unpacked and were happily enjoying breakfast on the top deck. It wasn’t long before everyone was on board and we were sailing out of Dubai on the first leg of our journey. We woke up the following morning to find ourselves in Oman. The weather was fabulous we disembarked and took a walk around the stunning little bay.The following day we set sail again this time we were heading in the direction of Sir Baniyas Island. Sadly however this was cancelled and the NeoRiviera made her way into the port of Abu Dhabi. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed by this, but there was nothing we could do about it. Instead we spent the day at Yas Mall. All in all a very relaxing 5 days.
Oman by Day
The Costa NeoRiviera had recently had a re-fit so everything on board was very new. There were two main restaurants that served food from an al acarte menu, food was good, nothing to complain about but nothing to shout about either. We also had the choice to eat in the all day dining buffet style restaurant, which is where breakfast was served each day. This restaurant got pretty busy as you can imagine, there were nearly 2000 passengers on board!! Every day was filled with fun things to do, and each evening there was a fabulous show to watch. I can’t recommend taking this cruise enough, there is something for everyone and it is suitable for all age groups.
Sunset in Oman
We booked our cruise via Imagine Cruising which is part of DNATA Travel. The staff are helpful and the whole procedure is done over the telephone and takes approximately 15 minutes. The total cost of the cruise for two adults and 1 child was approx 5000 AED, this includes all your food. We did buy a drinks package separately which cost approx 100 AED per day which included unlimited alcohol, soft drinks, teas and coffees etc. You can find more photographs on my Facebook page.