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The newly opened Urth Caffe, a popular California cafe chain that opened in Dubai recently was on my must-visit-list since it opened in October. Finally, we visited them last week for a relaxed breakfast.

Located in City Walk Dubai, Urth Caffe has a uber cool and chill vibes of California. The spacious and tastefully done venue has greenery within the cafe which is soothing to the eyes. Urth Caffe has a look and feel of a contemporary urban cafe.

The weather being pleasant at this time of the year, we decided to sit outdoors. The Al fresco dining was a good idea as we sat outdoors over a delicious meal and watched the world pass by.

At Urth Caffe you can expect fresh, all-natural-ingredients which is 100 percent chemical free, it is a farm to table concept. We were happy to find out that the Urth Caffe supports farmers and sustainable agriculture.

Their menu offers vegan and vegetarian options. They’ve breakfast and lunch/dinner menu. The breakfast menu is very popular and they serve breakfast till 1pm.

We started with their refreshing Homemade Lemonade. Everything is made in-house daily from scratch. The Buttermilk Pancakes that was made with buttermilk griddled to a golden brown, topped with Sidr honey butter and served with pure maple syrup was wholesome and oh-so-delicious.

The classic French Toast was made to perfection and tasted utterly delicious. Next we had the Avocado Crush, it was avo on toast, topped with poached egg, zaatar and chili flakes. Creamy avocado spread on crusty bread was done right. Liked the hint of zaatar on the poached egg as it gave a subtle Middle Eastern flavor.

The moreish and addictive Heirloom Breakfast Potatoes was our side dish. It is worth ordering.

Along with the Cappuccino we ordered the ‘Urth Special’- Tre Latti, a vanilla sponge cake soaked in 4 different sweet milk, a layer of Chantilly cream and iced with a caramelized meringue. I can’t even find words to describe this decadent dessert, it was so epic.

Our breakfast at Urth Caffe was amazing. The portion size was huge. We are definitely coming back again to try their lunch menu.

Phone: 04 589 7413

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Pan Asian cuisine lovers in Dubai are in for a treat as Asia Kitchen by Mainland China opened a few months ago in Burjuman. Asia Kitchen is an extension of Mainland China, one of the most popular and reputable brands for Chinese and Pan Asian cuisine in India.

I have visited their Mumbai branch in India many times and I was super excited to try their first branch in UAE and we had a wonderful dining experience. Asia Kitchen by Mainland China is a must-try restaurant for all Pan Asian food lovers.

The decor of Asia Kitchen is minimalistic, welcoming and cheerful. Though the restaurant is not very big, it has a cosy and comfortable atmosphere.

Walking into the restaurant on a weekday afternoon for lunch, the place was busy and buzzing. After we were seated, we were handed their iPad menu which features an extensive and wide range of dishes.

They’ve good vegetarian and non vegetarian options. Being vegetarians, we opted for the veggie option. We were served complimentary condiments like Pickled Veggies, Dips and Soy Sauce.

We ordered two of their Mocktails and straightaway ordered food.

Appetizers

The crunchy and addictive Crispy Corn with kaffir lime salt was my kids favorite, they finished it within minutes.

Sweet and spicy Crispy Lotus Stem with black pepper and curry leaves was my favorite. It is one of their signature dish and a must-try.

We loved the Vegetable Basil Dumplings. They were soft, juicy and delightful.

Next we had the Cottage Cheese & Sun dried Tomato Bao. It had a delicious filling of tomato, pickled carrot, sriracha mayo and scallion inside soft and fluffy bao bun.

Mains

The creamy veg Thai Green Curry was full of authentic Thai flavor and tasted absolutely amazing.

Exotic Vegetables in Black Pepper Sauce had crunchy veggies in a slightly spicy black pepper sauce.

Vegetable Fried Rice with burnt garlic is a simple dish that is served in all Asian restaurants and you can’t go wrong with a basic dish. It went well with the curries.

Wok Tossed Noodles with vegetables was comfort food at its best.

Desserts

We ordered two desserts- Walnut Brownie with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce and Date & Coconut Steamed Dumpling. Both the desserts were fabulous, but the date & coconut steamed dumpling was outstanding. I can visit Asia Kitchen just to have those yummy sweet dumplings.

Overall, we enjoyed our lunch. The food, the drinks, the service and the atmosphere was good. The pricing is reasonable.

Phone: 04 293 8222

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Love this time of the year as Christmas is fast approaching and there is festive frenzy everywhere. The malls, hotels and most of the places are decked up with X’mas tree and all the Christmas paraphernalia.

Movenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate has a festive themed Friday Brunch throughout the month of December at Al Bahou restaurant that is located in the lobby of the hotel. They will also host a Christmas Market on every Friday alongside the Friday brunch this December.

The festive themed Friday brunch and the Christmas Market will take place from 12:30pm-4pm on all the Fridays of December.

We visited them last Friday and were wowed by the festive splendor, exquisite flavors, wholesome entertainment and fun-filled atmosphere. We thoroughly enjoyed our Christmas inspired brunch experience.

The Christmas Market had many wonderful kiosks and we did a bit of shopping too. Shopping and brunching-both my favorite activities in one place, I couldn’t have been more happier.

Their Friday brunch had a huge variety from all their restaurants and we were spoilt for choice. From salads, starters to grills, mains and desserts everything was covered. There was festive themed drinks too.

They had a separate kids buffet and many activities for the kids. Their festive themed brunch is a must-visit for families throughout this festive season.

Reservations

Phone: 04 444 5613

Email: dine.ibnbattuta@movenpick.com

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There is one regional cuisine of India which is underrepresented in Dubai and that is the flavor-rich Bengali cuisine. Apart from a couple of small restaurants, I’ve never had Bengali cuisine in a fine-dining setup.

Thanks to Bombay Brassiere in Taj Dubai, we got to enjoy a little slice of Bengal, right here in Dubai. Paying tribute to the festive spirit of food, art and heritage of Bengal, Bombay Brassiere introduces- Colors of Bengal, a Saturday brunch for a limited period of 5 weeks. After that it will be replaced by another regional cuisine from India.

There was Bengali inspiration in everything from the beautiful red-bordered Bengali saree worn by the staff to music, paintings to food and drinks. The gorgeous venue is complemented by the stunning view of Burj Khalifa.

The brunch started with a welcome drink and there were both vegetarian and non vegetarian set menu. Being vegetarians, we opted for the veg menu. Everything was served at the table. You can expect a relaxed and immersive culinary experience.

The Bengali-inspired mocktails and cocktails were refreshing, inviting and unique. The presentation was on point.

Live on the table

We had a delicious start to our Saturday brunch with Bengali street food speciality- Phuchka and Jhal Muri. It was made live on the table.

Starters

The starter trio of Gondhoraj Paneer Tikka, BB Take On Kolkata Nizam Roll and Vegetable Chop was delightfully distinct, flavorful and tasty.

Mains (family style)

The mains were to be shared family style and it consisted of wholesome and comforting dishes like Bhappa Aloo, Dhokar Dalna, Macher Ghonto, Baigan Bhajja, Cholar Dal, Khushka, Boondi Raita and Luchi.

It was basically curries, dry vegetable dishes, rice and bread. I’m not an expert on Bengali food, but I’m a good food lover and all the dishes that we tried were packed with exquisite and rich flavors. We especially loved the exotic and eclectic Macher Ghonto made with banana flower and potatoes.

Dessert

Dessert was a decadent and delicious affair. We had Channar Payesh, Nolen Gur Ice Cream and assorted Mishti platter.

We enjoyed the whole experience, it was taste of Bengal on a plate. Our dining experience was amplified by the beautiful presentation, tempting drinks, fabulous atmosphere and flawless service along with the delicious and flavor-rich Bengali dishes.

Colors of Bengal is available for the next two Saturdays.

For reservations

Phone: 04 438 3100

Email: fbreservations.dubai@tajhotels.com

Time

Saturday, 1pm-4pm

Cost

AED 350 (soft beverages per person)

AED 425 (house beverages per person)

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Dubai is home to some of the most eclectic cafes and there is a brand new addition to the cafe scene in the city. And it is the fashion themed F Cafe, a cuisine and couture synergized venue that is open early in the morning till late in the night.

Located in the lively and happening district of JBR in Dubai, F Cafe is a two-storied venue with a spacious outdoor seating area.

F Cafe’s modern interiors look sleek, fashionable and glamorous. The atmosphere of the place transported me to the glitz and glamour of a fashion show runaway.

The walls are adorned with picture frames of models and fashionistas, in the corners of the cafe you can find mannequins in trendy outfits. There is also a library with books and magazines on fashion. The first floor of the cafe will host fashion shows.

The menu in F Cafe offers global cuisine, ranging from Italian to French and Middle Eastern flavors. You can also expect signature beverages, both cold and hot. Their menu offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. We visited them for lunch.

As a vegetarian, we tried only the veggie options. They’ve a simple and easy-to-order menu. We started off with fresh juices- Kale Energizer and Cucumber Mint Fizz. Both the drinks were healthy, tasty and nutritious.

Appetizers

The wholesome and refreshing Summer Salad that had mixed greens, strawberries, blueberries, orange, pear, butternut and goat cheese dressed in berry balsamic was a great way to start our lunch.

The comforting and perfectly grilled Veggie Delight Sandwich was served with well-seasoned fries. We loved it.

Mains

Next we had the delicious and flavorful Vegetarian Pizza made with mushrooms, tomato, caramelized onions, green bell peppers, mozzarella cheese and arugula.

The Truffle Portobello Risotto was the only disappointing dish that we had as it was lacking in flavor and taste.

Dessert

Toffee Cannoli with Espresso Cream, a classic Italian dessert was outstanding. Each bite was delightful. A dessert that cannot be missed if you visit F Cafe.

Ended our lunch with their freshly brewed Cappuccino which had the latte art of their logo.

Overall, we enjoyed our dining experience at F Cafe. Both, food and drinks was good. The presentation and plating is done very well. The service and atmosphere complemented the amazing food and drinks.

Phone: 04 332 3221

Email: info@fcafeuae.com

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One of my favorite weekend activity is to go brunching and in Dubai, we have too many brunch options. As it was a long weekend, my little girl wanted to go to a place with activities for kids. When I was searching for kid-friendly Friday brunch, I came across Playhouse Brunch. So we decided to give it a try.

The Playhouse Brunch was launched in Liwan Restaurant in Swissotel Al Ghurair couple of months ago. And it looks like it has already become a favorite with families. When we visited them last Friday, the place was packed and swarming with children and adults.

The Playhouse Brunch happens every Friday from 12:30pm-4pm. It is priced at AED 160 per person, for children between ages 6-12 it is AED 80 and children below 5 years dine for free.

My little girl had a blast as there were so many kids-centered activities like face painting, ballon making, art activities, bouncy castle, Nintendo Wii games and many other activities. There was also cooking demonstration by their chef, that was followed by culinary creations by the kids.

The kids also had a separate buffet with all their favorites like popcorn, candy floss, milkshakes, nuggets, pizza, pasta, French fries, cupcakes, ice cream etc.

Now coming to drinks and food part, we had fresh juice that was served to our table. I loved the fact that there was a section for healthy food. There were various cuisines from different parts of the world and the options were vast and varied.

We could choose from salad bar, cheese board, their brunch featured a good selection of appetizers, Arabic mezze, grills, steaks, seafood, mains and desserts. There buffet and live cooking stations had something for everyone. The food was wholesome and delicious.

My family and I, especially our little girl enjoyed the Playhouse Brunch. Good food, lively atmosphere and a fun entertainer for the entire family. I won’t be exaggerating if I say that Playhouse Brunch is one of the best brunch for kids in town.

For reservations

Phone: 04 293 3000

Or

Email: foodandbeverage.alghurair@swissotel.com

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Italian cuisine is one of my favorite cuisines and I’ve visited most of the Italian restaurants in Dubai, from casual to fine dining. Recently I visited La Vigna, an Italian restaurant that I used to frequent almost a decade ago. And I am glad to find out that they are still very consistent and serve good Italian food, no wonder they’ve been around for more than 18 years.

Located in the lush green and beautiful property of Century Village in Garhoud, La Vigna is an Italian restaurant serving classic Italian food.

La Vigna is one of the prettiest restaurant in town with rustic and charming decor. It has a vibe of a trattoria in Italian countryside. The outdoor seating area with red and white checkered tablecloth gives a welcoming vibe.

With the lovely weather in Dubai right now, we decided to sit outdoors for lunch. We were offered complimentary Basket of Bread and it consisted of delicious garlic bread, olive bread and bread sticks.

La Vigna is a licensed outlet and has a good selection of wines and other spirits. We had two of their refreshing Mocktails.

As vegetarians, we loved the veg options as there was a good range. Below is some of the dishes that we ordered for lunch:

Starters

The deep-fried ravioli filled with spinach and cheese or Ravioli di Spinaci Fritti was delicious. It went well with the moreish Marinara sauce.

The other starter we ordered was Arancini. They were little balls of yumminess that had veggies and cheese filling inside.

Mains

Their pizzas from the live pizza oven is very popular. We had the Napolitana pizza which was a simple pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and black olives. It was packed with authentic and amazing flavors. We liked it.

Next we ordered the pasta- A La Vigna. It had farfalle pasta with veggies like broccoli, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and truffle oil in a creamy mushroom sauce. It was an wholesome dish, a bit more sauce would have been great.

Dessert

The Tiramisu at La Vigna is outstanding and one of the best that I’ve had in a long time. It was a layered delight and each bite tasted heavenly. A definite must-try.

I am so happy that I finally visited La Vigna after a decade. The food, the drinks, the service and the atmosphere is fantastic. The pricing is right too. Planning to visit La Vigna with my family soon.

Phone: 04 282 0030 or 04 282 3636

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When it starts drizzling or raining I start craving for Chaat. Brings back memories of monsoons in India, the minute it would start raining, my sisters and I would be queuing up in small roadside eateries to eat chaat and other spicy street food delicacies.

Last week when it started raining in Dubai and I was too lazy to step out, I ordered chaat and some of my favorite snacks from Chaat Bazaar. And my family and I enjoyed our chaat sitting in the balcony while watching the rain.

According to Wikipedia:

Chaat is a savory snack that originated in India, typically served as a hors d’œuvre at roadside tracks from stalls or food carts across the Indian subcontinent in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

I had heard about the restaurant Chaat Bazaar from my friends. It is located in Karama. They’re a vegetarian restaurant with a huge variety. Their menu is vast and varied and we were spoilt for choice.

Some of the chaats and snacks that we ordered were:

The Pav Bhaji Bruschetta, a delectable fusion between Indian and Italian food was amazing. In a single bite, we could get the taste of Pav Bhaji and Bruschetta.

Next we tried another fusion snack- Sev Puri Tacos. This Indian and Mexican venture had taco shells with sev puri filling. A deliciously sweet and spicy tacos with an Indian twist.

After trying both the fusion dishes, we had Basket Corn Dahi Chaat. It had crispy little canapés/basket filled with corn, raw mango pieces, pomegranate, coriander, sev, chaat masala and yogurt. This chaat was crispy, tangy, spicy and sweet. Fabulous flavors, extremely delicious and worth trying.

We loved the Mumbai’s favorite streetside snack Asli Vada Pav. It is an Indian burger with potato patty and chutney. The Chaat Bazaar’s Vada Pav was fantastic, in fact one of the best Vada Pav we have had in Dubai.

Kolhapuri Pav Bhaji is more spicy and garlicky than the regular Pav Bhaji. It tasted good, but was too oily.

Chaat Bazaar also offers many popular combos and you can add an aerated drink as well. We tried Ministry of Dahi Chaat, it consisted of small portions of samosa chole dahi, tikki dahi, dahi bhalla, papdi chaat, dahi sev puri and basket dahi. All the classic chaats with dahi or yogurt was scrumptious.

We loved everything that we ordered from Chaat Bazaar. All their chaats and snacks wowed us with their exquisite and delicious flavors. Their pricing is reasonable and affordable. They also do catering.

Now, coming back to the question, whether Chaat Bazaar is the best place for chaat in Dubai? Absolutely yes! They’re one of the top 3 places to have chaat and Indian street food in Dubai. We can’t wait to visit them.

Phone: 04 396 8810

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Last two months in Dubai has been amazing with brand new restaurants and cafes opening. Couple of days ago, we visited the newly opened Indus Restaurant in Convention Centre at the World Trade Centre.

As the name suggests, Indus Restaurant is an authentic Indian restaurant that offers Indian cuisine from the time of Indus Valley Civilization to Modern India. You can expect authentic and delicious Indian food presented in contemporary style.

So glad to find out that there was no theatrics or molecular gastronomy which has become a norm in many of the Indian restaurants in Dubai.

Concept

The concept of the restaurant according to team Indus:

The diverse, tasteful and authentic Indian cuisine with regional flavors has been judiciously put together by our chefs to appeal to not only Indians but global citizens. There is much to be discovered with the eclectic menu reflecting India’s multi-cuisine culture for our discerning guests.

Decor

The Indian inspired interiors of Indus has a modern touch. The restaurant is spacious with a separate bar area and a lounge upstairs. Colorful furnishing, gorgeous chandelier, mirrors and artwork adorn the walls of the restaurant. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming.

Our experience

We were received warmly and escorted to our table. We were pleasantly surprised by the welcome note on the tray which added a personal touch. The staff informed us that anyone who books a table gets a welcome note which is fantastic.

After being seated they offered us a Welcome Drink and served us the usual condiments like Poppadum, Pickle and Chutney.

Drinks

Indus is licensed and their beverage menu has alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages. They have their own signature cocktails and mocktails. We tried two of their signature mocktails- Indus Garden and Indus River. I am not a fan of mocktails but both the drinks were okay, nothing special.

Food

Before we could order the food, we were offered Amuse Bouche which was a delicious Tikki.

Their food menu has good options for both vegetarians and non vegetarians. Being vegetarians, we ordered only the vegetarian dishes.

Soup

The Tamatar Dhaniya Shorba or the tomato soup with coriander was super refreshing and comforting.

Starter

We ordered the Veg Kebab Platter and it consisted of Bharwan Mushroom, Paneer Tikka Shashlik, Veg Seekh Kebab and Dal Mooth Ke Kebab. We liked all of them as they were distinctly different and flavorful. Our favorite was the moreish and utterly delicious bharwan mushroom.

After the starter we were give a cucumber and mint based Palate Cleanser.

Mains

One of the standout dishes we tried was Diwani Handi and it had a medley of veggies in a tasty and creamy peanut sauce. The spicy Kadhi Paneer and their signature Dal Indus was also very good.

All the curries went well with the Masala Garlic Naan and Chur Chur Naan.

We also ordered Veg Biryani that was served with refreshing Raita. We found the biryani too spicy and it didn’t have well-balanced flavors.

Dessert

Crisp and juicy Jalebi topped with rich Rabdi was excellent and a must-try. We relished it.

Finally…

Indus Restaurant looks like a promising new place with good food, attentive service and inviting atmosphere. If you’re looking for an Indian restaurant in World Trade Centre area, then you can consider Indus.

Phone: 04 526 9026

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