let’s do brunch

let’s do brunch

Day 192 • Friday • 13 Feb 15 • Today’s High 31º

Groan … Poss and I really had to drag ourselves out of bed this morning – them bones ain’t what they used to be, especially after a night out of not dancing! Today we had a brunch date @ Cafe Belge with his old school mate from London. We call him The Rock because I kid you not, he really does look like him, minus the bulging muscles. The Rock is married to his fabulous wife who we call Heidi, because you guessed it, she kinda looks like Heidi Klum. Funny thing is, even though she looks like a blond German glamazon, Heidi is actually Turkish but she grew up in Germany. Confused? I definitely was –  to this day, I keep forgetting she’s Turkish because she looks so German. It’s the blond thing!

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you had to be there!

you had to be there!

Day 45 • Friday • 19 Sept 14 • Today’s High 36º

Where do I start??

As I may have mentioned before, I love my Pub Grub, especially my Fish & Chips. I’ve sampled McGettigans which is pretty good, then a a friend of Poss’ suggested we try Fibber Magee’s which I understand is a bit of an institution in Dubai. It’s in a real obscure place and you find yourself walking down a back alley just to get there (Perhaps that should have been our first clue!). Apparently, there’s a great tale behind how this Pub came to being in the middle of nowhere but there’s no ‘official’ story. When I looked it up online prior to going, the photos pretty much showed a typical Pub, so we figured, no worries and headed down there with another girlfriend. Little did we know, that as soon as we walked through their double doors, we would be entering the Twilight Zone.

Are we still in Dubai? Before us stood revelers as far as the eye could see, swaying and singing My My My Delilah at the top of their lungs, looking like they might possibly have been there since noon – it was now 8pm. We were probably the only ‘foreigners’ in the place (save the staff) and quite likely, one of the few sober ones. For a moment we stood there, frozen, each secretly thinking if we should make a run for it. But then, perhaps spurred on by the hypnotic voice of Tom Jones, we decided we’d just make a night of it and with a deep smokey breath, plunged head on into the chaos!

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Fortunately we found a table at the back and there we sat, almost mesmerised by the scene unfolding in front of us – the dancing, the random snogging, the singing – you name it, it was going down! By this time, ‘Delilah’ had left and Michael Jackson’s ‘Love Never Felt So Good’ had arrived – I know! Talk about contrasts! But hey, they had started to play our kind of tunes so we weren’t complaining and before you knew it, we too were singing & swaying at our table – this is getting contagious!!

Hunger finally set in and we placed our food orders. The prices are pretty good for Dubai but unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the food – I had to send mine back twice as it was undercooked. But to be fair, I think a good time is more the name of the game here.

Then the night got really interesting for Poss because suddenly out of nowhere, a guy parks himself right next to him in what can only be described as an invasion of personal space. If you know my Poss, you’d know that he takes his personal space very seriously. My girlfriend and I couldn’t actually hear what this guy was saying (the music is pretty LOUD) but apparently he opened with “Are you from New Zealand?”. When Poss replied “No”, his comeback was “It’s ok. I’m not racist!”. Huh??? We really must have looked like a trio of aliens! Not that it seemed to matter to this guy because once he started talking, there was no stopping him. He was quite literally all over my poor Poss.

Feeling quite at home, he started helping himself to our chips (complete with tomato sauce) – erm ok – and then he wanted some of my soda – again, erm ok and we passed him the can. What he did next is something I have never seen in my life ! Unable to find an empty glass, he proceeded to pour the soda into an ashtray – yes, an ashtray (thank god a clean one) and drank it???!!! Eeeewwww – what was this guy on??? We were gobsmacked and kept telling him to stop but he just kept on, like it was the most natural thing in the world.

By this time, the waiter that had been serving us noticed something was amiss with this picture and asked if we were being bothered, to which my girlfriend replied, a loud resounding yes! And before you could blink, a rather large bouncer was at our table asking this guy if he could please come have a chat. What does this guy say? Yeah ok, in a minute, lol! If some big ass bouncer asked me for a chat, I think I might accidentally pee my pants before even managing to bat an eyelid! Alas, our visitor finally gets up to leave and that was that, we never saw him again! While I do feel a little bad, I give full props to the waiter and the bouncer for calmly diffusing what would have only become an even more awkward situation.

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Drama averted, we stayed on to listen to the live band who weren’t bad and a couple of high fives later from complete strangers (everyone is very friendly), we decided to call it a night. At the end of it all, while we did “Enjoy the Craic” (it was an experience to say the least!) it was just a little too much “fun” for this little princess to garner a repeat performance. But if you’re ever looking for a rather interesting watering hole in Dubai, look no further – you’ll be well entertained if nothing else!

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on top of the world

on top of the world

Well, the concrete world anyway! After my luxurious Spa day, Poss literally topped off the evening by taking me to the highest restaurant in the world – At.mosphere @ Burj Khalifa. Located on the 122nd floor, you almost feel like you’re dining in the stars.

Getting to the 122nd floor however is a bit like entering Fort Knox! We entered through the Armani Hotel and were taken to Level B1 where the restaurant’s reception is at the front of the Burj. After confirming that we did indeed have a reservation, we were escorted up an escalator to another reception desk that led to the lift that was about to catapult us up 123 floors. There are only 2 floor buttons on the lift panel and they need to use a touch-key card to press the restaurant floor. I’m not afraid of heights per se but an enclosed lift that’s about to shoot me up to the sky does give me the heebie-jeebies somewhat.

Having said that, the process to get you into the lift is very friendly and smooth and before you know it, you’re in, the lift doors have closed and you then realise there’s no turning back! So you do the only thing you can do, fix your eyes on the digital display. At first, it’s a little slow and you’re willing it to speed up but then your ears start popping and you’re trying to keep up with the numbers and a mere 45 secs later, you’re at your destination. Phew!

The restaurant is actually located one floor beneath the lift drop off so you have to make your way down a staircase first. And lo and behold, another reception. To your right is the restaurant and to your left is the lounge. We got there early enough to check out the lounge first and were escorted to a table by the window. There is no denying that the view is spectacular. The lounge is pretty big with a proper smoking and non-smoking section and for a Monday night, there seemed to be enough people in both. It’s pretty dark whichever side you’re on and while I get it’s mood lighting and all, I have a theory that all these places in Dubai do this so you can’t see the prices of anything properly. After having a scan through the drinks menu, I’m believing in my theory a little more – a vodka is about AED75, wine starts around AED80 a glass and a cocktail AED95. Yeah, it ain’t cheap!

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It then came time for dinner. Because Poss wanted to spoil me with a window seat for my birthday, he could only get a dinner reservation for 9:30. To be fair, he did only book 1 week in advance, so if you want to have a window table for the sunset, I suggest you book WAY earlier. From what I understand, At.mosphere has a minimum spend per person. I’m not sure if it’s more expensive by the window but all I can tell you is that we had a minimum spend of AED650 per person?? I wondered if i could even eat that much because I hardly eat! Well it turns out, it isn’t that difficult to hit the quota. As you can imagine, the prices are as high as the restaurant. I had the Hand Dived Scallops for a starter (albeit the best cooked scallops I’ve ever tasted) for AED240 and followed that up with a lobster tail for AED380. 2 courses in and I had pretty much hit my target. We also had the Burrata which, to be honest, does not hold a candle to La Petite Maison and while all the food was very nice, it wasn’t OMG, so you really are paying a premium for the At.mosphere (Get it?)

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What I can’t fault them on is their service which was truly exceptional. As I said, even from the lift, we felt at ease and it only got better as the evening went on. Poss had told them it was my birthday, so I got a slice of very yummy cake with a candle (thank god no singing) plus a polaroid photo to boot. They also pay attention to details – I was getting a little cold and started hugging myself a bit when the Sommelier suddenly appeared out of nowhere with a Pashmina. That earned him lots of brownie points.

At the end of it all, was I glad Poss took me there? Hell, yeah. It’s a must do if you can. Is it a repeat do? Maybe, if we were entertaining the Queen!

 

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tonight we mingled

tonight we mingled

Day 9 • Thursday • 14 August 14 • Today’s High 40ºC

One week in and we figured it was time I actually met some people! So Poss gathered up a couple of girls (not those kind of girls – although, one could possibly have mistaken him for a pimp seeing as he was the only guy with us) and we hit the much talked about La Petite Maison at the Dubai International Finance Center (DIFC)

Listed under Smart/Casual dining in the The Luxe Guide, this trendy little gem looks rather unassuming from the outside but it’s a quite a different story when you step through their glass doors. Being the start of the weekend, it was heaving with Dubai’s ‘beautiful’ social set, propped against a backdrop of light wood-cladded walls, white-clothed tables and a jam packed bar that runs almost the entire length of the restaurant (Btw, it’s a smoking bar). To say it was bustling would be an understatement and while I normally rather a place where I can actually find an empty chair to sit on during pre-dinner drinks, this place has a real nice vibe to it.

I’ve read in reviews however that the staff can be somewhat aloof to new customers. Lucky for us, we were in the company of a couple of regulars, so we were warmly greeted as soon as we walked in with smiles & air kisses galore from what must be the hottest looking bunch of male staff I’ve seen in one place! And they were attentive to boot, even providing me with a handbag hook at the table when my bag kept on sliding off my chair.

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But what about the food I hear you ask? The menu is pretty extensive so we left it up to the regulars to order. La Petite Maison by their own definition is the home of Cuisine Nicoise and is based on the concept of sharing plates that’s served as and when it’s ready. Now I’m no foodie, I pretty much eat to live rather than the other way around, but even I have to say that everything that came out of that open plan kitchen was pretty damn good! The food is simple but full of flavour – I even found myself trying stuff I would normally never eat. Like the Octopus In Lemon Oil – sliced so thinly it practically melts in your mouth or the Venison Tartare. Their best selling starter Burrata with Tomatoes and Basil was divine. Needless to say, I was a happy bunny by the end of the meal.

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Hot staff & great food aside, the place gets really busy and somewhat loud so I wouldn’t recommend it for an intimate dinner for 2 (on the weekend especially) because they really pack you in. The tables are really close together so there’s not much personal space and you might get bumped around a bit. They also work on a 2 hour turnaround time which might leave you feeling a bit rushed through your meal. But if you like a bit of atmosphere, La Petite Maison is great for a night out. Will I be back? Most definitely!

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down @ the local

down @ the local

Day 8 • Wednesday • 13 August 14 • Today’s High 41ºC

After yesterday’s scorching temperature and me going stir crazy being cooped up in the flat all day, we decided a mini date night was in order. So we hopped onto the metro and a mere one stop & 5 minute walk later, we arrived at our nearest Irish local, McGettigan’s @ JLT, next to the Bonnington Hotel.

Even though it was a weeknight, the place was packed with what seemed like expats from all over the world! They do have an alfresco area but as it’s summer and freaking hot even in the dark, it appeared to be closed, so that may explain the abundance of people inside.

The place is pretty big with a smoking & non-smoking section, much like most places in Dubai I’m told. It’s also a sports bar, so needless to say there are screens all over the place but the decor and atmosphere is all good.jlt-interal2

After finally landing a table, I was ready for my Pub Grub Fish & Chips which did not disappoint. A nice piece of Cod with the fattest chips I’ve seen in a while and yummy mushy peas. I did do a double take when I saw the price of AED78 though – the cost of dining out in Dubai is something that takes a while to get used to, regardless of where you go. (I really have to learn to shut an eye to the prices or I’ll never eat out!)IMG_1560

Dinner over and with my Aussie half pleased as punch, we headed for the door – but not before we saw the juicy sliders being served to the guy sitting next to us. Will definitely be going back for those!

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