Dubai Restaurants

“So there’s this new place.. like OHMAGADDD… it’s from New York! like the desserts are all over ma instagram feed” 

That’s pretty much all we had heard about Catch at the Fairmont, so we thought of trying it and booked a table for 11 people on a Friday night. Deadly mistake ya mama, well not deadly but big mistake.. Never try out a new place when you’re a party of 11.

The name Catch is behind the joint’s apparent specialty in seafood, but is made even more fitting by the staff whose attention we spent the evening continuously trying to catch. You sometimes get a feeling when you meet someone that you’re just not really going to get along. This felt that way almost as soon as we showed up. As we waited for our table to get ready, we were informed that we were not standing at the right side of the bar, as we didn’t know there was one. That’s ok, but when we sat down and were instructed to share the menus because they were running low on them, things started getting fishy. When the party became complete and we were about to order, your beloved tante asked for two menus for the couple who just joined. After eyeing a stack of menus that were lying around at the service booth, the waiter came back having decided that we didn’t quite need them and we can just share the ones we already had. Fine. Let’s not spoil the evening. We each gave our orders with naive instructions on what to share, what was meant to be an appetiser and what we wanted for a main course. A little later, orders started showing up randomly. Not the funny kind of randomness, but the annoying one. The place was loud and we couldn’t really catch up on each and every person’s order to make informed guesses on who ordered what. One of us would get someone’s Wagyu beef on a rock and start asking around to find out to whom it belonged. One corner of the table would get the other’s appetiser and start to eat it, while the rest are complaining that their order never showed up. We gently asked them at this point to kindly pay attention to giving each person his/her right order instead of aimlessly throwing everything at different sides of our big table. They didn’t seem to appreciate the request, complaining that they’re not sure who asked for what and that the table wasn’t small. Pardon us for inconveniencing your cranky, overrated establishment. Ok let’s try to enjoy what’s left of this evening. Our two orders of pasta randomly showed up as four plates. At this point, my hungry friends gave up on getting their orders right so they started devouring whatever randomly came their way. At a certain point, the Sfitch (our bride-to-be-friend who loves carbs) got a glass of wine that she hadn’t ordered.. but sure.. why not? Between the wrong orders that we sent back and those that haphazardly showed up but were consumed nonetheless, it was impossible to audit our way through the bill to check if we have been wrongfully charged. We just split it and paid 400 dirhams a head for what must have been the most overpriced, OK food that left almost everyone hungry.

Honestly some of the dishes were not bad, but I won’t be doing any favours to Catch. Instead I can treat it with the same level of randomness with which it shoved plates down our way: Lobster rolls that are too buttery, crispy shrimps a la PF Changs, Wagyu Beef that’s good, a humongous fish with a face, mushroom spaghetti that’s alright, Hit Me chocolate cake that’s good, Burj waffle and s’mores pizza. But best of all, the Zaatar w Zeit that most of us admitted to ordering once we got home.

Catch isn’t understaffed, but it doesn’t help that there isn’t a dedicated host for every few tables, just a disinterested army of waiters running around with random plates playing a game of Catch Me If You Can.

Until the next review, I leave you with a taste of that fine New York hospitality Catch has imported here.

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Dubai Restaurants

Akh ya mama, “I don’t have to tell you things are bad. We know things are bad — worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot — All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GONNA TAKE THIS ANYMORE!

Well I for one did get up and stormed my way into Coya for a dinner date. A very unfitting consumerist rendezvous following that angry excerpt from “Network”, but that’s what we do here ya tante… we rant, we eat and we rant about what we eat. Willi ma 3ajabo ma 7ada darabo 3a 2eedo. The web is wide wil beb bifawwit jamal.

We arrived right on time for our reservation, but our table wasn’t ready. After 20 minutes of waiting at the bar (which was really just standing in the bar area as the actual bar was crowded), we stormed back to the front desk to deliver a speech similar to how we started this review. But alas there was a table ready, one that came with a dose of tirbee7 jmeeleh, as they decided to seat us in the private members area (because the place was overbooked, mish kirmel ki7l 3yoonna). The full height doors opened to a lounge packed with suited businessmen. There was a private bar, a DJ and a violinist. While the crowd was reminiscent of “Eyes Wide Shut”, I kept my eyes open and focused on my company and the dinner menu. We shared a total of seven plates and devoured all of them without getting too bloated, as they’re all fairly small. We kicked things off with some Edamame and Salmon Tacos. The three little tacos are so darn cute and you can finish them off with a couple of bites each. Then we got the ceviche. We chose the Salmon Nikkei, which was made of raw salmon swimming in celery juice, ginger and wasabi tobiko. For our lack of expertise in Peruvian cuisine, we gazed at those empty bowls beside our plates not knowing what they were meant for, and we ate the ceviche in our regular plates. And all was just fine. Then came the Ensalada de Maiz, and I’ll buy you a drink if you can tell the difference between it and sweet corn out of the can. For mains we got a pot of Arroz Nikkei Chilean sea bass and a Salmon fillet. Both were fantastic. The pot tasted like a spicy Indian take on a confused Paella/Risotto dish. The salmon was rich in flavor with a  side of golden beetroot and cucumber. For dessert, we shared a Sundae de Maiz which tasted as funky as it looked with sweet corn ice cream and popcorn. It probably wasn’t the best choice of dessert but we kept seeing orders of it going around, so we wanted to know what the fuss was about.

The place is fun and the best drink to go with your meal is the Peruvian Pisco Sour, so skip the wine. The food is simple and tasty and the bill was surprisingly not outrageous.

See you mother fuckers. Until then I leave you with this:

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Dubai Restaurants

As I make my comeback to the food blogging scene, I can’t help but wonder what is it exactly we food bloggers do. What higher purpose do these rants really serve? I’ve always had an appreciation for the hardworking folks who go through the hell of operating a restaurant, and a distaste for the condescending dullards who publicize their hasty judgments and ruin businesses in the process. When did I become one of the latter group? Or did I? Does it count if I objectively criticize the failings of overpriced, posh institutes? Why am I ranting about my own rants?

We hit Prime68 tonight, the steakhouse at the 68th floor of the JW Marriott Marquis; home to several neatly decorated, overpriced, great concept venues with mediocre food. If you’re an acrophobic vegetarian, this is no place for you. Prime68 offers quality steaks at a high floor with panoramic views of Dubai, which are what you’re essentially paying for. If you’re cynical about the combination of highways and flat landscapes, skip it. If you appreciate what a trip to the top of Burj Khalifa has to offer, the place is worth a visit. The chic design that spans most of the floor allows for plenty of tables right by the glass windows so you’re bound to get a view with your meal. The food is Ok but doesn’t justify the exorbitant prices. With Kawkab’s belly burning hopes in mind, we went lean on the order. We skipped starters, dessert, wine and starches, yet our bill amounted to more than 600 dirhams for two people. Be sure to ask for your 20% Emirates NBD card discount, as we didn’t get it and I only just found out about it while writing this review. Ya 3ayb el shoom! The steaks are neither the most tender, nor the most chewy; but the béarnaise sauce and sides of mashed potato, asparagus and creamy spinach complemented the fillet mignons nicely. I particularly enjoyed the roasted whole garlic presented with the plate. Garlic tastes sweet when well cooked and doesn’t really leave a bad scent in your mouth. Kilo toom ya mama ma tisti7o.

For its not so great service and immoderate prices, Prime68 didn’t make it to your tante’s list of favourite dinner spots. But it’s well worth a visit once, if you’re in the mood for feeling high.. above Sheikh Zayed road.

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Salero Tapas & Bodega

Dubai Restaurants

“3njad b2illik 3njad mish 7ilwi el ghaybe hal 2ad” I couldn’t find a more befitting song to serenade my long awaited return with. What have I been up to in these past 5 months? Well mostly falling.. learning to quickly stand up again.. then falling, then standing up again… One might think I had burnt some calories in the process. Not quite.

A couple of weeks ago, when a group picture was taken at Salero Tapas & Bodega, I noticed how my unflattering belly had become a visual center of attraction. Tonight, I went back along with my peasants in an attempt of not overeating. So I’m writing this review mostly out of recollections.

Situated at Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, Salero mish mitil Ghero.. it makes for a convenient location without feeling like it’s in the middle of an effing mall. It’s a Spanish place run by Spanish staff and the food mostly tastes authentic. It has a wider variety of tapas than its rival El Sur and the ambience is chilled and more upbeat. If you’re going on a Tuesday you may enjoy a little flamenco show by the multifunctional hostess who may also be serving you your meal. The tapas are more or less appetizing. The gazpacho is particularly well made with all the right ingredients. I would go for the spanish tortilla, the calamari, the ceviche, the fried eggplant and I would skip the useless patatas bravas and petty shrimps in that awful sauce. The stars of the meal? The Sangria pitcher with a base of red wine that is really sweet, and the free plate of bread. The bread comes with an awesome combination of olive oil, sea salt, tomatoes and garlic. You take a piece of bread and you rub it with that garlic… Rub it like you mean it tante… Then you rub it with the tomato.. keep rubbing…ooooh yeah… add the olive oil and the salt… and take a bite… screw the rest of the meal..

We also shared a not so small “small dish” of paella which four of us could not finish. Not bad, not stellar either. The paella needed a bit more seasoning and the seafood did not taste that fresh. But overall the place is nice, fun and more importantly my choice for making a blog-comeback.

I leave you and myself with Ragheb’s song that bares no Spanish theme nor any link whatsoever to Salero Tapas & Bodegas, except for a reminder of the randomness of this blog which has missed you kteer ya 3yoon el tante.

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