Tag Archives: JLT

Mythos Kouzina & Grill – JLT Cluster P – Dubai

I have recently visited Mythos, a new licensed Greek restaurant that recently opened in JLT, cluster P at Armada Blue Bay hotel.

If you want to reach the restaurant by car, be ready to get a headache. Find parking in JLT might be challenging and most of the time it is time limited: 3 hours free parking and then you have to leave. The hotel valet parking charges you 50 AED, hence better to get a taxi or the metro and walk a bit.

Once you enter the hotel, get the elevator and go to the basement. You have to walk in the parking and then in a narrow corridor appositely built that escorts you to the restaurant.

We booked our table well in advance since a friend recommended us to do so, but we found the 6 of us squeezed in a table for 4!! However, we managed to sit and order. With great surprise we discovered that the Greek beer and house wines were unavailable (at 8pm on a Thursday night!!!) so we ended up drinking Belgian beer at the Greek restaurant.

We ordered some appetizers like the grilled octopus and calamari. We ordered 4 appetizers and we got 3 at the same time and the 4th one 10 minutes later!!

Note that the restaurant provides you with some fresh bread and olives once you place your order but you have to pay 5 AED extra if you want the famous Greek pita bread.

The octopus was very minimal and definitely not worth 72 AED.

Grilled Octopus at Mythos

As main I ordered a pork souvlaki, one of the favorite meals I had while in Cyprus. Unfortunately, I received an almost cold meal meaning that either the souvlaki was cooked in advance and reheated later or that was cooked on the spot but then left in the plate for quite a long time before reaching our table. The fries were alright and the pork skewers came with tatziki sauce, onions and pita bread.

Pork Souvlaki at Mythos

The service wasn’t really the best. Many staff members seemed quite confused, especially those taking our order. Moreover, we waited 20 minutes and we had to ask to 5 different people before getting the bill.

The restaurant has good potentials but needs some improvements.

Advertisements

Restaurant Review: Freiche Cafe & Bistro, JLT Cluster Y – Dubai

Weekends in Dubai are synonyms of Friday and/or Saturday breakfasts with friends. There are so many options to explore that it could be considered as a tough job to visit all of them.  However, from time to time we decide to visit the same restaurant because it is conveniently located close to home or because we have positive memories about it.

One of the last weekends we decided to visit once again Freiche, in Cluster Y in Jumeirah Lake Towers, on the ground level of Swiss Tower. I had a very unpleasant breakfast few months ago in that place and momentarily banned it from my wishlist. However, some friends insisted to go and hence I forced myself to be think positive.

The restaurant looked different. I mean, the furniture were the same with dark wood decor and full wall windows, but the food items were displayed differently and the restaurant was full!!

We were warmly welcomed by the manager of the place (I think she was the owner) and immediately realized that something had changed in the past months. The staff was well trained and polite and managed our order without troubles even with personal requests of variations like: more salmon, less pepper and the like.

The food came quickly and it was way much better than I remembered it.

Fraiche Eggs Benedict

The eggs Benedict were really good with the right amount of sauce and slamon/spinach.

I have asked my eggs medium and I received them as requested, however, my partner received quite soft ones. Not a big deal, since we have exchanged the plates (i don’t mind soft eggs) but it is disappointing and can sometimes ruin your happy mood.

They have a all you can eat breakfast deal if you want to take advantage of some cakes and biscuits and enjoy some complimentary drinks.

Prices are normal and comparable with major competitors in the area.

Restaurant Review: Golositalia, JLT – Dubai

For the Croissant Lovers, a stop at Golositalia is a must. It is conveniently located in Cluster C, close to JLT Metro Station. The chocolate croissant is superb with its Nutella filling even though the apricot jam one is not less good.

We have been there for breakfast many times already but always opted for the delicate and buttery taste of the croissants.

Last Friday we went there for a quick breakfast and decided to change our routine. We were starving and we ordered an eggs based breakfast that was supposed to come with bread, butter, mini croissants, sausages, bacon and many other things. The price was very competitive, just 55 AED per person and was including also a juice and a coffee. We were skeptical about the real dimension of the breakfast since we had previous bad experiences in other restaurants where we got almost nothing to eat for more than 80 AED.

The waiter firstly came with bread and croissant, juice and coffee. The pastries were excellent as well as the bread. Just the jam selection wasn’t as wow as hoped.

Since we were famished, we consumed almost the entire bucket of bread when the eggs were brought to our table. The plates were heavy loaded with really good food: eggs, hash brown, two chicken sausages (that were tasting incredibly good to be chicken based) and bacon.

Golositalia Breakfast

Golositalia Breakfast is massive and of good quality

The service is alright with a polite crew but not always attentive. The major problem of the restaurant is that a part of it has a problem with the air conditioning, hence it is very hot in there especially around noon time and with the restaurant packed of people.

Bar review: Caffe Nero, Almas Tower, JLT – Dubai

I needed to deposit some cash I had at home and was looking for the nearest Emirates NBD ATM machine. Luckily enough, I found one very close to where I was: Almas Tower in JLT. I know Almas tower and remembered that at the ground floor, very close to the ATM machines there is a Cafe Nero bar. I was slightly hungry and decided to stop at the cafe to enjoy a light meal.

Among the various sandwiches, salads and croissants available, I chose a turkey ham with cheese and mustard toast that looked light and tasty. I asked the waiter to make it warm and sat at my table.

The staff is very polite and attentive and the bar is one of the cleanest I have ever seen in Dubai, with a person continuously dusting and mopping the floor and cleaning tables and chairs. Few minutes later my toast came and was surprised in noticing the huge amount of melted cheese that was leaking from the sides of the supposedly-italian-panino.

I needed to cut it in half to handle it and the quantity of melted cheese coming out was ridiculously huge.

Cafe Nero Sandwich

Cafe Nero Turkey and Cheese Sandwich is really good even though the amount of mustard cheese is excessive.

The taste was great. The mustard rich cheese was really yummy and perfectly combined with the turkey ham and the crunchy toasted bread. The only problem is that I had to eat the sandwich and then to clean the plate from the abnormal quantity of cheese that was left.

If you have a cheese passion, this is the right sandwich for you.

Moving in a new apartment in Dubai? Here how to do it without getting lost (or fooled)

There are many reasons that can lead a person to change apartment in Dubai. Most of the time are economical, with tenants looking for better deals in other neighborhoods when prices increase in the most popular ones. Other times the landlord might decide to sell the apartment or move in himself, hence requests you to vacate.

The first step is to look for a new apartment and the best way to do so is to check the listings in the most popular websites like Dubizzle or Property Finder. It is a hard job and it can drive you nuts if you don’t approach it in the right way.

Once you have found the right apartment, you need to take care of various formalities and move your furniture (if any) or other personal belongings in the new place without getting lost. Here a simple list of things you should take in consideration before moving.

1- Ask for the Final Bills
Before moving in, ask your agent or the landlord to provide you with DEWA’s and Air Conditioning’s final bills. Be sure the previous tenant and/or the landlord had paid all the outstanding dues that otherwise you will be forced to clear in case you desperately need to use that service. The risk is that once you have paid, the landlord might take his time to refund you or trying to avoid paying. Do the same for the apartment you are vacating. The documents shall be handed over to the landlord for your peace of mind and in respect of the regulations.

2-Activate the utilities in your new apartment
Don’t fall for the most common scam we have luckily avoided. Many agents will propose to take care of DEWA/Air.Con/Internet/Ejari registrations for a small fee of 1,500 AED (that doesn’t include the commissions I am going to list)!!!

You can easily connect/disconnect Palm Utilities Air Conditioning with one e-mail at no fee ( I do not know about other providers). DEWA is matter of half an hour and costs 110 AED of commissions plus 2,000 AED of refundable deposit. Ejari registration costs 195 AED and it takes very little in one of the authorized typing centers. Du phone and internet connection can be relocated with 100 AED fee.   Among the various utilities, Du is the one that requires more time since the Du offices in non-working hours are always very busy.

There are cheaper companies that offer to take care of all the mentioned services with as little as 500/600 AED (plus the fees and deposit costs of course). Up to you to decide if it is worth spending that amount of money in order to save some time and headache.

3 – Inform your security about you moving out/in
Before having the moving company or any other person helping you out with the furniture, ask your building security if you have to provide any document.
In some towers, indeed, it is requested to fill a form, provide a copy of the tenancy contract and a refundable security deposit of 5,000 AED in order to cover any possible damage the moving company might have done. That’s another reason why choosing the right moving company is very important not only for your furniture’s sake.

If you forget to inform the security, you might find yourself with the movers at the door and the security prohibiting them to access the building (ad it happened to a friend of mine).

4 – Choose the right moving Company
Be ready to bargain. Get quotations from  at least 3/4 different companies that usually ranges from 1,000 AED to 1,300 AED for the same service: pack everything from your old apartment, transport it and unpack everything in the new apartment. Don’t be shy and ask for a discount because the rate is too high and you have received another quotation that is much cheaper (you will have always a quotation that is cheaper than the others). We bargained with all of them and dropped the price to 900 AED.

We have opted for Executive Movers, that was warmly recommended by a dear friend that was enthusiastic of their service she used a month ago circa. We packed some of our personal things by ourselves in order to have strangers looking and touching at our things but we have overdone it. In the packing frenzy we filled 4 boxes and 3 luggage of personal and delicate things.

The day the movers came, I was positively shocked. 4 Filipino came with tools, boxes and paper wrap and started packing every single piece of furniture at a speed that was incredible. Everything perfectly sealed, protected, covered, wrapped with paper and/ore bubble wrap. They dismantled bed, wardrobe and bookshelves and packed everything carefully. In 2 hours our apartment was ready for shipment.

Executive Movers

The guys from Executive Movers are prepared and very professional. They came with boxes and all the needed tools

In the new apartment, they positioned everything at his own place, including the books in the bookshelves and the cup in the cupboards.  Not even a scratch to our wardrobe or broken glass. We noticed that the same day there was another tenant moving out the tower and his moving company was one of the competitors from which we got a quotation matching the 900 AED agreed with Executive Movers. The service, however, was dramatically lower. They stored the furniture of the unfortunate tenant outside for hours, under the sun and exposed high temperature and humidity and transported it in a old and uncovered truck.

I would definitely recommend Executive Movers for your moving needs.

Renting an Apartment in Dubai, tips and mistakes

The process of finding a new apartment in Dubai can be stressful and complicated. Everything depends in what you are looking for and the search strategy you are implementing but also the role of the agents shall be taken into account.

When in need to change the apartment for any reason whatsoever, it might be landlord that wants to sell it or you want to find something cheaper or better, the natural instinct is to look for a new apartment well in advance.

In Dubai this might be useless. I started looking for apartments almost 6 weeks before the expiration of my tenancy contract and found some nice proposals. I tried to book some of the properties I liked but the answer was always the same: “if you want to book it you have in case to pay”. Obviously the owner preferred to rent it out immediately instead of waiting one month before getting the money.

After the third real estate agent told me “6 weeks? You have plenty of time. You will not find anyone willing to book the apt. for you for more than 7 days”, I decided to stop looking around.

I resumed the search 3 weeks before the expiration day and committed 2 big mistakes.

Mistake No. 1

The first one was to contact only a limited number of agents and asking them to find something suitable for me, giving them specifications and budget. One agent was polite but had only 3 apartments available, for one of which we had an intense bargaining session. A second one was completely useless even though super punctual, since I asked for unfurnished apartments in good towers and he proposed me exclusively fully furnished apartments in bad towers.

The third one was incredibly unprofessional and, I guess, a liar. I contacted him and he assured me to have dozens of apartments available satisfying all my requirements. I called before the Eid festivity and he assured me: “don’t worry, after the festivities we will meet and I show you the apartments. Let’s do Sunday evening”.

As agreed, Sunday I called the guy to check if the meeting was confirmed. “I am sorry, today the landlords are not available, can we do it tomorrow?” Fine. I went to my boss and asked 2 hours permit to go and meet the agent. On Monday he apologized and postponed to Tuesday, so I had to ask 2 additional hours to my boss. On Tuesday he apologized and asked me to meet him at 12pm on Wednesday. I was slightly altered because I had to go again to my boss asking for few hours to finalize this issue and informed the agent it was the last chance. He confirmed in the evening that the viewing was arranged.

The day after I left office in time to meet the agent. On my way I got a message: “Please let’s make it 1230”. I arrived at 12pm sharp and patiently waited. 1230 and no one appeared or called. I tried to call the agent without success. I texted him. No answer. At 1245 I left. I was so infuriated with misbehavior that I texted the agent boss to complain. He called me straight away apologizing and informing that he was immediately available to show me the apartments.

He called me back after 2 minutes: “sorry, I have only one apartment actually and it is going to be free only in September”. I was harsh with the person, who tried to compensate by proposing me other viewings. I received a message at 2 a.m. with a proposal, just to let you understand how I was pissed off.

Mistake No. 2

After the bad experience, we started calling all the agents available in the market. We have called in 1 week almost 150 phone numbers and viewed almost 30 apartments that were listed on Dubizzle or Property finder. This strategy proved itself to be only partially efficient. We have seen the same apartment at least 4 times with different agents and the impression you give of yourself when you say to a new agent “if you are talking about apt. 123, I have already seen it”, is not really stimulating for him.

Moreover, if you are a couple and manage to organize a viewing of the same apartment with different agents at the same time (we have done it!!!), then you are immediately inserted in the top positions of the black list.

Tips

Find your own balance. Call an adequate number of agents ad discards those you are not happy with. Do not expect them to call you back even if they said so. Use whatsapp when possible; I found it very useful to communicate with agents (and see if they got your message). Do not play with two agents about the same apartment to see who’s going to give you the best deal: it is unfair and might cause a sudden “I will not give you any apartment even if you want to pay it double” (we have done also this one). Remember to ask for confirmation of the viewings before leaving office or home.

As recommended by Rental Property in Dubai, be sure that the agent is registered with the Dubai Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA).

An alternative Afternoon at Escape Quest – Cluster M, JLT – Dubai

Summer in Dubai might be a bit boring. With temperature ranging between 40 and 50 degrees during the day, there are few things to do during the weekends. You might stay home and relax, maybe inviting some friends over for a drink or lunch. You might go to the Mall or the Cinema or try something else indoor like an exhibition, event, gym session.

The swimming pool could be a good option if the heat is not that strong, but it is not really enjoyable as in the good season. We have tried everything and discarded the Mall option, since in the weekends is usually packed and the swimming pool because crowded and too hot to really relax and enjoy.

In our desperate research of something interesting to do, we found a Escape Quest recently opened in Cluster M – JLT, very close to our Cluster. We have tried a similar one before in Sunset Mall and we liked the concept, even thought the quizzes and puzzles we had to solve the last time, where sometimes illogical and difficult to understand.

Escape Quest - JLT

The Escape Quest welcome room where the owner explains rules and spirit of the game.

This time we were welcomed by two energetic people that explained the rules and what we should expect to find inside the room. I am not going to disclose any trick or anticipate any trouble we had, just note that: (i) In the room you have everything you need; (ii) usually the easiest way to see a thing is the right one; (iii) you have some helps available.

Basically you will be requested to use some clue to generate a code to open a series of locks that will lead you, eventually, to open the door and escape before the given time of 1 hour.

We enjoyed The Explorer’s Library quest that is introduced as follows.

“The intrepid explorer was a collector of all things weird and wonderful and he had a particular fascination with Africa. He was rather fastidious and locked away his favourite things, he also liked to keep his comings and goings away from curious eyes.”

We got stuck two/three times because we were thinking about complex solution to easy problems/clues that were so easy to decipher that we regretted to have asked the owner assistance to solve them 🙂

The nice touch is that the hints are provided through a TV installed in the room and sometimes, if you are completely lost and wasting time in something useless, the owner (who sees you through the security camera) communicates with you via TV. Very funny and challenging.

We managed to escape after receiving 4 helps but a good number of people (around 25 groups out of 1,000) managed to escape without the need to ask for help.

Just a piece of recommendation: it is better to go in 3/4 instead of 2. Sharing the tasks will reduce the time to decipher the clues and increases the chances to complete it without any external help. In two people, you cannot really work on different things, because there is the natural tendency to work in couple. The Escape Quest app, very popular on smart phones, can be an useful training to arrive prepared at the challenge.

Definitely recommended. No Wikipedia, No Google, No technology can help you. Challenge your brain and see if you can escape.