Tag Archives: Restaurant Review

warm salmon miso soba

Alternative Lunch at Tom & Serg, Al Quoz – Dubai    

I have been many times at Tom&Serg for breakfast and enjoyed the eggs options and wraps.

The menu doesn’t offer many options as in other restaurants but I have always found something nice to have. The short menu has a positive side though. You are sure that your meal is prepared with the freshest ingredients available since the turnover is so high that the salad leaf in your plate had not time to wither in the restaurant refrigerator.

This time we went there for lunch, at around 1.30 pm and had to wait 10 minutes before getting a table. The restaurant, as usual, was packed with people. The furniture is very basic with visible HVAC ducts and other services pipelines visible and a warehouse look like style. Not that much effort to put together the shop I guess, not like other fancy restaurants that spent a fortune in decorating walls and ceilings, but it seems working well.

Tom & Serg minimal furniture

Tom & Serg Style is very minimal. A warehouse concept restaurant that is very popular.

Two of my friends took the soup of the day, a huge plate filled with a carrot and lentil soup served with a slice of toasted bread. They said it was good even though they struggled to finish it because the portion was very abundant.

I didn’t want to eat the usual things like wraps or eggs and I opted for something unusual: warm salmon miso soba with boiled eggs, bok choy, tofu, edamame, garlic, soy dressing, wakame and other green stuff.

warm salmon miso soba

Excellent combination of flavors in this Japanese style recipe. I’d had removed the boiled eggs though.

The meal was excellently balanced. The right amount of soy sauce and a great mix of edamame and seaweed gives to the soba noodles dish the right Japanese touch. I know that the boiled eggs look like out of place in that mix of ingredients but it wasn’t that terrible. Just pay attention to the coriander leafs if you don’t particularly like its taste. Luckily it is added at the top of the plate and it can be easily removed.

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Clinton Street Pancakes

Scrumptious cakes at Clinton Street . . . superb!

One of the best way to start the weekend in Dubai is to have a scrumptious breakfast somewhere around, possibly in a new restaurant or neighborhood. The last weekend a friend warmly recommended Clinton Street Baking Company and Restaurant in Downtown Dubai and since we haven’t been there yet, we decided to give it a try.

The restaurant is at the Burj View Towers, a building complex were a friend of mine used to live and that offers a stunning view of Burj Khalifa and Downtown. The place however is somehow anonymous since it is in a corner and not really visible from the main road. Inside it is much better: a cozy place packed with people enjoying their meals and time together. At 11 a.m. when we arrived, there was only one table available, just to have an idea of how busy it was.

Clinton Street Dubai

The restaurant is simply arranged but very functional. The kitchen and chefs can be seen from the tables.

Since we were there for breakfast, we ordered some eggs. I have got the Farmer’s Plate and my partner a beef chorizo omelette also called Spanish Scramble. I was expecting something wow since my partner’s colleague was enthusiastic of the place and instead we received two very regular plates with little to be enthusiastic for.

Clinton Street Chorizo Omelette

The Spanish Omelette with Chorizo was alright

Clinton Street Farmer Plate

The Farmer’s Plate came with two pieces of cheese and 2 chicken sausages with cumin and tomatoes

We were a bit disappointed, especially considering the 75 AED paid for the Farmer’s Plate and the 66 AED for the Spanish Scramble. The bottomless coffee, moreover, that comes endlessly for just 20 AED, wasn’t really satisfying my Italian taste.

We were still hungry but didn’t want to order anything else from the eggs menu to avoid any further disappointment. My partner decided, together with a friend of ours, to switch to the desserts: the best idea ever.

The desserts are scrumptious! We had a peanut and chocolate cake that was literally mouth-watering in the aspect and superb in the taste.

Clinton Street peanut and chocolate cake

The peanut and chocolate cake at Clinton Street is superb!

We shared this slice of cake and couldn’t resist to order another one. This time we chose a simple pancake that actually consisted in a tower of three pancakes, fluffy and delicious pancakes, with melting chocolate cubes on top.

Clinton Street Pancakes

Once the chocolate melts completely, the pancake is something irresistible!!

Mind that the pancakes are a big portion and can easily substitute your meal in case you are not a big eater. The maple syrup on the side was the perfect match with the dark melted chocolate. So yummy, but pay attention . . .I had way too many sugars because of the exquisite taste of the cakes and had to force myself to stop eating other baked sugary stuff!!!

The bakery side of the restaurant is definitely recommended!!

Restaurant Review: BOCA, DIFC – Dubai

Last Thursday I have enjoyed a Sangria night at Boca restaurant in DIFC with some colleagues. The place is nice and well decorated and was really alive when we entered at 7.30 pm, straight after work. There was nice ambient music that wasn’t too aloud and allowed us to talk in peace.

We were 4 people and we ordered 2 jugs of Sangria. The staff, very attentive and polite, informed us about a promotion consisting in a jug of sangria and 10 pintxo for just 200 AED. It seemed a good deal and we ordered the two sets because we were famished.

Pintxo at Boca Restaurant DIFC

The octopus skewer was superb. The photo is a bit blurry since it was taken after the second jug of Sangria

The sangria came first and we had a a first glass to start the party. It was alright, but not really the best in town. It was mostly ice cubes and it had just a slice of lemon and few slices of apples in it. The fruity taste was provided by what seemed to us, bottled juice.

We however enjoyed it and waited the Pintxo to satisfy our appetite. When the first tray came, we were surprised to see that there were only 2 portions available because we ordered only 2 jugs of sangria. Not really a delicate touch I would have preferred smaller portions but enough for 4 people to taste each and every Pitxo served, as many competitors do. When we ordered 2 additional jugs, the waitress informed us that the promotion was over and the sangria was going to be served alone.

Pintxo at Boca 1

The Pintxo served were good but we had only 2 bites for 4 people. We were famished, that’s why the tray is almost empty.

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.

Surf Cafe Breakfast

Restaurant Review: The Surf Cafe, Umm Suqeim – Dubai

After an exhilarating performance at Bouncing in Al Quoz (where I managed to twist both ankles), we drove to Umm Suqeim for a late Breakfast at The Surf Cafe. The restaurant is at the first floor of a small building located near the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and it is provided with a very convenient elevator that was much appreciated in my conditions.

The restaurant is very nicely decorated, with a full window external wall facing Jumeirah Road and nice tables scattered all around. The restaurant has a live lobsters and crabs section and it is well known for its fish recipes. Some friends of ours were positively commenting the excellence of the food they had tasted some weeks earlier.

We ordered different things: scrambled eggs and avocado, poached eggs in avocado (like placed where the seed was), traditional surf cafe breakfast and so on. I opted for the surf breakfast that  was promising to be very filling: eggs, chicken sausage, beef bacon, hash browns, grilled mushroom, grilled cherry tomatoes and toasted bread. Three of our friends arrived earlier (I bet, I could barely walk) and ordered 10 minutes earlier.

It was the trigger of a drama. Their order arrived but then confusion was made with the drinks. The staff was a bit confused about who had ordered what and they brought a capuccino that no one ordered and missed some tea and juices. Not a big deal after all.

Few minutes later we noticed a member of the staff wandering around with two breakfast and asking to each and every table if they ordered a breakfast. They were puzzled in noticing that no one else ordered  our breakfast !!! We tried to call them but they were ignoring us, being so busy in understanding who had ordered the food. The problem was that they saw people eating at our table and assumed that we were alright.

Surf Cafe Breakfast

Nice breakfast at Surf Cafe

The breakfast was good, with high quality and tasty ingredients. It wasn’t that massive though and I had to order a slice of cake in order to suitably fill my stomach. The cake was awful. I was a stupid in asking the last slice of a Walnuts and Chocolate cake/biscuit that, since it was the last, tasted old.

The coffee is excellent, since they serve Illy caffe, one of the best and most appreciated in Italy, and they make it right.

The manager (that then explained to us to be the girlfriend of the owner that helps during the weekends) came and apologized for the little confusion they experienced during the day. A nice thing, really appreciated.

It is a good breakfast option if you are around Umm Suqeim.

Caramelized Chicken Breast

Restaurant Review: Tr!beca, JBR – Dubai

During the weekend, that here in Dubai falls on Friday and Saturday, we like to try different restaurants and places to get out of the usual routine. Last weekend we tried a relatively new restaurant called Tr!beca Kitchen and Bar in JA Ocean View Hotel, in JBR.

The restaurant is getting popular because it is an NYC-inspired farm-to-table restaurant that serves organic products and also a lounge bar to enjoy drinks with friends. The restaurant is nicely decorated with a mix of wooden and metal furniture to give the customers that cozy feeling that place your mind on the perfect mood to enjoy a nice evening either you are solo, a couple of a group of friends.

Tribeca Restaurant

Tribeca Restaurant – photo from tribeca.ae website

The menu is alright with starters, salads, main courses (1 chicken option, 1 fish, 1 lamb, 1 beef option, eggs and halloumi just to make everybody happy), a Little Italy section and desserts. I opted for a Cajun Chicken and the others got a salad with quinoa, stewed lamb and salmon. As desserts, I shared a Tiramisu with my partner and our friends got a cheesecake with passion fruit jam or compote and almond crumble.

After 20 minutes, a waiter approached me informing that the Cajun Chicken wasn’t anymore served in the restaurant since they have recently switched to a honey grilled chicken with caramelized figs, cheese and rocket salad (aka rucola or Arugola). I was surprised that they required 20 minutes to process the order but in any case I accepted the switch since it seemed quite interesting the proposed substitution.

With our great surprise, the meal was ready and they served it immediately after my clearance. The question is: what if I had said No? They would have been forced to serve the meals to the others and let me wait for other 20 minutes? This time they have risked a little but they have rightly guessed the answer I provided.

Caramelized Chicken Breast

Honey caramelized Chicken Breast with figs, cheese and rucola

The combination of flavors ad texture is excellent and the chicken was really tender. The only bad thing is that the chicken was really peppery and the decorative powder on the side of the plate was pepper as well. If you do not like spicy food, you might want to ask to have the chicken with little or no pepper. The portion is enough if you are not that hungry or if you had some appetizers before. If you are starving, the chicken alone will not fill your empty stomach also because it comes without bread or any other side dish that you have to order separately.

The desserts were really nice. The Tiramisu with Marsala  was really yummy and really close to the original one that my mom use to make. The steamed cheesecake was also superb as our friends confirmed.

We had a nice dinner and spent some enjoyable time together, however the restaurant is a bit pricey. I think it is because of the massive presence of organic ingredients, but the chicken breast was almost 150 AED (41 USD), definitely too expensive to go dine there more than once in a while.

Restaurant Review: Marie Antoniette – Mahe, Seychelles

We stayed few days in Seychelles to recover from the frenzy life style in Dubai and enjoyed some peaceful moment in this tropical paradise. We enjoyed the beach, nature and meals in one of the best resort on Mahe island (Constance Ephilia Resort) but the last day we decided to give a try to one of the most recommended restaurants in Victoria with a good reputation about Creole cuisine (the local one).

The restaurant is located in an old colonial house in a quiet neighbourhood at few minutes walk from the city centre. If you come from the north part of the main island, it is pretty much on the way to the airport and as such it is very convenient to escape the routine dinners in resorts and hotels to try something different before flying out the archipelago.

Marie Antoniette restaurant

Marie Antoniette Restaurant is in a luxurious colonial house – photo from Google Image

The menu is very minimal even though includes all the local food you might want to  leaving the place. The recommended one is the fixed price menu that allows you to taste a bit of everything for a very reasonable price if compared to what you are most probably going to pay in the hotels’  restaurants. For just 295 SCR (Seychelles Rupees – something like 22 USD)  we enjoyed a 8 courses dinner with Papaya chutney, Fish and vegetable soup, tuna steak, battered parrot fish, fried aubergines with coriander, mango salad, grilled fish, chicken curry and steamed rice. Even though the food was already prepared, in fact we received it within few minutes after our order, everything was very tasty and with the right texture and consistence. If it is your first time travelling in this area of the world, get ready to be exposed to a certain level of curry, pepper and coriander that are regularly added to your food. Different story is a hotel restaurant that prepares its food to be similar to the western-like taste.

Fix Tasting Menu at Marie Antoinette

The fix menu at Marie Antoinette is great

Stewed Fruit Bat

The Stewed Fruit Bat at Marie Antoinette is superb!

If you think that a fried parrot fish and a mango salad are too ordinary for you and you consider yourself a ‘food explorer’, then the stewed fruit bat is what you might want to try. The island is rich in this animals that  eats exclusively fruits and fly all day long from a tree to another without disturbing/being disturbed by the tourists massive presence. The bat prepared at Marie Antoinette is superb and I am confident you will find yourself considering ordering an extra portion. It tastes like game or goat but the meat consistency is slightly different.  Try it with a good local beer and I am sure you will thank me for the suggestion. If eventually you do not like it, at least you will have a nice photo to share in your favourite social media to get your friends and relatives astonished comments like “WTF?”, “what next? a rat?” and the like.

After the massive dinner, we had some caramelised local bananas and then we asked for the bill. Well no major surprises, we spent something like 995 SCR (76 USD)  in two that was cheaper than the standard dinner at our hotel (always around 1,500 SCR).

Just remember that the taxis are very expensive and as such it would be expensive to hire a cab with the only purpose of having dinner at this restaurant, unless you are very close to Victoria or you need to go there for any other reason.

The management and the crew were very attentive and polite and helped us to feel at home since the first moment we stepped in. The restaurant has also its own website for further information.