Tag Archives: Restaurant

Friday Breakfast at Provedore – Sunset Mall

The weekend is the right time to explore the city and to try new restaurants and visit new places. This weekend we wanted a place by the beach, with a nice veranda and possibly good food options.

The summer is coming and it means soon we will be forced to stay indoor enjoying the A/C season.

This time we opted for a breakfast at Providore, a restaurant located in the Sunset Mall in Jumeirah 3 that seemed very interesting.

Provedore

The home page of Provedore website inspired us.

At late breakfast time the mall was almost deserted, making it very easy to find parking and find a nice seating at the restaurant.

The restaurant at first sight looked like a shop, having a wide section dedicated to retail sales of top quality food and kitchenware. Displayed on the other side of the restaurant were many kinds of bread and other baked products.

Provedore Shop

Provedore Shop

The staff welcomed us with a smile and showed us a table on the nice veranda facing the beach and the sea. The restaurant offers also indoor seating for those who prefer an air-conditioned area. The veranda is surrounded by two wings of private apartments that have balconies facing the restaurant. During the good season it is not unusual to see people having breakfast in their own balconies, creating a very nice atmosphere.

Provedore Veranda

A part of Provedore’s nice veranda with sea view

We were quite hungry and ordered a main breakfast item each and shared a cheese platter. The food required quite some time to be ready, but it didn’t bothered us since we enjoyed the nice and relaxing atmosphere. The staff was very attentive and polite and were very well coordinated by a person that looked like and was acting like a manager or the owner of the place.

The scrambled eggs came with spinach salad, half roasted mushroom, 1 grilled cherry tomato and 1 grilled potato cut in half and a tiny roll of salmon. They used at least three eggs, hence the plate was enough to fill a normally hungry person. The healthy egg’s white omelette was nice in terms of quality of food by a bit boring in taste. The cheese platter was amazing. Nice cheese selection with good crackers and great presentation.

Provedore Scrambled Eggs

Scrambled Eggs at Provedore

Provedore Helthy Omelette

Healthy Option at Provedore

Provedore Cheese Platter

Provedore’s Cheese Platter

Noire: dining in the dark! at Fairmont Dubai

I have recently dined at Noire, a new concept restaurant at The Fairmont Hotel Sheik Zayed Road.

As the website states ”from pitch-black settings, night vision equipped waiters or the thrill of experiencing 5-star gourmet cuisine sight unseen, Noire brings you a culinary adventure unlike anything else in town and one of the top experiences in Dubai”, the restaurant offers a very peculiar dining experience.

Noire Dubai

The original idea came to Mr. Edouard De Broglie, an entrepreneur who founded an ethic investment company where 50% of the staff were people with vision impairment. The main goal is to put people in a position to understand other people’s life experience by “putting yourself in the others shoes to better understand” and possibly to raise some funds for charitable organizations.

Even though it lasts just the time of a dinner, it proved to be very touching and instructive.

The dinner takes place in the dark. A pitch black where you cannot see anything apart the red dot on the infrared googles used by the waiters. Listen to the noises in the dark, touch to understand and learn what you have on the table or in the plate, recognize the scents and discover the taste of the proposed foods. Yes, because the chef won’t tell you what you are eating until the dinner is over and you have tried to guess the various ingredients.

We can summarize the dinner as “an experience to learn to see beyond the appearance“.

You will be surprised in discovering that your brain might be deceived by your taste buds if not supported by your eyes. And you will ended up feeling different textures and aromas than the one you would have expected by looking at the plate.

We arrived at Fairmont Hotel by metro, the nearest station is World Trade Center few meters from the hotel, and went to the 9th floor where the restaurant is located. We got lost since there was no one and couldn’t find anything looking like a restaurant. We finally understood that the restaurant is adjacent to the shisha cafe available on the terrace that serves the purpose of meeting points for the restaurant guests.

We were offered a welcome drink and then had to wait some 40 minutes!! before being allowed to enter the restaurant.

The waiters are very well trained and after having escorted us to our table, they helped us understanding what was on the table: on the right spoons and two glasses, on the left forks and bread, in the center the napkin.

After few minutes the appetizer was served. It is difficult to dig into the meal without seeing anything, but not impossible after some practice. After few failures, I eventually managed to get a full spoon of food and bring it to the mouth.

Something fried was tasting like fish. There was salad. Maybe berries and fois gras. It was a continue murmuring and mumbling “taste like fish”, “mine got hazelnuts”, “s..t I spilled the wine”. It is difficult to talk to your partner because you don’t what they are doing, if they understand you, how far are they.

In the main course I found some beef, maybe cabbage, some kind of fish and potatoes. The dessert was formed by a cake, an ice cream and something like a pudding. Soft and creamy one bite and poppy and crunchy the other one.

We all felt the burning taste of chilly since there were many “oh gosh it’s spicy!!”. In reality was pepper.

I was there celebrating my birthday and I was amazingly celebrated by the staff  that invited all the guests to sing for me. It was really a great sensation because almost everybody sang. Something I doubt would have been happened if with the lights were on.

Once we were safely guided outside, we found the chef waiting for us with a display of the food we had.

Dinner at Noire Fairmont Dubai

Left: starterLeft: starter with battered oysters, salad, strawberries, foie gras, avocado and hazelnut. Center: main course with bbq eel, wagyu beef, salad, fries and caw flower. Left: dessert with panna cotta, red velvet cake and oreo ice cream and pepper.

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: Al Forno, Yas Mall – Abu Dhabi

I often travel to Abu Dhabi for work. Last time I had to join our Project team in Yas Island and took the opportunity to visit the brand new Yas Mall recently inaugurated in Yas Island.

The Mall is huge and nice, with a lot of shops and brands available. I was there just for lunch and therefore I walked straight until I found the right restaurant where to have a light but tasty meal. I passed by the common Paul, Le Pain Quotidian, Giraffe and other well known chains. I found also many unknown (at least to me) restaurants of different origin: Indians, Asian and Italians. Among those, I opted for Al Forno, an Italian restaurant that looked authentic, the name of which means ‘by the oven’.

With red brick walls, tables with a red and white table cloths and Italian traditional music, it looked like an Italian ‘Trattoria’, a place in where the food is usually home-made with high quality ingredients and usually cheaper that other restaurants.

Al Forno Restaurant Yas Mall

Al Forno restaurant looks really like an Italian ‘trattoria’.

The service was excellent. I was welcomed in a very polite way and the staff members were very attentive and ready to assist. I had a nice ‘focaccia’ as complimentary starter and then I opted for a cheese bread and hammour fillet with lemon and pesto sauce. I was curious to see if the place was a real Italian restaurant or one of those looking-like-Italian restaurant that serves meals that in Italy do not even exist.

Focaccia is a traditional dish from Genoa.

Cheese bread at Alforno - Yas Mall - Abu Dhabi

Cheese bread at Alforno – Yas Mall – Abu Dhabi

The focaccia they brought as complimentary appetizer, exceeded my expectations. It was  really similar to the original one and I have enjoyed it very much. It comes with olive oil and balsamic, a thing that in Italy  you will not find since it is oily enough to be perfect to be eaten alone.

The cheese bread was actually a small pizza with cheese. The dough was incredibly good and perfectly cooked. Again I was really positively surprised by the good quality and taste of the food.

However, focaccia and pizza might be very simple to make. You just need some good quality flour (and let me say that here in the Emirates the average flour quality is not that great), water (the dough quality is indeed affected by the water quality) and know some tricks in mixing the ingredients.

A different story is the main course that needs some specific preparation and ability. I was anxious to try the hammour with lemon and pesto sauce and roasted potatoes I have ordered, because it could have been the celebration of a great restaurant or another big disappointment.

The plate was very well presented and the food was of a good quality. The hammour was not the top quality selection and honestly I was expecting something more tender and juicy, but the taste and consistency were alright given the price paid for the meal.

Hammour fillet at Alforno - Yas Mall - Abu Dhabi

Hammour fillet at Alforno – Yas Mall – Abu Dhabi

 Indeed, at the moment of paying the bill, I had no bad surprises. I paid 100 AED for a cheese bread, hammour, water and a single espresso. A very convenient deal if we consider the overall quality of the food and the service provided.

If you are in the Yas Mall and want to try an Italian meal, Al Forno seems to be the right place for you. The restaurant is family friendly.

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.