Review of the Saturday Roast @ The Croft

If you’re British, or have lived in the U.K. or even have friends that did then you’d know all about a Sunday roast. It’s probably a tradition or ritual of sorts where all the family gathers together to catch up over a meal, be it cooked at home or out at a pub.

At home, it’s exciting as the you can smell the aromas of the meat of choice, roasting away in the oven for hours whilst you eagerly await dinner time.

For those British expats that miss the joys and accessibility of a Sunday (Saturday Roast) then fear no more.

Darren Velvick and the team at The Croft are whipping up one not to be missed. Served every Saturday from 4pm until gone, there are 5 options to choose from including chicken, beef sirloin, lamb loin, organic salmon and even a nut roast for the vegetarians.

Last night my friend and I tried the lamb loin and the beef sirloin, the former which comes with a side of mint sauce and the latter with a horseradish cream.


When they arrived I was so impressed with the portion size and presentation. They didn’t skimp on anything. They serve it with creamy sweet potato mash and crunchy roasted potatoes as well as heirloom carrots, purple cabbage and perfectly cooked broccoli. Not to mention the giant Yorkshire pudding filled with gravy. This is exactly what a roast dinner should look like.

If you like a tipple with your dinner then you can enjoy their happy hour with house vino from 28aed per glass or 135aed per bottle. The house white – colombelle blanc is sweet on the palette but refreshing on a warm afternoon.


You can choose to sit inside in front of the open plan kitchen or outside on the deck to soak up the last of the rays or catch the warm breeze. Inside you’ll see the masters at work plating up the special of the day.


If there’s any room left you might be tempted by the dessert menu which has quiet a few options to choose from. The warm chocolate with crispy cornflakes is for the chocolate fans, a warm fondant served with milk ice cream and chocolate flakes.


I went with the rhubarb & custard, a famously British dessert, which is served with blobs of cold custard amongst poached rhubarb sticks and crunchy crumbs of oats.


So if you’re looking for a deliciously filling dinner on a Saturday afternoon or evening then head to The Croft, 5th floor inside Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites, where the service is warm, the atmosphere is relaxed and the food is sure to delight.

Phone: 04 319 4794

Have you tried Zengo’s revamped pan-asian menu?

Make no mistake, Zengo is located in Le Royal Meridien and not Meridien Mina Seyahi. Also note, there is a separate parking area for direct access to Zengo. Don’t put the car in valet unless you wish to take a short stroll through the hotel grounds to find it.

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Zengo is probably the biggest Pan Asian restaurant I’ve stepped foot in. Spread out over an indoor and outside dining area with separate bars, 3 of them to be exact. One end houses the sushi bar and grill whilst the middle is a long bar with opposite being the resident DJ who mixes house tunes all evening.

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The furnishings are sleek and detailed with the overall ambiance inviting. The outdoor bar is impressive although the yellow lighting over the outdoor dining table which overlooks the beach, sounds great but it reality wasn’t great for photos so we chose to sit inside at a semi circle booth.

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The food menu is one single page covering Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisine which is a new directive created by Chinese Chef Lieu back in September.

The raw dishes are executed and presented beautifully. The fresh seafood tasted divine. I can highly recommend trying the Suzuki aka the seabass sashimi.

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The dumplings I found to be quite average. Not a lot of flavor at all. I’ve tasted better dumplings at Din Tai Fung. The duck pancakes was a strange combination of flavors and textures, not a dish I’d order again.

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I wasn’t fond of the  grilled seafood, as it wasn’t juicy, perhaps a little overcooked as it was powdery in texture.

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The popular main dish is the coconut chicken and I can see why, char grilled sliced pieces of juicy chicken on a bed of coconut sauce with a generous garnishing of green herbs. Delish!

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Our waitress Madina was like our best friend. Chatting away and answering all of our questions without hesitation and also feeding back our thoughts to the chef.

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The drink list is extensive and impressive. I immensely enjoyed the Italian wine. I could of easily knocked back a bottle to myself.

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Ladies Night @ Zengo 7-12pm every Tuesday 3 free drinks and 50% off food

The restaurant was quiet when we dined on a Wednesday night. My guess it would be hard to fill considering the size. I’ve been told the Ladies Night gets quite busy though so it’s best to make a reservation.

Next time I visit I’ll definitely re-order the Thai food and the raw fish.

Call for reservations 043995555

Zengo - Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Turkish dream @ Ruya

As I stepped inside Ruya, I already decided I wanted to come back, and I hadn’t even tried the food yet. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and the decor, simply stunning. From the open kitchen and bar, to the terrace seating, no matter where you sit you’ll experience Ruya’s charm.

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There was a bunch of us dining together for another BME event hosted by the lovely Monica at DoinDubai. We snapped some interior pictures while we waited for everyone to arrive and glazed our eyes over the drink menu and chose ourselves a beverage. The food menu was set, but little did we know how much of it was to arrive.

An array of starters appear on the table and we start clicking like crazy before tasting. Luckily 3 are served cold. The crudites are beautifully presented on an iced platter with a red pepper yoghurt dip. The baby squid doesn’t look as impressive but is a favorite of mine from the starters, along with levrek – a sashimi seabass coated in mustard and garnished with shaved radish and apple.

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We’d hardly had time to digest the appetizers before the mains start to arrive. Cag kebap which we divy up between us, is a succuclent tender chicken cooked on a horiztonally rotating as opposed to a vertical broiler used at most doner kebab places.

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The cheese pide comes served with a soft egg yolk on top. Delicious but not a meal I’d eat for dinner but something I’d definitely enjoy at breakfast time with a coffee.

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We were served a cheese fondue with wild mushrooms and truffle butter. Saying that aloud is enough to make you drool. It’s comprised of 3 different cheeses straight from Turkey which tasted delicious all mixed together, however it’s served alone without anything to dip in it or eat with it.

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A full sea bream is served in a clay pot to our table and dissected in front of us allowing us to then help ourselves. It’s popular amongst the table but it’s not my favorite fish or main.

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Instead I have a second helpings of the Adana kebap. A spicy lamb kebap which is on the pricier side for the portion size.

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The evening concludes as always with some sweet treats. We receive a selection of Turkish ice creams and we sample them and try to guess the flavors which are quite intense. From what I could taste one was grapefruit or blood orange.

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No Turkish meal would be complete without a Turkish Tea. Worth waiting for.img_5579

Chef Colin Clague has again created something special, this time by sourcing the finest ingredients for this Antolian inspired menu which is executed brilliantly. Perfect place for taking guests or for date night, especially with it’s outdoor balcony overlooking the Marina.

Take note, it’s fine dining so the menu items are priced accordingly.

Ruya - Grosvenor House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Freedom- Feel good Pizza

There’s a reason why people keep ordering from Freedom. I myself have a few reasons. Firstly I can finish half (if large) or a full one (if small) and remain content without all the bloating and worries like OMG I just ate a whole pizza to myself and secondly not having to worry that it was full of all nasty ingredients.

Freedom Pizza prides itself on using the freshest, locally sourced and organic ingredients (where possible). It’s one of the very few places here in Dubai that offer gluten free pizzas and also has a break down of the nutrition and allergen of each product on their website.

It’s so easy to order, either via their website, phone or multiple delivery apps and they cover Dubai Marina, Dubailand, Al Barsha, Mirdif and Downtown Dubai. You will see their bikes on the road and I must say the message they construe is the best in the business with their delivery guys always riding sensibly. Watch it here.

And if you don’t like any of their ready made pizzas (how could you not???) you are also free to create your own.

If you didn’t know they also serve a range of healthy & delicious salads perfect as a side or on their own.IMG_3117IMG_3118IMG_3119My favorite side has to be their natural chicken tenders which are hormone free. I still can’t believe being such a big wings fan that I have never tried their chicken wings. However next time I order I will for sure.IMG_3968Freedom also serve vegan desserts. I was lucky enough to try their mango pasho vegan and their strawberry vegan cheesecakes. Sweet and fruity without all the nasty preservatives. It’s hard to believe that healthy desserts can taste this good! But you better believe it.IMG_3126Their latest addition to the menu, Saatchi& is a spicy offering featuring buffalo chicken and buffalo sauce for that extra zing, a winning creation by the guys at Saatchi & Saatchi.IMG_5952My personal favorite though is the Roma featuring green olives, boccocini and artichokes that is transports me back to a little pizza joint outside the Colleseum. Bellasimo!IMG_3970What are you waiting for? Get ordering. https://freedompizza.ae/en

Freedom Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Iftar @ The Constellation Ballroom, The Address Dubai Marina

From the moment the lift opens onto the 2nd floor, the candle’s flicker and the warm staff are there to greet you. You talk a stroll down the red carpet lined with traditional lanterns which leads to the main food hall. The first thing you will see is this impressive array of dates and dried fruits.IMG_7036You are then shown to your table which is in the Constellation ballroom, grand and decorated with a modern take on a traditional arabic theme. The tables are all lined with white tablecloths and also has dates and water waiting for you to break your fast.

The oud plays in the centre set the scene while you wait for the call to prayer to play out. The buffet offering in the main hall literally has something for everyone. From the traditional arabic offerings, to Indian (curries)…IMG_7051Chinese (dim sum & noodles)IMG_7055To Japanese (sushi) and everything in between. I even remember seeing some Mexican dishes.

The selection of hot and cold mezze was impressive and to be honest a little overwhelming. But I stuck to the basics, hummus, fattoush etc & I wasn’t disappointed.IMG_7040There was a selection of freshly fried dishes too including falafels and samboosas.IMG_7045The lengths they go to impress their guests is nothing but 5 star. Check out this clever quite literally “date palm”. So cool!IMG_7044They even had a live sharwarma station as well as ready made chicken sharwarmas for the taking.IMG_7047They don’t just have your standard boring plain bread options either. Check out these flavor combinations below. So delicious!IMG_7048As well as the most sought after Iftar dish, Lamb Ouzi they also had a rather large roasted turkey for the carving.IMG_7053Inside the ballroom is also a tea station serving Moroccan mint tea either with or without sugar. Perfect to help digest dinner.IMG_7049One of the dessert sections was dedicated to fresh fruit and ice cream. I particularly liked the exotic fruit they had ‘rambutan’ which is native to Asia. It’s almost like a lychee.IMG_7050Look how cute these kanufa nests are filled with pistachios. The birds would be jealous!IMG_7064Even some chocolate mousse with cream and berries for the traditionalists.IMG_7071There was even a selection of Indian desserts.IMG_7079There was more desserts that you could poke a stick at. Including this gorgeously presented pistachio fruit cake.IMG_7080The Constellation Ballroom holds over 400 guests but you do not feel cramped in the slightest. Nor do you feel you have to queue up for food. The well through out buffet table arrangement means people move freely from station to station. The staff provide drink replenishments straight to your table (think freshly squeezed juices and a traditional tamarind juice) and the two dessert stations inside as well as the ice cream station are cleverly positioned to avoid queues.

The Iftar is priced at 210AED per person with discounts available for large groups.

Don’t forget to hashtag Ramadan Sawa on the photos taken with the Ramadan Sawa frame for a chance to win an Iftar or a one night’s stay at the hotel. #RamadanSawa

Phone: 04 436 7777

Constellation Ballroom - The Address Dubai Marina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gourmet by Kcal – A gluten free restaurant

The 18th May 2016, saw  Gourmet by Kcal open it’s doors to the public inside the well known Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Hotel in Dubai Marina. It replaces a Japanese restaurant and has been totally transformed with a new earthy look with a full sized 70 year old olive tree taking centre stage, as well as the use of recycled coffee sacks which is used to upholster the furniture and not to mention the potted herbs lining the entrance.IMG_8674Gourmet was a collaboration between the Le Meridien Mina Seyahi and the Kcal brand which brings together a more upscale dining experience rather than your regular Kcal takeaway which you might find in a shopping centre food court. Head Chef Aung Kyaw Swar has come up with an impressive guilt free menu.IMG_8662Their kitchen and menu is completely gluten free and preservative free. Not many Dubai establishments can say that. They use mostly organic ingredients where possible and all of their fruits, vegetables and honey are sourced locally provided by Ripe Market. They use Raw Coffee which is a fair trade coffee company with beans from Columbia and Ethiopia. IMG_8668There’s a separate bar area for that after work tipple or a fresh juice or smoothie and for those wondering, yes they are fully licensed with some organic wine options also on the beverage list.IMG_8664Our BME evening started with some smoothie shots, beach bliss (pineapple, mango,coconut water and grated ginger) and a super greens smoothie (green apple, fresh spinach, lemon, mint, cucumber, celery, kiwi and organic honey). Both tasty in their own right with the former surprisingly containing less calories, fat, and carbs per serving.IMG_8677This was followed by some healthier style spring rolls, the Vietnamese kind, not the deep fried, soggy with oil you might find at a Chinese take-away shop. This means you can enjoy them without any guilt. They serve prawn, chicken, beef and vegetarian options.IMG_8683The carrot cups below were also a hit with the bloggers. Each carrot cup was crunchy with a warm filling of spinach and roasted balsamic onions sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

You can see first hand a range of the fresh ingredients they use to make the dishes. IMG_8659The menu is brilliant for those counting calories as it has the breakdown on each meal as well as the macros. It even includes some very healthy and vegetarian style pizzas made with a dough free base made from carrots. Perfect for those gluten free people who struggle to find places to eat pizza.IMG_8692This version below of a chicken biryani contains less calories than one you might find from an Indian restaurant but still has as much flavor. It’s served here with black and brown rice and has yoghurt marinated smoked chicken.IMG_8697My favorite main from the evening had to be the chilli con carne without a doubt. It’s completely vegetarian with slow cooked Mexican beans and quinoa so it’s packed full of protein and it’s served with crispy polenta chips. Only 235.4 Kcal. Winning!IMG_8699

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Havanna Chicken

We tried a few of their desserts with my two favorites being the ones pictured below. A coconut caramel cheesecake as well as a caramel almond tart made from 85% dark chocolate. Guilt free dessert has never tasted better!IMG_8708I’ve been told their apple crumble cup is just as good, if not better! I’ll be trying that next time.

They are soon to start a breakfast service too from the 10th June so for those who aren’t fasting it might be worth the visit if you fancy a healthy start.

Many thanks to Monica from Do in Dubai for hosting this BME event and also to my lovely dining companions Dubai Food Diaries Baggage and Dish  The Tezzy Files Megs Blogged Dine Out Dubai

NB: This blog post was sponsored by Doindubai.

Location: Ground Floor, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai Marina

Phone: 045117139

Website: Gourmet by Kcal

Gourmet by Kcal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Brunch with Superheros @ Mazina

Don’t put away your comic con costume just yet. Mazina in the Address Hotel Dubai Marina have recently launched a Saturday Superhero themed brunch. Aimed at the kiddies with a dedicated kids’ room complete with jumping castle, magician and self serve food. No one will judge you if you rock up as Super woman, in fact it’s encouraged.

The staff are welcoming upon arrival and show us to our table. There’s the option of also eating on the outside balcony too whilst the weather is still nice. It’s actually more peaceful out there too.

I take a wander around to see what’s on offer before grabbing a plate and tucking in. I notice a cereal station. I’m not sure why anyone would eat this considering the brunch starts at 12:30pm and most people would of had breakfast at home.

I always like to start a brunch with seafood. There was a nice selection of fresh seafood as well as four types of sushi, raw octopus and also salmon and tuna sashimi.

There was no signs on some of the food, which is OK as most stations are manned so you could just ask the friendly staff however signage on all of the food would definitely help especially for the unmanned stations.

The amuse bouche served on ceramic spoons were delightful each with their own mix of flavors.IMG_5723Mocktails – The virgin pina colada and mojito were okay but we preferred the taste of the Summer fizz.IMG_5722There was a pork charcuterie station, a cheese station and a healthy station consisting of fresh salads and juice shots.IMG_5685There was also Indian & Chinese cuisines on offer with one my favorites – dumplings.IMG_5694Although the braised chicken in black bean sauce stole the show. IMG_5739Brunch isn’t complete with a selection of hot roasts. Mazina’s selection includes: Roast Beef, Roast Turkey, Roast Chicken and Roast Pork complete with vegetables and of course Yorkshire puddings. Don’t forget to add the lashings of gravy. However after trying the Roast Pork and the Pork Loin they were both a little too dry for me. The Turkey was the highlight.IMG_5700You could also choose from super tender lamb shanks, pan cooked salmon or seafood paella.

IMG_5699IMG_5702Our tables were cleared quite quickly most of the time with only once we reached back to find a plate still there. That’s quite good considering we went through 5 rounds.

For desserts there was plenty of options but I limited myself to just a few as I was seriously struggling by this point to fit any more in.IMG_5715IMG_5710IMG_5712You can choose from individual portions of desserts, a slice of a full sized cake or tart, a spoonful of hot puddings like Um Ali or drizzle some fruit pieces in the chocolate fountains. The choice is endless and totally yours. I stuck with a choc brownie dipped in more chocolate (totally guilt worthy but worth it), a scoop of bread & butter pudding, a mango pudding and a date and caramel pudding as well as a latte to help me digest it all.IMG_5748The vibe is a very relaxed with a family friendly casual dining atmosphere. More of a buffet lunch than your typical boozy brunch that you might find elsewhere. That’s not to say alcohol isn’t available. There’s a fully stocked bar.

Overall for the price it’s quite reasonable and has a decent variety although not OTT. It’s not overly crowded either so you’ll face zero queues at the buffet. What’s great is the soft package brunch includes water, soft drinks, mocktails and tea and coffee! Not bad at all.

315AED soft package

440AED alcohol package

Don’t forget to sign up to the U by Emaar card to start earning rewards on all your purchases.

Location: Lobby Level, The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina

Phone: 04 4371652

Mazina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Country Charm at The Croft

When opportunity knocks, you must answer the door. That’s exactly what Darren Velvick did when Marriott offered him the chance to take over the 5th floor restaurant (previously AZUR) within Dubai Marriott Harbour in the heart of Dubai Marina. The Croft is Darren’s new restaurant which sees his name up in lights and unlike most chefs which have their name behind the restaurants, you will actually find Darren working in the kitchen.

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He’s worked with some of the world’s best chefs including Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing but wanting to steer clear from the fine dining scene, Darren was keen to bring a more down to earth concept into the Marina. Enter The Croft. A casual dining restaurant serving British cuisine inspired from his upbringings in Berkshire, England.

It was such a pleasure to actually meet the Chef and brainchild behind The Croft, Darren Velvick. Working alongside is his super friendly protege and restaurant manager Jane it made for one of the most memorable #zomatomeetups to date.

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Upon entering the premises you are instantly relaxed by the rustic décor which provides a classic countryside charm. As a welcome drink we were served a pomegranatini; a mocktail made with pomegranate lime and ginger with a tingling sweet taste.

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Inside the venue glass screens were removed from the old AZUR space to create an open view kitchen and more rustic touches were added like wood paneling and giant chalkboard pieces and pendant lights. I loved the glass roof panels above the dining area which relays ample natural light although it can prove challenging for the food photographers.

The outdoor garden area has picnic style seats as well as bean bags and sun deck chairs and a wooden gin bar as well as artificial grass, flowers in watering cans and panoramic views of the Dubai Marina.

Darren loves to use local farmers and locally sourced ingredients and organic produce where possible. He is very sustainable and nothing goes to waste in his kitchen. Even the unused parts of the chicken are kept for making sauces etc.

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As Darren talked, we ate, starting with wooden boards of appetizers including: mini fish cakes, devilled chicken skewers ( spicy & delicious), crispy mushrooms as well as scones with goats cheese, beetroot and walnuts (personal fav) and deep fried prawns with a sesame vinegar soy dipping sauce (divine).

Darren then got to work to show us how to pipe a bird. Rather than stuff the insides, he creates a pocket under the chicken skin with his fingers and then uses a piping bag to insert the combination mix of butter, crumbs, foie gras and truffle. He then gives us a demonstration on how to truss a bird before preparing the sides that we will have with our roasted organic chicken.

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For the sides we had a risotto with mascarpone cheese, parmesan cheese, wilted spinach, charred corn kernels and buttered button mushrooms. Such a hearty meal, boasting with aromas and flavors. I’ll be coming back for this particular dish alone.

No #zomatomeetup would be complete without dessert. Darren set us a challenge to plate our own dessert with half of the foodies creating an eton mess or as Darren has cleverly renamed it to ‘Neat & Tidy’ and the other half plating up the peanut choc-ice dessert. Everyone added their own flair and it was nice to be able to get hands on for some friendly competition.

The neat & tidy was piped with an elderflower cream and decorated with raspberry sauce, fresh raspberries, gin and elderflower jelly as well as fresh mint. A lovely combination of flavors and textures.

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As a special treat to @dxbfooddiaries we all sang Happy Birthday as Darren had secretly arranged a chocolate fondant cake for the birthday girl.

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I learnt so much tips & tricks from Darren about cooking that I can’t wait to try them out at home and I especially adore the Croft apron we received in our Zomato goody bags. Big props to Pallavi, Eshne and the Zomato team for the invitation and organizing such a memorable event.

So if you’re looking for a fun, relaxed environment with some great British grub, head on over to The Croft and you’ll see Darren and the team in action.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

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The Croft Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Hot Dog Stand – Quality gourmet hot dogs

The Hot Dog Stand was an idea brought to life by owners Mary and Ibrahim through Ibrahim’s love of hot dogs. Along with the obvious gap in the market, it was this idea which has them opening Dubai’s first ever gourmet hot dog stand.

Located in Dubai Marina, THDS serves not only hot dogs but bite size appetizers, Cincinnati style pasta, 3 types of fries, sides, desserts and soon to come, milkshakes. They have a lovely outdoor grassy seating area with picnic tables for dining outside and a few higher tables inside with very cool lights made out of mason jars suspended from the high ceiling.

I was lucky enough to be able sample the existing menu as well as the new additions.

From the starters we tried the jalapeno poppers and mini cheese bites. The mini cheese bites were the winner for me with a flavorsome crunchy coating and gooey cheese center.

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We got to try their soon to be added milkshakes in flavors chocolate and banana and Oreo which are served in glass mason jars with handles. The Oreo was the most delicious rivaling the Oreo shakes in most burger joints here in Dubai.

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For mains we tried the Cheese Coney and the Mexican Hot Dog. The Cheese Coney was my favorite due to the soft texture and chili cheese flavor.

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You can choose to make your hot dog into a meal with either a freshly made bean salad or homemade coleslaw in a cute little jar with fries & drink.

We also got to try two new flavors of hot dogs which are yet to be released. A buffalo flavored hot dog with buffalo sauce, celery and ranch sauce and a NY style hot dog with BBQ sauce, onions and bacon. I’m a big buffalo wings fan so the Buffalo dog won this round. The celery adds a nice crunch and the sauce itself had me questioning whether I was actually eating buffalo wings or a hot dog. So unique and creative.

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We got to sample the Cincinnati style pasta which is a secret recipe chili on top of spaghetti with two types of cheese, mature and cheddar. If you’re craving home style comfort food then this is for you. I enjoyed mixing the cheese through the pasta so it melted.

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Last but not least somehow we managed to fit in dessert! But seriously how could one say no to Churros? Freshly cooked doughnut sticks served with chocolate and caramel sauce was the perfectly sweet ending to a variety filled meal.

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THDS also provide delivery service and are open until 1am on the weekends and will be offering valet parking for those that commute by car.

Keep an eye on their social media pages for the new menu additions and limited time specials from this innovative couple.

The Hot Dog Stand Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato