Turkish Iftar at Saray Sultan

A welcome invite saw myself and a friend attend an Iftar Preview at a Turkish restaurant called Saray Sultan. If you’ve heard of Reem Mall then you will find Saray Sultan upstairs in this complex complete with it’s own terrace dining area. Reem Mall is also home to the famous dessert cafe Dip N Dip.IMG_8737IMG_8772Upon arrival we are greeted by Louis who is the Restaurant Manager. Saray Sultan prides itself on serving up authentic Turkish cuisine with Turkish chefs in the kitchen with over 20 years experience.

The Iftar preview menu starts off with a plate of dates and olives. An unusual combination of sweet and salty. Then arrives a warm lentil soup followed closely by freshly baked bread, pide, cold mezze and salad.IMG_8738IMG_8742IMG_8748The Saray mix mezze also come with vine leaves on the side and includes a hummus, baba ganoosh, and a yoghurt salad plus a spicier dip made from fresh chilis.IMG_8744Can I just say this pide was unbelievably tasty. If I didn’t have to share I would of devoured this fresh from the oven pide filled with labna and cheese all to myself.

Lucky I didn’t though because not long after arrived a Saray Special pizza with meat & vegetables. The crust was so thick it reminded me of a Chicago deep dish pizza.IMG_8750An impressive chicken sizzler came out straight from the oven, bubbling and steaming right in front of our eyes.

If you thought we were nearing the end you were wrong. A perfectly grilled chicken shish tawouk arrives with some more bread, this time it’s a flat bread with a tomato based sauce filling, as well as a plate FULL of Beef and Chicken Doner Meat complete with a side of fries. WOW!IMG_8757IMG_8762Gluten intolerant people should beware, as should vegetarians. This is one carb loaded, carnivorous meal.

It was impossible to think we could eat a dessert, any of us, so luckily the kunafe they serve is to share. As expected they serve traditional Turkish coffee and tea and oh boy do we need it. It’s the only thing helping us to digest this heavy, filling meal.IMG_8763IMG_8769Saray Sultan offer two Iftar menus, the aforementioned for 150aed per person including drinks or another option (with less food) for just 75aed per person.

It’s needless to say I have a new found love of Turkish cuisine.

Saray Sultan Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Swaadish – Delicious by name and delicious by nature

If you’ve heard about Swaadish then you probably know about their specialty. A Nutella Samosa which oozes with so much Nutella one would think a whole jar was inside. The twist is that the pastry outside is dry and not oily and also contains a dusting of spice which is unusually different but immensely enjoyable. Avoid wearing white when visiting.

Enough of the warnings though. If you haven’t heard about or seen the new mall, confusingly called “The Mall” in Jumeirah 3, then add it into your GPS as this is the place you need to visit as it’s cute little food court is home to Swaadish. The mall is brand spanking new. It’s a quiet mall which means the parking is plentiful and the experience, peaceful.IMG_9200The owner Raza greets us as he is one of the staff behind the counter, and he works around the clock to ensure the smooth running of this newly opened Pakistani fast food restaurant, a rarity to find inside a mall. Their delivery side of the business is the most popular with them covering Dubai Media City all the way up to J3.

The produce is all supplied by 3 local vendors and the owner Raza himself is previously a Thai trained Chef but decided to stick to his roots and open up this subcontinental kitchen.

As it was Ramadan when we visited they provided dates, a fruit salad and a sweet Rooh Afza (Strawberry flavored) Non-Alcoholic Margarita to help my friends break their fast.

We started with some traditional Dahi Bharray, a cool yoghurt mixture topped with crunchy salad slices and spices.IMG_9201We then munched on these crunchy pakoras; battered and deep fried onions with a mixture of herbs and spices.IMG_9203We then moved onto the mains with a Butter Chicken, a Daal Bukhara and a Mutton Peshawari, all rich in flavor but with their own identities, with the Mutton being a favorite among us.IMG_9204There’s nothing quite like a large, thick and fluffy buttery, garlic naan to soak up your curries with, so fresh n hot out the kitchen that R. Kelly would be jelly.IMG_9208We also tried Swaadish’s Chicken Tikka Biryani which was a little dry for me and personally I would of preferred chicken pieces rather than bone is as it makes it easier for eating and especially sharing.IMG_9206The Chicken Gola Kabab which I foolishly thought was “cola” kabab due to my poor eyesight was perfectly browned minced chicken pieces blended with a mixture of spices and yoghurt and served with magical Masala Fries.IMG_9205I say the fries are magical because they transport me to another place. They create an addiction like no other and I just can’t get enough that I have to order more.

But it’s not all about fried foods, for the health conscious they also have a fresh salad bar.IMG_9215And serve freshly squeezed OJ out of this cool contraption.IMG_9216So it’s safe to say I’ll be going back again to Swaadish as I HAVE to try the Doritos Chaana Chat and for more of these deliciously magically addictive Masala Fries.

Location: The Mall, Jumeirah Beach Rd, Opposite Burj Al Arab.

Parking available underneath.

Phone: 80079223

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

Tempting Cuisine @ Culinary Boutique

After winning an Instagram competition on Tableforfivedubai’s account,  I invited a fellow food lover to experience Culinary Boutique with me. It was our first time to this Jumeirah establishment which doubles as a cooking school as well as a restaurant.

 

I always fail to check if restaurants have valet parking so as I slowly approached closer to the restaurant (according to google maps), I noticed a paid car park to my right, so I parked there and walked a few hundred metres to where the restaurant is. Had I stayed in my car another few seconds I would of found the restaurant therefore used the valet parking.

 

My foodie date for the evening was not far from approaching so I entered the premises to find a table and introduce myself to the staff.

 

CB is a stand alone premises over 2 floors which includes an interestingly designed architectural design on the ground floor. Almost like an upside down wave. Downstairs is also where the bakery counter is showcasing freshly baked goods and their famous lavender items. Upstairs is not only the kitchens, bakery and classrooms, but an outdoor terrace seating area and if you look hard enough you’ll notice the Burj Khalifa dazzling in the background.

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I met the head chef as well as restaurant manager and they informed us we would be looked after and gave us some suggestions on what to order but also wanted us to try some new dishes on the menu.

I ordered a Ritzy Lychee to quench my thirst. The menu overall is refreshing with a good variety of options for dinner.

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The corn was first up. A new addition to their menu which they were currently trialing. Bursting with so many flavors I was sad when it was over.

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We also had wagyu sirloin carpaccio which was heavy on the truffle with both truffle mousse and truffle shavings.

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The lobster tail  was superb. Topped with sun dried tomato spicy butter which enhanced the taste. Fleshy and flavorsome seafood right there. It comes served with partially battered asparagus stalks and a creamy dipping sauce.

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The beef ravioli which we tried had intriguing presentation. I’ve never seen ravioli served like this before. I kept looking in the middle wondering where the filling was until I realized it was in the pasta itself but it was just wrapped and presented in a different way.

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The marbled wagyu sirloin which was served in a stone tray truly was the highlight. It was seasoned just right and cooked medium. I can still remember the succulent, juicy, meaty taste to this day.

We also had hokkaido scallops risotto. Personally for me the scallops were a little overcooked but the bed of creamy risotto they lay made me forget about it quite quickly.

We ordered dessert and wanted a tea to help with digestion but instead something else caught our eye. The lavender hot chocolate. Not only did it sound amazing, when it came to our table we were in awe. A chocolate web lay above our cup as our served pours in the almond milk lavender hot chocolate from a gorgeous copper tea pot.

Desserts then arrived, a gorgeous lavender tea cake, which also happens to be their signature cake. CB bakes their cakes fresh in house on a daily basis and they serve you up such a generous portion.

Everyone’s had a chocolate fondant before but not everybody’s had one with green tea matcha oozing out from the center. Enough to make someone green with envy!

I was so impressed overall with Culinary Boutique, from the taste and presentation, to the venue and decor, down to the service. I’d definitely dine again for dinner and I’m excited to see what other new additions they’ve put on the menu. Or perhaps even one day take a cooking class!

Culinary Boutique is located in Villa 56, Jumeirah 1.

For bookings: 04 4535466

Culinary Boutique Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Comptoir 102… A healthy surprise

I must admit I rarely go out for breakfast. I mean I can poach my own eggs and smash my own avocado. Although sometimes it is nice to catch up with friends, explore new parts of Dubai and try somewhere new, cue Comptoir 102.IMG_1585 (2)I had heard about the cafe on social media and also found in featured on Dubai Food Festival’s website, via a YouTube video by the Al Awadi brothers. Click below to watch it – Dubai’s culinary secrets

Comptoir 102 was an idea brought to life by owners Alex and Emma for their common interests in healthy food, art, design and fashion. It shows as soon as you walk onto the premises. The eclectic decor covering multiple rooms is as refreshing as the mini farmers market outside. There is over 3,000 items available for purchase for the home or ones self from 30 hand picked boutique sellers from around the globe.

Being our first time here we walked straight through the premises into the back patio which is lined with a bamboo wall. However next time a better seating option would be the front side of the cafe which has ample natural light flooding in providing better photo opportunities for us foodies. Although I also enjoyed the book shelf wallpaper they used inside.IMG_1610 (2)The breakfast menu albeit less than extensive, my friend and I still struggled to choose. My friend wanted a bagel which they’d run out of. I was going to get scrambled eggs and buckwheat pancakes although I eat eggs too often so I settle for the labneh panini and smooth kale smoothie whilst my friend goes for the vegetable sandwich and a matcha latte.IMG_1591 (2)Comptoir 102 serves mainly organic, gluten free and raw food which is great for the health conscious. They even have a main menu which changes daily – I assume according to what they’ve sourced from the local farmers.

Our drinks and food both arrive in a timely manner and we decide to share our sandwiches so we can try both flavors. This worked in my favor as I found the labneh panini to be a little overpowering with the saltiness of the olives however I loved the texture contrast with the addition of crushed walnuts inside. The smooth kale smoothie was creamy and delicious although a bit steep for the size.IMG_1592 (2)IMG_1593 (2)After devouring our food and relaxing in the patio we browse the mini farmers market to see what’s on offer before moving indoors to check out the various home wares, clothes and jewelry inside.IMG_1598 (2)IMG_1605 (2) Not only does Comptoir 102 offer a cozy and relaxing environment, they also have a range of bicycles near the front door which are free for patrons to use around the immediate area. This is such a great idea and really accentuates the healthy lifestyle theme.IMG_1614 (2)In conclusion, Comptoir 102 offers a refreshing surprise to the usual cafes found in Dubai. It was not a bad way to spend my Saturday morning and I’m looking forward to taking guests here and possibly even riding the bikes too!

Location: 102 Beach Road, Jumeirah 1

Phone: 04 4489502

Comptoir 102 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Impressive Italian @ Per Te

Per Te is a relatively new Italian restaurant in the heart of Jumeirah 1. Located on a big corner block, it’s broken up into different dining sections; a cafe, a restaurant and a coffee break area with low seating lounges. They also have a retail section and display areas of all the products they sell and source from Italy, which is also the same ingredients they use to cook with.

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Per Te meaning “For you” in Italian is certainly made with love. I was blown away by each and every dish to land on the table because the presentation is of an exceptional standard. But it’s not just the presentation that impressed me. Chef Glady told us the 4 essentials to every meal which leaves the kitchen; quality, quantity, taste and presentation. And it’s by this rule that Per Te excites.
From the moment the antipasti arrived on the table I knew we were in for a treat. Bursting with flavors and variety, it literally is a foodie’s heaven. You can taste the freshness and quality in every bite. My favorite from the antipasti board had to be the fresh tuna and the beef bresaola. Just superb.

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Next up we tried the tuna tatar with passion fruit. Just exquisite. Soft tuna with the sour punch of passion fruit and the salty olive tapenade, my tastebuds were dancing with joy. An unlikely pairing that just works.

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For mains we tried the sea bass and lamb chops as well as the truffle gnocchi and the pizza bufalina. The sweet cherry tomato salsa accompanied the fresh cooked sea bass perfectly.

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The lamb chops literally melted in my mouth. So much so I thought they might have been cooked ‘sous vide’.

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The truffle gnocchi is moreish and once you tried one piece, it was hard to stop eating it.

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The pizza bufalina had a beautifully crisp base with the freshest quality cheese, it transported me back to Rome.

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Just when I thought I couldn’t eat anymore food, the dessert arrived. It was presented so well that I didn’t want to eat it because it looked so pretty. But who am I kidding?
We got to sample the semifreddo, a chocolate lieto and a new chef creation consisting of figs, walnuts, meringue, eucalyptus honey with a stracietella cheese.

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The semifreddo was such a delight. Smooth and creamy texture which was almost like ice cream. It was drizzled in a balsamic reduction, sprinkled with crushed meringue and decorated with toffee art, a sprig of mint and a fresh raspberry. Abundant in flavors.

The lieto di cioccolato resembled a chocolate tarte and made with the venchi chocolate they sell in house which is made up of 75% cocoa. Therefore I was expecting a bitter taste but was surprised at again how smooth and creamy this dessert was. The passion fruit ice cream added the right amount of sourness and contrast that really made this dessert a stand out dish.

We also tried a new dessert which has recently been created by Chef Glady. A stracciatella di bufala cheese, fig and walnut dessert which was topped with eucalyptus honey. A lot milder in flavor and more of a savoury option compared to the other two desserts.

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I would have to say after this outstanding dining experience, Per Te is my favorite Italian restaurant in Dubai. It’s where food and passion come together and it shows. I cannot wait to take my visitors here.

Per Te Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato