24 Karat magic in the airrrrrrr….

I don’t know about you but I can’t help but sing Bruno Mars 24K every time I hear the restaurant name 24 Karat. This newly opened Italian fine dining restaurant headed up but none other than Chef Glady (which many of you may remember from Per Te) calls the Marriott Al Jaddaf it’s home. Replacing a Japanese restaurant which never eventuated, the kitchen was changed, as was the decor to give this spacious restaurant, the midas touch.

img_8492

The gold theme touches everything from the cutlery to your plate or even into your glass. Their menu’s are on iPads and offers a video preview of almost every dish hence it does take a little while to go through the entire menu. Luckily the attentive staff are on hand to give you some suggestions. I’m sat on a wide, plush, subtly golden chair which is so comfortable it doesn’t feel like I should be eating on it, rather be watching TV in someone’s living room.

img_8459

For starters we ordered the 24 Karat burrata; served with 3 way cherry tomatoes, poached, cherry and sun dried, drizzled with basil dressing and creamy balsamic truffle flavored gold flakes! Two of my favorite foods together, what’s not to love?

img_8475

As well as the seared scallops with creamy saffron, exquisitely made squid ink crackers, shimeji mushrooms and a cauliflower puree. Perfectly cooked and presented.

img_8470

Not to mention the beef carpaccio; thinly sliced rare beef garnished with pears, pistachio, circles of parmesan cheese, sprinkles of black Hawaiin salt and slices of fresh truffle. Each ingredient playing a key part to balance out this dish.

img_8473

Whilst we wait a slate board of freshly baked chilli and garlic crisp bread arrive made in house. It’s decorated with stracciatella cheese and olive oil with fresh sprigs of herbs.

img_8457

Chef Glady also bought us a sample of the Japanese wagyu. A grade 9 marbled steak cut into slices and served upon a bed of truffle mash. The steak melts at 29 degrees and your mouth is generally around 34 degrees. So this piece of meat literally does melt in your mouth. If you wanted to order this in the restaurant be prepared to cough up 790 dirhams for a 350gram serving. However the quality of the meat is that good, it’s worth every dirham.

img_8460

For mains we tried the paccheri Lobster and Crab pasta and the slow cooked and braised veal ossobucco milanese, the latter atop of a brightly colored saffron risotto.

img_8482

The pasta was cooked very al dente. The large tubed pasta shells engulf the Canadan losbter pieces in the crab sauce that each bite is seafood heaven.

img_8481

Last but never least order the golden bomb and tiramisu for dessert. The golden bomb is the highlight for sure. A chocolate sphere surrounded by a an edible forest; a nest of woven sugar which is drowned in hot white chocolate sauce until it melts leaving a mix of chocolate and berries on a bed of crumbled chocolate brownie. Just wow!

img_8487

Before leaving we take a tour of the restaurant which has 3 private dining areas, a huge al fresco dining terrace with views of the Burj Khalifa in the distance. They plan to install an outdoor pizza oven too. My mouth is already watering.

At the moment the restaurant does not have their alcohol license but that could change in the future. They do however have a quite a range of soft beverages including Dubai cola, (a cola drink mixed with dates and honey which is very sweet) and lots of fancy non alcoholic wines with plenty of sparkles inside.

img_8489
The Tiramisu

24 Karat fits perfectly into the Dubai brand with gold flakes and truffle ringing through their menu. However it’s the quality of their ingredients and the way they wow their customers with attention to detail which is why this Italian restaurant is set for success.

It’s not just in the presentation but with the execution of each dish. The passion for food really shines through. You’ll be hard pressed trying to find a dish that isn’t delicious or “grammable“.

24 Karat Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Modern Thai Cuisine @ Busaba Eathai

If you’ve been to the U.K or more specifically London you might of seen one of the 16 branches of Busaba Eathai. Dubai is lucky enough to have it’s own branch situated at JBR with an al fresco dining rooftop boasting view of JBR beach.

This casual dining establishment, has in fact two levels with the ground floor looking into the semi open style kitchen. Upon entering you will notice a buddha statue behind the reception desk and the calming scent of burning incense, almost like you’ve stepped into a Thai massage centre. The dimmed lights and dark wood add to the setting.

img_4544
Chilli prawn – A Busaba All Time Favorite

Upstairs inside is a sharing table concept with wooden benches for seating. This is where we spent the evening sampling some  of Busaba’s classics as well as some new addition menu items.

img_4543
The classic Phad Thai with prawns

Being close to home, I’ve visited Busaba before so already have my personal favorites (which funnily enough are also the Busbaba all time favorites) including the Goong Tohd, a golden breaded butterfly prawn deep fried to perfection served with a to die for chilli and lime dipping sauce. So good, I could drink this from the saucer if no was was watching.

img_4527

Not to mention the Thai Calamari which is such a popular dish in London that they literally sell it by the tonnes every year! I love the seasoning so much that when I dine in, I make sure to ask for extra. #protip

img_4526

The Yum Sam Som salad made of pomelo and blood orange is so light and fresh with a sharp kick of red chilli. If you can handle spice then you’ll love this dish.

img_4521

From the new menu we tried…

  • The duck buns. A bit too doughy and filling for my liking and the bun to filling ratio was a little off.img_4530
  • I’m not a huge mushroom fan but the Tom Kha Mushroom soup, well the broth that I tried was excellent, not too thick but creamy thanks to the coconut milk.img_4535
  • In addition to the starters they have added 3 new grilled items including lamb chops, beef ribs and humungous king sized prawns. All 3 were excellent but if I had to choose a favorite I’d say the lamp chops as they were succulent and juicy bursting with so much flavor.
  • img_4551img_4548img_4540

The brilliant part about Busaba is they always use the freshest ingredients to create the most flavorsome tasting dishes. Plus Umit the restaurant manager and his staff are always provide fantastic customer service.

Busaba is the perfect casual dining restaurant within walking distance from the beach. Bookings not essential.

Want to try Busaba Eathai at home? Download the Deliveroo app & use code sarahn for 50AED credit. Or click this link https://roo.it/sarahn

Busaba Eathai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sustainability at Skye & Walker

Luke, I am your father… That’s the first thing that came to mind when hearing about Skye & Walker. Although it has nothing to do with Luke Skywalker nor Star Wars. However the overall restaurant idea is pretty out of this world.

Judging by the location in Old Dubai I didn’t expect the restaurant to look this nice. Although how well it would do in this area I’m not sure of. Personally I think it would be better received in somewhere like Dubai Marina.

However their concept is what stands out. Where in Dubai can you find a place with a sustainable concept. From their re-purposed granite crushed to make a stunning new concrete floor to recycled table tops, doors, furniture and light fittings. Sourced globally it could be the reason the opening was delayed longer than expected. Their ingredients are locally sourced and everything has a healthy touch or twist.

IMG_2176

For drinks, we tried the bright pink pomegranate lemonade. A pink citrus drink with a zing, followed by a matcha iced latte.  The matcha iced latte only had a subtle green tea flavor which is strange considering it’s a condensed version of green tea.

I love how they serve you a bowl of kale chips to start rather than a heavy bread basket. A healthier alternative that you can season to your liking.

IMG_3348

They have some amazing tasty, fresh and healthy salads which are well presented and after tasting them all it’s hard to choose a favorite.

I was not a fan of the pita, i found the use of white bread to be a little heavy and the falafel to filling to have no real taste. The raw veggie bowl sitting in a generous portion of labneh was great. Crunchy bite sized veggies perfect for dipping.

 

When the mains arrived I must admit they smelt great but my favorite was by far the herb crusted roast chicken with a delicate mushroom gravy.

For desserts we were served raw carrot cake in a mason jar and a decent sized slice of a flour-less chocolate cake which had hints of cardamom which I found to be a bit potent and very arabic tasting, which perhaps might not be for everyone.

We also got to sample 7 different types of gelato from ci gusta some flavors of which are made especially for S&W. I’d recommend the vanilla which has hints of balsamic.

The service was particularly good on the evening of the opening event, as  you would expect. However on my return visit the server wasn’t very up to speed with the menu. Also one thing that baffled me with the menu was that you could make your own juice or smoothie at the juice bar, but when I approached the counter, there was no juice bar to be seen, nor a list of ingredients to choose from. Still relatively new I guess these are just teething issues which will eventually be ironed out. Nevertheless the food I ordered was faultless. I can’t get enough of their oven baked sweet potato fries.

IMG_3351

IMG_3359

A great concept, a health conscious menu and a aesthetically pleasing venue, if only it wasn’t so far from home.

Location: Ground Floor, Marriott Executive Apartments Dubai Creek, Rigga Al Buteen Street

Open 7 days a week from 6:30am until midnight

Telephone: 971 4 213 1221

skyeandwalker.com

Skye & Walker Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

An Andalusian Tapas Bonanza

The word Andalusia first had me thinking, what/where is that and how do I pronounce it? After some research (thanks to Google) I found out it’s in the Southern region of Spain, a country I haven’t had the pleasure of yet exploring.

I’d been invited by the PR to come down to the newly launched Andalusia Lounge and after a little confusion about my reservation at the front reception we are finally allowed to wander upstairs and choose a table.

Located off Sheikh Zayed Road just near Jones the Grocer you’ll find Bertin Bistro. Take a flight of stairs up and you’ll arrive at Andalusia Lounge. The decor in Andalusia gives off Moroccan vibes from it’s patterned seating to it’s Arabic lanterns and shisha which can be smoked both indoors and out on the balcony. Although I’m brought back to reality when I notice the TV screen airing a football match which doesn’t entirely kill the buzz.

Inside it’s a little dark and I like to see what I’m eating so we choose one side of the balcony which is empty but preferrable as no one is there smoking shisha. It’s a little cold outside but the staff offer to light the heat lamps in the corner. I stare off into the distance and you can see the rat race below and the beautiful Burj Khalifa dazzling in the distance.

IMG_3445

Our knowledgeable waiter gives us a run down of how the new menu works as we glaze our eyes over the extensive drinks list. We finally settled on the Aloe Vera spa which falls under the detox heading. A sweet mix of aloe vera juice, green apple and cucumber.

Not long after our drinks arrived, so did the food. A spread of 16 tapas ranging from a dips to smoked feta and padron peppers to some deep fried tapas and seafood. There was so much variety and flavor in every dish but I definitely favored some over others. The roast beet puree labneh was so simple but bursting with flavor. The eggplant fateh was another favorite for it’s texture combination and the empanadas and spicy potatoes were also a favorite in terms of the flavor.

Once we were done picking, our waiter announced they’ll be bringing out our mains soon. Umm come again? We’d just gone through 16 tapas plates between two how will we ever fit in mains? Let alone dessert. I was left baffled.

Luckily for us the main portion sizes aren’t overly big. We were served a chicken and a lamb tagine with cous cous as well as a seafood paella. You can’t fault the cooking method of using a tagine. It creates that tender, soft, melt-in-your-mouth meat that everyone loves. However we weren’t very fond of the flavors in the mains. The paella was over-seasoned with white pepper and both of the tagines had a peculiar taste which was a shame as the tenderness of the meat was fantastic. I brought this to our waiter’s attention and also the manager on duty and they assured me the feedback would be passed onto the kitchen.

So we weren’t left with a lingering after taste from the mains we opt to share a dessert and the waiter recommends Bertin’s famous Pain Perdue. Created by one of the sisters this recipe took a while to perfect. However I can assure you they’ve got that down pat because this dessert was out of this world. Described to us as a french toast in a bowl, it is much more than that. The warm and soft breaded centre reminds me more of a bread and butter pudding however the texture and cooking style is almost that of a souffle with a generous serving of thick gooey caramel sauce and rock sea salt served on the side. The idea is to make an incision with a spoon and then add as much or as little caramel inside along with a sprinkling of the sea salt. *I’m currently drooling as I write this blog post*

IMG_3455

It’s such a bargain as well. For two persons it’s 189dhs for the Tapas Bonanza and there is more than enough food for two. Although I wouldn’t miss out on adding a dessert, as Bertin’s Pain Perdue is one not to be missed!

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

Nando’s – Try something new at DCC

I’m sure most people have eaten Nando’s before and even those who haven’t would of at least heard of the name. I mean it’s hard to miss. They are a global phenomenon specializing in that taste bud tantalizing, Portuguese style, peri peri chicken. In the UAE alone they have 14 stores and have been in operation for a whopping 14 years. Now that says something for their popularity here in the UAE.

IMG_1426

One of the newest stores and one that I had the pleasure of being invited to eat at is the Deira City Centre store located in the food court on level 1.

IMG_1422
The first thing I noticed upon entering is the fun and vibrant atmosphere, with upbeat music in the background. The décor is brightly patterned and gives off that African vibe whilst the smiling staff are happy to be there.

IMG_1423IMG_1421IMG_1450

We’re offered a booth and I gaze over the menu to see what’s new. We settle on an appeteaser platter (nice play on words) consisting of the new red pepper dip, a chicken & mushroom soup, some mixed olives and lemon & herb chicken wings. As well as some designer drinks, crimson cola and caipirinha. Whilst we wait for our food to arrive other orders go past and that tempting Nando’s aroma has my mouth watering.

IMG_1434IMG_1429

 

The red pepper dip was spicy and addictive. Served with toasted warm pita bread pieces for dunking. Highly recommend if you like spice. The chicken and mushroom soup was warm and comforting.

I was pleased to see the new addition to the espetada range, the espetada carnival which now comes stuffed with feta and parsley so I decided to give that a whirl for the mains along with the new three bean salad and peri peri salted fries. Juicy pieces of succulent chicken thighs which is served hanging and suspended from it’s skewer dripping with sauce. I can see parsley but the feta flavor is lost for me against the mild basting of peri peri sauce. Luckily for me I ordered some haloumi on the side so I still got my cheese fix.

IMG_1441IMG_1445

I’ve never before ordered a dessert at Nando’s probably because I’m normally too full and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t full from eating all of the above, however a mint tea helped me digest a little and Sangam, our ever so lovely waiter suggested we go for the Choc’late Lovin Spoon Cake. It’s a mix between chocolate and pudding and dark chocolate cake so it’s heavy and moist but also irresistible. If you can fit it after your main fix, then it’s definitely worth the calories!

IMG_1447

With 4 new stores set to open in the UAE this year, you’ll never to be too far away for that cheeky Nando’s fix.

Nando's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato