Sunday, September 24, 2017

April

What an amazing month March turned out to be, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary for an entire week, starting of at Le Meridien Al Aqah and finishing at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, with a trip to Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Emirates Golf Club inbetween!!  The weather has finally broken and we are experiencing a rise in temperatures, it's no secret I prefer the hotter months over the cooler ones. It's Easter this month, so I hope the Easter Bunny is really kind to you all. Have a fabulous month wherever are you are.

GA

 

I wrote about Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa and what it has to offer its residents earlier, you can find a link here if you missed it. This article a separate one purely on the food that we enjoyed at the Resort, which is down to Executive Chef David Miras and Senior Sous Chef Peter Sebby and the rest of their amazing team.

After a quick and speedy check-in into Al Maha we headed straight down to the Al Diwaan Restaurant and nabbed ourselves a nice table on the terrace in the shade. The views are amazing, straight out into sand dunes as far as the eye can see, spotted with Oryx and Gazelle, with birds coming and going all the time. The tranquillity of the setting is breathless.  We were immediately offered water and a menu, I knew what I was having, yes seafood, seafood and more seafood.  So off we started on our culinary tour of Al Maha.

I ordered from the Ala Carte Menu a starter of Crumbed Crab and Scallion Cake served on Seasonal Leaves with Lemon Hollandaise Sauce, whilst my husband opted for Chilled Vichyssoisse Soup with White Truffle Espuma, the presentation of both dishes when they arrived was truly spectacular. I will post a link later of photographs for all the dishes we experienced at Al Maha.  We followed this with main courses of Jumbo Prawns with Bearnaise Sauce and Buttered Root Vegetables for me and Dorado Fillet with Spicy Chilli Sauce and French Fries for him, outstanding, the King Prawns were fit a King and cooked to perfection!  The Dorado was very tasty though I don't go too much on chilli if I am honest, unlike my spicy husband who has everything hot!  It was at lunch that we were telling Chef Sebby that we thought a Chilli Chocolate Creme Brulee might be a nice addition to the menu, he seemed rather impressed, not as impressed as my husband was as he had thought of the dish and now had himself down as some famous celebrity Chef!   For desserts we had the Vanilla Creme Brulee with Lemon Shortbreads, and the Baked Chocolate Torte with Orange Sorbet, divine!!

We spent the rest of the day exploring the resort but just managed to pop into the bar for a few little nibbles from the Afternoon Tea, my husband still claims the scones are the best he has ever tasted, I am rather partial to the mini onion quiches it has to be said. I am definitely more a savoury than sweet person, except when it comes to Creme Brulee.  We both agreed that the chicken on curry bread was a definite winner all round.

After sundowners we popped back to our Suite to freshen up and then headed to Al Diwaan for Dinner, my first Dinner ever at Al Maha, I was not to be disappointed.  I started of with (surprise surprise) Lobster Raviolo which was served with Granny Smith Beurre Blanc, my husband opted for the Asian Beef Remoulade with hints of Chilli, Bell Pepper, Fresh Tomato, Ginger and Oyster Sauce, we both said we could eat them again as they were that good. However we went on to order the Sauteed Monkfish Fillet with Coriander Risotto, Purple Sprouting Brocolli and Champagne Butter Sauce for myself and Wagyu Beef Saltimbocca topped with Sage and Pork Bacon with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Shallots Veal Jus.  There was alot of discussion about the "7 hours" Braised Shank of Lamb, but we came to our decision in the end, and we were truly not disappointed.  I adore Monkfish but has been a long time since I had Monkfish that tasted so fresh and flavoursome.  Desserts, yes we did and I honestly don't know how we managed it but I had the Al Maha Raspberry Ripple with Vanilla Greek Yoghurt Cream, Fresh Raspberries and Merinque, and my husband opted for the Lemon Tart with Strawberry Sherbet, fit for Kings is all I can say!

It was when our desserts were being presented that Chef Sebby appeared and presented, yes you guessed it, Chilli Chocolate Creme Brulee!! That is what I love about Al Maha so much, they listen to their guests, Chef David told me that at least ten tables wouldn't be ordering from the regular menu and it wasn't a problem for the kitchen, ever.  Needless to say the Creme Brulee was perfect and we hope to see it on the menu regularly.

Obviously we slept rather well that night and the next morning we headed back to Al Diwaan for Breakfast, I honestly couldn't eat another thing but did just manage half a portion of Eggs Benedict which was Organic Poached Eggs on Pork Ham with Hollandaise Sauce, whilst my other half satisfied his taste for spice and went for the Burghee which is Indian Style Scrambled eggs with lots of spice! there was an extensive breakfast that accompanied the Al Maha Breakfast Menu, the next time I visit I am not going to eat for a few days before I get there!

If there is one thing this Resort do well it is too look after their guests, they know they have alot of returning guests who go back year after year, I think I know why, not only is the location amazing, the staff outstanding, but the two Chef's in charge are amazingly talented passionate men who have a love affair with food that goes way further than just cooking it, I have always believed you are born to be a Chef, these two and the rest of their team truly were.  That leaves me just to say thank you for an amazing culinary experience and I hope to see you all again soon!! oh and here are the photographs of the food we had to eat during our stay at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa.

Al Maha can be found on Facebook and Twitter

GA

 

 

This weekend, after a wait of about eight years we managed to stay at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa for the very first time, it certainly will not be the last.  It is the most amazing place and I truly hope that everyone has the opportunity to visit Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa at least once in their lifetime.

We arrived at the resort slightly earlier than check-in for two reasons; I was too excited to get there and I was dying to see Team Al Maha again, nothing to do with the Jumbo Prawns that I knew were going to be on the lunch menu, that I also knew I was going to order.  We arrived at the main gate of the resort where Desert Ranger Kathryn met us and transported us to the main hotel. It's about a 10 minute drive through the desert dunes, Kathryn told us all about the resort and told us that Maretha was actually our appointed guide, we met her when we got to the Hotel.  Checking in is a very simple affair which involves a bit of paperwork, iced towels and two very lovely fruit cocktails. After checking in we headed down the Al Diwaan Restaurant. I will write about the food at Al Maha in a separate article. After a fabulous lunch it was time for our Guest Relations Manager Myat to show us to our Bedouin Suite all 75 square metres of it! I have posted some pictures here as my description won't do it justice.

The Suites are just amazing, each suite has its own infinity pool, none of the suites are overlooked so you have total privacy, we had a few Oryx that kept popping their nose in for a quick peak, and a really pretty little Gazelle nearly came up to the pool for some water.  You can handle intruders like that any day of week!! Suffice to the say the rooms are the ultimate in luxury and you find photo's here, along with information about all the facilities in the rooms, check this link.

After a few hours of sitting around doing nothing I decided we ought to really get ourselves out and about and explore the Resort, so following a quick shower in the biggest shower cubicle in the world, and a quick call to reception we were in a Land Cruiser with Kathryn and heading into the Dunes for the Wildlife Drive, absolutely superb!! so informative, we saw some fabulous Oryx, the views were stunning and the driving in the dunes, though scary (wimp), I have to admit was brilliant. Did you know that Al Maha Reservation is actually 225 square kilometres? that is 1/5 th of the total land in the Emirate of Dubai!

We got back to the hotel just in time to meet up with Maretha to be driven into the desert again, (I was too scared to do the camel ride), to see the sunset Al Maha style, that's with a glass or two of ice cold champagne!! Absolutely spectacular and if you do visit Al Maha I can strongly recommend you do this activity.  You can do two activies per day that you are resident in the Resort, more information about the activities can be found here.

We were very lucky to have Maretha as our Ranger as she very kindly took us to see the Falcons after the Sundowner experience, I met an Owl, an Eagle and various Falcons, Maretha has a very loud Falcon that she takes care off, I pretty sure it's a Geordie really.

After an amazing nights sleep in what felt like the biggest bed in the world, with the softest pillows known to man, we were up and out an about again, this time we headed to Timeless Spa, I am not a great one for Spa's but do appreciate their beauty, I have taken plenty of photo's which you can find here. The main pool for resort is also at Timeless Spa but I guess most people use their private pool.

Eventually our stay came to an end and Maretha came to collect us and drive us back to the main gate where we picked up my Pajero and headed back to Dubai Town, as we drove back I wondered how long it would be before I heard the birds breaking the morning sun, or for that matter when I would see the team at Al Maha again, I know it won't be long.

This one is for Chef David, Chef Sebby, Vivek, Thaya, Sateesh, Myat, Kathryn, Maretha, Aaron, Hussein, Irfan, Radi and the rest of the Team at Al Maha who made our visit so special. We WILL be back!

You can find Al Maha on both Facebook and Twitter

GA

 

 

For those of us who are parents we all know how hard it is see our little ones in any kind of pain or discomfort.  Well it turns out that one of Mitten's baby teeth just wasn't going to come out and her adult tooth was pushing up under it causing her some pain, so much pain that she actually asked to go to the Dentist, so we went this morning.

When I say we, I mean all three of us, there was no chance this was going to be a little trip to the Dentist with Mum, nope Dad had to come out of work, it was a real real drama.  We arrived at Dr Michael's Dental Clinic just before 11 am, filled in the appropriate paperwork and then we were introduced to the Dentist, Dr Alexander.  Then the real drama set in, tears, flailing legs, sobbing chest.  Even my favourite Sean the Sheep video on the screen didn't seem to help! Eventually and injection was adminstered and the offending tooth removed.  It was off to Choithrams for a treat, which turned out to be flowers so I am definitely not complaining about that.

Before we had even got home Mitten was bragging about how easy it was and that she would now like some braces ..... yes?  doubt it very much!

I would just like to thank all the team down at Dr Michael's Dental Clinic for managing to get us an appointment so quickly, and then for sorting Mitten out so professionally and of course patiently.  You have a really nice clinic there, and I hear there is a new Paediatric Dentistry Unit opening later this year, I hope it all works out well.  (there are already Paediatric Dentists at Dr Michael's though).

You can find out more information about both their clinics by clicking on their website here.

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Last weekend we got our passports out and headed over to Le Meridien Dubai (the one near the airport), living in new Dubai means I very rarely head over Garhoud Bridge, in all fairness we have everything on our doorsteps here, but we don't have M's Seafood Bistro ...

M's Seafood Bistro only opened last month in the location that some of you might remember as Cafe Chic at Le Meridien.  The weather that day was sunny which makes a change at the moment, so we decided to dine inside.  The restaurant is small and tastefully decorated though I have to say I don't quite get the branding of the dated supermodel and the fish, however you don't judge a restaurant on its decor you judge it on the food which I have to say was really good. I did however absolutely adore the plates on all the tables, especially the ones that had the menu's on them.  You can find some photographs here.

As it was lunchtime we didn't opt for starters and went straight onto mains, though Chef did bring us a complimentary seafood chowder which was absolutely delicious, Mitten wasn't impressed (sorry Chef it appears 7 year olds and seafood don't mix). We were also presented with beautiful fresh bread and pressed butter, Mitten loved the salt bread.

For my main course I chose the Sea Bream with Crushed Potatoes and Anchovy Juice whilst my husband opted for the Marinated Black Cod Loin, Brandade with Light Herb Dressing.  Mitten had the childrens Beef Burger which whilst it was on the children's menu it was more suited to a teenager than a 7 year old, I have to say it looked fabulous though, with lovely big chips!!   My Sea Bream was perfect, beautifully cooked and presented as was the Black Cod Loin, I have posted some pictures here.

In true GA fashion we had to try the Creme Brulee, very very good but Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa are still the current title holders of Best Creme Brulee in the UAE.  We had a great time at M's and I would like to thank all the staff who were so attentive, the Chef who made our dining experience special and most of all Le Meridien Dubai for inviting us along for lunch in the first place. Well done team Le Meridien Dubai.


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If you are from the UK and love food you will have heard of Atul Kochhar, the Two Star Michelin Award Winning Chef.  Atul has appeared in many food related television programmes from Great British Menu to Masterchef, and many others inbetween.   He started his career at the Oberai Hotel in New Delhi and fast rose to the top of his game, moving to London in 1994 to open Tamarind  and later opening two successful restaurants; Benares in London and Ananda just outside of Dublin.

Last year I heard that the Landmark Group had opened Zafran at Mirdif City Centre and we went over for lunch one day.  I was really impressed and spread the word to my friends to get them to check it out. Mirdif City Centre isn't exactly on our doorstep so you can imagine how happy I was to find out that Zafran has spread its wings to Marina Mall.  The very next day The Geordie One and I were there to check it out.  Personally I think that the Marina Mall branch has the edge when it comes to location, as it has a beautiful outdoor terrace which looks onto the Marina.   Lovely ambience.

They have a three course Lunch Express menu and that is what we opted for, I started with the Amritsari Fish Fingers, followed with the Butter Chicken, with Dal Bukahri, Sade Chawal (steamed basmati), and Naan Bread, followed by a dessert of Gulab Jamun. I really have to say I couldn't fault it one bit, it was absolutely perfect, the presentation was beautiful.  I was that impressed I went back the following Saturday!!   The lunch menu is just 65 Dhs a head and there is a good variety of choices, including a vegetarian option.

I have a copy of the menu here with me, and it clearly states on the bottom that Lunch Express is available from Saturday to Thursday, that however isn't correct,  it is actually available Sunday to Thursday, so someone needs to check that out at Zafran.   Regardless Zafran is well worth a visit, especially if you like me, enjoy Indian food. The Butter Chicken was the best I have had in a long long time.  I have take some photos which you can find here.

Enjoy!

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I first came across Antiques Museum in Al Quoz about three years ago, it had been recommended to me by a friend as being a rather different place to check out.  I went three years ago and then tried to go again and couldn't find it!  Last week though I got some good directions from one of the twitterati and managed to find it.   The first thing I must say is that, it is not a Museum, it is a warehouse, and were there any antiques there?  genuinely I doubt it very much.

BUT there is a hell of alot of other stuff there, I mean tons and tons of stuff, this warehouse is basically Karama indoors! it is huge and has so many little nooks and crannies that you can easily get lost.  They sell everything from tourist tat, to beautiful bedcovers and cushions, shisha, shoes!  you name it they have it at Antiques Museum.  I specifically went as I have some pictures that need framing, I was really impressed with the choice of frames available and the fabulous collection of Middle Eastern art that was for sale.

I say if you have visitors or you just fancy somewhere different, get yourself along to Antiques Museum, if you can find that is!! here are my directions ...  you know the lights BEHIND Times Square? turn left there, then second right, then first right, then park. It is a big grey warehouse on the right hand side.

Enjoy!!!

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