Friday, 31 January 2014

Review: Mamma Mia, Dubai Marina

I have hardly been able to start exploring amongst the long list of eating out options available in Dubai. Even though I am vegetarian, I do enjoy tasting new things and as you can tell- reviewing them.

I recently tried Mamma Mia Restaurant in Marina. The decor was very strikingly plain but beautiful. The service was quick and friendly. We ordered a Margarita pizza and our friend ordered a couple of pasta dishes. We believe that a simple Margarita gives away the real depth of an Italian Restaurant and is the best way to compare them against one another.

They brought the pizza out on a stand-alone wooden pedestal which was reachable only to people on that side of the table so full marks for presentation and novelty but no score for practicality. The pizza and the pastas were average taste wise. The pasta dishes were particularly unsatisfactory as our friend had asked for the chef to add more spices while the pasta dish came absolutely bland.

Another one to enjoy for its ambiance and decor but probably won’t go back to it for the food.

Beautiful decor

funky Menu

Pizza on a Pedestal

Monday, 27 January 2014

Nirvana Concert Dubai

Last wee qui quitekend I attended the Nirvana concert featuring stalwarts of Indian/Fusion music Zakhir Hussain, Shankrahadevan, Niladri Kumar, Lewis Banks and Taufiq Qureshi.

The concert was held at the Madinat Arena which was a far superior venue in terms of accoustics and aesthetics to the absolutely shoddy World Trade Centre.

The concert was amazing as expected though there was an hour's delay due to 'traffic jams' which could have been avoided. This delay meant the end of the concert was a bit rushed being on a Saturday. (To add to that, we chose the same night to get locked our of our flat, call the locksmiths and pay a ridiculous amount for entering our own house! )

I wasn't quite sure of what to expect this time but will update about such events in the futureon the blog in advance. Stay tuned!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Review: Mercato Mall and Plaisir du Chocolat

Mercato Mall..*sigh* where do I start?

For those of you who have never heard of it and don’t know what I am talking about- Mercato mall is a well kept secret opposite Jumairah Beach Park on Al Sufouh Road. It is a mall with all the usual shops and many more lesser known niche boutique stores. It has been built in a European style, say similar to The Village (part of Dubai Mall).

I was surprised to find a wide spread of shops and restaurants in a mall that looks quite ‘compact’ from the outside. I can imagine it being a favourite amongst the locals from the plush neighbourhood.

We went to a new British/French cafe called Plaisir Du Chocolat, just opposite Lush. W are extremely fond of our brunches but I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect. The menu looked promising with a fair amount of veg options.

We ordered a Kashmiri tea and a Cinnamon hot chocolate to drink. Both the drinks were simple but full of flavour and texture, for e.g.: the Hot Chocolate did not have the usual ground Cinnamon which is difficult to make out but had chunkier granules to add a strong texture.

For food we ordered a pastry basket and a Potato Pie. Now, the most important thing to know about the cafe is that although it may seem like your usual cafes being supplied with food from a faraway location every morning- packed in clingfilm and stocked in cartons, it isn’t! There is a kitchen not too far from the cafe where your orders are made fresh and therefore customising is possible. The pastries came crumbly fresh and true to our expectations from a French cafe. The Potato Pie was a tasty savoury option to set off the sweets on the menu. To top it off, we ordered a Chocolat Fondant (like a Molten Chocolate Cake), and my… it was divine!! It was a big portion and we couldn’t leave a single bite uneaten. They also served complimentary Chocolates which were again full of flavour and high up in quality and presentation.

To complement the excellent food and services, we had the opportunity to meet the Chef and their Manager, we were impressed to learn about their commitment to quality which came through in the food. A must try for all Chocolate lovers/ Brunch lovers/ anyone with a European hangover/ anyone who can tell the difference between good quality food from supermarket impostors… Please go!

The cafe may be easy to miss, tucked between shops
The decadent Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Cream

Monday, 13 January 2014

Gulf News Fun Drive

On Friday, 10th Jan we attended the Gulf News Fun Drive. It is basically a planned/guided day long drive in the desert that is organised every year since 33 years now. 
Cars going up and down the dunes
I went in not knowing what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to see the huge turnout- more than 900 cars and the expanse of the arrangements. In essence, there was a guided route to be followed with about 8-10 check points. The target was to complete 6 check points by 2.30 pm to avoid driving in the desert in the dark.

Throughout the track, their were 'Marshal' and 'Sweep cars' that are driving around to provide help with any kind of problems. The underlying feeling was of great camaraderie and team spirit where strangers helped each other out with cars stuck in the sand, punctured tyres etc.

The changing terrain starting from more firm mud tracks to soft sand

The overnight event includes a breakfast, a packed lunch, a dinner and again a breakfast next morning apart from the Marshals and Camp facilities overnight for the cost of AED 350 per person. We went in prepared with bags full of food expecting the food quality to be as bad as that at the Desert Safaris but to the contrary, the catering was by Jabel Ali Resorts which could easily rival a brunch spread in a 5 star hotel. A few top tips:
  • Go as lightly packed as you can 
  • Don't set a goal to finish the course, do as much as you can and return to the camp to enjoy the experience of a night in the desert
  • Eat as less as you can before and during the drive
  • Carry anti-sickness medicines 
  • Do not go in with your new fancy car - there will be more appropriate occasions to flaunt it

Steve Madden Sale: DSF 2014


As part of the Dubai Shopping Festival 2014, Steve Madden is hosting a real sale on their collection. I picked up these beauties for AED 40- AED 150. Yes, AED 40! I went to their showroom in Marina Mall, get yourselves to your nearest outlet soon.

Note: This link is in NO way sponsored, the pictured items were bought by me at my own expense.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Review: Bombay by the Bay

Bombay by the Bay, Bay by the Bombay…babababa.

After we could actually say the name of the restaurant in JBR, we were worried about where to park in the area. The very sad fact about JBR as I am sure we all agree is that it has been made beautifully and has come up very well but the parking and road infrastructure has been so poorly thought about that it has become the most dreaded place to visit for a chilled evening.

We did get there finally, its just above Paul’s on the first floor. The approach is a bit complicated to find. But once there, it has been decorated beautifully with lovely Peacock feather fans swaying back and forth on the ceiling. We got a table outside, under the huge and striking Rajasthani umbrellas. The service was helpful and friendly. We were in a big group so we ordered a couple of starters (Onion Bhaji and Tandoori platter) and a selection of Main course dishes (Dal Makhani, paneer lababdar and Malai Kofta). The food and breads came nice and hot. The taste- I would say was quite close to what Indian food should taste like. It was still a little westernised (read bland-ified).

All in all quite a good experience out f the few Indian cuisine choices at JBR. I would recommend it for decent food and ambiance.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year from Dubai Doodles!


Hope you all had a great evening yesterday and wishing you all a happy and prosperous 2014 from Dubai Doodles.

What did you get upto?

This picture literally summed up the whole of Dubai's NYE plans - to attend the record-breaking fireworks. Luckily we had a great view and really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the whole neighbourhood being out on their balconies hooting and cheering the spectacular show!

Looking forward to a lot more experiences to share here in 2014 :D

Culture in Dubai, Part (2)

As mentioned before, I feel that there is a lot of activity going on the cultural spectrum in Dubai - one just has to have the right eye and the will to make an effort.

Recently in December, we attended two music shows on subsequent days: the first one was of the Pakistani superstar - Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and the second one of Pt. Jasraj - the Indian classical music legend.

We enjoyed both the shows a lot but the two shows were the extreme ends of the spectrum when it came to organisation and class. Whereas Rahat's show was immensely entertaining but also fairly commercialised, not true to the qualities set by his forefathers in my opinion. He blizted through all his famous songs at jet-speed not giving the compositions time to settle into the minds of the audience. To add to that, there was a gross mis-communication from the organisers in printing the wrong time on the tickets which meant most people waited for the show to start for more than 3 hours! Also, is anyone else disappointed by the accoustics and quality of the venue at World Trade Centre?

On the other hand, Pt. Jasraj's performance was the show-case of Indian classical music with most of the audience there to appreciate his puritanical style. The performance was a treat to watch also because of the teacher-student style that he follows even on the stage. The audience received him very well and he sang his usual gems. Pt. Jasraj has never disappointed his audiences before and he did not this time either. Kudos to the organisers, for conceptualising this lovely series of concerts this year and can't wait for the schedule for next yea to be announced.

The maestro himself

The legend in action