If I would get a Dirham every time someone would ask me “What is your favourite restaurant in Dubai?” I would be a big baller billionaire. I always thought that I had quite a good grasp on my knowledge of must visit hot-spots in Dubai, however as new restaurants popping up every day it is incredibly hard to keep my list of must visit places updated. That’s when I decided to start “SIN’S BIG FAT FOOD GUIDE!” *including healthy options too ;-). From nightlife hotspots to romantic restaurants, sooner or later it will all be documented in my new Dubai food black book. In the second edition you can read all about the places that made an impact on my taste buds in the last 2 months.
FOOD GUIDE INDEX – AUGUST
BIG SMOKE BURGER
La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie is a beautiful two story restaurant that will bring you back to the flavors of France. Located in the Vida Downtown Dubai hotel this restaurant was voted #1 in Esquire’s top 50 restraints in UAE 2014.The upper story French bistro offers a mediterranean inspired menu for lunch and dinner. An extra addition is the bar where you can enjoy a wide selection of french wines and cocktails mixed with some serious expertise. On the ground floor you will find the Parisian Boulangerie cafe, perfect for early morning freshly-baked breads, viennoiserie and a light breakfast menu. Besides from that they also server lunch and dinner throughout the day. We tried out the ground level Boulangerie to see if it can keep up with the Parasian cooking standards.
Designed by Dubai based interior firm Bishop Design the appearance of the restaurant does not give away that this is a home grown design project. The interior at “La Serre” which translates Green house in English – is a perfect reflection of its name. The big glass restaurant facade hints towards a slight inspiration of the glass construction you will see in a traditional greenhouse, however on a small note – the silhouette images of people on the glass seem very out of place as I don not see the added value to the amazing interior concept. Inside the restaurant you will find details of a classic french decor with a contemporary twist; marble kitchen table tops with modern finishings are combined with white tiles and classic french Cafe chairs. When your eyes follow the walls up to the high spacious ceiling you will notice a trendy-chic glasswork baroque inspired chandelier. The playful plasterwork on the ceiling is a fresh take on the classic ceiling decorations you will find in France which makes this restaurant a modern and young hangout. During Ramadan the restaurant also collaborated with the local artists from “The animation Chamber” who hand painted Renaissance-inspired mansion-esque quirky window illustrations directly on the walls, turning La Serre into a modern art space.
As the food and the decor was both grand, the service seemed something La Serre Boulangerie saved bucks on. The waitress was serving us faster than a Mac-drive and on various occasions they interrupted our meal by taking away unfinished drinks and plates. It just seemed like some of the staff had no passion for their jobs as they could not even explain the dishes they served us. But then again, when something tastes that good, it doesn’t really need any explanation.
Everyone knows that when a chef leaves a restaurant he will take the best kitchen secrets with him to combine this with what he was not able to execute in his previous location. Which I believe is exactly what chef Ani Izu did when he left his position as Executive chef at Dubai based french restaurant La Petite Maison. While we only dined from the casual cafe menu of the Boulangerie restaurant we immediately felt that there was a secret ingredient in the food. It was love and passion. Unlike most french restaurants that usually serve you dainty little small portions – which make you feel you still need a Mac Donald’s pitstop afterwards – La Serre plated us with generous servings for the real eaters. We selected a set menu which showcased us exactly what the restaurant has to offer. Starting off with a bread basket I got quite disappointed with the quality of the bread we got served, taking in mind this is a Boulangerie the bread did not taste fresh crispy and french, however everything went uphill from here. A unique and scrumptous water melon feta salad refreshed our palet followed by a divine creamy Lentil soup. (best lentil I had in a while) As a main the restaurant served us two kinds of pasta – a tomato based and a luscious truffle penne dish. TO satisfy our inner carnivore we also tried a provincial cripy skin chicken and a wonderful piece of steak from which the fatty ends were on purpose not trimmed. As a side dish we had an easy digestible quinoa salad and a Burrata dish, from which the texture and flavour was absolutely mouth watering. While we all were extremely impressed with the amazing quality of the simple yet tantalising dishes we had no idea how a desert was even possible to follow. As french are know for their outstanding pastries, La Serre’s deserts did not disappoint. I could not decide which desert satisfied me more – the calorific eclair, the mountain of chocolate fondue with nuts, or the rosemary tart which was a first for me. As I am a selective eater I was extremely impressed with the consistency of quarty of all the dishes we got served! Definitely living up to the standards of a French restaurant.
I was very impressed with the Burrata, the lentil salad, as usually I do not like Lentils but I could not top eating this but the winner must be the rosemary tart! Absolutely delicious!
Did you know that alarm of the baker at La Serre goes off at 2:00 AM in order to start baking all the fresh bread and pastries at 3:00 am? Guess that makes my 7:00 o’clock wakeup seem like a holiday!
La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie
VIDA Downtown Dubai Hotel
Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard
+971 4 428 6969
BIG SMOKE BURGER
As burger joints are even more popular than plastic surgery clinics in Dubai I decided to go and have a look at newly opened restaurant BIG SMOKE BURGER to see if they even have a chance to outshine with the gazzilion burger joints Dubai already has to offer. This hip, newly opened burger joint has Canadian roots but that does not mean they don’t know how to make a burger. The Dubai franchise is located in the newly opened box park and I have a feeling this is going to be a BIG one. The concept is very simple, Hand crafted burgers made fresh daily. Emphasising on fresh ingredients the meat is flown in from Canada to ensure the best quality burger.
Industrial materials such as wood, unfinished metal work and aluminium pipes make this joint look informal yet upscale. The company values are clearly reflected as you can find words such as FRESH, HAND CRAFTED and QUALITY INGREDIENTS carved in the wooden wall panels, and on the paper placement in the metal trays. The lamps add an elegant twist to the masculine interior.
When we entered the restaurant I noticed the door was opened by a tall guy with a huge smile on his face. For some reason, everyone in this restaurant was smiling. I was not sure if this was because the restaurant has only opened a few weeks ago so when the waiter came over to ask how the food was I decided to ask. The waiter named Mathias replied saying that everything about big smoke burger is amazing, the manager, the company, the food and the customers! He explained us the history of the brands and his knowledge was outstanding. An other plus point was that we got provided with an internet code to access the wifi! Very handy.
1x Crazy burger 6.0z
Jalapeño havarti, coleslaw, spicy chipotle mayo, bbq sauce, hot peppers & lettuce
1x Big smoke burger 6.0z
horseradish mayo, caramelized onions, smoked cheddar, tomato & lettue
1x Crispy breaded onion rings
1x Canadian Poutine
Hand cut fries with real Quebec cheese curds and gravy
2x Boylan’s exclusive – Black cherry and Ginger ale
Total: 195 AED
As much as burgers are one of the most amazing comfort foods on this planet, we all know it is not really a health option. Eating a burger is often followed with a slight feeling of regret but when I took a bite of our burgers at BIG SMOKE BURGER guilt was the last thing coming to my mind.
Once our meals got served the first thing I noticed was that there was no oily juice running out of the burger. The meat is grilled in front of you as they have an open kitchen and you can taste that this is no frozen processed nonsense. Made from fresh Canadian beef the meat is flown in every 3 days from Canada to ensure to keep up with the amazing quality. The sauces on the burger are made freshly every day.
The onion rings were absolutely perfect, the shape, the texture, the flavour and so on. We had a look in the serving tray and strangely we noticed that we could not find any traces of dripping oil. We ordered a coriander yoghurt feta sauce and a spicy smoked bbq sauce which were both handmade from scratch. Even though the flavours were finger-licking good the onion right already tasted perfect without the sauce.
The fries are hand cut from real potato and our dish was topped off with gravy and stringy Canadian cheese. Defo a must try!
Even though our bill came up to a shocking 195 AED for 2 people I think it was worth every penny, uhh dirham. Besides from the first time not feeling guilty after eating a burger which is definitely a unique feeling I must say that their hand crafted sauces are out of this world! You have to try the smoked BBQ sauce!
All the burgers are made from fresh Canadian beef. The meat is flown in every 3 days from Canada to create a damn nice quality burger! Pretty good Dubai diva standards!
Big Smoke Burger
Dubai – Box park
Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah
+971 4 3436533
Does Mahiki even need an about section? Who doesn’t know Mahiki! The restaurant / night club which started in 2006 in London has attracted a lot of British media attention as a favourite haunt of royals including Princes William and Harry to celebrities such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kelly Rowland, Paris Hilton among many more. After its success it was only a waiting game to see when a Dubai location would open. Opened in 2011, Mahiki is one of Dubai oldies in the night scene and impressively still going strong. To get entrance to the club there might be a chance you end up in a waiting line longer than Wild wadi’s water slides but for some it is all worth it. Named after the Polynesian path to the underworld many WAGS and celebrities alike call Maliki their favourite Dubai hotspot. We headed over to taste the cocktail treasure chest.. Uhhhm I meant test the waters..
With its Hawaiian Tiki decor, delicious fruit cocktails and tropical flowers every detail of Mahiki’s interior screams ALOHA! Think Tiki torches, Bamboo decor and ratan chairs. Designed to give you the ultimate tropical paradise feeling Mahiki is a terrific choice for anyone looking for an upbeat adventurous party destination. If you are lucky you might even take a souvenir home with you ;-)
Used to a fast paced nightlife the staff here is fast and well trained. My drinks got refilled the second I could see the bottom of the glass which is quite dangerous, as there is no time waisting here drinking wise. Make sure you eat enough before you have the rum based cocktails to ensure finding your way back home at the end of the night.
Known as hot-spot for cocktail lovers Maliki also offers a great selection tropical dishes on their Island grill menu. We ordered some quick bite sized food to try out the menu and warm us up for the night. On the table; Healthy edemami, pine apple Salmon, mini burgers and the best olives in town (Anyone can tell me where to buy this for at home?? – please leave a comment below) As for the cocktails – The bartenders here now their stuff. Cocktails are taken very seriously which I found out when we got one served in a treasure chest. A what? Yes.. with 20 straws, rose petals and smoke included. EPIC.
I have to say that the beetroot feta and walnut salad was heavenly, but nothing beats that big bulky treasure chest! Did I already mention it arrives with a parade of Hawaiian dressed staff and some modest fireworks?
If you are single and ready to mingle you have a big chance to find your future ex in here! Why not give it a shot of love?
Make sure to call for reservations as this place is always packed!
Jumeirah Beach road – Umm Suqeim
Next to Jumeirah beach hotel and 360.
+971 4 380 7731
Newly opened in Boxpark Bianca Mozzarella & co is specialised in traditional Indian Curry. Naaaaaaaah, just joking! Obviously specialised in Mozzarella you will discover mozzarella on a whole new Level!
Let’s go way back, to Italy, 1922, where Bianca and Vincenzo de Marco founded a farm to start a small production of Buffalo Mozzarella and dairy products. As the family turned famous for being the number 1 Mozzarella destination in the Battipaglia region their secret was the exceptional milk produces by their own water buffalo’s. From a small dairy farm Mamma Bianca turned the business into a successful company. Driven by the desire to spread the authentic flavour of the products of their food tradition, Bianca’s two young nephews decided to export their product to Dubai, where they created Bianca Mozzarella& co.
The crisp white interior can be described as clinical, fresh and contemporary, while the exterior is inviting and cosy, like you would expect from an Italian place. A cute bicycle and flowers are positioned at the entrance where as inside vegetables and fruits are displayed to add some vibrant colour to the decor. Everything in the restaurant is custom made in Italy using Eco- friendly materials that are from sustainable resources and environmental friendly. I even noticed the cute tiled table top which is inspired by the real tiles you can find in Italy. The interior might be tiny with narrow tables, but it feel soooo cosy!
When it comes to Italian food, it is quite hard to make a bad dish, but to make a very good one is something not many restaurants can manage. Luckily, Bianca’s has put a lot of effort in using the finest and high quality ingredients and you can clearly taste the difference! We started of with a little bread basket and my favourite was the spongy bread with rosemary. The olive oil is made specially for them by their choice of farm. As a starter we obviously had to try the fresh mozzarella served with diced tomatoes and drizzled with pesto which was a favourite! We were lucky enough to see how the mozzarella was made by the chef and I am sure that this was the freshest I have ever tasted! As a main I tried the pasta that came in a delicious crispy basket which I believe was made out of cheese. The flavours where so fresh and simply put together to make a great dish. Even though the portion was not that large I felt too stuffed to try the deserts, which is a shame as I heard that the tiramisu is too die for! Ill definitely be back for this one!
Obviously the Mozzarella! Home made so you can’t find any better in Dubai!
Did you know that the name of Mama Bianca in Italian means “white” the color of milk? I guess faith decided that since she was born her destiny was to make Mozzarella!
Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah
Phone:+971 4 345 5300
So for this review we are going to do things a bit differently. As I have been to Iris brunch a few times now and I can hands down say that this is my favourite brunch in Dubai! Therefor I had to make a video to show you how amazing this place is! From the food, the location, the music, to the the cocktails.. everything is excellent!
AED 360 (includes a delectable buffet with soft drinks, mocktails and juices.)
AED 460 (includes a delectable buffet with premium alcohol)
AED 560 (includes a delectable buffet with Prosecco)
AED 650 (includes a delectable buffet with bubbly)
The Oberoi hotel
Business Bay – Dubai
+971 4 444 1444
I Hope you enjoyed reading the second edition of SIN’S BIG FAT FOOD GUIDE! Please let me know what your favourite restaurants are and perhaps you have already been to one of the places above? Don’t leave before you share with me what you absolutely love and passionately hate, I can’t wait to hear!
Much love, Samantha