Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rated: Eat Greek

I'm sure you've all been to the new area, The Beach, of JBR where there's a full new strip of restaurants alongside the gorgeous beach filled with elements of art, sand sculptures and even work out stations. I love this area. Only downside is the traffic (for parking & people in general) but hey, nothing new there about JBR so just accept it!

One of the restaurants on my radar was 'Eat Greek' since I rarely ever eat greek food in Dubai. There aren't that many that I know of (have only heard of El Greco and Elia - have yet to try either). If you know of any good Greek restaurants that ought to be tried, please let me know below.

Now since it was a Friday, there was a waiting time to be expected of 20-30 minutes as described by the hostess. However, I must admit they did only call me after 40-45 minutes and at this point, our hunger levels were somewhat soaring through the roof.

We were seated outside (as requested) and the weather was gorgeous! Pure bliss. Our waiter was so energetic & friendly from the start, that he put us in a great mood to start. Whilst we look around our menus & try to figure out what to eat, their fresh piping hot bread basket arrives and this is what happens. Suddenly we're just distracted...

I told you we were hungry. But in all serious note, their bread was delicious. It had a crispy crust and airy filling and was topped off with olive oil, salt and herbs. Two more baskets coming right up, please. Thank you.

On to the starters! For cold, eggplant "salad" & giant beans "plaki" and for hot, baked feta cheese (after Foodiva's enticing picture on Instagram - could not let that one go), greek salad (of course) and roasted beetroot salad.

I thought the eggplant salad would be something similar to a baba ghanouj (arabic eggplant mezze) but it wasn't at all. I would say it's a much brighter & fresher version of baba ghanouj which was quite tasty. It was very simple and focused on the true flavors of eggplant seasoned with citrus and herbs.

The giant beans were a win! Baked lima beans in tomato & herbs - pure yumminess. Spoon that over with the baked feta on their fresh bread - you will be super happy! That baked feta was just melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness. Pretty much devoured in seconds. Trust me when I tell you try this combo out!

The Greek salad was fresh, simple and perfect portion. My best Greek salad was in Greece itself but this was still very tasty. The roasted beetroot salad with yogurt, walnut, apple & croutons was alright. I thought there was too much yogurt on the beetroots & took a way from the roasted flavor. I also didn't think there needed to be croutons on the dish.

For the mains, we ordered the Moussaka burger, 'Kleftiko' roast lamb, Greek eggplant Bayildi and a couple of pita lamb gyros.

The burger was moist, juicy and had sweet taste from the caramelized onions (if you don't like a sweetness in your burger at all - this is not for you). I'm pretty sure there was honey in there with the onions - which I liked. If you're thinking that this is going to be a typical "burger" taste, I'd think again. I really enjoyed it as it was quite different but the downside was it was too messy and sort of collapsed as I was eating it. Also, you couldn't taste the grilled eggplant that much because it was such a thin piece. They had chip/fries on the side which were pretty yummy! The eggplant 'bayildi' is a great vegetarian option. I really loved all the Mediterranean flavors singing in my mouth and the sweet kick of honey it made it that much more interesting & harmonious. As for the lamb braise, ooh-wee!, this was tender, fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, sort of meat. It was delicious and quite a hefty portion. It did have quite a lot of fat to discard but it added flavor during the cooking process for sure! As for the 'gyros' sandwich, I myself wasn't the biggest fan however, my family members did enjoy it. I found it to be too heavy and in a sandwich form, I wasn't that comfortable to have that much fat on my meat. It made the process of eating a little less enjoyable. Try it out for yourself as my family did say it was delicious :)

We were too full to try out any desserts and decided that a walk around the beach was much more suitable :)

Total price break down below (for 6):
1 x eggplant salad = 15
1 x giant beans "plaki" = 25
1 x baked feta cheese = 45 (this is overpriced!)
2 x greek salad = 35 x 2 = 70
1 x roasted beetroot salad = 30
1 x "moussaka" burger = 50 
3 x pita lamb gyros = 45 x 3 = 135
1 x "kleftiko" lamb braise = 100
1 x greek eggplant "bayildi" = 50
2 x large local water = I forgot this one but you can take an estimate of what a local water bottle costs :)
Total (AED) = 520

I've rated Eat Greek 4.0 out of 5!

I would definitely return and try out some other dishes and I particularly enjoyed their mezze (or starters) the most! The ambiance was also great in terms of music, service and overall vibe. We also had THE coolest waiter in town! (check him out on my Instagram). I read that the Eat Greek in Australia (the original one) does traditional live entertainment and dish breaking on the floor - would have been great if we had that!

If you found this review helpful and would like to keep posted on the regular, please subscribe to me! Subscribe button is on the right side of this page. Thanks :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rated: La Brioche Cafe

I haven't really heard much of this cafe but I was in the mood for a dessert the other day (#mustsatisfycravings) and remembered this place was nearby on Jumeirah beach road.

I didn't actually know there was valet parking available so we parked in the normal pay parking (will definitely keep that in mind next time).

Upon entering the cafe, we heard a beautiful "Bonjour!" from the staff. Now this might sound cheesy but it felt so refreshing to hear that. I rarely ever hear the traditional greeting or "hello" of a country or cuisine of a restaurant that you visit in Dubai. Regardless of whether or not the staff is from that country, it was a nice touch.

As for the cafe, I loved the openness of food placed everywhere around the restaurant. Walking in, you have a dessert glass closet filled with chocolate goodies and near the purchasing area there is fresh beautiful smelling french bread, croissants, pastries, cakes... pretty much all food candy for your eyes to gaze at. Hence, I had a hard time choosing what to have since my mind escaped and took me to back to the boulangeries (bakeries) in Paris.

After many questions & recommendations from the staff (who are very much helpful and friendly), I opted for the carrot cake with a side of jasmine green tea.

Carrot Cake

The carrot cake was well spiced and had a good carrot flavor. As for the frosting, it wasn't too sweet which I liked. I personally enjoy a carrot cake that has nuts but that was yummy nonetheless. I wish there was more to the presentation though - I wasn't the biggest fan of the sugar carrot on top.

My friend ordered "La Tarte Chaude" which is basically any of the fruit tarts served warm with a scoop of ice cream (flavors included pistachio, strawberry, coffee, chocolate & vanilla to name a few). So one pear tart with coffee ice cream was put to the test!

Pear Tart with Coffee Ice Cream

I tried this one too and the pastry is quite delicious. there were a few pears which was a shame but the flavor was great. The coffee ice cream was good with a good hit of coffee flavor which I love. I like the stacked presentation too.

Total price breakdown below (for 2):
1 x "La Tarte Chaude" = 25
1 x Carrot Cake = 15
1 x Jasmine green tea = 17
1 x Sparkling water = 14
Total (AED) = 71

If I would like to have a quiet breakfast/lunch/tea/dessert/dinner, I would come back here. I really enjoyed the fact that it was not heavily packed since nowadays a lot of places are with the ever-growing Dubai (not complaining but just saying!) So this was a nice french escapade from all of that.

I've rated La Brioche Cafe 4 out of 5!

Have any of you tried La Brioche? What do you think?

Also if you enjoy reading my posts, please subscribe :) (top right of this page if you're on your laptop!)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

"Sha3bi Shop" - Al Mallah

Al Mallah is one of the first few places my family and I used to go to when we first moved here back in 2001. When Dubai wasn't what it is now - huge skyscrapers, all 'glammed up' and a bajillion different restaurants. Our weekends consisted of driving to Dhiyafa street and feasting up on Shawermas.

I still think such nights are the best nights.

That's why my "Sha3bi" pick today is Al Mallah. Now when we speak about Shawermas, I think it's important to lay out the details... don't you? 


- Chicken (crisped up on the outside for a charred flavor)
- Pickles 
- Tahina
- Garlic
- Either pita bread or "rigaag" bread (if pita, needs to be toasted from the shawerma oven as well)
- No stinginess on the fillings, please!
- Cheap price - it is a street food item - no fancy shmancy!

Simple, isn't it? No tomatoes, lettuce, salad, fries, no no no no no!

This place understands that and has what I think are the closest thing to true street shawermas. I still believe the best ones are in Amman but in Dubai, this is as close as I'm gonna get.

Al Mallah Dhiyafa branch is the one I go to and every time I do, it is always full. I love seeing the mix of cultures and families there all smiles and enjoying great food. Not one table doesn't order their shawermas - it's truly the best thing they have. And at 6dhs a piece, you just can't go wrong. I love the atmosphere of Sha3bi places since it is just so packed and loud (but not noisy)... watching the shawerma men carve away what seems to be around 6000 shawermas a minute! Incredible.

The next time you're craving a shawerma, go for Al Mallah if you haven't done so already.

Have you tried Al Mallah? What's your favorite shawerma joint? Comment below!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dubai Food Festival brings Beach Canteen to life!

Beach Canteen at Kite Surf Beach

With the Dubai Food Festival, comes more food related events, activities and experiences. The beach canteen is a new concept that is currently running across the 3 open beaches on Jumeirah beach road and I got a chance to check out the Kite Surf Beach Canteen on day 1 of opening.

The concept itself stood out to me because a) I love being outside (especially since we have to appreciate it the most during the cooler months when living in Dubai), b) I love the beach, c) I love trying new experiences and d) sounded like a great setting to have an early evening walk to with my parents.

I must apologize from now as the 'blogger' in me was not prepared to take pictures and hence the quality is smart phone and somewhat shaky. #shameless

Any who, here's a couple of snaps of our experience there...

Several restaurants/cafes temporarily set up pop up versions of their services with a selected menu for the Beach Canteen. Some restaurants featured were Loca, Extreme Shawerma and Seaview restaurant.

Seaview had their daily locally caught fish on display for purchase as well as their offered dishes. Their prices were very affordable as the fish was very fresh!

I wonder who the man looking at the menu is... :)

Intrigued by the idea of a fish shawerma, we decided to grab one and try it out. The hammour fish was very tender and the sandwich was quite yummy. Served with a side of fries for AED10 while listening to the lounge music being played on speaker with the cool breeze and ocean serene sounds - we were quite blissful.

We decided to finish off the night with a couple of rounds of foosball (or baby foot) and let's just say... I did not win at all (thanks Dad). The added complimentary games of foosball, volleyball and ping pong make this place great for families with children and just plain old adults for a little fun!

You should definitely check out at least one of the 3 beach canteens available till March 9th - great place for family, friends, kids with beautiful weather and affordable prices!

Have you been to any of the beach canteens? Share your experiences in the comments!