It’s true what they say, in our lifetime we fall in love with people and places. After having the most amazing trip in Dubai almost two months ago now, within a few hours into the trip I knew that Dubai was one of these places I’d fall head over heels in love with. Having family that have now lived over there for several years (how unbelievably lucky), I decided it was time to finally take a trip outside of Europe and treat my mum for her 50th birthday. Dubai happened to be the destination for this trip and all I can say was thank goodness it was. What a place. From the amazing architecture and skyscrapers standing tall and proud in the likes of Dubai Marina or downtown Dubai, to the HUGE shopping malls and glorious beaches, everything will leave you wanderlust and wanting more. One thing they sure know how to get right over there is the food and I just couldn’t get enough of it, from trying out new dishes to being in constant disbelief at the portion sizes, it’s a food lovers idea of heaven.
With plans to go back as soon as I possibly can, but sadly nothing set in stone, for now I’ll just have to reminisce and stick with a food post on some of the wonderful places you should eat out at if you ever find yourself in Dubai.
Within Madinat Jumeriah, a resort combining tradion and luxury, you will find luxury hotels, a souk (re-creation of an ancient marketplace) and tonnes of restaurants and bars. We headed to Perry and Blackwelder’s Original Smokehouse, which is the first ever original smokehouse in Dubai, home to the BBQ. With a table outside and views of the waterways that flow through this beautiful resort, I felt as though I was sat in a modern restaurant within a traditional Arabian town. For food I opted for the New Orleans Jambalaya, and this was the first time I had ever heard came across anything like it. I can only describe this dish as being a ‘throw anything and everything in it’ type of dish, it’s a spicy rice dish with chicken, sausage, shrimp and SO MUCH FLAVOUR! With my family constantly posting pictures on Facebook of where they’re eating out in Dubai, a more recent post from my Uncle with pictures of this jambalaya had me desperate to try it out for myself. Having never tried shrimp before due to me being very set in my ways, I thought “well you’re only in Dubai once, just get it down you Holly“, and guess what? I did, and oh mama it was good, too good actually. This dish was so flavoursome and filling, it reminded me of paella with a dash of every ingredient thrown in to create something magical. If you ever come across this on a menu, you HAVE to try it, take my word for it.
I’m going slightly off topic here but it’s all for the right reasons. This isn’t food related but if you’re ever in Madinat Jumeriah for a bite to eat or just to check out its wonderfulness, then be sure to do an Abra Tour around the resort. This is a traditional boat ride lasting around 20 minutes, and is very intimate due to the boats only fitting a small number of people on them. My cousin and I done this one evening when the sun had set, whilst the rest of the family sat by the water having a couple of cocktails. It was really lovely to see the resort all lit up in the evening, and you get some gorgeous views of the Burj Al Arab in the background which makes for some amazing pictures (the driver of the boat was very enthusiastic about taking each and everyone’s pictures with the strikingly beautiful Burj Al Arab in the background).
Another place on my food bucketlist in Dubai was the Cheesecake Factory, there are a number of these in Dubai and we ended up going to the one within JBR (Jumeriah Beach Residence). After ordering our drinks, our server returned with glasses so big you may have difficulty actually picking them up. Now let’s talk about the food here because my favourite thing about the Cheesecake Factory is the vast menu, there really is something for everyone. I couldn’t make my mind up between the macaroni cheese burger or the chicken katsu curry, but as you can see, I went for the chicken katsu curry as this is one of my favourite dishes at restaurants back home. I had been warned prior to the visit just how big the portion sizes are and that I would ‘struggle to finish my dinner‘, and yes, they were certainly correct about the portion sizes. I reckon my jaw probably dropped when our waiter brought the dishes to the table. The katsu curry was slightly different in taste from what I’m used to, but it was super delicious and amazingly presented. I felt as though I was on an episode of ‘Man vs Food‘ due to the very size of the dish, but despite the odd struggle… I made it and completely devoured it. I was actually insanely proud of myself, so much so that I took a before and after picture of my plate as it was truly a historical moment. My uncle, a grown man with pretty impressive muscles didn’t even manage to finish his, so I’m either greedy, determined, or haven’t had food as good as this before.
The only downside for me was that the whole purpose of going to the Cheesecake Factory is to experience their famous cheesecakes, which is something I didn’t get to do, as no one else wanted dessert and I certainly didn’t want to be the only one stuffing my face with cake (REGRETS!!!). If you have the opportunity to visit the Cheesecake Factory and don’t have room for dessert, then don’t be silly like me, get a slice of cake and take it away because you will regret it, although I’m sure this is a good enough excuse to go back?
After not getting to try out the famous cakes on offer at the Cheesecake Factory, I found myself wanting dessert one night in the Mall of the Emirates. My uncle had told me previously that he loves nothing more than getting a slice of rainbow cake from Hummingbird Bakery, so of course that was exactly my plans for that evening. Shopping in any of the malls in Dubai will really take it out of you, so whilst wanting to stop for a drink and to refuel my energy levels, I got a slice of rainbow cake to take back to the house. Everything is just massive in Dubai, the cake slice itself weighed a tonne, I had it that night, and then for breakfast the next day (don’t judge, I was on holiday, it’s allowed).
I actually wanted to wrap this slice of cake up and keep it forever, it was too pretty. At least I know I can trust my uncle’s judgment as he has very good taste indeed. The red velvet cake also looks like it would be a treat so please Hummingbird Bakery, save me a slice for next time.
Last but not least is one of my new favourite restaurants, and a place I can’t go a day without speaking about, thinking about, dreaming about (you get me?). After booking tickets to go up the Burj Khalifa, we decided to grab some dinner at The Dubai Mall beforehand. With us constantly eating out during our time in Dubai, we were trying to decide where to go out of the MANY places in downtown Dubai, in addition to what we actually felt like to eat. The one thing I miss when I’m abroad is a good Chinese, so the mention of P.F. Chang’s, an Asian Cuisine/Chinese restaurant instantly won me over. With temperatures of 36 degrees during the day, the evenings were more than pleasant so we jumped at the chance for a table outside, which made some great seats for the dancing fountains of downtown Dubai. I started off with chicken dumplings, also known as gyoza, and these were phenomenal. Back in the UK you’re lucky to even get 3 of these as a starter portion, so to get 6 I felt like I had just won the food lottery. If the starter wasn’t good enough then the main was just about to get even better. I chose the mongolian beef, a new dish for me and this decision was based on the fact it was highly recommend by my uncle and auntie. I chose white rice to go along with this and WOW, it was so good, the beef was so tender, juicy, flavoursome, it was everything you could have hoped for in a dish (my stomach was crying tears of joy). With a massive brunch to look forward to the next day, I didn’t want to make myself sick from gluttony so I got what I couldn’t eat boxed up and ate it late the next night (it tasted just as good as the night before).
During the final few days of our time my mum and I just couldn’t get P.F. Chang’s out of our head, so on our last night we headed back to the Dubai Mall for a little mother, daughter evening without the rest of the family, and ‘found‘ ourselves in this very restaurant again. Coincidence? I think not. The mongolian beef was definitely on the cards but I wanted to try something different for a starter so we decided to share the dynamite shrimp and crab bites. The shrimp came in what looked like a martini glass and were absolutely covered in the a sriracha aioli. Can someone please direct me to somewhere in the UK that does dynamite shrimp because this was out of this world, no wonder it gets the name ‘dynamite‘. My mum couldn’t get over the sight of me eating seafood like this, I don’t think she imagined herself ever seeing that day, but it happened and I can’t wait to get back and order this shrimp on my next visit. The crab bites were amazing too, but the dynamite shrimp is quite clearly one of P.F. Chang’s signature dishes, as almost every table were ordering it.
The last meal in Dubai was well and truly appreciated, I’m surprised my seat belt still fastened on the plane journey home. There were plenty of other fantastic places I ate at during my trip, but for me these places mentioned in the post were some of my favourites. Have you ever visited any of these places, or generally, what is your favourite restaurant?