You know that moment on a Thursday afternoon when your work buddy asks what you’re doing this weekend and your mind goes blank? Well worry no more, friends, because What’s On has the perfect solution, whatever mood you are in.


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Restaurants, food fans and top chefs gather for the seventh Taste of Dubai Festival on March 13-15, with the likes of Thiptara, The Rivington Grill, Bice, Café Habana, Gaucho and The Act all featuring, among others. Premier French chef Jean Christophe Novelli will be in town to meet his followers and demonstrate his cookery skills. We spoke to the Frenchman to get his advice for would-be chefs.

Jean Christophe Novelli interview

March 13 to 15
Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai, Thur 4pm to midnight, Fri noon to midnight, Sat noon to 11pm, Dhs90. Metro: Nakheel.

The hugely-successful Egyptian party concept ‘The Teadance’ by Ganz is back in Dubai this weekend, on Saturday March 15. Described as an “uber-glam and super-sizzling with a passion for the extravagant and an intense attention to aesthetic-detail”, the weekly affair has been credited with reinventing Egypt’s nightlife scene since its launch in 2006. The third edition in the region will be kicked off by ToyBoys, followed by Cairo’s DJ Misty, all set to the backdrop of The Address: Montgomerie.

The Address Montgomerie, Emirates Hills, Dubai. Tel: (04) 390 560.

Groove On The Grass make a welcome return to Emirates Golf Club on March 14 with Watergate resident Konrad Black and Visionquest force Butch headlining. It’s the first gig of 2014 for the GOTG team, who have been “scouting some of the most forward-thinking artist line-ups for an amazing season ahead”.

Looking forward to their return, promoter Deian Markov told our friends at Hype: “Butch is an absolute party animal and has a fantastic sound to fit in our peak-time slot. He brings a lot of character, flavour and personality to his performance and productions and is an all around legend. Konrad Black, on the other hand, is a dark horse when it comes to the production world having some very abstract and deep productions with the likes of Azari & III, Art Department, Subb-An, Hearthrob and Troy Pierce. He’s a completely understated superstar in our industry and adds a perfect contrast to Butch’s lighter more groovy side.”

Set up like a boutique festival, get involved in some hands up or heads down action at one of Dubai’s coolest parties.

Groove On The Grass

Emirates Golf Club, Dubai. 6pm to 3am, Dhs120 in advance. Metro:

Hailed as one of the most forward-thinking DJs and producers in drum ‘n’ bass, Marcus Intalex is known for a tight, techy but soulful sound while his Soul:R label is one of the scene’s most consistently refreshing imprints, releasing music from established and rising global talent alike. But with a heritage stretching back to the early days of acid house he’s been mixing it up of late, returning to those heady days under the much-hyped house moniker Trevino. As he explains to our friends at Hype, keeping a clear distinction between the two genres allows him to separate his love for the 4/4 beat from the driving syncopation of drum ‘n’ bass… click here for the interview

The Music Room, Majestic Hotel, Al Mankhool Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 5012534. Thursday March 13, 9pm to 3am. Dhs100. Taxi: Majestic Hotel

HED KANDI (sort of)
Founder of the legendary Hed Kandi brand and now Fierce Angel, Mark Doyle brings his trademark funky house sound to the decks of Barasti Beach Bar on Thursday March 13. Here’s what he has to say for himself when he spoke to our friends at Hype.

Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, Dubai. Thursday March 13, 7pm to 3am. Taxi: Barasti.

Shatha Hasson, the winner of Star Academy Arab World, will meet her fans and give style tips at the Metro Link at Deira City Centre, from 6pm on Saturday March 15, as part of a weekend of events for ‘Style Star Search’. The scheme, which ‘encourages shoppers to express their personal and unique sense of style’, has seen a custom-built photo studio and red carpet installed at Diera City Centre. A list of 20 finalists will be selected for a public vote with the winner crowned on March 31. Shatha is an Arabic singer from both Iraqi and Moroccan ancestry, and is regarded as one of the most popular singers in both the Middle East and Maghreb region.

The brilliantly successful Jazz@Pizza Express concept welcomes critically-acclaimed Juliana Down to the restaurant on Saturday March 15. The Dubai-based group have opened for a number of renowned international artists including Muse, Guns N’ Roses and Maroon 5, and last month appeared on the main stage at the Dubai International Jazz Festival. They were the first band from the UAE to be signed to a major record label, and you can see them in JLT this weekend.

Jazz@Pizza Express

Pizza Express, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai. Tel: (o4) 441 6342. Taxi: Cluster A. Metro: Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

Fashion District at Mall of the Emirates launches the spring and summer collections of its retailers this weekend with a series of fashion shows at 7pm and 9pm on Friday and Saturday in the South Galleria. Halston Heritage, Ellie Tahari, Paule Ka, and Cocoon all feature. And there is added interest for the public, because shoppers who spend Dhs650 at any Fashion Store inside the mall will have the chance to win a brand new spring/summer wardrobe worth Dhs250,000.

Also on Thursday in the Fashion District is the BCBGMaxazria store opening between 7pm and 9pm, with a funky DJ providing the soundtrack to night.

The skeleton of a colossal dinosaur that wandered the Earth 155 million years ago has taken up residence in The Dubai Mall. Along with Louis Vuitton, Chopard and Chanel, the world’s biggest shopping mall is now home to the remains of an eight metre tall female dinosaur from the late Jurassic period. Alive, the huge creature would have been as heavy as five elephants and as long as five cars parked bumper to bumper. The bones – almost 90 per cent of which are original fossils – belonged to an adult dinosaur of the Diplodocus variety, known for their long necks, small heads, and snaking tails. “The new exhibit is educational, awe-inspiring, and yet another definitive reason to visit our city and the mall,” said Natalie Bogdanova, the senior director of business development and operations at Emaar Malls Group.

Dinosaur at Dubai Mall, lead

Click here for more on your chance to win a trip to Florida thanks to the Dinosaur.

Can’t wait for the artistic onslaught of Art Dubai? Get in the mood with this group show of miniatures by three artists: the UAE-residing Japanese-American Colleen Quigley, German painter Jakob Roepke and New York-based artist and musician Halona Hilbertz. The show is as deliberately eclectic as its creators. Curated to feel like a leisurely meander through an old-fashioned curiosity shop, it features collages, sculptures and mixed-media instillations, and wall art.

Until March 14
XVA Gallery, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Bur Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3535383. Metro: Al Fahidi.

If the title brings to mind stress, ticking clocks, mind-blanks, that’s precisely the point of Exam, a stage adaptation of the 2009 British psychological thriller film. Performed by local theatre group Backstage, the story follows eight candidates who have reached the final stage in the selection process for a role at a mysterious corporation. It’s Kafka meets The Apprentice. The candidates are left in a windowless room and given 80 minutes to answer one simple question. Forced to co-operate, they begin to reveal each other’s backgrounds, prejudices and hidden agendas. The tension mounts as the clock descends towards zero, and each hopeful must decide how far they are willing to go to win the ultimate job. Pens down please.

March 13 to 15
Kilachand Studio Theatre, Ductac, Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai, Mar 13 7.30pm, Mar 14 and 15 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Dhs100. Tel: (04) 3414777. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

March 14
Legendary rocker Bob Geldof returns to Irish Village on March 14 for yet another special St Patrick’s Day show. The Boomtown Rats star will entertain crowds as he has done year on year in Garhoud. Speaking ahead of his appearance, Geldof said: “I’ve been coming to Dubai for St Patrick’s Day for many years. I’m always excited to perform at Irish Village. It’s the perfect venue.”

It’s almost 30 years since Sir Bob galvanised the world to help the starving in Ethiopia through the massive Live Aid concerts. As Sir Bob makes his welcome return, our friends at Hype takes a look at some stars who’ve made (or are making) a difference in the world. From sports scholarships and music therapy to fundraising events and eye-watering donations, these are just some of the generous chart-toppers who’ve put their hand in their pocket to help others… click here to check out the list.

Bob Geldof performing in Dubai

The Irish Village, Garhoud, Dubai. Friday March14, doors open 7pm for 9pm show, Dhs75. Taxi: The Irish Village.

March 15
Today is Family Day with live Irish band The Logues flown in from Dublin, as well as resident band The MapleJacks, plus traditional Irish music and dancers at 2pm.

March 16
Music from Irish band The Logues at 7pm.

March 17
Live music all day from The Logues, The MapleJacks and local Irish band Roisin Dubh.

Al Garhoud, next to Dubai Tennis Stadium, 11am to 2am, free, Bob Geldof Dhs75 . Tel: (04) 2824750/(04) 2824752.  Metro: GGICO.

An Irish band is flying in from Galway to perform alongside house band Picture House at both Dubai venues. A troupe of Irish dancers will skip their hearts out, also at both venues. On March 15, rugby fans can watch Ireland meet France in the Six Nations (3pm UAE), and competitions could see you winning a VIP trip to Ireland.

March 13 to 17
McGettigan’s JLT, McGettigan’s DWTC, Dubai, Sat to Thur 12pm to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm; Fri 2pm to 5.30pm, 8pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 3780808.

The traditional Irish pub promises a weekend-long celebration with live music and drinks deals. On March 14, tuck into a slap-up brunch and see beIN Sports presenter Angus Scott chat live to former Ireland and Lions rugby star David Wallace. The Paddyman will play Irish songs and pop classics March 13 and 17, with other acts taking to the stage March 14, 15 and 16.

Saeed Tower One, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3322400. Metro: World Trade

Wild Irish entertainer The Paddyman performs at Barasti March 15 and 17. March 15 you can also catch Ireland take on France in the Six Nations at 3pm, with DJ sets from DJ Venus 2pm to 5pm, Marty Metcalfe 5pm to 8pm, Marky T 8pm to 11pm, and DJ Soto 11pm to closing time.

Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 2am, Friday and Saturday 9am to 3am. Tel: (04) 3181313. Taxi: Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort.

The St Patrick’s Day promotion on March 17 is four brews and an Irish burger for Dhs195. They have a range of Irish tipples and do a good Irish stew.

Sofitel, Jumeirah Beach, JBR, Dubai, daily 4pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 4484848. Taxi: Sofitel JBR. 

Buy three rounds and get the fourth free here on March 17. The menu includes oysters, Irish stew and pies. Live music is provided by singer/guitarist Emmanuel (2pm to 5.30pm) and folk band After Hours (7pm to midnight).

St Patrick's Day in Dubai

Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre, Airport Road, Dubai, daily 12pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 2170000.  Taxi: Le Méridien.

Cravin’ Cajun, the best slice of the Deep South available in Dubai according to our man Rob, is celebrating the Dubai Food Festival with a special three course set menu for just Dhs165. Head Chef, Jeffrey Whitfield, a New Orleans native serve the likes of jambalaya (shrimp, mussels and crab in a rich tomato gravy) and fried chicken with a cornbread waffle, spicy maple syrup, potato puree, fried cabbage and turkey gravy. There is also a live Jazz Band.

Novotel, Al Barsha, Dubai, Mon to Sat 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3049000. Metro: Sharaf DG.

A new South African healthy food and smoothie franchise has opened in Dubai Marina, catering for all manor of diets with an extensive menu that includes no trans fat, vegan options, wraps and smoothies. This is the companies first international outlet having achieved great success at home thanks to their fresh approach – all meals are made to order ensuring ingredients do not lose their flavor and goodness. And they say the oiliest item in the ‘No Fry Zone’ kitchen is an avocado. “We want to show that healthy and convenient food can also taste great, making Kauai a win-win option for today’s health conscious and on-the-go consumer,” they say.

Kauai, Park Island, Dubai Marina. Sunday-Saturday 9am to 10pm. Tel: 800 52824. Metro: Dubai Marina.

Dubai’s highest open-air rooftop cocktail lounge and restaurant has launched its Sunset Experience. What’s On’s ‘bar of the month’ for March overs unobstructed views from the top of The H Hotel and is reached by a glass elevator, which builds the anticipation nicely. The dimly lit bar runs along more than half of the venue and provides plenty of colour to an otherwise neutral decor theme. The seating, be it at the high table through the middle, or low-level lounge style seats around the perimeter, is white on brown wood, while the foliage dotted all over the place lends a bit of green. It’s understated in its beauty. But anyway, who’s looking at the cushions when you’ve got the city skyline all around you.

40Kong, The H Hotel

The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 5pm to 3am. Tel: (050) 2972097. Metro: World Trade Centre.

Formerly known as the Dhow & Anchor, in its previous incarnation this was something of an old man’s pub. It certainly had its charms, but the recent renovation has resulted in a modern British bistro with a large outdoor terrace serving up a roast dinner of the day, cracking burgers, lovely puddings and little surprises for foodies like a wood pigeon salad, rabbit confit and a huge traditional fry-up. Our tip? Go on a Wednesday evening to hear live music from Adam Shero Baluch, who cleverly records himself, loops it back and harmonises, covering the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry and Oasis to folky effect – he also beatboxes and plays the trumpet. Come the weekend, there’s sport on the screens, and many a Dubai dweller nursing that all-day breakfast. Thanks to our friends good for this one.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Beach Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 4068999.

The brains behind Dubai powerhouses OKKU, CLAW BBQ, Crabshack & Grill, and RIVA on The Palm have this week launched the beautiful Cielo Sky Lounge at the Dubai Creek Marina. With incredible views back across the Creek towards our home’s incredible cityscape, the sell is obvious. But the sophisticated nightspot offers so much more, including an award-winning cocktail team, live music – both local and international – and a strong Balearic theme. “The venue offers awesome sunset views and after 10pm we’ll transform into a high energy rooftop lounge – just like you’d find in LA and Miami. We have put emphasis on our extensive and innovative cocktail list, handpicking Dubai’s best mixology team to create bespoke beverages featuring the freshest and most unique ingredients for our guests,” said a spokesman.


Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, The Creek, Dubai. Tel: (04) 295 6000. Taxi: Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.

Dubai’s Supperclub are going after a slice of the urban pie with their new Chocolate nights. Aimed directly at hip hop and R&B fans, the weekly Friday nights kicked off recently with two-time Grammy Award winner T-Pain and Chicago rapper Twista – once the Guinness World Record holder as the fastest rapper on the planet for impressively getting his tongue around nearly 600 syllables in 55 seconds. This weekend Brooklyn hip hop artist John David Jackson – better known as Fabolous – is in town. Throughout his 15-year career, Fabolous has collaborated with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Nelly, Wiz Khalifa, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Ne-Yo and Akon, and has six studio albums under his belt.

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, West Crescent, The Palm, Dubai, Fridays, 10pm to 3am, Dhs295. Tel: (04) 4511100. Taxi to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.

Trendy burger joints are all the rage right now, as the cult of the pop-up restaurant booms around the world. But at The Counter they do things a little differently, adopting a DIY concept that allows diners to load their meaty bun with anything from grilled pineapple to bean sprouts, baby spinach to dried cranberries. There are up to 12 cheese to choose from, as well as over 20 sauces and four types of bun. One thing is for sure, they’ll entice you back for more simply to try something different. Less adventurous diners can order from the menu of house specials if they so wish.

The Counter, The Beach, JBR. Metro: Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

There’s no shortage of cafes in the UAE, but independent Spill The Bean is a far cry from the omnipresent chains, brewing single origin coffees from its own corner of cool on Beach Road. A haven for caffeine connoisseurs, the baristas take something of a scientific approach to your cuppa, measuring time and temperature to ensure you get the best buzz. There’s also food available, with gluten-free options and the most nutritional ingredients they can get their mitts on. We’re also loving the library, with a wall dedicated to books that customers can borrow, as well as adding to the collection. Thanks to our friends good for this one.

Sunset Mall, Beach Road, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3388559.

Three Michelin star Chef Pierre Gagnaire has opened Choix Patisserie & Restaurant at the InterContinental Dubai Festival City. With more than hint of Paris in the dishes and the decor, the beautiful setting has plenty to offer a worldwide audience. Opening night saw guests enjoy Balik Salmon and Jacob’s Cream & Seaweed Brioche, Beef Tenderloin with Onion Marmalade, and Comte Cheese and Baby Spinach. There was also a special “Hommage à Dubai”, a Camel Milk Panna Cotta, Saffron Cake and Dates Poached in Earl Grey Tea.


InterContinental, Festival City, Dubai. Tel: (04) 701 1136. Taxi: Festival City.

Media One Hotel wants to make you a ‘feedie’. The heartbeat of Media City has launched an initiative with the Feedie app to encourage diners at the cafes and restaurants to snap pictures of their meals and then share the image on social media at no extra cost. For every picture shared, the hotel will contribute to The Lunchbox fund, a charity to help feed school children in Africa.

To get involved and download the app simply click on to

Calling all cat loving bookworms, Feline Friends will be hosting a book sale this Friday and Saturday from 9.30am to 3.30pm with all proceeds going directly towards helping Dubai’s four legged friends. Catch the team in the garden of the Lime Tree Café.

Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, 9.30am to 3.30pm. Taxi: Beside Grand Jumeirah Mosque.

If Richard Branson decides to install a spa on board his Virgin Galactic space rocket, we reckon it might look something like the newly-opened spa at the Conrad Hotel. The twinkling LED lights and liberal use of blue – combined with plush treatment rooms and white leather furniture – create a sense of futuristic luxury we suspect would appeal to the adventurous billionaire. This contemporary haven has all the elements one would expect from the latest addition to Dubai’s heaving luxury spa scene, as well as a few pleasant surprises. We spied a picturesque yoga pavilion on the terrace, and the white loungers submerged in the water of the relaxation pool certainly looked inviting.

Conrad Spa

Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 9pm. Tel: (04) 4447440. Metro: World Trade Centre.

The American lifestyle brand C.Wonder has opened its first shop in Dubai. Preppy with a quirky twist, you’ll find colourful flat pumps, monogrammed tote bags, cute slogan sweaters and stackable rings in the bright and beautiful new store in Mall Of The Emirates. You can also pick up a stylish addition to your living room as well as your wardrobe – C.Wonder stocks gorgeous homeware, such as these gorgeous Ikat print cushions. 

 Mall Of The Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai, Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur to Fri 10am to midnight. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates.

Premium Italian fashion brand Gaudi has hit the UAE, with a flagship store in The Dubai Mall showcasing their latest collections. We’ve heard that plans are in motion to continue their expansion at a rapid rate across Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the coming months.

The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai. Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thur and Fri 10am to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 4340617.  Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.