Food, fun, events and studios, these are our favourite things in the UAE right now…

Impressive upscale vegetarian dining at… Avatara

By now, we all know that going meatless doesn’t have to mean a diet of uninspired sandwiches and raw vegetable bowls. But Avatara, the unique dining experience from the team who brought us the illustrious Tresind Studio, proves that vegetarian cuisine can also be astutely gourmet. Just one glance over its Instagram page and you’ll see creative, modern Indian, vegetarian dishes the likes of which you’ll have never seen before. Get cozy inside Tresind Studio’s OG space on Sheikh Zayed Road, as chef Rahul Rana breaks down perceptions around vegetarian food one unique degustation menu at a time. – Laura Coughlin, Head of Content

Avatara, Level 2, Voco Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Tue to Sun 6.30pm and 9pm, Dhs375 (food only). Tel: (058) 1432867. @avatara.ae

Pearly white polishings at… The Dental Studio

Growing up, I hated the dentist. Mr Wilson wasn’t a mean guy, but he was responsible for my Nan not letting me have sweets, and for, you know, Pulling. Out. Teeth. So, for me, a trip to the dentist has always been feared and avoided until it’s too late. Until I moved to Dubai. The Dental Studio has been my go-to for over 10 years, and the team are wonderful. It’s like the antithesis to standard dental studios – the décor champions warm Scandi tones, the staff are friendly, and the dentists treat you like old friends. My dental hygienist, Ciara Hendy, in particular, is a little ray of sunshine – she never gives me a hard time, even though she knows I’m fibbing about my flossing regime. Book in, and you’ll see what I mean. – Laura Coughlin, Head of Content

The Dental Studio, Villa 61, Umm Al Sheif. Tel: (0)4 395 5095. @thedentalstudio

Learning about the ties between Portuguese and Japanese cuisines at… Tasca 

Tasca

Did you know the Portuguese first introduced tempura? Neither did I until this week, when the two culinary masters of Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai’s signature restaurants came together for a four hands dining experience. The dinner saw chef Ross Shonhan of Netsu and chef Jose Avillez of Tasca put together a tasting menu for two nights only, that celebrated the Portuguese influence on Japanese cuisine. I’m still dreaming of the Bitoque-style Wagyu steak. – Alice Holtham, Group Digital Editor

@tascadubai

Sipping camelccino’s at… Emirates Palace

There’s few places grand enough to serve flakes of 24-carat gold on their hot beverages, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Le Cafe, Emirates Palaces’ grand iteration of a lobby lounge. Itself flaked in plenty of gold, it’s one of the most decadent spots in the capital for a hot beverage. But as well as all of your traditional teas and coffees, you can order your gold-flaked cappuccino with a dash of camel milk, thus creating the one-of-a-kind camelccino. This is Abu Dhabi, after all. – Alice Holtham, Group Digital Editor

@emiratespalace 

Gorging on cake from… LDC Kitchen

I recently celebrated my birthday and the team at LDC Kitchen very kindly sent me an incredible cake. Not just any plain birthday cake though, this one had a cheesecake-like biscuit base (and edge), with chocolate mousse and whipped cream in the middle, and was topped with Oreos. It was no less than sensational (and I can highly vouch for their olive cake, too). – Elise Kerr, Deputy Editor

@ldckitchen

 Escaping over the border to… Six Senses Zighy Bay

In my six years in Dubai, I’d heard a lot about Six Senses Zighy Bay, but I never realised how easy it is to get there until I went last weekend. Despite being in Oman, it’s actually right next to Fujairah, and took around two hours to drive to from Dubai. I couldn’t have felt further from our bustling city though, and it was exactly the paradisal break I was looking for. I spent my time lazing on the white sand, indulging in the restaurants and resetting my body in the spa, and came back feeling like a new woman. Stay tuned for our full review, if you’re thinking of booking a trip. – Elise Kerr, Deputy Editor

@sixsenseszighybay

Tackling fusion flavours… at Laung by Peppermill

 

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I have a relatively severe nut allergy, which makes me an incredibly easy assignment for an assassin, and a nightmare at restaurants offering certain forms of cuisine. I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, but I do love Indian food — it’s just been something I’ve shyed away from in the UAE, because when there are nuts involved, they’re often minced up and hidden in marinades. But Chef Rana at the recently opened (Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi) Laung, put together a specially adapted nut-free Pan-Indian feast for me this week, and it was a glorious homecoming. No EpiPens required. The chicken tikka with cheese, although it will sound alarm bells for some, was a work of genius. – Miles Buckeridge, Senior Online Reporter

@laungbyppm_uae

Preparing for the Dune sequel by reading… (The) Dune (Trilogy)

 

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Dune was easily one of the cinematic highlights of 2021, the sci-fi screen adaption was epic in every sense of the word — but it left us on a bit of a spicy cliff-hanger. Utterly impatient as I am, I ordered the original literary trilogy from amazon.ae — the magnus opus of Frank Herbert. I realise that this is the purest form of spoiler hunting, and I too, roll my eyes when people say ‘the book was way better’ — but trust me, the books are way better. And that speaks volumes. – Miles Buckeridge, Senior Online Reporter

amazon.ae

The privacy… in The Pods…

the pods dubai

Privacy can sometimes be hard to come by in a city as busy as Dubai. The Pods, a new restaurant in Bluewaters, promises just that. The clue is in the name – you’re in the kind of setting that would make Love is Blind producer’s jealous, as you’re given your own private dining pod, which can seat up to six, eight and 14 people. So, close the door on the outside world and enjoy Pan Asian food as well as creative cocktails – all at the press of a button. The Pods: the perfect place to take your social bubble.  – Kohinoor Sahota, Online Reporter

The Pods, Bluewaters Dubai, 6.30pm to 12am daily. @thepodsdubai 

The authentic Japanese food… at Mitsu-ya Dubai…

Chopsticks at the ready – there’s a new sushi bar and izakaya in town. Despite being in the swanky The Ritz-Carlton DIFC, this unpretentious restaurant has created an authentic Japanese dining experience. It’s all about the attention to detail, from the shoji screens to the wasabi shark skin grater – that’s how it’s traditionally done, after all. Get into the Japanese spirit(s) and try the sake as well as whiskey. The must-have dish is the wagyu beef tenderloin, which is cooked to your liking and full of juicy flavours when its dipped into the yakiniku sauce. Mitsu-ya Dubai: spectacular in its simplicity. – Kohinoor Sahota, Online Reporter

Mitsuya Dubai, The RitzCarlton DIFC, 12pm to 3.30pm, 6.30pm to 12am, Mon to Sat. Tel: (0)4 591 6397. @mitsuyadubai

Listening to classical music at… Dubai Opera

If I struggle to write, start to feel anxious or just need some soft background music as I read, I find myself on YouTube popping on classical music. This month, Dubai Opera has a month-long classical music festival returning – The InClassica International Music Festival. It features music from popular composers including Verdi, Beethoven, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Strauss and Dvořák performed by 50 world-renowned soloists and 11 celebrated conductors. You’ll most likely find me attending the performances where violinists take centre stage. – Aarti Saundalkar, Junior Online Reporter

@dubaiopera 

Watching a play at… The Junction

It feels like it’s been forever since I have seen a full length play at The Junction so believe me when I say I can’t wait to head back this weekend to watch 39 Steps. It is based on the 1915 adventure novel by John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock’s movie of the same name. What I find most intriguing about this performance is the fact that there are around 150 characters played by a talented cast of just five. We’ve been told to expect nonstop laughs, an onstage plane crash, missing fingers, plenty of props and some good old-fashioned romance. – Aarti Saundalkar, Junior Online Reporter

@junctiondubai