These are our favourite things in the UAE right now…

Getting ready for an epic desert workout with… The Giving Movement

This weekend, I’ll be one of 150 budding fitness enthusiasts heading out to the Dubai desert for an epic one-hour spin class with Platform Studios. Although my hand-eye-co-ordination and spin abilities remain pretty poor, I’ll certainly look the part, having picked up a matching khaki set from The Giving Movement’s newest drop, a new Seamless Collection. It’s everything we all know and love from The Giving Movement – flattering fits, breathable fabrics great for working out in, and comes in a range of dark and bright colours, whether you want to blend in or stand out at the gym. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor 

@thegivingmovement

Finding my new favourite escape from the office at… Kinoya

 

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I seldom leave the office during the work day. Not for lack of trying – earlier this year I was determined to add a lunchtime walk into my daily routine – but simply because life at What’s On can be pretty busy. However, this week, determined to take a break from the myriad emails and ever-enclosing press deadlines, I headed to Kinoya, just five minutes from our Media City base, with colleagues. It’s got a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it entrance on the first floor of Onyx Tower, and once inside, you feel like you’ve stepped into another world. Everything from the authentic and minimalistic design, to the fabulous staff and the menu that’s inventive but not intimidating blew me away. There’s a few crowd-pleasers you won’t want to miss, like owner Neha’s beloved Ramen’s and a katsu sando, but the truly spectacular picks for me were the miso butter eggplant and matcha parfait. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor 

@kinoya.ae

Sampling the best tasting anti-sleep medication on the market via…  Bacha Coffee

 

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Our two biggest annual awards are taking place in the next two weeks, and the blitzkrieg of admin necessitated by them has been taking its toll. It falls on top of all the other digital and social media tasks that need be done each week – and the article research, magazine planning, podcast tomfoolery, feature writing, plus all the meditation we’re supposed to be doing as adults in 2024, the exercise, rehydration, cleaning, laundry, parenting, husbanding, reading, healing, cold plunges, meal prepping and Mongolian breathwork. Importing more hours into the day is impossible, and the closest alternative not prohibited by strict penalties is coffee. And I know you’re supposed to grind coffee – but, my new crush is the unashamedly bougie Bacha Coffee. Now open in Dubai Mall, the brand comes straight outta Marrakech, is an essential journey for all coffee connoisseurs and it might be the only thing keeping me standing upright and in full command of my vision at the moment. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor – Dubai

@bachacoffeeae

Preparing for what might turn out to be the culinary collab of the year… at Moonrise

If you put a gun to my head, don’t, but if you put a hypothetical gun to my head and forced me to pick my favourite Dubai restaurant, I’d still really struggle to decide. I’d probably forget there’s a gun at all and start asking about variables and test conditions like, which season we’re talking about, whether there is a budget, are we talking about a somewhere you’d go once-a-week kind of gig, or like straight up – what’s the place that serves the best food in Dubai, for me, at the moment? If you hadn’t already walked away from the armed dilemma in boredom or disgust, I’d probably eventually arrive on the answer of Moonrise. It’s just brilliant. Chef Solemann Haddad is a genius. And it’s a beautiful imaginarium for conceptualising Dubai. Which is why I’m incredibly excited that, Chef Solemann is teaming up with Chef Tristin Farmer, (formerly of three Michelin-starred Zen in Singapore) for a special limited Feb 26-27 four-hand, 14-course, Dhs1,600 extravaganza at Moonrise. Book your seat at (0)50 697 2946. Space is extremely limited, because this genuinely will be one of the culinary events of the year. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor – Dubai

@moonrise.xyz

Reliving and relaughing with The Green Card Tour

 

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You ever hear of Russell Peters? Of course you have, he was just here in November. But he was a funny, funny guy long before November, and this week I found an hour to relive some of his most hilarious moments from 2010’s The Green Card Tour. Watch the OG laugh maker from up North as he has 30,000 fans and prospects in splits at London’s famous O2 Arena, minus that hat he’s been rocking since 2022. Don’t be a skeptic, watch and enjoy. It’s Friday. – Dinesh Ramanathan, Deputy Editor – Abu Dhabi

@russellpeters

Appreciating the sense of sound with…the JBL Bar 500

Sadly, this weather we’ve been enjoying may not last much longer. Which means more days indoors, and fortunately or unfortunately, cooped up with our electronics for company. If movie marathons, YouTube rabbit holes and OTT binges are what you have on your radar, invest in the JBL Bar 500. The brand, while known for affordable quality and that JBL bass, will have you experiencing excellent surround sound like you’re at the movie theatre, without having to install a ton of additional components. Sit back, tune in, and enjoy 590 watts of pure audio power. – Dinesh Ramanathan, Deputy Editor – Abu Dhabi

Get it at @carrefouruae

Getting glammed up to see the Phantom at the… Dubai Opera 

 

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The Phantom of the Opera has returned, and I can’t wait to go see it at the Dubai Opera this weekend. What’s On had a sneak peek of the performance this week and the preview sent my excitement over the edge. I’ve seen the musical when it was in Dubai back in 2019 but I am looking forward to seeing British-Lebanese actor Nadim Naaman take on the phantom. PS – If you aren’t into musicals, I urge you to see this performance, and I guarantee you will walk out looking forward to the next one. – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter 

@dubaiopera

Finally checking out a museum that’s been on my list for a long time… Etihad Museum

 

It around a 25 minute walkaway from home, but I have never visited Etihad Museum until this week. It is honestly one of those spots that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Historically called the Union House, the museum offers a history lesson teaching visitors about the story of the founding of the UAE through its eight pavilions. At the moment, you can also catch a temporary exhibition titled Introducing Zayed National Museum: The Foundations of Unity which offers us a preview of the upcoming Zayed National Museum in Abu Dhabi. While you’re there, be sure to pop over to the Cocolily’s Cocoa Bar underneath the UAE flag – the biggest flag in Dubai. – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter 

@etihadmuseum

Discovering new foodie gems at… Polline

 

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Here at What’s On, we love supporting home-grown businesses. There’s nothing more inspiring than hearing people’s stories about how they started and how the UAE country helped them fulfill their life-long dreams. Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting the husband-and-wife team behind Polline, an authentic Italian restaurant located in Jumeirah. It’s the region’s first pasta atelier serving the freshest seafood and delicious homemade pasta dishes. All ingredients are sourced locally, and everything – from the pasta to the burrata – is made fresh in-house every day. And you can taste the difference. What to order? For Dhs120, you can get three-courses including the homemade sourdough bread with fermented chili butter, followed by the charcoal prawns to start, pomodoro and burrata tagliatelle for mains, and orange sorbet for dessert. And don’t worry, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the beach so you can walk it all off after. – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter

@pollinedxb

Upgrading my lunch aldesko thanks to the arrival of… Pret A Manger

 

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Maybe it’s the Brit in me, but I can’t deny my love for a good sarnie. In fact, there isn’t much I wouldn’t eat slapped between two slices of bread. Pret A Manger recently expanded its presence in Dubai with the opening two new locations: one of them (much to Team What’s On’s excitement) a short walk away from our office in Media City. For those unacquainted, Pret A Manger is a beloved coffee shop chain originating from the UK. They serve a good cup of coffee but even better sandwiches, salads, soup, and sweet treats. Depending on my mood, my go-to order includes the posh cheddar and pickle sandwich or the tuna baguette. Lunch aldesko = sorted. See you at the counter? – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter

@pretuae

Seeing one of my favourite artists at… UNTOLD Dubai

Knees deep in UNTOLD writing, I was scrolling their Instagram long before the festival had happened, and I saw an additional 16 artists who were added casually to the lineup. Excitedly searching through the names of artists, I stumbled across one of my absolute all-time favourite artists – Masego. I genuinely couldn’t contain my excitement.  For context, one of the first conversations I had with my man when we first started dating last year was that I would give literally anything to see Masego live, that it was a bucket list, dream concert (bar Harry Styles, again.) I secured my ticket and off I went to see the saxophone playing, soulful singing, “building beats on stage” marvel of a music man. I think I may have shed a few tears when he performed back-to-back all my favourite tracks. Every single person in the crowd around me jammed along to the songs, cheering as he lifted his sax into the air tapping away at his keys. It is an evening I won’t ever forget. – Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter

@untoldfestivaldubai / @masego

Let me tell you about the butter and the dulce de leche fondant at… Sucre Fire Dining

 

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The last week or so has been one for ticking off bucket list items it seems. On my bucket list, since Alice raved about the dessert oh so long ago, Sucre has been very close to the top. When the girlies told me we were doing lunch at Sucre, I jumped at the opportunity. While everything about the restaurant was chic and beautiful with DIFC dwellers doing lunch, I personally was only concerned about dessert. However, when the butter and focaccia arrived at our table, I fell in love. If they can’t get the basics right, they’re doing something wrong. And Sucre unequivocally, whole-heartedly, and undoubtedly nailed that smoky and salty butter on the crisp in the right places focaccia. I knew I was set for success. If you’re not going to do the chef-tasting menu (which is only Dhs395 per person) then I recommend you try the prawn linguini, it was outstanding. But if you go for absolutely nothing else at Sucre, go for the dulce de leche fondant because it will wrap you up in a warm hug, tell you that you’re safe, and sing sweet nothings in your ear. All I’m going to say – bury me in it. – Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter

@sucredubai

Dressing up the ankles with…colourful socks

As someone who has spent majority of their adult(ish) life adding black, and only black clothes to her cart, I’ve very recently started incorporating bits of colour into my wardrobe. I still love me a good neutral mix, but a great way to add some funk and personality to what some might call a boring outfit is colourful socks. Funky prints, bold patterns and bright colours – this is where I go wild. My choice of shoe is also mostly neutral – black or silver, and the contrast takes things up a notch instantly. It also just makes me happy because now I’m excited to get up and conquer my day so I can wear my Lays chips printed socks. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter

Watching history unfold with…A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

 

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My current read and commute companion is A Fine Balance by Indian author Rohinton Mistry – a story of four unlikely housemates during a harrowing chapter of Indian history. As a graduate of the Indian schooling system, we’re taught in detail about the aftermath of the Partition on the subcontinent and the declaration of the Emergency butentirely in a clinical manner. A Fine Balance tells the tales of the people who were in the thick of it, and shows us how the terrible decisions of people in power do nothing but devastate the lives of the common man in the wake of it all. Stunning read, and one I know will break my heart. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter