These are our favourite things in the UAE right now…

Celebrating the leading lights of the capital with the… What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards 2024

This week, we gathered 500 of Abu Dhabi’s finest hospitality minds for a memorable evening at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island to crown the winners of the What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards 2024. With record-breaking attendance, brilliant entertainment, a fabulous dinner and the small matter of more than 40 winners announced, it was a magical evening against the backdrop of one of Abu Dhabi’s finest destinations. A huge congratulations to all the winners! – Alice Holtham, Group Editor

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Dining at Dubai’s newest hotspot… Jara

 

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I’ve been talking about the opening of The Lana, Dorchester Collection’s Middle Eastern debut in Business Bay, for several years – and last month it finally arrived. It’s a lesson in soft, modern luxury, through discreet service and contemporary design, and brings to the city a dazzling rooftop bar, quintessential afternoon tea, and a soon-to-open Dior Spa. The latest addition to the culinary array is Jara, which I was delighted to check out on opening night this week when its acclaimed chef Martín Berasategui was in town. Few restaurants are at that level from the get-go – everything was so slick, from the knowledgeable team to the fabulous presentation of the flavourful Basque dishes. Foodies, add this to your must-try list, ASAP.  – Alice Holtham, Group Editor 

@jarabymartinberasategui

Avoiding Ketchup calamity with… Heinz

I’m not a huge fan of tomato ketchup – it’s a second tier condiment for me, which means it’ll go on a portion of fries if there’s no hot sauce in the vicinity. My daughter however. Huge fan. To the extent that she views every edible noun as a delivery vector for the sauce. There’s a different reason for my including it as a thing I love this week. It’s because of Heinz Arabia’s latest marketing campaign. They’re offering insurance against 57 ketchup-ccident (no coincidence this is the number of ‘varieties’ of Heinz products) claim scenarios. Each of the 57 insurable categories, comes with an amusing name (for example, Young Picasso) along with a descriptive qualifier (the claimants offspring uses the ketchup for artistic purposes, I’m looking at you Mali). The claims are paid out against MyBenefits services (which include laundary, and spa treatments). Fish and chips incidents are not covered though – because, you know, acts of cod. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor – Dubai

@heinzarabia

Looking forward to The Big Gourmet brunch at… Jumeirah Al Qasr

The Jumeirah Al Qasr’s Big Gourmet Brunch (priced from Dhs450) returns this Saturday for another one-and-done outing. And the descriptive use of ‘big’ is a bit of an understatement. It’s a gastronomic event that combines the culinary stylings of eight Al Qasr restaurants including – French Riviera; Al Nafoorah; Atrangi by Ritu Dalmia; The Hide; Pai Thai; and Pierchic. Beyond a mere collaboration of cuisines, the palace-tier resort will represent ground zero of a brunching phenomenon, fusing the creative arts of multiple Michelin honoured kitchens. It’s a stretchy pants kind of brunch, is what I’m saying. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor – Dubai

@jumeirahalqasr

Staying up late to watch… The Shawshank Redemption

Long ago in a distant land, in an alternate universe unbeknownst to mankind today, people didn’t binge television shows sat on their couch in pajamas. They dressed well, made plans, and arrived at the movies at 7 o’clock to watch what they hoped would be a blockbuster. Speaking of which, I watched one such blockbuster earlier this week, sat on my couch in my pajamas – but only because movie theatres don’t operate at that hour. The Shawshank Redemption tells the tale of Andy Dufresne and his relentless hope to be freed back into the world after being sentenced for life, albeit seemingly wrongfully. Get set to be drawn into a world that is a polar opposite to the one you know, for a full 142 minutes. Memorable performance from the one and only Morgan Freeman included. – Dinesh Ramanathan, Deputy Editor – Abu Dhabi

Feeling the flavour with…Wing Stop’s lemon pepper sauce

The next time you’re swinging by the mall, done with your fast-fashion finds and are looking for flavour-packed indulgence, swing by Wing Stop at the food court and order their boneless chicken wings in the lemon pepper flavour. Not too bland, not too spicy, and guaranteed to make your afternoon more fun than commenting on this article ever will. – Dinesh Ramanathan, Deputy Editor – Abu Dhabi

Finally checking out a top cultural spot in the capital… Abrahamic Family House

It’s taken me a year, but I finally visited Abrahamic Family House this week. The cultural landmark is a place of worship for the three Abrahamic religions housing a mosque, a church, and a synagogue. During my visit, I absolutely loved the peace I felt. The entire complex is entirely coloured in an off-white hue which to me only further helps promote the space as a special beacon of love, tolerance and peace. There is security in place so if you do plan to visit, make sure you only carry the necessities in a small handbag. The best news, entry is free but do register online in advance. – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter 

@abrahamicfh

Shopping till I drop at… The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale

I said it before, and I’ll say it again – I am not fond of shopping. But just say the words ‘book sale’ and I’ll be one of the first in line. The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale opens its doors in Dubai today and I can’t wait to visit post-work. I’ve already been multiple times in the past, and have a TBR piles that’s probably my height, but can’t wait to add to it. See you there! – Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter 

@bigbadwolfbooks_uae

Ticking off a bucket list Dubai foodie experience at… Girl and the Goose

 

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Former cabin crew turned self-taught chef Gabriela Chamorro saw her childhood dream come true when she started supper club Girl and the Goose from her JBR apartment four years ago. Since then, it’s become a supper club sensation with a cult following and a wait list that is growing and growing. So much so, the Nicaraguan chef will soon join Dubai’s pioneering supper club chefs who have successfully gone onto open permanent restaurants. While we can’t wait to visit Girl and the Goose’s next chapter, we knew we needed a seat at the table it all began. Serving elevated Nicaraguan food with a healthy twist, chef Gabriela artfully combines elevated family recipes with culinary inspirations and vivid tales from her global travels. Our star dishes included the comforting prawns and yuca gnocchi, plantain tempura, and seabass ceviche with homemade lychee sorbet. Read my full review here. – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter

@girl.and.the.goose

Visiting the craziest new restaurant in Dubai… StreetXO

 

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PSA: The world’s best chef and owner of three Michelin Star DiverXO in Madrid, chef Dabiz Muñoz, has (finally) opened a fun fine dining concept in Dubai. From crazy cocktails to explosive street food-style dishes, the ever-disruptive chef has brought his experimental South American cuisine to the new One&Only One Zabeel hotel – and yes, it’s worth braving the DIFC traffic for. What to order? I won’t give too much away (our full review will be up soon) but we recommend the Pekinese dumplings (Dhs105), octopus taco with parmesan (Dhs75), and do not leave without trying the Fluido dessert (Dhs75). – Tamara Wright, Online Reporter

@streetxo.dubai

The rest is still unwritten with… Natasha Bedingfield

“Release your inhibitions, feel the rain on your skin. No one else can feel it for you. Only you can let it in. No one else, no one else, can speak the words on your lips drench yourself in words unspoken, live your life with arms wide open. Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.” – Team What’s On at the top of our lungs, on the way back from the What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards, while I drove us back from the capital. Also, team What’s On the rest of the week in the office, casually and sporadically.Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter

A face set and sorted thanks to… Huda Beauty

 

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This week we hosted the What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards 2024 (firstly a massive congrats to all of our winners, you’re superstars!) Part of the awards means that I get to dress up. If you know anything about me, you’ll know I will take any excuse to do my makeup and dress up – that meant doing my makeup and I can quite confidently say that approximately half of my makeup routine is done with Huda Beauty products, Huda is actively and vocally Pro Palestine (slay) and her products are honestly just so great. For my eyeshadow, the Nude Light mini palette is my go-to, her colour corrector in the shade peach. Then, set it and forget it with her easy bake setting powder (I use the pink blossom mixed with the Fenty pro filt’r in shade butter) and if you know me, her lip contour in shade pinky brown completes any lipstick look.  Shelby Gee, Junior Reporter

@hudabeauty

Discovering a new casual date night favourite with… The Lighthouse

The best kind of plans are the most spontaneous kind, that are actually made at an alarmingly close time to the going out part. This past week my fiancé and I went on a little impromptu dinner date to The Lighthouse in D3. Stunning location, laid back vibes and delicious food that was easy but not boring (chicken tenders are great, but time and place, people). It’s the sort of place you can get used to to going back often, where you already know all the best things on the menu. A sweet mid-week pick-me-up, as spending time with him always is. We’re going back for sure. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter 

@thelighthouse_ae

A Fine Carpool karaoke on the way back from the… What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards

Team What’s On knows how to have fun. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, we find ways to have a good time, and our drive back from The W on Yas Island after the What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards is a worthy mention. Awards season is usually total chaos, absolute madness and insane excitement, but our wind-down karaoke session in the car healed us. A healthy mix of Lady Gaga, Natasha Bedingfield, Eminem and Vengaboys makes for the most epic sing-along ever. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter

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