These are our favourite things in the UAE right now…

Getting summer travel ready thanks to… & Other Stories

The first destination on my Euro summer travel itinerary is Italy. First for my wedding in Tuscany, then to my mini-moon in Capri. I’ve started mentally packing my suitcase already, and as such, holiday wardrobe planning. I don’t know about you, but I like to have all of my holiday outfits planned out before I go. Step forward & Other Stories, who’ve brought out some gorgeous, breezy summer styles that I’ll definitely be filling my suitcase with. I’ve got my eye on some of their classic swimwear pieces, and already added to basket a beautiful knitted dress for throwing over a swimsuit ahead of a day by the shimmering Italian coast. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor

@andotherstories

Dining my way through 11 courses of pure culinary genius at… Chez Wam

I’m a big fan of chef Hadrien Villedeu, chef patron of Chez Wam. The way he laces his life into his dishes, telling stories from his childhood, early days rising through the ranks of kitchens around the world, and flavours that remind him of his wife – is artfully done. And that’s exactly what you get at his new 11-course tasting menu, available every Tuesday from 8.15pm. There’s just six seats a night at the pass, giving you front row seats to see each dish brought to life in front of you. Everything is so thoughtfully done, and paired with an illustrated menu by the talented Myriam Calvo (@myriamcalvo) which gives you a clue of what to expect from the next course. A course inspired by a fattoush salad, inspired by chef Hadrien and his wife’s weekly Lebanese order, a caviar egg with sweet Hatta honey that serves as an ode to his mentor the great Alain Passard, and a dish of scallop, crab and prawn designed to look like a jellyfish, which Hadrien hated as a child – are just a handful of the highlights. – Alice Holtham, Group Editor

@chezwamdubai

Getting to meet some real Hollywood legends at the premiere of… Bad Boys: Ride or Die

Look. I agree with you. Gratuitous humble brags are an ick. But there’s no way around framing what comes next without resorting to one. I feel incredibly fortunate to work for What’s On. It has given me the obscene privilege of meeting and interviewing some deeply interesting people in the movie making racket that so beguiles me. This week I got to meet Will Smith and Martin Lawrence for the launch of Bad Boys: Ride or Die, they were humble, charming, unified beams of positive light and they offered considered answers to all questions thrown their way. It was a special one, so I’d like to thank Empire Entertainment for making it happen. I can’t tell you anything about the film, as I’m sworn to an embargo. Just make sure you clear sometime in your June calendar. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor, Dubai

@badboys

Experiencing the flavourful fare of… Alaya

 

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There are few enclaves in this world that come anywhere near the culinary consistency of DIFC. It’s practically impossible to get a bad meal even if you use the spinning the bottle method as a restaurant selection technique. I’m committed to finding a rule-proving-exception in this universal constant – but somewhere you won’t find it, is Alaya. Ostensibly a Middle Eastern restaurant – the menu is full of showstoppers from all over the world. Dainty, garlic painted prawns, salads, steaks, chops and beautifully buttery pasta dishes. It might not be the best known name in Gate Avenue gastronomy but it’s doing some very tasty things, in the most elegant of ways. – Miles Buckeridge, Deputy Editor, Dubai

@alayadubai

Deep diving into the world of footwear with…The Ultimate Sneaker Book

For years now, I’ve seen people obsess over the 56th variant of the OG-version of the retro something. If that sounded like nonsense, it first did to me, too. Except, we’re talking about sneakers. Shoes. Sporty ones, inspired by people, places, brands, collabs, from leading manufacturers such as Nike, Adidas and others. If you want to get caught up to speed and are curious about what makes people shell out what they do for these shoes, get your hands on a copy of Sneaker Freaker – The Ultimate Sneaker Book. It covers everything from famous makes, their history, notable appearances and colourways. It’s also just a really cool book to have on your coffee table or in your bookcase. – Dinesh Ramanathan, Deputy Editor, What’s On Abu Dhabi

@virginmegastoreme

Welcoming a new addition to my workspace with…a Bonsai plant

My colleague couldn’t stop raving about the benefits of Bonsai plants, and insisted I get one to furnish my workspace better. Clearly, he’s not a fan of pyramids of empty water bottles. Now that the plant’s arrived, I’ll say it is quite compact, pretty and as a quick Google search would suggest, loaded with a host of health benefits – including purifying the air. Which I hope is accurate, because my last cologne pick was a disaster. – Dinesh Ramanathan, Deputy Editor, What’s On Abu Dhabi

@homecentrestores

Meeting up with friends over a delicious bowl of ramen at… YUi

 

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 It has been ages since I met up with my besties, and we are kicking the weekend off with a dinner at YUi Ramen House in Dubai Design District. I haven’t personally visited yet, but I have heard great things from colleagues (and Google reviews). As usual, I looked at the menu in advance and I am leaning towards the Tantanmen ramen – a bowl with minced miso chicken and paitan broth with a drizzle of chilli oil. The chicken gyoza and ebi tempura (deep-fried prawns) look delicious, too. Can’t wait! –Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter

Switching off social media and reading… Who Shot Van Gogh by Alan Turnbull

Tsundoku is the ‘phenomenon’ of acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. I promise I am not doing this on purpose, but I can’t help myself –  especially if I see a good online deal on a book that looks interesting. This week I stumbled upon ‘Who Shot Van Gogh?’ and it is bypassing all of the other books in my TBR pile. More than five reviews state it’s a must-read for Van Gogh fans, so, of course, I had to have it. PS – I believe Van Gogh didn’t do it, but now I can read opinions and research from those well-versed in Van Gogh and his life. And I wonder if my opinion will change after this weekend is over. –Aarti Saundalkar, Online Reporter

Feeling very cool and hipster at… Soul Kitchen

I visited Soul Kitchen for the first time this past week, and what they say about that place is true. It’s so cool, and everyone that goes there is also so cool, and you will be too as soon as you step inside. A mix of Latin American and Levantine goodness, the food is top notch, and every experiment will leave you wanting more. Besides that, it’s all about the atmosphere, fuelled by the story of all the creatives who built the space, and the heavy emphasis on the music. This is where you can show up in sneakers with a Victorian-style dress, and you’re winning. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter

@soulkitchendxb

Having a long overdue girls’ night out at…The Maine

When the girls get together, nothing else matters. We had a cute night out at The Maine recently, and let me tell you, it’s the perfect vibe for a girls’ get together. The ambiance is lively, the food is delicious French comfort staples and it’s just one of those places you can come to as you are, kick back and relax at till midnight and just have a good time. You can tell it’s an old classic – feels like a well-oiled machine that’s seen many a group like yours. Will be going back swiftly. – Manaal Fatimah, Junior Reporter

@themainedxb