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.
Check out the latest movie trailers and cinema listings of films being release in Dubai this weekend. Click here.
Art Season is in full swing in Dubai. The marquee event at Madinat – Art Dubai – has been hailed as a huge success, while Art Night in DIFC once again pulled in unprecedented crowds, alongside Sikka Art Fair, celebrating various established Emirati and UAE-based artists, a bigger and better Comic Con coming in April, and a special one-off Art Wars exhibition.
Meanwhile, the Dubai Street Festival has been moved and rebranded to create DubFest, the Middle East’s largest international street theatre and comedy fair at The Al Ghurair Centre in Deira, running until March 29. The free family-friendly event will see performances from a Cirque Du Soleil-inspired breakdancing crew from the USA, a special performance from the elected head of the Covent Garden Street Performers Association, an escapologist, a rubber-faced clown with a bouncing brain, a one-man equivalent of ‘Wallace and Gromit’, a rubberband powered human jukebox, a group of levitating Italians, and a freestyle street painter from Japan.
In total, 30 international acts from over 12 different countries will take part in over 300 shows, running 4pm to 11pm on weekdays and 2 pm to 11 pm on weekends.
Al Ghurair Centre, Al Rigga Road, Deira, until March 29, daily 4pm to 11pm, 2 pm to 11 pm on weekends, free. Metro: Union Station. alghuraircentre.com
It seems like only yesterday that David O Russell was hosting the first festival screening of American Hustle, bringing the curtain down on another terrific Dubai International Film Festival. And with the Gulf Film Festival just around the corner, cinema lovers have much to look forward to. Before that, though, those with a real passion can explore the wonder of French-speaking cinema this weekend as Vox Cinema in Mall of the Emirates hosts francOfilm, which features nine films from nine countries – Belgium, Canada, France, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Switzerland, Senegal and Chad. Every screening will be subtitled in English, with three also in Arabic (Heritages, Rock the Casbah, On The Way to School), while entry is a mere Dhs25. This is the fourth edition of the festival, and it runs to Saturday March 29.
“francOfilm Festival is a wonderful opportunity for audiences in the UAE to come and enjoy a unique and compelling line-up of films,” the French Ambassador to the UAE said. “This is a wonderful occasion to celebrate French language with this cultural event, French being the language of Arts and Culture.”
The Sevens will be awash with the colour green this weekend as it hosts the Dubai Duty Free Gulf Gaelic Games on Friday March 28. More than 110 competitive games of Gaelic Football and hurling will take place across six pitches, with around 1,000 players taking part for 50 teams from all over the world. Even the referees have been flown in from the Emerald Isle. It is quite the event. This is the ninth running of the festival, which will also feature Irish music and dance, family entertainment and evening entertainment following the conclusion of the finals.
“The tournament is very important to the Irish community living in this region,” said Sean Staunton, president of the Dubai Celts, who are the dedicated hosts. “It also opens its doors to welcome all our overseas guests to what has become a highly competitive, highly entertaining, action-packed weekend.”
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LORD OF THE DANCE
The legendary Lord Of The Dance is in Dubai this weekend only, on Thursday and Friday March 27/28. The show, which claims on its official website to have been seen by more than 60 million people in 60 different countries on every continent since its inception in 1996, returns to the UAE for the first time in a decade, to the Dubai World Trace Centre. Tickets cost Dhs250. For that guests can expect all the energy and excitement which catapulted frontman Michael Flatley into the public limelight in the mid-90s. Described as ‘a magical adventure of sight and sound that transports its audience to a mythical time and place, lifting the spirits and capturing the hearts of all who experience it’, the show has smashed records wherever is gone, selling out some of the world’s most iconic venues.
World Trade Centre, Dubai, Thur 5pm, Fri 5pm and 9pm, Dhs250. Tel: (050) 2842020. Metro: World Trade Centre. lordofthedance.ae
Jennifer Lopez brings her new show to Dubai as part of the World Cup celebrations at Meydan on Saturday March 29. And the singer and actress isn’t afraid to bare her soul. Speaking previously, she has said: “I want to be remembered as a symbol that you can accomplish whatever you want and that you don’t have to be just one thing. You don’t have to be labelled. I always knew what I wanted to do. When I first started acting and singing, I just thought about being the best I could be. I always wanted to be great at what I did — that’s what drove me. If I got rejected, I wouldn’t take it personally. I was like, ‘Make them a fan and they’ll bring you back in for something else.’ I never thought about money or fame, and I never really thought that would happen to me. All that was just a by-product.”
The American superstar, who last appeared in the UAE in 2012, is famous for hits like ‘If You Had My Love’, ‘My Love Don’t Cost A Thing’ and ‘I’m Real’, as well as movies including ‘Out of Sight’, ‘The Wedding Planner” and ‘Maid In Manhattan’. The Bronx-born star has an estimated worth in the region of $250million (Dhs920m).
The Dubai World Cup day is the richest day of racing in the sport’s calendar with nearly Dhs100million up for grabs – including almost Dhs37m for the big race alone.
With a spectacular fireworks display and the inclusion of J-Lo on the post-race concert bill – as well as prizes for the best dressed – World Cup day is as much about the party as the pedigree horses.
Dubai World Cup Closing Concert, Meydan Racecourse, Dubai. Saturday at 10.30pm. Tel: (04) 3272110. Taxi: Meydan Racecourse. Admission is for World Cup ticket holders only.
Spreading love and happiness, and repping the UK, MOBO Award winner Estelle heats things up into an urban meltdown at Chocolate Nights, Supperclub, on Friday March 28, following the likes of Fabolous, Ashanti, two-time Grammy Award winner T-Pain and Chicago rapper Twista. Speaking recently she said: “I’m just excited that I get to put out the music I love rather than music just for the sake of it. It touches people’s lives. The same way Whitney [Houston] is my Whitney, people say, ‘You’re my Estelle.’ I don’t take it lightly. People often don’t know what to expect of me. They sometimes say, ‘I was expecting you to be cheeky and rude but you’re cool.’ And I’m like, ‘Why do you think I’m rude, just because I have an opinion?'”
Estelle’s work has earned her numerous awards and accolades, including two MOBO awards, a World Music Award, and one Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for American Boy with Kanye West. She has also received two Brit Award nominations, including one for Best British Female Artist. The Brit has attracted controversy recently following the release of a new single ”Make Her Say (Beat it Up)”. The track, which is available on her new album ‘Love & Happiness: Vol. 3: How Stella Got Her Groove Back’, has been criticised for the explicit nature of the lyrics and video.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, West Crescent, The Palm, Dubai, Fridays, 10pm to 3am, Dhs295. Tel: (04) 4511100. Taxi to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. facebook.com/supperclubdubai
BRAND NEW HEAVIES
Pioneers in the UK’s acid jazz scene, The Brand New Heavies’ blend of jazz, funk and soul is the perfect sundown soundtrack for this Friday March 28 at Barasti. Since first forming in 1985, fourteen people have been in the band. The Heavies still count the three founding members – Jan Kincaid, Simon Bartholomew and Andrew Ley – amongst their number. Dawn Joseph is lead singer these days. In total they’ve popped out 11 albums since their first in 1990, which cost just £8,000 (Dhs45,000) to put together. They’ve racked up 16 UK Top 40 singles, with their highest charting single, You’ve Got A Friend, got to No.9 in 1997.
Barasti, Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Resort, Dubai. Free. Friday, 11am to 3am. Tel: (04) 3181313. Taxi: Barasti
With his latest tracks for Josh Wink’s Ovum label rocking dancefloors, Chymera heads to Dubai on Friday March 28 for the next installment of Machu Warriors. Tidal, backed by Moot Point, sees the Irish producer on firing form. Since first recording on Ovum seven years ago, Chymera has recorded for Kompakt, NRK and Komplex De Deep. He’s treating the warriors to the best of both worlds on Friday with a 90-minute live set and 90-minute DJ set. Gabriel Floriani, Haidz, Nader Razdar and Daylomar are all on support duty.
Story Rooftop Lounge, behind Zayed University, Knowledge Village, Friday, 9pm to 3am, Dhs100. Tel: (050) 8497332. Taxi: Knowledge Village. platinumlist.ae
Whether it’s their approach to their latest artist album or forthcoming summer season in Ibiza, M.A.N.D.Y. look to the past to move forward. Our friends at Hype caught up with the guys ahead of their weekend appearance at Blue Marlin, an interview which you can read here. This summer they will be back in Ibiza, curating their own events again, but things will be slightly different to last year. Ahead of all that though, it’s Blue Marlin on Friday March 28. Having already played in the region, one half of the pair, Patrick, excitedly reports it was one of his favourite gigs. “It was a very special party as the crowd was very aware of what we were doing, they were very excited and dancing a lot so I super enjoyed it!”
Blue Marlin, Ghantoot Al Jazira Island Hotel, Dubai. Friday, 1pm to 11pm. Tel: (056) 1133400 for guestlist. Taxi: Ghantoot Al Jazira. bluemarlinibiza-uae.com
With a reputation for delivering solid, good times wherever they play, the Plump DJs – Lee Rous and Andy Gardner – are widely regarded as amongst the earliest pioneers of breakbeat. Their Plump Night Out album launched the London-based duo onto the international DJ circuit at the turn of the millennium. Since then, the Plumps have navigated shape-shifting musical plains in a way that many of their peers failed to. Maintaining their breaks aesthetic, the lads throw down sets that are stylistically broader capturing dancefloors with their wailing electro synths, fearsome basslines and bad-boy experimentation. And this weekend, on Thursday March 27 they are at Media One Hotel for the Superheroes party.
Superheroes, The Dek On Eight, Media One Hotel, Media City, Dubai. Thursday March 27 6pm to 3am. Metro: Nakheel. Taxi: Media One Hotel. facebook.com/superheroesdubai
Movida is handing over the reins to party brand YOLO tonight for a very special Dubai World Cup weekend edition. Partygoers will be treated to a full catalogue of tunes across all genres, including house, old skool, hip-hop, and some original mashups from Lawrence James, Alex Simmons and Ibiza veteran Chris Wright. The YOLO party includes stunning visual equipment to give more than just your ears a good time. And there’s an added bonus, too; the first 500 party people through the door will also receive their own YOLO mix CD.
Mo*Vida, Radisson Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: 055 3665040. Metro: Financial Centre. movida-dubai.com
A trio of R&B stars will officially launch the beautiful new restaurant at Pier 7 on Friday March 28. American duo Lloyd and Jeremih will be joined by Brit Bobby V for the event at Atelier M. The star chef behind iconic US restaurants Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, and Spice Kitchen and Mercer Kitchen in New York, has brought his golden touch to the UAE, and it has got everyone talking. It’s French contemporary cuisine with an Asian influence in a glamorous setting of chandeliers, mirrors and art deco screens. Posh, yes, but not stuffy. An open kitchen, clubby music, rooftop garden bar, waiters with cool haircuts and tattoos, and an informal sharing style of eating all contribute to a place that says it’s OK to relax and eat well.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4507766. Metro: Dubai Marina. atelierm.com
Nawwara at JW Marriott Marquis launches its new concept on Thursday March 27. Intimate, on the gorgeous hotel terrace, will kick off with What’s On Awards winner Marko Smokingroove for a night which promises to ‘providing premium access into the inner circle of Dubai’s most notable DJs’. David Craig, Greg Dufton and Richard Round are also lined up for the coming month for an event which offers ‘the venue’s VIP crowd a unique opportunity to appreciate quality music in a relaxed and refined setting – igniting the weekend in style’.
JW Marriot Marquis, Business Bay, Thursday 6pm to 2.45am.. Tel: (04) 4143000. Metro: Business Bay. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com
EMBRACE EARTH HOUR
One week after the Festival of Light bathed the area in sparkly gloss, Business Bay and Downtown will be plunged into darkness at 8.30pm on Saturday March 29 as Dubai joins cities around the globe by switching off its lights for Earth Hour 2014. The dazzling lights of the Burj Khalifa will be turned off and darkness will reign in a bid to raise awareness of climate change. In the build-up to the big switch-off, people can enjoy a laser projection show, workshops and performances along Bay Avenue from 5pm. The annual Earth Hour is organised by the World Wildlife Fund together with the Emirates Wildlife Society, which works to promote nature conservation within the UAE. It aims to offer a simple way for people to demonstrate that they care about the planet.
In Abu Dhabi, one of the most iconic hotels in the region, the Yas Viceroy, with it’s phenomenal grid-shell structure which has captured many a design enthusiasts eye, will be taking part. Situated on Yas Marina, across the renowned F1 race track, one of the hotel’s most acclaimed features is it’s dynamic light structure which it will be turning off in to do their bit for the environmentally conscious event. Other initiatives the hotel will be implementing will include dinner by candle light in each of the restaurants, with themed dishes and drinks served during the hour.
EAT FOR ENERGY
Make Business Hub’s POP-UP Friday continues on March 28 with ‘Eating for Energy’, from 10am. Alongside Holistic Living For Life, the guys at Make in JBR will educate and inform on not just the benefits of a balanced, healthy diet, but actually how to stick with it. RSVP your spot at: email@example.com. With a swish neo-urban interior, this is a place for young professionals to be seen. An uncomplicated menu offers healthy breakfast and lunch options.
Dubai Marina, Al Fattan House Tower, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3929216. Metro: Dubai Marina. makebusinesshub.com
CRAZY EARTH, THE ART WAY
Swedish artist Peter Sköld served as a UN peacekeeper in the Bosnian War, sustaining an injury that deprived him of feeling in his painting arm. Forcing himself to adapt, Sköld developed a method of dripping paint on to surfaces from above. The results form a new exhibition, Crazy Earth, The Art Way, at Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi, which runs to Tuesday April 1.
“Crazy Earth, The Art Way is based on my experience in the Bosnian War, and more recent events in my life,” he says, explaining that art really helped him heal. “During my second tour of duty in Bosnia, I was captured as a prisoner of war and faced torture on a daily basis. I later sustained the injury that severed feeling in my right arm. When I heard I would not regain feeling, I felt anger, confusion and loss. This was combined with images of innocent women and children, and villages being ransacked. I felt hopeless.
“When I returned to Sweden, there was no infrastructure to deal with war veterans. Unlike other European countries, war is not deeply rooted in our history, and the returning members of my company did not have a support network. Of the 30 who returned, 12 took their own lives. I was in an abyss and saved myself by retreating into painting. I shut myself in the cellar for hours, even days, at a time, hashing out emotions on canvas. My work was dark at that time, with a lot of brown and grey hues. My wife chided me for this and asked if these were the only colours at the store.
“My art was therapy that helped ease me back into everyday life. Later it became an expression of happiness when my wife became pregnant with our first child. My work took off after that, with lighter, more humorous themes. Crazy Earth, The Art Way tells a compelling narrative of hope and the randomness of chance encounters.”
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 6543000. Taxi: Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.fairmont.com
PHIL COLLINS TRIBUTE
The ‘Easy Lover’ will be in town on Thursday March 27. Well, his leading tribute will be. Andrew James, who with more than 20 years’ showbiz experience, will take the stage at the Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai for a show covering some of the Genesis star’s greatest hits from the 80s and 90s, including ‘In The Air Tonight’, ‘Sussudio’, ‘Against All The Odds’ and ‘Another Day in Paradise’. The show will take place al fresco, on the hotel’s recently extended terrace, which can host up to a 1,000 people.
The Terrace, Millennium Airport Hotel, Garhoud, Dubai. Dhs250 with BBQ and selected drinks. Tel: (04) 702 8833. Metro: GGICO millenniumhotels.ae
The hugely popular monthly flea market for mums to sell their quality, pre-loved baby, toddler and maternity items returns to Times Squar Mall from 9am to 2pm on Saturday March 29. As well as the trunk-loads of items for sale, free arts and craft activities for children will feature, as will a free buggy servicing and check for all Mountain Buggy and phil&teds strollers. “Having lived in Dubai for eight years now and running my own moving company, Easytruck, you start to realise how much ‘stuff’ gets wasted in this town,” said founder Natalie Humphrey. “Babies grow out of their clothes and toys on a daily basis, and their ‘baby clutter’ occupies so much space in our homes. So many mums tell me that they have spent hundreds of dirhams on clothes or shoes, so to be able to get some money back from selling these items is just great. The money they make from selling their unwanted baby clutter is then put towards the family holiday. Baby Bazaar works because it is essentially a win/win situation – mums sell their unwanted baby clutter, make money and free up much needed space in their home. And the mums who buy at Baby Bazaar get to take home good quality baby and toddler items for less than half the price they would pay in the shops.”
For more details visit babybazaar.org or call 050 5532048.
SPRING INTO FASHION
Sharjah City Centre will fill this whole weekend with fun entertainment, contests and activities for the whole family, kicking off on Thursday March 27 with high energy catwalk shows by youngsters showcasing the must-have fashion trends. An attention-grabbing flash mob is also set to descend on unsuspecting shoppers, while face painting, balloon bending and a special magic shows will continue throughout. Special gifts and vouchers will be available to a select few who really embrace the day.
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LOOKING AFTER YOU
GET READY FOR RACEDAY
The world of thoroughbred racing isn’t short of a dirham or two, and the most valuable race day of all takes place right here in Dubai. With nearly Dhs100million up for grabs – including almost Dhs37million for the big race alone – Dubai World Cup day on Saturday March 29 is the richest day of racing in the sport’s calendar. With a spectacular fireworks display and post-race concert lined up – as well as prizes for the best dressed – World Cup day is as much about the party as the pedigree horses. And like the horses, the crowd at the World Cup must be well groomed too. So we’ve put together a handy guide to getting ready for the big day. Click here for all your style help.
Meydan Grandstand, Al Meydan Road, Dubai, noon, Dhs25. Tel: (04) 3272110. Taxi: Meydan Racecourse. dubaiworldcup.com
BANISH BAD HAIR
They’re huge in LA, New York and London, and now Dubai’s beauty mavens can celebrate the arrival of a blow dry bar. Instead of reaching for the styling tools (or a hat) the next time a bad hair day strikes, girls can now nip into Pastels Salon and take their pick from a menu of seven customised treatments. From the Curly Girl Blow to turn frizzy locks into tumbling waves, to the Red Carpet Blow for those big nights out, we reckon these treatments will go down a storm with the stylish set. Prices start at Dhs120 for short hair.
Pastels Salon, Mercato Mall, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 9pm, Fri 10am to 9pm, from Dhs120. Tel: (04) 3447883. Taxi: Mercato Mall. pastels-salon.com
The Nail Spa has added a host of new treatments to its menu to coincide with a new look for its spas. Hot ‘N’ Cold Hydrotherapy, the Minty Chocolate Sole Scrub and the Lavender Heel Peel are among new arrivals, along with a new range of products and services from celebrity skin expert Dr Dennis Gross. We predict the DDG Instant Glow – a skin-brightening facial that takes just 20 minutes – will be a hit with time-poor ladies with a packed social calendar.
The Nail Spa, Dubai Mall, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 3399078. Metro: Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. thenailspa.com
BOOTCAMP BODY TREATMENTS
A body-shaping boot camp that requires zero physical exertion? Where do we sign? SensAsia Urban Spa’s new menu of Mama Mio Bootcamp packages promise to tackle problem areas like bums and tums with cellulite-reducing and elasticity-improving treatments. The Bootcamp For Tummy combines a re-texturising fruit-acid peel for deep exfoliation with an algae rich mask, while a massage wakes up lazy abs and increases circulation. The Bootcamp For Butts incorporates deep tissue massage and is designed to stimulate collagen production and ease water retention. Jessica Alba and Kourtney Kardashian are among Mama Mio’s famous fans.
SensAsia Urban Spa, The Village Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm, Dhs315. Tel: (04) 3498850. Taxi: The Village Mall. sensasiaspas.com
DinnerTime already scored brownie points with us when they launched their delivery service, which brings everything you need to whip up great dinners at home. They’ve gone one step further and now cater to those with gluten intolerance. We had a peek at the menu and spied healthy concoctions such as fresh salmon with gluten-free tagliatelle pasta.
Dhs400 for two. dinnertime.me
TIKE AT THE MARKET CAFÉ
Starting on Thursday March 27, the tastes of Turkey with spices straight from the Tike kitchens in Istanbul will takeover the Market Cafe at Grand Hyatt. Three guest chefs from Istanbul’s award-winning Tike Mediterranean Grill & Bar return for a week of Turkish delights. Featuring signature dishes which have been delighting diners for more than a decade, specialities include BBQ Doner, Ozel Adana, Turkish Osmani and a variety of salads, mixed grills and classic Turkish desserts. Available for lunch and dinner.
New restaurant Nawwara is serving tasty Levantine cuisine, taken from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and Turkey. Nawwara means ‘light’ in Arabic, and the name rings true as you enter. They’ve gone to town with swathes of white curtain, cream canvas banquettes and Arabesque golden globes casting light from above. A blue-tiled water feature splits the dining room in two, the sound of trickling water sadly competing with dated pop music.
A glance down the menu reveals an enticing camel kofta – firm and beef-ish – and kebbeh nayeh (raw minced lamb mixed with bulgur, herbs and olive oil). The cold mezze were delicious with velvety hummus, spicy muhammara chilli paste, and a moutabel dip of roasted aubergine. A basket of warm pita bread was replenished without asking, letting us scoop and dunk with abandon.
The mixed grill included simple lamb kebabs and chunky chicken shish taouk kebabs, with an eye-watering garlic paste on the side. We kept some mezze for the main course, to accompany the meat fest. We suggest rounding it off with ashta bil asel – a plate of fluffy cream drizzled with honey and sprinkled with pistachios before your very eyes. After a feast like this, you won’t care what floor you’re on.
JW Marriot Marquis, Business Bay, daily 7pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 4143000. Metro: Business Bay. jwmarriottmarquisdubailife.com
ALL YOU CAN EAT
An Asian food carnival takes over Sakura, the Japanese restaurant at the Taj Palace Hotel Dubai in Deira, on Fridays and Mondays. There’s sushi, tempura and a teppanyaki chef doing his thing amid a lively atmosphere at this all-you-can-eat bargain.
Taj Palace Hotel Dubai, Deira, Dubai, Fri and Mon 7pm to 11pm, Dhs99 with soft drinks. Tel: (04) 2232222. Metro: Al Rigga. tajpalacedubai.ae
KIDS EAT FREE
Tony Roma’s the enormously successful traditional American restaurant famed for racks of juicy ribs, signature steaks and gourmet burgers, is celebrating the launch of its new menu by giving kids 50 per cent off on weekdays. Global executive chef Bob Gallagher jetted into town recently to put his special stamp on the menu as it was rolled out across the UAE. “Dubai is always a favorite stop when on my food tours,” the celebrated chef said, as he hailed the Mojo Chicken as his new personal favourite. “The city has such great character and the mix of people always fascinates me. I believe the new dishes will really suit this market, who love trying new things.” The bumper deal for kids comes with a side order of fun, too, with the Sheikh Zayed Road location now boasting a dedicated play area.
Sahara Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Tel: (o4) 331 3777. Metro: Emirates Towers. Taxi: Emirates Towers Metro, south side. tonyromas.ae
Going to Cargo is a little like finding yourself in the Harrison Ford classic sci-fi film from the 1980s, Blade Runner. No, don’t panic, there are no murderous replicants chasing you down if you spill your drink – we mean it in a good way. The fabulous new bar in Dubai Marina has tapped into that stylish, slightly industrial, futuristic Hong Kong atmosphere in its decor, food and drinks. With copper-topped tables – some high, some low – and wooden crates lining the wall behind the bar, bare light bulbs and exposed pipes and steel cables, Cargo has the feel of a Chinese harbour. And, again, we mean that in a good way.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Dubai, daily 6pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 3618129. Metro: Dubai Marina. cargo-dubai.com
This place used to be called Bapas, serving Belgian tapas. The concept never took off and the name didn’t trip off the tongue either. But a new Belgian chef, a rejigged menu and a name change – Brussels – has made it a ‘must visit’. Chef Yves, who successfully launched the Belgian Beer Café brand in the UAE, has gone back to basics with hearty, Belgian comfort food. We’re talking chunky chips with mayonnaise, Ostend seafood soup, and Flemish beef stew that was cooked for two hours with a pear and apple syrup that bordered on Chinese hoi sin sauce.
The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily noon to midnight, Thur and Fri noon to 3am. Tel: (04) 3858881. Metro: World Trade Centre. facebook.com/brusselsdubai
Any time a new Media City eatery opens (which isn’t often) you can almost hear the cheers of delight from hungry media types who work in the area. Welcome, then, to Café Italiano, a charming place in the Arenco Tower, serving breakfasts, good coffee, excellent pastries from Sicily, as well as pizza, pasta, panini and salads. The wooden tree sculpture is pretty cool too. It’s worth popping in on your day off, that’s for sure.
Arenco Tower, Dubai Media City, Dubai, Sat to Thur 7.30am to midnight. Tel: (04) 4533318. Metro: Nakheel. loungecafeitaliano.com
If you find yourself in The Dubai Mall and feel the need for some quick and easy eating, the new Mexican import from New York, Rosa Mexicano, is worth a stop. Enjoy classics like the excellent guacamole, made exactly how you want it, the hamachi hard shell taco, braised lamb taco with pistachio habanero purée and a tinge of mint, and the flauta, a rolled up fiery and filling crispy chicken taco smothered in salsa. It’s good for families and children, and it’s a lively place with smiley staff.
The Dubai Mall, Sun to Thur 11.30am to midnight, Fri and Sat 11.30am to 1am. Tel: (04) 3882505. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. rosamexicano.com