Tasty Eats at Taste Kitchen

In celebration of Eid Al Adha, me and my friend decided to ditch the overrated malls in Dubai (e.g. dubai mall, mall of the emirates and the likes) because we’re pretty damn sure it’ll be overcrowded. Instead we’ve decided to go to Mercato Mall in Jumeirah.

We really wanted to eat at Paul but we saw this nifty restaurant called Taste Kitchen. We saw their ads inside the mall and since we’re suckers for healthy clean food, we decided to try it. Apparently it is owned by Nick Alvis & Scott Price, the creative guys responsible for Table 9 (ehem, Gordon Ramsay trained chefs).  Think of fresh ingredients, creative cooking and friendly service in a very relaxing ambience, this is Taste Kitchen.

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Quick Visit to Bastakiya: Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

When the glitz and glamour of Dubai gets a bit too much, then better get out of the hotels and malls and I suggest you pay a visit to Bastakiya, the old neigbourhoods of Dubai. It’s just a couple of walks along Dubai Museum. Here, you’ll step into Dubai’s past and get a glimpse of what Dubai looked like in the days before oil. This is the other side of Dubai. Visiting this place keeps on reminding me that I’m in the middle east after all.

Bastakiya, located along the Dubai Creek, is known for its traditional homes, wind towers, and labyrinth of narrow alleyways. This is where the first settlements of Dubai were built. It was named after Bastak, a province in southern Iran, from where merchants emigrated on the invitation of the Emir of Dubai in the early 20th century to avoid taxation by the Iranian state. Today the restored quarter is filled with art galleries, cafés, museums, and boutique hotels.

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Impromptu Summer Escapade: Musandam, Sultanate of Oman

If you live in Dubai and you’ve had enough sun and tired of the malls, or maybe when it’s too hot to stroll around Dubai’s iconic landmarks. What should you do? Do as the locals do and drive to Musandam, Oman.

This is what me and my friends did a couple of weeks ago. But since we don’t have a car and no one has a license, we opted to just do what a normal tourist would do: search for tours in Groupon! With just a click of a button and for only 179 dhs, we found ourselves one weekend with a group of strangers travelling to Oman for a day trip to Musandam.

Why Oman?

Located on the north, eastern point of the Gulf, a peninsula separated from the rest of Oman by the Emirates. It is a place where the Arabian Gulf meets the Indian Ocean, whose waters are called the Gulf of Oman.  It is the land of the Queen of Sheba, a land of deserts, rolling sands and shifting dunes. A land of spectacular mountains and wadis.

Meetup point for the tour was in Mall of the Emirates at 8:00 am sharp. From there the van and our very cool driver slash photographer was waiting for us. In over three hours we drove all the way to Oman – one of the Arabian Gulf’s most dramatic drives in the Peninsula. We’ve seen some of the region’s most breathtaking views. The drive is somewhat harrowing, climbing a steep, narrow dirt road that winds around the rocky mountain. The scenery is extraordinary, from stone houses built into the sides of precipitous cliffs to the surprisingly fertile Sayh Plateau with its farmed fields of almonds, mangoes, and date palms. ANearby, there are birds-eye-views to Khor an-Najd, a breathtakingly beautiful, glassy turquoise bay.

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Arabian Tea House Café: a haven in the midst of a busy city

After visiting the infamous Dubai Museum (read more about it here) and Bastakiya Neighbourhood and you are in the mood to take in some fresh air and at the same time enjoy some tea or coffee then Arabian Tea House Cafe (formerly known as Basta Art cafe) is the place for you.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the modern city, Arabian Tea House Café is a place where serenity and calmness coincide, waiting for a romantic couple, group of friends or a happy family to spend unforgettable moments under the branches of old acacia or narra trees to relish delicious and mouthwatering food.

Located in the heart of Bur Dubai, this place is inside a bastakiya. Bastakiya neighborhood is named after the place where migrants from Iranian region, Bastak, resided. It was preserved, restored and maintained for every tourist, foreigner or otherwise.

I am telling you, the moment you enter this place, it is magical. Once you get in there, it will get into your mind and you’ll not forget it as long as you are alive. I was like, am I really in Dubai? I felt like I’m in a scene from the Secret Garden. The whole place is surrounded by greenery and blossoming pot plants like bougainvilleas. This leafy courtyard café makes you feel you’re a million miles away from the hustle of Bur Dubai. Arabian Tea House serves vast bowls of salad and tasty wraps, accompanied by freshly squeezed juices, a variety of teas and Arabian coffee. Books, craftwork and jewellery are also sold in their little shop.

This place will instantly remind you of the backyard of your house: serene calm and beautiful. The setting is very simple and comfortable under a huge tree with pretty flowers.

 

The stone walls house a cool and tranquil environment out of the sun or you can bask in the sun in the courtyard. Beautiful and rustic feel.

Arabian Tea house cafe delivers both atmosphere and tasty food. I couldn’t ask for more.  They offer 150 different teas. It is served in a pot, which you pour into a pretty little glass to drink the steaming tea.

We asked the staff what’s their best seller and she instantly recommended  1001 Nights Tea from Sri Lanka. I’m not exaggerating but by far, it’s the best tasting tea I’ve ever tasted in my life.

Arabian Tea House Club House (not so bad but not so special as well)

The pastries are heavenly.

The food is served in large portions and is a good value for the money. The only downside is the service is so unfriendly. Probably because they lack staff? There is only one girl attending to all the customers. Anyway, you can just sit back and relax while waiting for the server.

The contemporary bill box

The bill was exceptionally reasonable. For only 55dhs the Afternoon Tea comes with a couple of Pastries.

It isn’t so bad to hang out there at night as well. :)

While the weather in Dubai  is still bearable make sure to drop by to this picturesque cafe! As of writing, this restaurant / cafe is now one of my favourite places to visit here in Dubai. If I will go on a date or something like that I will definitely go here. It’s so relaxing.  :)

Dubai Museum: A Step Back in Time

Almost 2 years stay here in Dubai and I can’t believe I’ve only visited the infamous Dubai Museum just a few days ago.

I know Dubai nowadays is all about luxury – gigantic malls, impressive cars and lavish lifestyle. But visiting Dubai Museum I’ve learned that Dubai is way more than the grandeur. Dubai is a place rich in history and culture which is worth raving about.

Located at the Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai Museum is the main museum in Dubai which was built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. Upon entering, you will be welcomed with a sandy courtyard where you will find examples of the various boats used over time (for transport, fishing, pearl-diving and more), numerous cannons as well as a reconstruction of a traditional Areesh house.

Inside Areesh House

From here you can have a glimpse of the interior design taste of the past

Various weapons of the past, traditional musical instruments and other artifacts.

Start of The Gallery

This is the video room, showing a video, updated in 2007 that depicts Dubai from before the discovery of oil in the 1960s to the current day. Below it there is a map that shows the urban scape of the city growing in sync with the timeline of the video. It also includes several dioramas showing life in the Emirate before the advent of oil, in addition to artifacts from recent discoveries as old as 3000 B.C.

Life-size dioramas of the pre-oil era await behind the next door. A dhow unloading at the model creek-side souq. Moving ahead you will see the shops filled with craftsmen, vendors and buyers. A tailor, a carpenter, an iron smith, a textile vendor, the grocer’s, the Quran school and more. Realistic sounds and life-size videos of craftsmen at work give the impression of a bustling souq.

Look at the vintage Tide branding and packaging. I personally prefer this than the detergent’s current branding. :))

What is Middle East without Dates? :))

and of course Camel.

Depictions of desert life. A date farm, a camel, wild animals, and a Bedouin tent filled with jewelry, trinkets and objects from the daily life of Bedouins. The walls tell about their knowledge of the stars and how they used it to guide their activities.

The pictures above  shows the largest diorama which is all about the sea, with a huge scene of the building of a dhow, scenes of marine life detailing local species, in addition to a collection of sea-faring equipment. You will see how dhows are constructed and about the dangers of the pearl-diving industry – some divers could hold their breathe for up to 4 minutes and they risked jelly-fish stings and more in their pursuit of the tiny little white pearls.

The last diorama features an archaeological site in Al Qusais area that goes back to 3000 BC. There are tombs, an excavated skeleton, and an archaeologist. All the way sounds, visual effects and electronic guides accompany the dioramas. Cabinets filled with archaeological finds from Al Qusais site line the walls next to the excavation scene. Then finally the last track leads to a gallery displaying finds from other sites and historical eras, like the Umayyad site at Jumeirah. You will also see pots, pots and pots. Did I say pots? :))

Cute pens!

Then your last stop will be the gift shop from which you can buy several souvenirs.

Visit the Dubai Museum and learn how this city grew into what we see today. While you’re in the area, a visit to the Bastakiya (Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood) and the Arabian Tea House Cafe (read more about it here) is a must! These places are different stories to be told. :)

Entry fee: 3dhs for adults, 1dhs for children under 10;
Timings: Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 8.30am to 8.30pm, Friday 2.30pm to 8.30pm;
Location: Bur Dubai, 04 353 1862
How to get there:
Take the green line metro and go down at Al Fahidi Metro. It’s walking distance from there. it’s a bit of a walk though. Or from Al fahidi Metro Station, take a cab and ask the driver to drop you off at Dubai Museum. It’s a 10dhs ride.

Disclaimer: some excerpts taken from: http://www.expatwoman.com/dubai/monthly_discover_dubai_Dubai_Top_10_Museums_8471.aspx