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NRW2016: Yummy Dubai

written by Wendy Watta 26th January 2016

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From endless skyscrapers, souks, desert safaris for anyone curious to get a glimpse into the Bedouin existence, skydiving, regular concerts featuring high-caliber artists like Ed Sheeran and Drake to its glitz, glamour and extravagance, Dubai is a melting pot of experiences for even the most seasoned of travelers. In turn, some of the best restaurants in the world have since cropped up here. These then are recommendations of exciting spots to explore next time you head out to this city.

One of the highlights of Dubai is The Burj Khalifa. Standing at 828 metres with 163 floors, this mega skyscraper proudly boasts the title of the world’s tallest building. If you go up to the outdoor observation deck at the 148th floor, it is like are standing on the wing of an airplane. If you dare, you can even BASE jump to the ground. Otherwise, you can just settle for a meal at At.mosphere restaurant. When you call to make your reservation, you get a sense of how expensive it will be as even credit card details are required. When you get to the building, you have to go up and down a number of escalators, stairs and lifts: you are heading to the highest restaurant in the world. There’s a minimum spend limit for you to reserve a window seat, and the view is spectacular. Tuck into the house special- a juicy steak cooked in the Josper grill- and take it all in. This steakhouse has great quality cuts of meat and seafood, as well as an extensive premium drinks list.

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NRW2016 is giving two lucky diners the chance to fly Emirates to Dubai to visit Atlantis The Palm, a majestic 5 star hotel frequented by celebrities such as the Beckhams. It is based on the concept of the mythical lost underwater city, and with a giant aquarium that hosts over 65,000 fish, it is as much a theme park as it is a hotel. Based here is Nobu Restaurant founded by globally renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood actor Robert De Niro. Spanning across 5 continents, this particular spot fuses cutting-edge Japanese style with Arabian influences, while retaining Nobu classics such as the seared black cod served with sweet miso sauce. Atlantis also hosts celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s (best known for Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef) recently opened Bread Street Kitchen. The elegant indoor area features black and white chequered floors and hints of the early 20th-century in the decor. This is complimented by a bougainvillea-lined lawn, stations serving light British mixed drinks and a live barbecue station serving sizzling, juicy cuts of beef on large, pillowy Yorkshire puddings. From the appetiser section of the buffet, the ricotta pancakes with cinnamon sugar and caramelised bananas is a must try.

Designed to resemble a billowing sail, Burj al Arab is the only 7-star hotel in the world. It’s lavish Royal Suite is one of the most expensive rooms in the world with an average cost of about Ksh 2.4million a night. You unfortunately cannot just waltz in to check out the premises without a reservation at the bars or restaurants, and this is perhaps why it is Instagrammed so much from the beach next to it. One of its restaurants, Al Iwan showcases simple Arabic dishes with bold Moroccan influences. If you’re looking for a spot with a better view of the city, head up to Al Muntaha at the top floor, or swing by the glitzy Skyview Bar for a cocktail. The seafood restaurant Al Mahara is on the other hand testament of the vivid imagination behind the creation of the hotel. Contrary to popular belief, it is neither underwater nor do you need to access it via submarine. It however has an underwater feel because of the floor to ceiling aquarium which surrounds and subtly lights it up.

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While Dubai has no Michelin Guide yet, resturants have a penchant for having Michelin-starred chefs at the helm of their kitchens. One such spot is Grosvenor House Hotel’s Rhodes Mezzanine headed by Gary Rhodes. The chef is known for whipping up fantastic fusions of English and French cuisine, with an innovative menu that uses fresh ingredients imported from Europe and complemented by an extensive collection of new, old and vintage wines. On the other hand, set on a bedecked pier jutting out into the Arabian Gulf, Pierchic whose cuisine is European offers some of Dubai’s finest seafood. The pier is a romantic spot tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Dubai, and offers an unmarred view of the Gulf.

With a variety of fantastic restaurants to check out in the city, getting a weekend reservation at Sho-Cho at Dubai Marine Beach Resort can be quite the culinary challenge. It offers excellent, reasonably priced Japanese food that includes sushi, teriyaki and tempura. The ambiance is elevated by fish tanks which are built into the walls. It is quite popular with the young and hip crowd who start streaming in for sake from about 10:00pm (It is only open from 7:00pm to 2:30am). These and many more make Dubai quite the perfect culinary destination for foodies worldwide.

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