Tag Archives: Healthy

Tom and Serg

Tom and Serg
There has been a tremendous outbreak of new restaurants throughout Dubai. And rightfully so, it’s ‘fall’ in the city after all, the couple of months that make the blazing summer heat all worthwhile. I use the word restaurant loosely because the majority of openings go to the multipurpose lounge/bar/restaurant/live band/ international award winner/slash/slash/slash larger then life venues. That’s lovely and hurrah to the owners for raising big money to accommodate their grandiose nature, but I’m a simple girl, who yearns for the simple yet perfect things. I just want a restaurant, tables and chairs and that’s it. My eyebrow arches when I read that Tom and Serg has opening in Al Quoz. I have to admit, a hint of jealousy ran through my heart because it was always a location at the back of my mind for a café, if I’d ever open one. I remember asking my cousin if she would go to Al Quoz if I opened something there, she responded with Really?, which made me think so contrary to the norm and hence so perfect. Chapeau bas for the choice of location. Stepping into Tom and Serg the word exposed comes to mind, exposed kitchen, exposed walls and exposed ceiling, everything is stripped bare and what lies beneath is something rare, a real space. Manning the kitchen Mr. Tom himself and managing the floor Mr. Serg him self, all hands on deck. I like that, if your name is on the door then you should be. Parking my behind on the table next to the door for the sole unashamed purpose of people watching, gazing rather, proves to be fruitful. For the people who stroll in and out of Tom & Serge are your city hipsters, my favorite type of people.  Creative, grungy and a tall drink of OJ. Sipping my flat white, coffee I have just been introduced to, may prove to be my segway into the world of coffee from one of tea. Extra milk mind you, the strength of their baristas, are made clear. My broad shouldered rye bread and butter arrives. I slather on some butter and then some more, me like butter, and have a bite. Beautiful bread but the butter is too subtle for my taste. Have my taste buds been calibrated to French butter? Perhaps… My confident poached eggs, plump and firm are placed on my table. Running my fork through the first, the yolk dribbles through and paints my plate a sunny yellow. Eggs, avocado, dressed beans and rye bread in one bite proves to be sublime. So much action in one dish I would recommend it to kick start your day. I have issues with beef bacon, is never like bacon and its more to the leathery then crispy side. The clock strikes 12 pm and I am blessed with the option of ordering lunch. But you just had the eggs you say, but the roast chicken has been on my mind since I held the menu I say, love at first sight. Roasted leg of chicken on a bed of corn infused mash, roasted fennel and slices of fresh celery. Taking a bite of the chicken, it’s uncharacteristically soft, the sweet corn and peppery celery make for beautiful compliments. And to end, dessert is a must, banana éclair and chocolate tart. I believe bananas should stay on banana trees, end of discussion. And I believe the chocolate, citrusy and caramel infused tart should continuously stay within reach of me! Walking up the stairs to the mezzanine level, I do feel that the ceiling is a touch low, which by default will always make my seat selection down stairs aka the table next to the door. To end, I love Tom and Serg, in one meal it has shot itself to my favorites list. It does everything that I have preached so how can I not. Independent, home grown, stand alone, creative, service oriented and delicious clean food. The pair have really set the bar high for all independent restaurants to come and for that I am grateful for. PS: Please stay open later then 4:00 pm. PSS: They have Wifi!
THE DETAILS
LOCATION Al Quoz Nxt to Ace OPENING HRS. 8 am to 4 pm CUISINE Australian PRICE PER COUPLE AED 85 TELEPHONE # 04 338 8934 WEBSITE www.tomandserg.com
THE FORK-O-METER
A Love At First Site Restaurant

Comptoir 102

Comptoir 101
It’s a strenuous exercise trying to find a casual spot for lunch on a Friday afternoon. And per most of my friends’ requests, guilty of the food and drink consumed the evening prior, Friday lunch must be healthy. Recommended by the chef and brains behind Chez Charles, I feel I’ve checked the yes to Travel Insurance before paying a visit to Comptoir 102. Swinging open the vintage iron door, I’m welcomed by something interesting and somewhat unfamiliar - character. A space where cookie cutter and franchise strictly do not apply. Laying down my laptop and camera, I take a stroll around the beautiful retail section of the store which includes jewelry, shoes, bags, notebook, furniture and more. Running my fingers along the interesting textures of the retail space, my hands stop at some of the loveliest tableware I’ve seen in a long time. Although at a minimum price tag of AED 230 a plate, my hand lets go and a mental note is taken for a future splurge. With the sun pouring in and my Wi-Fi connected I select the set menu for my lunch. In an inspiring and chic setting, combing through my emails on a table for one becomes an enjoyable experience. The restaurant fills up with a trendy clientele leaning towards a predominantly French and European crowd. In response to a recent Juicing Documentary I had just watched or was forced to watch rather, I trade my usual tea, for a carrot infused juice prepared to boost my immune system. My starter arrives Rawcchini Plate, thinly sliced zucchini topped with Parmesan cheese, roasted pine nuts and fresh basil. One of my favorite textures and tastes in the World (yes that was dramatic, but true) is raw zucchini therefore making my way through the fresh flavors and nutty Parmesan is pure pleasure. My main arrives of black-eyed peas salad seasoned with sage, garlic and fennel seeds. Taking a bite of the beans and salad, the flavors are fresh, but I instantly get main course selection remorse. With such a big vegetarian movement underway, I feel my dish is a cop out and with an impressive starter I expect more creativity. And for dessert Matcha Mousse a mix of macadamia and green tea powered top with fresh raspberries and kiwi.  A healthy, tasty dessert (previously an oxymoron but now a reality) does exist. The nutty creamy flavors provide a lovely backdrop to the tangy raspberries. Finishing up my work and final drop of juice, immunity fully powered, I pack my things, say thank you to the staff and see you soon to Comptoir 102. Arriving home, I share my healthy experience with my brother while finding myself finishing off the story at the base of my fridge. A creative meal, yes it was, but based on my current location, (the base of the fridge) I would enjoy more quantity. I can only image how my brother, the beast, when it comes to food, (I love you BTW) would feel after that meal. Next time I’ll try the pita sandwiches. I will return, over and over again to Comptoir 102 because it represents a movement of home grown restaurants that have heart and soul. It definitely gets my Friday lunch recommendation.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION JBRoad Across Beach Center OPENING HRS. 8:30am - 6:30pm CUISINE Healthy European PRICE PER COUPLE AED 150 TELEPHONE # 04 385 4555  
THE FORK-O-METER
Ur Friday Healthy Spot
     

Leila’s

Leila's
One of my favorite attributes about being a Lebanese is laying claim to one of the world's healthiest and most socially oriented cuisines. I know everyone says that about their own food but hey, who doesn't love sharing a plate of humus?! Whenever my friends ask me where the best Lebanese food in Dubai is, I always answer with "My house" and miserably fail to recommend a casual Lebanese restaurant for them to enjoy. When Leila's opened in Mirdif City Center around a year ago, I would hear interesting rumors of its offerings. Like tales from a far away land, Leila's was always an experience that I wanted to have, but alas, 'twas quite a journey to Mirdif, so it was one I never had. So what a pleasant surprise it was to see Leila's opening in my hood, Down Town Dubai, which brought a whole new meaning to "Good things come to those who wait." And to welcome Leila's to my neighborhood, I booked a table for 14 of my FIOD Tuesday diners. Just to put it out there, Shishas and I do not get along, at all. Therefore walking into Leila's, I'm happy to see high ceilings and a clear atmosphere. Taking a seat at my 14 seat-er table, I glance through the very concise and well-selected menu. Because I know my Lebanese dishes more than I know my self, I take the liberty of ordering for everyone so they can focus on enjoying their time. And it begins, the showering of small mezza plate from over my shoulder, under my arm, the left, the right and everywhere in between. I immediately start with what I think are the two cornerstones of Lebanese mezza, humus and tabouleh. If a Lebanese restaurant can’t master those dishes, I would suggest they pack up and leave. The classic tabouleh should be juicy, have almost the same quantity of tomato to parsley and include hint of sweet pepper. Putting a spoonful of tabouleh onto my plate, I notice juice dribbling off the bottom of the spoon. Check. Forming my bite of tabouleh with my bread, I notice yes there is tomato, but I would recommend a touch more. Taking my bite I taste the freshness of ingredients and a hint of seasoning. Check. That’s a pass. Humus should not include garlic, should not be too soft and finally should include a splash of lemon. Check, check, check, but just a drop more lemon please. Leila’s has officially passed my stringent two-tiered Lebanese restaurant base test.  And now, the remainder of the dishes for the icing on the cake. My favorite aspect of Lebanese mezza is that it’s designed to share. “Can you please pass the grape leaves, fatoush, spicy potatoes, moutabal, fried haloum, cheese rolls, meat sandwiches and mixed grill” is how I spend the majority of the evening. At the top of my list are the cheese rolls generously stuffed and extra crispy, the kafta meat sandwiches that have a hint of sweetness and the spicy potatoes which are indeed spicy. When I used to hear tales of Leila’s, back when it was located a time zone away, Mirdif, the focus was on desserts. Growing up in a household where dessert meant fruit, traditional Lebanese desserts were eaten mostly on occasions and which I would only take a bite of. And so, my reaction to the rumors was a raised eyebrow and a “Hmmm…. Interesting.” Speak of the devil, our desserts arrive, layali Lubnan, ghazal Beirut, knefeh and osmalieh. Crash Course in Lebanese Desserts: Layali Lubnan: Meaning Lebanese nights, is a layer of pudding cream and bananas with flavors of rose water and mastic. Ghazal Beirut: Lebanese cotton candy stuffed with ice cream. Knefeh: A cheese base dessert with a breaded crust served with syrup. Osmalieh: Two layers of crispy thin noodles and a layer of cream in between served with syrup. A bite here and there, and my usual one-bite-is-enough rule applies, that is until I reach the belle of the ball, the osmalieh. Crunchy, crispy noodles with soft clotted cream dunked in as much syrup as you wish. It’s a dessert that I not only take more than one bite of, but also know that I would crave. Leila’s is a trendy Lebanese restaurant that offers all your favorites at prices that would make your wallet rejoice. A rare combination in Dubai. Sans, the shisha, I’m liking everything about it.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION Down Town Dubai OPENING HRS. 10 am to 12 am CUISINE Lebanese PRICE PER COUPLE AED 200 TELEPHONE # 04 448 3384  
THE FORK-O-METER
Ur Well Priced Casual Lebanese Spot
 
   

MAKE Business Hub

Make Business Hub
Walking into MAKE at 10:00 am one morning, Monty, my favorite person working at MAKE, approaches me with a bewildered look and says,  “Seeing you made me think it was already evening time, its unusual to see you here in the morning.” I laugh and think to myself, hmm that’s actually quite true. MAKE is an urban café designed with the entrepreneur in mind, beautiful workstations, an environment that fosters strategic connections and hub for everything Start Up. Pushing down on the period key for the sentence I just wrote above, I couldn’t have described MAKE any better, Dubai’s Silicone Valley in JBR. Countless businesses have already started out of MAKE’s young walls. But… and yes there is a but, that’s not My Make. #MyMAKE.

Jones the Grocer

Jones
When someone asks me “I wanna go out for a really nice dinner – where do I go?” a symphony of restaurants pours out of my lips. When someone asks me “I wanna go out for a light lunch – where do I go?” A symphony of crickets plays in the background. Yes its true, dare I say, at times, I am at a slight loss of restaurant recommendations. Enter Jones the Grocer and my symphony of crickets is shewed away and replaced by, “Why don’t you try Jones the Grocer”. Walking up to Jones the Grocer I feel the beginnings of a standalone restaurant renaissance. The days of casual restaurants only opening in malls is gently declining – and for that I am thankful. The engulfing humid heat is banished as the sliding doors shut behind us and we are welcomed into a foodie’s playground. Retail goods, dining tables, open kitchens and a buzz of a new restaurant. We take our seats and our orders and I gracefully excuse myself to embark on a shameless spending spree in their retail section. My willpower is absolutely too weak to resist any form of cookbooks or kitchenware. I end up walking away with a mini butter board. Can’t continue living without one of those… Looking at the dips and fresh bread, I have an instant flash of postpartum ordering depression. The sauces, including an eggplant dip and two other forgettable flavors, are not juicy enough to counter the thick slices of dry bread. The pumpkin and feta salad acts as a handsome gentleman redeeming all that has been disappointing by gently kissing the top of my hand – and magically, all is forgiven. The fresh citrus sauce, crunchy rocket leaves, smoked pumpkin chunks and sharp feta cheese make up a stimulating summer salad. Our risotto is a gooey mess (in a good way) of rice, broth, juicy mushrooms and herbs. On the side, is an example of one of Dubai’s best garlic bread, fluffy yet crispy and fully doused in a garlic herbed sauce. The ultimate bite: dunking the garlic bread in the risotto – I don’t know how it works but it does. I’m always scared of ordering sandwiches in Dubai. Actually to be more specific the “roof” of my mouth is always scared. The usually hard and rough bread in Dubai is no match for me. Biting into my sandwich I hear a delicious crunch and surprisingly suffer no internal bruising from the bread. The horseradish paste in the pastrami & gruyere cheese sandwich makes all the difference. The char grilled chicken – good – my biggest pet peeve is using the word good – but somehow it’s perfectly applicable in this situation – enjoyable dish, but wouldn’t order it again. Sliding my fork down through the cheese cake, I hear my friend saying that they are known for cheese cake. Swirling the bite in my mouth, I can taste an overly sweet and borderline box like cheese cake. I can understand its general appeal but to me - not the most appealing. Would I be back? Yes. I would have a risotto, salad and sandwich – a perfect Friday restaurant. They also serve breakfast until 3 pm.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION: SZ Road OPENING HRS: 10 am - 10 pm CUISINE: International PRICE PER COUPLE: AED 260  
THE FORK-O-METER
Ur Casual Friday Lunch Spot