Tag Archives: International Food

Caramel

Caramel
I love my Uncle. In more ways than one, he is one of the first people to influence my pallet. He grew up in a town called Ain Al Saydeh in one of the low mountains of Lebanon. During his early days, everything was done by hand and according to tradition. Everything was seasonal. Peaches were eaten during summer, chestnuts in winter and if they were lucky the figs, the really good golden figs, would last until September. When it comes to food, some people may call him difficult or finicky but I don’t see it that way. He has tasted food before mass production and before organic was a trend, when it actually was the norm. When you’ve tasted that, why settle for something less? I’ll always praise him for wanting the best, the best of not necessarily the most expensive, not lobster, not oyster but jut the best tomato, the best cut of meat or the best nectarine. Apart from his passion for food, my uncle has a knack for quotes. Any situation that arises is a chance for him to dispel his wisdom through a quote or poetry, which I love. After having dinner at Caramel, some of my favorite quotes of his resonated with me. “Jack of all trades, but a master of none.” Being a successful restaurant that offers an international cuisine may be one of the hardest things to master. Recipes can be copied, distributed and implemented but you always know that something is lacking; the know-how that only comes from a mother or a culture. I do commend Caramel for offering such a wide variety of food. For starters we have spicy tuna rolls, Chinese chicken salad and crispy eggplant. The eggplant is battered, deep-fried and doused in the thickest sauce possible. Is there even eggplant left in this dish I ask myself? Pull back and let the eggplant shine through, roast it on the grill, drizzle some pomegranate sauce with a touch of garlic and you’re golden. Of the three choices the Chinese chicken salad is the most preferred, light and fresh. For mains we have braised hammour, petite fillet and marinated half chicken. The petite fillet is served in three thin pieces cooked to medium well. I would have preferred one large piece where I can really enjoy the center of the steak. As for dessert we have pumpkin cheesecake and dark chocolate fondant. Contrary to my dinner guests, I really like the cheesecake, it’s light and fluffy and reminds me of Thanks Giving. As for the dark chocolate fondant, melted chocolate, how can you go wrong with that? I always like recommending something at the end of my reviews, not as a restaurant owner, not as a chef and not as a critic but just as a paying customer. I have noticed that several things on the menu are fried, cheese filled, or heavily sauce drenched. Scale back, go for something fresher, lighter and more contemporary. They may say their food is comfort food but there is something called dated comfort food. “Live and Let Live” One of my favorite quotes from my uncle is "live and let live". No matter where you’re from, what religion you are, what culture of beliefs you hold I respect that them and I wouldn’t try to change them. I may be one of the most liberal people you can meet. I am all for basic freedoms of expression. I grew up in Saudi Arabia which ment I was required to wear a black abaya when I was in public. With respect to their culture I did, and never nagged about it for I was a guest in their country. But to this day when someone enforces a dress code on me, its something that I can’t and wont accept because it’s a basic freedom that I enjoy expressing. Keeping that in mind, I do have to make a comment about the uniforms for the beautiful  Caramel hostesses. They're short, low cut and have a slit up to there, is that a bit much? I always hear my guy friends talking about the Okku hostesses, statuesque and dressed in long elegant black dresses. Just something to think about elegance trumps everything and is truly remembered. “Lets do the Twist” Though a man in the later part of his life, my uncle is usually the star on the dance floor. As a teen in the 60s no one can do the twist quite like he does. I love the music at Caramel! While we were having dinner, the DJ was playing some of my favorite old school Hip Hop songs. Song after song I would be taken back to my teen years, in a house party giggling with my girl friends.  So thank you for the beautiful memories. “Yalla min Shoufkon” {Alright, we’ll see you in Arabic} Caramel is perfectly located at the heart of DIFC, I would return for the beautiful setting and lovely music, not so much for the food, but hey, everyone has their strengths in life!
THE DETAILS
LOCATION DIFC OPENING HRS. Sun-Thu 11-2 Fri-Sat 7-2  CUISINE  International PRICE PER COUPLE AED 600 TELEPHONE # 04 425 6677  
THE FORK-O-METER
Old School R&B Spot
       

Announcing Fork It Over Dubai Tuesdays Starting at Teatro

Teatro
Thank Goodness Its Tuesday! #TGIT I have a really special announcement about Tuesdays in Dubai from this day onwards. No longer simply a midweek milestone, now Tuesdays will officially be called Fork It Over Dubai Tuesdays, a midweek Getaway! #FIODTuesdays At the start of each month I will share 4 restaurants that I will be reviewing and dining at each Tuesday of the week. If your free, interested and in the area join me for a review and tell me what you think of the restaurant. Fork It Over Dubai Tuesdays will ultimately help me reach my goal of one review per week, keep me connected to you, my gorgeous readers, who make Fork It Over Dubai and introduce a third dimension to my reviews. There's only one rule to the game - no one's allowed a bite of a dish until I get a shot of it! : ) I decide to have the first first FOIDTuesday at Teatro restaurant in Towers Rotana, a true  staple in the Dubai restaurant scene. After a quick email to a few close friends explaining FIODTuesdays, I get a total of 14 confirmations. A phone call to book the biggest table in the house and were ready to go! I respect Teatro because it has stayed relevant throughout the introduction of big international brands to the Dubai restaurant scene. On any given night, tables are usually fully booked and your bound to bump into someone you know. Walking into Teatro, I always encounter the same warm and friendly welcome. "Welcome back to Teatro Mss. Tala" And no, I don't dine there every week for them to know my name, but that staff goes to great lengths to remember loyal customers. Its a place where everybody knows your name - a Cheers to that. Crossing through the beautiful glass wine cellar I reach my 14 seater table, take a seat at the head and wait for FIODTuesdays to officially begin upon the arrival of all my guests. Considering most of my guests have lived in Dubai for quite a while, there is a 15 to 20 minute wait for their customary tardiness. All hands on deck, while nibbling on the necessary edamame, I open the menu and let loose on all the starters, ordering some of the Teatro greats. My recommendation for Teatro is an over indulgence in starters, sushi and dessert. This killer combination will leave you satisfied and inspired. I'm particularly fond of dinners focused on shared plates because it elevates the connection between each dinner guest. Our starters arrive one by one and our table is nothing short of beautiful. The signature must haves are, black dhal, assorted naan basket, wasabi prawn tempura, peking duck rolls, seared scallops and the burrata. Even though our starters are an international selection, they do work well together. One bite of black dhal followed by a wasabi prawn tempura. As the ever so wise Pitbull once sung "One life, two worlds English, Spanish, one night, two girls English, Spanish." I respond by saying "One life, two cuisines Indian, Japanese one night, two bites Indian, Japanese." To top it all off, some of the best sushi offered in Dubai. The Teatro sushi counter is the most efficient and well oiled machine I have seen.  It dishes out hundreds of rolls and slices of sushi a night. The star of the show, to me, is the spicy tuna maki roll. A cool tuna slice wrapped in soft rice, lace with scallions and topped with a secret mayonnaise sauce. And for dessert, a warm, rich chocolate brownie swimming in a oozing, bubbling chocolate caramel sauce. Excitedly I taking a bite of the brownie, sauce and all and I burn my tongue. Does that stop me from the next bit? Not at all because it's sure as hell worth it. As I lay my head down this evening, a smile appears on my face. The night ended with 14 friends reconnecting and enjoying a beautiful Tuesday night dinner. I am proud that the first FIODTuesday put a smile on 14 friend's faces, I am proud that Fork It Over Dubai is evolving to become more connected with you and I am proud that I have lovely friends that support all my efforts. And with that my eyes close to dream about the next FIODTuesday.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION Towers Rotana OPENING HRS. 6 pm - 11:30 pm CUISINE International PRICE PER COUPLE AED 650 TELEPHONE # 04 343 800 WEBSITE http://www.rotana.com  
THE FORK-O-METER
A Craving Quencher Restaurant
       

Gourmet Lafayette

GL
Finally!! A restaurant I can enjoy at the Dubai Mall. There is something about the plethora of Lebanese grills, heavy fast food and indifferent restaurants that put me off of dining at the Dubai Mall. Don’t get me wrong, I have to give them credit for their large selection of restaurants, surpassed by none in Dubai, that tailor to a wide spectrum of restaurant goers. Although to this date, I still didn’t feel that they were tailoring to me. I was yet to find a dining experience that I didn’t have to be convinced or too-hungry-to-reach-my-car-to-go-home-and-eat, to dine at. That is until I stumbled upon Gourmet Lafayette; a market style gourmet outlet that offers a wide range of cuisines. Cuisines include Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and European. Exceptional for pleasing a large group of friends. Rather than rabbiting on (Is that actually a real word? Rabbiting? I got that from my British colleague - aka blabbering on) about my experience at Gourmet Lafayette, I’m going to fall back on the oh-so-true saying that pictures are worth a thousand words and let your eyes make the verdict rather than your patience to read my words… The only danger about the multitude of choices available to customers at Gourmet Lafayette can be seen through my dinner selection. Fresh salad, spaghetti Bolognese, falafel sandwich (not pictured spinach triangle and a selection of cheeses) and finally some beautiful chocolate truffles. True it is a mish mash of worldly cuisines but it’s a selection of everything my tummy desires at this moment. It’s the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of Gourmet food. Everything I’m eating can be characterized as fresh, Quality (with a capital Q) food. My spaghetti Bolognese is made of fresh pasta, my salad was selected and mixed on the spot and my falafel sandwich was cooked and prepared before my eyes. What I like about Gourmet Lafayette is that it delivers on what it stands for. Is it a Michelin starred, show stopping gastronomic experience? No, but it is a solid, quality driven, great tasting, healthy and fresh dining experience that the Dubai Mall was lacking.  And to top it all off my bill was AED 100 – unheard of. They also have an excellent retail section in terms of fruits, veggies, seafood, meats, cheeses and packaged goods.
THE DETAILS
LOCATION: Dubai Mall OPENING HRS: Mall Timings CUISINE: International PRICE PER COUPLE: AED 200    
THE FORK-O-METER
A Since we are in Dubai Mall Restaurant