We munch our way through our favourite meals from iconic films
Food and film have gone hand in hand in Dubai of late. First it was Make Business Hub’s season of foodie films, followed by Reel Cinemas’ introduction of a gourmet menu; to top it off, this week marks the climax of Dubai International Film Festival. These last celluloid-packed weeks got us thinking about iconic food moments and dishes from films. Ever wondered what Willy Wonka’s chocolate tastes like, or wanted to sample one of Pulp Fiction’s five-dollar shakes? We can’t promise a goggle-clad Johnny Depp as a dining partner, but we’ve found Dubai’s versions of our favourite food from films for you to try.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s river of chocolate The chocolate river flowing through the Wonka factory is one of the most tantalising images on the silver screen. To test a tamer version (albeit more like a trickling stream than a river), head to one of the many Friday brunches that boast a chocolate fountain (JW Marriott, K Grill on the Palm Jumeirah or Al Qasr). You can also sample liquid chocolate at Chocomelt in Ibn Battuta Mall. From Dhs15 per 100g. Chocomelt, Ibn Battuta Mall (04 457 9468).
Pretty Woman’s escargots Julia Roberts’ character spends all day learning fine-dining etiquette, but comes unstuck when she’s forced to eat escargots. To try the French classic of snails in garlic butter, head to Rostang, where the snails are conveniently served out of the shell. Dhs78. Rostang, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).
When Harry Met Sally’s New York deli sandwich This memorable foodie scene was shot in real-life New York deli Katz’s, although we’d advising steering clear of Sally’s fussy, bespoke order in favour of Harry’s classic pastrami sandwich. Try it at Jones the Grocer, where stone-baked bread is stuffed with pastrami, gruyere and a lovely horseradish cream. For another iconic Katz’s deli snack, head to the Gramercy in DIFC, for a hard-to-find NYC-style ‘Reuben on rye’: a sandwich stuffed with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Pastrami sandwich Dhs33 Jones the Grocer, Al Manara (04 346 6886). Reuben on Rye Dhs65. The Gramercy, DIFC (04 437 7511).
Pulp Fiction’s five-dollar shake John Travolta’s character Vince may not understand the extravagance, but Mia (played by Uma Thurman) certainly thinks her pricey milkshake is worth it. For a decadent Dubai version, try the ‘concretes’ at Shake Shack, made with frozen custard. For a traditional diner-style malt, head to Johnny Rockets, where you’ll also get a vintage ’50s feel worthy of Pulp Fiction venue Jack Rabbit Slims. Concretes from Dhs25. Shake Shack, Mall of the Emirates (04 347 5513). Malts Dhs28. Johnny Rockets, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 2380).
Splash’s lobster Former mermaid Madison attempts to eat a whole lobster by biting straight into it. We don’t think similar table manners would go down well in Dubai. Try a whole baked lobster at Mango Tree, featuring a touch of Asian inspiration via the roasted chilli paste sauce. Dhs280. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 426 7313).
Soul Food’s mac’n’cheese Remember those mountains of macaroni and cheese whipped up by Big Mama? For a Dubai take on this humble comfort food, head to Caramel for a refined version made with mozzarella, cheddar and parmesan, plus a sprinkling of truffle. Dhs60. Caramel, DIFC (04 425 6677).
Goodfellas’ prison feast They may be banged up as guests of the state, but the Italian wise guys refuse to give up their beloved cucina in prison, preparing a feast of pasta with veal and beef meatballs. For a Dubai version, try Carluccio’s fettuce (ribbon-like egg pasta) with meatballs in tomato and basil sauce. Dhs66. Carluccio’s, The Dubai Mall (04 434 1320).
Bridget Jones’s Diary’s leek soup Eponymous heroine Bridget tries her hand at being a domestic goddess by preparing dinner for her friends. Sadly, her leek soup turns bright blue after she uses coloured string to tie her bouquet garni. We don’t have Mark Darcy on hand to save the day, so we’re heading to Richy’s for a top-class leek soup, available as a special throughout December. Dhs22. HDS Tower, Cluster F, JLT (04 452 9991).
Silver-screen service Has this talk of films and food whetted your appetite for both? For a double whammy of satisfaction, head to Reel Cinemas at The Dubai Mall: the cinema has introduced a new menu in its Platinum movie suites, which can be enjoyed before the screening or mid-movie. The menu is a cut above the usual cinema snacks, with dishes including black Angus beef sliders, Greek salad, prawn dumplings and white chocolate cheesecake. Popcorn is still available, but this time with a twist: try the caramel and almond variety, or opt for the jalapeño poppers. Reel Cinemas, The Dubai Mall, www.reelcinemas.ae.
The director’s cut: more film-related cuisine Try these multinational cinema-inspired eating experiences in Dubai…
Bollywood at Options by Sanjeev Kapoor This week is your last chance to experience the restaurant’s Bollywood festival, with themed decor and a menu of dishes named after iconic films from this Indian cinematic genre. Try the ‘Sholay’ pot-roasted chicken; the title of the film means ‘volcanic flames’, so the dish is flambéed to signify the hero’s fiery anger and desire for revenge. Until December 14. Convention Tower, Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 329 3293).
Lebanese cinema at Leila This laid-back Lebanese eatery has a quirky vintage vibe. To complete the atmosphere with a cinematic touch, it’s screening iconic Lebanese film Bint El Hares (‘The Guardian’s Daughter’) in the background. This ’60s film stars famed actor Fairuz and is directed by the Rahbani brothers, who were among the pioneers of Arab cinema at this time. If you fancy a film-related snack while you watch, try a Lebanese riff on the pastrami sandwich from When Harry met Sally: Leila’s traditional cheese-stuffed pastry rolls have a unusual twist with the addition of pastrami inside. Mirdif City Centre (04 251 5161).