Bored of Dubai's restaurant circuit? Head to the deli and get dinner to go
Baker & Spice: Vegetable lovers need look no further than Baker & Spice, which probably has one of the best selections of gourmet salads in the emirate. It’s hard to predict what they’ll be carrying on any given day as their selection depends on the market (whenever possible they source locally and opt for organic ingredients). One of our favourite dishes is the roasted sweet potato salad seasoned with chilli, sage and garlic (Dhs75 per kg). Try following up some of the healthy offerings with the varied homemade desserts, such as the cheesecake (Dhs28 per slice). Souk Al Bahar (04 425 2240). Open daily 8am-11.30pm.
Carluccio’s: Carluccio’s is part restaurant, part gourmet supermarket and part luxury deli counter. One thing’s for certain, though: the store – helmed by Italian celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio – is the best one stop shop for Italian speciality items. Either take home some prepared goods, like pizzas, salads, focaccia sandwiches and freshly baked breads, or grab some imported cold cuts for crudités. The collection of Italian olive oils (Dhs44-120 per bottle) is particularly impressive and pairs nicely with the myriad of cheeses on offer. To amp up your pasta dinner, also consider buying Carluccio’s freshly made pasta by the kilo (Dhs14-26 per kg). The Dubai Mall (04 434 1320). Open daily 8am-midnight.
Counter Culture: Despite the radical associations that its name suggests, Counter Culture’s deli offerings are actually quite homely. Some amazing comfort food lies underneath the venue’s glass display cases. In our opinion nothing complements a lazy evening plopped in front of the TV quite like one of Counter Culture’s flaky chicken pies (Dhs29). Counter Culture also prides itself on its freshly baked breads, so carb-lovers are well catered for. Plus the place is open 24 hours, so diners can satisfy a craving any time of night. The Harbour Hotel & Residence (04 319 4000). Open 24 hours. Gourmet Station: Gourmands will think they’ve died and gone to Heaven. All cooking is done out in the open, so customers can actually see the dishes being prepared, and there are dozens of hot and chilled meals from pretty much every culinary genre. Pick up some Thai green fish curry or Moroccan lamb kebabs for dinner, or head to the deli counter for regional cheese (such as the trio of organic cheeses from Cornwall), antipasti or soups. Oasis Centre (04 515 4050). Open Sun-Thu 8am-10pm, Fri-Sat 8am-11pm.
Waitrose: Any aspiring chef with dirhams to spend will find this store a shopping dream. Top off the trip with some rare wild mushrooms (a kilo of trompettes will set you back Dhs219), and you’ve got the makings of a pricey home-cooked gourmet meal. If you’re not an aspiring chef, but a lazy gourmand, you can stock up on ready-made goods from the deli (the cheese counter alone spans nearly three metres). There are also freshly baked breads and ready-meals with a variety of global influences. The Dubai Mall (04 434 0700). Open daily 8am-midnight. Wafi Gourmet: This luxurious little food shop probably has the best Arabic-themed counter in the entire emirate. There is a massive selection of mezze to take home, a section for freshly baked saj (pita-like bread), entire vats of olives and a glass display case boasting some of the juiciest Arab sweets we’ve ever laid eyes on. Last but not least, don’t forget to stock up on Middle Eastern spices. Wafi (04 324 4433). Open daily 10am-midnight.