Time Out asked three of the city’s big names to keep a record of what they consume and where over the course of three days. Our aim? To discover the latest culinary hotspots, the key to a good stir fry, some rather unusual fruit juice, and just how Dubai’s busiest people keep themselves going through the day. After all, we are what we eat…
Thursday ‘I wake up at 6.45am. It’s very difficult in my job to get my five a day, so every morning I make myself a fresh juice. I bought an amazing juicer a few months ago – it changed my life! Today it’s apples, carrots, half a lemon and fresh ginger – gives you a good kick.
‘I get to work at 8.15am, grab an espresso and get one of the guys to make me bacon and scrambled eggs before the daily Verre masterclass. I drink about a litre of water during the class – it’s very hot in the kitchen now.
‘Nick (my head chef) and I are lucky enough to be invited to The Ivy (04 319 8767) for lunch. We have beetroot carpaccio to start, followed by roast poulet stuffed with mushrooms and foie gras, and plum tart with ice cream. We have a look round the kitchens, then it’s back to the creek for 4pm for a meeting. This is followed by taste testing for Verre. If there are any problems with the food, we fix it before service begins. Chef Nick and myself go through all the fridges, tasting and checking everything is clean. Then it’s time for a strong double espresso.
‘Service begins at 7pm. Most of the pre-prepared items have been checked, so we focus on tasting every single thing that’s cooked fresh before it is sent out into the restaurant. I drink two litres of water during service – it’s very important to clean your palate. Home time is 12.15am… time for a stiff drink.’
Friday ‘Up at 7am. I start the day with a coffee and another fresh juice (carrots, apples, ginger, half a lemon and broccoli). I get to work at 8.30am and have porridge and a double espresso. Then there’s another masterclass for six people from 10am until 2pm – we cook butternut risotto, roast fillet of beef with braised vegetables and an apple tart tatin with cinnamon ice cream.
‘At 3pm it’s time for lunch testers and the new Glasshouse menu testers – roast cod with tomato, olive and cucumber fricassee, and flame-grilled mackerel. ‘Every Friday we get one of the chefs to cook a dish for the rest of us. We all sit down at 5.30pm and eat together. This week, Sentil Kumar cooks his chicken curry. Fantastic! Sanal, our pastry chef, also gives me two new soufflés to sample for the menu – pineapple and coconut, and fig.
At 6.30pm it’s the briefing for Verre dinner service, then I get Zubeer to make me a bowl of fresh linguine with pesto and parmesan. I absolutely love fresh pasta. Service starts at 7pm.
I leave at 11pm – a little early – and meet my wife for dinner at Elia at The Majestic in Bur Dubai (04 501 2690). We eat tzatziki, carob bread, stuffed squid, chicken souvlaki and Greek salad, before heading to The Music Room to watch The Rock Spiders.’
Saturday ‘Saturday’s my day off. I wake up 10am and start off with a fresh fruit juice: carrot, spinach, broccoli, beetroot, apple, ginger and lemon. It sounds disgusting, but it’s very tasty. I go to the gym for a few hours, then I shower and eat some pistachios, drink some water and have a coffee, before strolling down to Bastakiya Art Café in Bur Dubai (04 351 9111) – my wife’s favourite place – where we share fresh mint and lime juice, a zingy carrot salad and a large chicken salad.
‘On the way back we pop to the supermarket for parma ham, a baguette, houmous, more pistachios, brie, black olives, and crisps for a picnic. At 3pm we drive to the beach, have a swim, read, relax and eat, before heading to the cinema for the evening.’ Try Scott’s food at Verre by Gordon Ramsay, Hilton Dubai Creek, Deira (04 227 1111)
The TV presenter
Rosemin Manji Age: 31 Occupation: Host of Fashion Thursdays on Dubai One
Thursday ‘I’m not really a breakfast person (maybe because I’m terrible at making eggs) so because it’s the last day of the working week, I pick up my usual low-fat latte at Starbucks at Atlantis (www.starbucks.com) en route to the office – it gives me enough time for the caffeine to kick in. By 11am I really need my food fix, so I try to be disciplined and have fruit to snack on while I go through my emails. The type of fruit I eat really depends on what’s in season: today I feast on fresh nectarines and pears.
‘I like having a late lunch at around 2pm – I eat dinner with my husband late, so lunch works best at this time. I go through phases and this month it’s the salad niçoise at Shakespeare Café at Souk al Bahar (04 425 7971). The weather is so hot, so I can’t deal with anything too heavy. I figure the tuna and eggs give me all the protein I need.
‘My sweet tooth kicks in by 4.30pm, so I need chocolate. My favourite is the French biscuit wafer from Patchi (04 341 1717). I have a box in the office and I make my secretary hide it, otherwise I’ll eat the entire box – it’s that good!
‘We join some friends for dinner at 10pm and end up at La Petite Maison at DIFC (04 439 0505). There are two things I go there for – the lentil salad and the French toast dessert.’
Friday ‘On Fridays I meet my girlfriends at More in Mall of the Emirates (04 395 0967). I order scrambled eggs and orange juice – the food is simple and quick. I usually pick up the newspapers and a low-fat latte from Starbucks and head home.
‘The great thing about living on The Palm is that there are so many options for dining. At 9.30pm we end up at Nobu (04 426 0760). We order all the staples – sashimi salad, sashimi tacos, yellowtail tuna and, my ultimate dish, the rib-eye with anticucho sauce. It’s full of flavour and is one of my top three must-have dishes to try before you die. For dessert, a platter of fruit and sorbet is perfect for me, and I steal a little from my husband’s bento box.’
Saturday ‘It’s all about running errands today, so I start my day with a fruit salad, fresh orange juice and multivitamins, which keep me going until dinner. As it’s the end of the weekend, dinner is early (9pm). We head to new hot spot The Ivy (04 319 8767) – the food is no-fuss and high-quality, and the menu has a wide enough selection for everyone to order something different. My starter is steamed asparagus with hollandaise sauce, followed by salmon fishcake on a bed of spinach. The desserts are generous in portion so we order some for the centre of the table, including iced berries with white chocolate, banana sticky toffee pudding and mint chocolate chip ice cream – worth all the calories and then some! Rosemin presents Fashion Thursdays on Studio One, Dubai One every Thursday at 7.30pm
Kris Fade Age: 30 Occupation: Virgin Radio DJ
Thursday ‘My alarm goes off every morning at 4.30am, but I always want to go back to sleep. The only thing that really gets me out of bed is coffee. I tried to give up, but only lasted 13 days. My breakfast comes from an amazing five-star establishment called ENOC (it even serves petrol) – two bananas, one zaatar (Lebanese oregano) and pineapple juice (great for the throat).
‘Lunch is my biggest meal of the day. I came to Dubai weighing 80kg; four years on I’m 105kg – that Dubai stone has somehow turned into ‘stones’. I usually eat lunch at Mall of Emirates, and today I decide to have my favourite salad from PQ (04 341 0041) – the shrimp salad is amazing. Fresh shrimps, avocado, tomatoes, mango… it almost makes me want to eat healthy every day.
‘I don’t like walking, hence right next door to PQ is Pinkberry (04 341 1378), the best frozen yoghurt place I know. My mate Brent Black got me into it and now I’m obsessed. The staff are the friendliest people in town – they make the experience even better.
‘Dinner includes another visit to the mall. This time, however, it’s The Dubai Mall – Entrecôte Café de Paris (04 434 0122). For the uninitiated, entrecôte restaurants serve only meat, fries and salad in secret sauce. The first time I had it was in Paris – when I moved to Dubai I freaked that it was here. It’s the best meat ever! I even told my vegetarian mate to try it. He almost converted. Almost.’
Friday ‘The weekend! Love it! For breakfast I head to Lime Tree Café at Ibn Battuta Mall (04 366 9320). It took me two years to discover the place, but it gives me a sense of being back in Australia – the coffee is great and they serve mean hash browns. The queue at the café this morning is about 15 deep, but runs quicker than Usain Bolt. I choose the big breakfast with hash browns (tip: only get it if you’re hungry).
‘After breakfast, I have to buy some expensive clothing and watches, so I venture to… Karama. I love this place. There’s a café called Karama Burgers next to the Karama shopping complex car park that serves the best chicken burgers, and the fresh juice contains so much sugar it begins to taste like a cotton candy. I get the chicken burger and a ‘Burj Al Arab’ smoothie. I have no idea what’s in it, but it’s so good. The best thing? My meal costs a total of Dhs7.
‘After saving so much cash on lunch, it’s time to splurge on dinner, so we head to Nobu (04 426 0760). We order the steak, soba and speciality black cod, with a big plate of tempura. The food servings are great and, man, it’s like a taste explosion in my mouth.’
Saturday ‘This morning I get to sleep in until 9am and decide to eat at home, as the smell of my wife’s French toast is impossible to resist on an empty stomach. So, French toast it is, plus cereal, topped off with fresh juice. Sharing it all with my little girl just makes it even better.
For lunch, I’m still feeling full from breakfast, so I decide to take it easy on myself and head to More at The Dubai Mall (04 339 8934). I order ‘Ali’s Soup’ – my favourite dish on the menu.
‘In the evening I relax at home, wondering what I’m going to eat for dinner. I can’t help but start salivating at the smell of my wife’s cooking. Fifteen minutes later, I’m treated to an amazing stir-fry with rice. My wife is against any junk food and/or sugar- infused foods, so the rice is brown. The stir fry contains asparagus, beans, peppers, mushrooms, onions, and beef marinated in balsamic, oil and garlic. Before I start eating I prepare my poker face in case it’s not up to my expectations, but as I take the first bite I let out an involuntary “mmm”. You can’t get better than a good home-cooked meal to finish the weekend.’ Kris Fade presents the weekday Virgin Breakfast Show, 104.4FM