Right in time for US Independence Day on Wednesday July 4, we’ve noticed an impending invasion of big-time American brands in Dubai. Pizza chain Papa John’s has just opened a new restaurant in Oud Metha, making it the 100th outlet in the Middle East. Meanwhile, in the malls of new Dubai, we’ve spotted billboards declaring the impending opening of The Cheesecake Factory. Due to open in both The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, this chain may be best known as the workplace of waitress Penny from TV show The Big Bang Theory. Like us, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not fictional. Expect some highly authentic American-style cheesecake.
That’s not to say that the British won’t be getting a look-in on Dubai’s eating-out scene this summer. Boutique café Bloomsbury’s has opened in The Dubai Mall: although founded in the UAE, the café was inspired by a trip to London and aims to recreate the British capital’s cupcake and café culture. It even takes its name from one of London’s famous neighbourhoods, once the stomping ground of bohemian artists and intellectuals.
There are Japanese influences on the horizon too, with the launch of Sushicounter. It’s a new sushi bar and takeaway counter due to open in the CNBC Building food court in Media City on Sunday August 5. As well as drinks imported from Japan, the counter will offer 70 sushi options, and you’ll be able to buy pre-selected boxes or customise your own selection. Created by the people behind Circle Café, Sushicounter will be decked out in pale wood and exposed light bulbs, with Japanese jazz and acid funk playing in the background. It certainly sounds like an interesting new lunch option for Media City workers.
If you’re already suffering from summer-induced cabin fever, fear not: help is at hand. Out-of-town gourmet restaurant and grocer The Farm in Al Barari is planning a clever new indoor-outdoor space by introducing air-conditioning on its terrace. It’ll be switched on later in the summer and will hopefully mean you’ll still be able to enjoy the venue’s green, serene surroundings in the hotter months.
Along the same lines, the Dusit Thani Dubai is also introducing a new outdoor option in time for Ramadan. Located at the top of the hotel, on the 36th floor, the pool deck will be transformed into a outdoor evening shisha lounge, where guests can chose to break their fast with a selection of Arabian dishes. If it’s still too hot for you outside, you could always wimp out and head back down to the 24th floor, where the hotel’s restaurants will be joining forces to offer a classic iftar, including dishes such as lamb ouzi with oriental rice and nuts, chicken molokhiah and sharhat moutafaya. Stay tuned for more iftar news in coming weeks… and until next week, bon appétit!