With a (relative) nip in the air, it’s beginning to feel a lot like winter is finally here. On the foodie side of Time Out Dubai, that seasonal news brings huge sighs of relief as we anticipate a season of al fresco dining, and Dubai’s other winter wonder: farmers’ markets. As the local agricultural season takes off again, Baker&Spice (pioneers of sourcing ingredients locally) has kicked off its regular Friday event at Jumeirah Emirates Towers. And this year, there is a green-fingered twist. On the last Friday of each month, Slow Food will be hosting a plant swap. That means keen and aspiring home gardeners can exchange items such as plants, seeds, pots, soil and plant food.
The Beach at JBR has also launched a brand-new market, now taking place every Saturday until May. The weekly event features street food stands and locally sourced produce from UAE farms. Unique stalls include a bonsai artist from Bonsai Middle East, truffle man Massimo Vidoni (who has been selling fresh white truffles!), plus two companies run separately by Emirati cousins, Yummy in my Tummy and Fashion Sweets, selling sweet treats such as cookies, crêpes and more. There is also a programme of live music and children’s entertainment.
Also new to The Beach at JBR is Cavalli Caffè, launched by fashion designer Roberto Cavalli. The venue offers a casual Italian café menu, as well as the Roberto Cavalli Chocolates range, which features 13 different flavours, such as cinnamon, chilli pepper, gianduja cream with salt, coconut and vanilla.
More sweet indulgences can be found in Downtown Dubai, where Karak House has just opened on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. It’s a home-grown, Emirati concept that aims to bring together Indian and Arabic flavours. On the menu, you’ll find rice salad with tamarind yogurt dressing, caramelised fig, orange, wagyu basturma and goat’s cheese salad, plus breakfast recipes such as foul medames on zaatar pancakes and red velvet luqaimat with date and cream cheese. And, that cup of chai that gives the venue its name will be prepared by ‘tea masters’ at your table, from the ‘karak trolley’.
As if that wasn’t enough Arabian excitement for Downtown Dubai, there is also Em Sherif, a restaurant concept from Beirut. The glamorous-looking venue is designed to look like an antique Lebanese mansion.
Finally, the last new restaurant at Jumeirah Fishing Harbour has finally launched – Alto Mar, a seafood concept with a Portuguese twist. Live seafood is housed in two aquariums within the restaurant, and Portuguese chef Luís Salgueiro also sources fresh ingredients from the nearby fish market in Jumeirah each day. Signatures dishes on the menu include Algarve favourite cataplana.