From local cheeses to liquorice sorbets, there are all kinds of unique
eats along this 1.2km strip. Holly Sands picks 12 top scoffing spots
With 39 shops, restaurants and entertainment centres now up and running and only five left to open, BoxPark has come a long way in just a few months. Spread over little more than a kilometre on Al Wasl Road, the al fresco leisure strip is about to go into its first winter, and like others before it (The Walk, The Beach, Citywalk) finally come into its own. Before you visit, get to know the area’s most intriguing eats.
Operating its own dairy farm in Dubai, using traditional Italian practises, all the mozzarella and burrata at this Italian eatery is made fresh in store every single day. Think you're not a salad fan? Hold onto that thought until you've had a plate of the burrata leggera '“ a colourful medley of cheese, marinated zucchini, fried aubergine, cherry tomatoes and basil.
Serving up modern twists on Emirati favourites, Logma had barely been open five minutes before Dubai royalty paid a visit. And of course they did, because it might just be one of the coolest places in town to try updated local fare. From traditional breakfasts of baith tamat, khameer, chebab and regag to sambousek stuffed with that most unusual combination of cream cheese and Chips Oman, it's easily one of BoxPark's most interesting places to eat.
Satiating your meat sandwich cravings may involve a longer-than-expected wait here, but hang in there '“ it's totally worth it. Made fresh and ‘never frozen', each burger is a beast, so only brave a double if you haven't eaten anything since breakfast (three days ago). With its fiery horseradish and smoked cheddar, the Big Smoke Burger is a good introduction to what the place is all about. And Canadians, rejoice '“ the sides include poutine.
Seems niche, huh? But apparently, there is a whole market of brownie devotees for whom one option amid a cabinet of tiered cakes simply will not do. Enter The Brownie Box, where chocolate-centric baking has got so out of hand, they're even stuffing brownies inside cookies.
What do party animals and pregnant women have in common? A need for food, at whatever cost, at all hours. And perhaps the most appealing thing about this Lebanese street food joint is the fact that it's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Kafta manakish at 3am? No problem. Falafel plate at 5am? Sure. Of course, there's also a range of salads, grills and desserts for those who keep regular hours and mealtimes.
A café in a haberdashery? Well, sort of. In the Finnish design house's BoxPark café, everything from the plates you're eating from to the fabric your chair is upholstered with is for sale in the store. Patterns are chic and prices not utterly out of reach '“ fans of the UK's John Lewis should feel right at home. The best time to visit is the morning, when the shop is quiet and breakfast is being served. Go for the Marimekko special toast skagen.
Ice-cream isn't just for appeasing kids '“ win over grumpy friends and colleagues with frozen treats from Dri Dri. Sophisticated gelato flavours ripe for snaffling include liquorice, amaretto and espresso, plus sorbets such as pink grapefruit and kiwi. A small cup will buy you a favour for Dhs19, but if you've got some serious grovelling to do, it'd better be the litre take-home tub, for a cool Dhs120. Ouch.
Themed around classic Egyptian cinema (right down to its Facebook posts, which involve everything from Rocca salads to sambouseks in elaborate storylines), the walls of this restaurant are adorned with black and white pictures of old film stars. Expect traditional Middle Eastern dishes, Egyptian freekh tagines and impressive chicken and meat shawayas '“ fresh meats served on a hot grill. (See main picture overleaf.)
No cheesy booths modelled from old cars here, this is a high-end café with an emphasis on class. Carefully framed and mounted parts line alcoves around the room, while the menu is equally tasteful, with dishes including semi soufflé omelettes, truffle steak tartare and a salted caramel and espresso sundae.
A home-grown success, since opening, this Emirati-owned café has swiftly become a popular haunt among the city's most stylish locals. As its name suggests, it's the intricate, eye-catching sweet treats that are the showstoppers here (think brioche choco chunk pudding, kunafa cupcakes and saffron crà¨me brà»lée) but you'll also find breakfasts, brunches, lunches, afternoon teas and dinner dishes on the extensive menu, including a few free-from options, too.
If melted cheese is your thing (and we'd like to know whose it isn't) get thee to The Melting Pot. Brand-new to the strip, it's devoted entirely to the drool-worthy art of fondue '“ cheese and chocolate varieties. Plus, there's a ladies' night (every second Monday of the month), where females get cheese fondue and chocolate fondue (punctuated by a salad) for just Dhs99.
Dubai's Asian eateries seem to have cornered the market on service with a sense of humour. Smiling BKK may have broken the mould with its insult-packed menu and rattles for getting the attention of staff, but Kuai's spin on entertaining eating is just as good, kooky fun. Duck pancakes require their sauce to be delivered by a water pistol, while dynamite shrimp are served with cartoon-worthy dynamite sticks. Wash it all down with a white tea.