Smack-bang between Dubai’s long-serving (and now shrinking) Safa Park and trendy shopping and dining district Citywalk on Al Safa Street, BoxPark is breathing new life into Al Wasl Road. Developed by Meraas Holding (the same brains behind the aforementioned Citywalk and The Beach project at JBR), it is a funky, colourful new 1.2km strip. Around half of the Jumeirah 1 development’s scoffing and shopping outlets are open (of a planned 44), with 30 cafés and restaurants and 14 shops set to make up BoxPark. There’s free wi-fi throughout, so you can Instagram and ‘check in’ to your heart’s content. Read on for our guide to the places you won’t want to miss.
Already stirring up excitement for its focus on Emirati and Khaleeji cuisine, not to mention visits from members of Dubai’s ruling family, Logma (Arabic for ‘mouthful’ or ‘small bites’) serves up a contemporary take on the region’s traditional dishes. Expect interiors that mirror that tradition-meets-trendy ethos.
www.facebook.com/logmauae (800 56462).
The restaurant focuses on cuisine from Egypt while incorporating Lebanese, Jordanian and Saudi Arabian flavours. Prepare your rumbling tum for everything from classic Middle Eastern mezze to dishes less commonly found in the city, such as pigeon stuffed with freek (wheat), while desserts include the someone-bring-me-a-spoon likes of hot date pie with vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce.
Big Smoke Burger
The Toronto chain’s first UAE outlet promises a menu jam-packed with comfort food options, all created using fresh (never frozen) ingredients. Choose your meat – lamb, chicken or beef – and then choose from a range of toppings. As at any Canadian import worth its cheese curds, you’ll find poutine on the menu. And it gets bonus points for serving a salted caramel milkshake…
Dubai is seemingly under invasion from gourmet gelato offerings at the moment, and Grom is part of that strike on the city’s dessert scene. Founded in Italy in 2003, the brand sells ‘100 percent natural’ gelato, with more than 20 flavours on offer including pistachio, stracciatella and a caffè and caramel gelato, plus sorbets such mango and lemon. While many ingredients are sourced from around the world – vanilla from Madagascar, coffee from Guatemala – much of the fresh fruit used comes from Grom’s Mura Mura organic farm in Italy.
Another member of the glorious gelato brigade, Italian import Dri Dri also serves up all-natural concoctions from its small outlet at the Park (its first outlet can be found at sister development The Beach). Sample exotic flavours such as liquorice and custard cream, as well as unspeakably delicious sorbets including pink grapefruit and even kiwi combinations. Don’t delay – stuff your face today.
www.facebook.com/dridridubai (04 553 064704 553 0647).
Tear into fresh mozzarella, which is made daily on site using local dairy and traditional Italian techniques. Named after the founders’ grandmother, the house speciality at the bright and airy eatery is a choice of fresh cheeses (including buffalo mozzarella, ricotta and truffle burrata) which diners can pair with one of a variety of Mediterranean side dishes. There are also salads, Italian hot mains, sandwiches, pastas and more to munch.
www.bianca.ae (04 345 530004 345 5300).
Named after ‘Ahwak’, a composition by 20th century Egyptian singer and composer, Abd El Wahab (meaning ‘I Love You’), this is the funky café’s second outlet – the first opened in TECOM’s Grand Millennium hotel at the start of the year. The menu is teeming with Lebanese favourites – stop for a coffee or fresh juice with a shisha, or tuck into salads, mezze, charcoal grilled meats, sandwiches and Arabic desserts.
Inspired by restaurants that line Turkey’s Bosporus, Shish Fish is brand new to Dubai and will serve a wide range of Mediterranean seafood, imported daily to the restaurant. Turkish chefs will man the kitchen, sending out a raft of the nation’s best-known dishes – including fish served skewered on a bed of charcoal.
Website and phone number to be announced.
Despite what the name suggests, this home-grown café doesn’t just serve pretty puddings – a full Euro-American (and Emirati-infused) menu serving everything from eggs to pizzas means you can head here for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Of course, don’t miss the desserts, which range from strawberries and cream French toast to custom-made cakes.
The Jag Restaurant
Ever tried Azerbaijani cuisine? This soon-to-open eatery promises ‘home-like Azeri hospitality and flavours’, so we’re guessing you can prepare your taste buds for dishes such as dolma (lamb and rice-stuffed vine leaves), dushbara (meaty dumplings in broth), qutab (stuffed pancakes), plov (a meat dish accompanied by rice and fresh herbs) and desserts featuring halva.
Website and phone number to be announced.
A cool, Australian accessories store, Typo sells funky stationery, home accessories and décor touches (think cushions, lighting, wall art…), plus a range of the sort of trinkets that make great, seemingly thoughtful gifts for those awkward casual acquaintances. Think Paperchase, with more style kudos.
Liv by Giant
Bikes aren’t just for blokes, but for the women out there who’ve felt a little cut out of Dubai’s cycling scene, Liv is well worth a look. The Middle East’s first cycling store aimed squarely at female riders aims to connect biking enthusiasts as well as offer expert advice and information, plus top equipment and accessories.
If you’re looking for a statement piece of furniture, this vintage/antique shop-inspired store might be the place to make your next purchase. With that said, there isn’t a huge selection, as the store’s reach extends from armchairs to one-off clothing pieces. Whatever catches your eye, however, is unlikely to come up short on style credentials.
A German womenswear brand, this store sells striking attire that, though stylish, is not designed to imitate looks straight off the catwalk. Expect bold, unique pieces, many with a gender-neutral feel (no clingy, second-skin dresses here), while the spring/summer 2015 collection features looks that are wearable for women of
any age, in whites, greys and blacks.
This Finnish fashion house’s name derives from an anagram of the founder, Armi Ratia’s first name and the Finnish for dress (‘mekko’). Not for those who like to blend into a crowd, the brand’s clothes come in bright colours and bold prints, as do the wide range of accessories including bags, scarves and jewellery. For those who really love the look, equally vibrant home furnishings and fabrics are available. BoxPark’s store is also home to a stylish, comfortable café, where the soft furnishings are upholstered in the brand’s textiles.
www.marimekko.com (04 343 851504 343 8515).
Check out the birth of the onesie at this Scandinavian store. Forget cheap imitations, OnePiece sells high-quality zipped, sweater-material jumpsuits, first invented by the three Norwegian 20-somethings who established the brand in 2009. Be warned, the fabric is pretty heavy duty, so not ideal for a Dubai summer (unless you want to whack that A/C up and pretend it’s winter) and they’re also pretty pricey.
If you liked BoxPark, you’ll love…
A spacious shopping and dining area at the junction of Al Safa Street and Al Wasl Road, home to outlets including Italian eatery Sapori di BiCE, yogawear store She Moves, Japanese mochi café and shop Edo, and many more.
Al Safa Street, Jumeirah 1.
A hugely popular weekend haunt between JBR and the shoreline, there are dozens of restaurants to choose from including casual dining options such as The Counter and Operation Falafel, as well as smarter spots like House of Curry, Eat Greek and Al Bahria, while shops include a special watersports branch of Adventure HQ, and lingerie shop Victoria’s Secret.
Opposite The Walk, JBR.
Al Wasl Square
Next to Safa Park and across the junction from Al Wasl Road’s big Choithrams, this small but well-stocked dining district is home to Turkish eats at Zurna, Thai seafood at Smiling BKK, Japanese nibbles at Chez Sushi and amped-up street food at Ace Shawarma, to name but a few.
Corner of Al Hadiqa Street and Al Wasl Road, Al Safa.
The Galleria Mall
Not to be confused with Abu Dhabi’s mall of the same name, this small, stylish assembly of outlets pitches itself as a more upmarket experience (Heinz Beck’s new Taste of Italy is set to open here soon). Movies are screened on the rooftop, swanky cosmetics are sold indoors and cool, urban eateries such as Atisuto line
Al Wasl Road.
The number of hours it takes to walk to BoxPark from Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro Station
ATM's on site
BoxPark’s length in kilometres
Number of food and beverage retailers
Shops to spend in
The project’s total size in sq ft
The number of parks – two playgrounds, and three adult hangouts