Things to do in Dubai today

The day's best Dubai events and other things to do in Dubai, including deals at Dubai restaurants, bars and spas, cinema releases and more.

There's simply no excuses for laziness in Dubai. With every need catered for, if you're a glutinous foodie or a glory-chasing fitness fanatic, there is, almost 24/7, something for everybody. Want films? We have the biggest releases and some of the best cinemas - indoor and outdoor - in the world. Or how about architectural marvels? Well, just look up. You're welcome. And while we might have said no laziness, if you're headed to the beach we're willing to make an exception.

To jolt you into life, here's the pick of what's happening around town today.

Middle Eastern 04 407 4444 Business Bay

There’s nothing we love more than somewhere cool, casual and a little bit quirky when comes to eating out. So when we visit BB Social Dining in DIFC, we are delighted with what we find.

Aptly positioned just off Happiness Street, BB Social Dining is set over several levels. It’s a clever use of the space, which is tall and narrow. The bottom level houses a handful of tables, while a spiral staircase leads to a bar, an open kitchen and, lastly, a roof terrace, which is cosy and contained by greenery. The décor is chic – all blacks and yellows, stripy awnings and chequered floors.

We love the sound of everything on the funky menu, and dive straight in. As the BB suggests, the lists focuses on baos, bowls, barbecue and bites. The social part is that all dishes are for sharing.

Intrigued, we start with the cauliflower popcorn. It’s crispy, tasty, truffly and a far cry from a stereotypical soggy floret. It’s a great start.

Equally excellent is the super-green hummus, at once vibrant, tangy and smooth – a perfectly proportioned mishmash of tahini, edamame and spinach.

A bowl of steaming pho arrives next, packed with veg and noodles and subtle flavours.

Our only niggle is the overly fatty harissa lamb, which doesn’t quite live up to the other dishes.

But don’t miss the brownie.

A sizzling skillet exudes a deliciously chocolatey aroma, while raspberries and marshmallows complete a line-up that’s as pretty as it is tasty.

For a charming, laid-back dining experience that’s not going to break the bank, BB Social Dining ticks all the boxes. It won Best Casual Newcomer at our Restaurant Awards 2018 because we love it. You will, too.

The bill (for two)
1x super green hummus Dhs27
1x califlower popcorn Dhs32
1x This is BB Bao Dhs45
1x vegetarian pho Dhs45
1x harissa lamb Dhs65
1x frying pan brownie Dhs45
1x large water Dhs25
Total (incl service) Dhs284

The bottom line
Dishes that taste as good as they sound.

French 04 590 5076 Abu Hail

This restaurant’s pedigree – from Michelin-starred chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin – will fill you with great expectations.

Bringing that kind of flourish to Dubai isn’t difficult. The city is awash with top-notch eateries that take pride of place within the city’s pristine developments, and Demoiselle fits perfectly.

Set within the newest section of City Walk, it’s chic, dainty and demure. The colour scheme is fresh and bright – all white and beige with pops of colour coming from foliage in baskets suspended from the ceiling.

It’s casual by day, with lower lighting setting the mood for an evening meal.

The classic butler-style uniforms, given a quirky twist with green bowties and beige braces, worn by staff add an air of elegance. What they’re serving is very good, and they’re quietly confident of this.

The baked lobster fishcake is a great introduction. It’s fluffy and sweet on the inside, packed with meaty chunks of crustacean. It’s a dream to eat, with a smidgen of chilli delivering a light kick.

As the mains arrive, things only get better. The duck confit comes with a bubbly, crisp layer of skin covering shreds of meat so tender, juicy and sweet we could weep.

A braised wagyu beef short rib with truffle crust and mushroom cream is fall-apart and sticky-sweet. It’s a truly decadent, yet delicate dish that gets us seeing stars of the Michelin kind.

Being a café, the menu at also boasts an array of breakfasts, and a variety of teas, plus an abundance of freshly made viennoiserie, patisserie, macarons and cakes. Head over to the counter to admire these, and definitely don’t pass up on ordering one to finish.

For a low-key meal featuring top-quality dishes, Demoiselle by Galvin is a solid choice.

The bill (for two)
1x baked lobster fishcake Dhs64
1x lamb boulettes Dhs42
1x crisp duck leg confit Dhs18
1x braised wagyu short rib Dhs189
1x Parmesan French fries Dhs34
1x creamed spinach Dhs28
1x chocolate choux bun Dhs38
Total (including service) Dhs523

The bottom line
Quality eatery that doesn’t just rely on the name above the door.

French 04 372 2444 Sheikh Zayed Road

The waiter is painstakingly gathering crumbs from our table. For the third time. It’s awkward, because he’s been there for ages and our conversation is paused until he finishes. And also because no matter how well he gets rid of those crumbs, the stains (not ours) on the tablecloth will remain. And that, in a nutshell, sums up Le Cirque.

When you aim for a high-end experience, with all the fripperies that one entails (constant pouring of water, the painstaking crumb gathering), and fall short, you can look a bit silly. And, ultimately, the prices you charge don’t seem like good value.

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for a fancy night out and the food at Le Cirque (A New York import from the same stable as the altogether more fun Circo in Abu Dhabi) is, on the whole, very good. But we aren’t wowed.

The room is very impressive and the vibe is very French. But service is a little unsure of itself, it’s off-putting. Service at this level is much better when you don’t notice they’re there or they’re totally on the ball.

Tuna tartare with watermelon is a fresh and cooling plate, but there’s far too much onion.

Beef carpaccio is far more successful. The meat is sliced a little more thickly than usual, giving it good bite, while little blobs of truffle mayo lift the dish.

Mains are a similar story. Ravioli of king crab is cooked perfectly, and the sweet crab meat inside is delicious. It comes with a light bisque-like sauce, but there’s also a sweet apple compote-type substance hiding underneath. It overpowers the delicate crab and the flavours get somewhat muddled up. The asparagus risotto fares better, it’s creamy, cheesy and the cooking is bang on. It’s by far the most successful dish.

In such a competitive market, Le Cirque either needs to up its game or lower its expectations.

The Bill (for two)
1x tuna tartare Dhs88
1x beef carpaccio Dhs77
1x asparagus risotto Dhs93.50
1x crab ravioli Dhs105
1x diet cola Dhs22
1x large water Dhs22
Total (including service) Dhs429.50

The bottom line
An ambitious restaurant that doesn’t quite reach the mark.

British +971 44222328 Dubai Marina

As an all-round experience in Dubai Marina, this Pier 7 spot is hard to beat. A great selection of drinks, good food, stunning views, a lively atmosphere and friendly staff make this one of the best options in the area. Headed up by British celebrity chef Simon Rimmer, The Scene specialises in British pub classics and comfort food. Try the chicken kiev, which oozes garlic and tarragon butter, or the flaky pan-fried cod served with saffron potatoes, smoky red peppers and paprika sausage. For dessert, there’s classic red berry Eton mess, apple crumble and sticky toffee and date pudding. The large space is designed with a mismatched feel – tables and chairs are different colours of baby blue, green and pinks, while the walls are decorated with comic book cut outs, giving it a real vintage, retro vibe. There’s plenty of choice when it comes to seating; larger groups can slot into one of the bigger boots with cushioned sofas or hunker around a coffee style table for drinks and nibbles. Those looking for a more intimate experience can head out to the terrace, too.


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