This week’s foodie news and rumours

Hip new openings, hot new menus and the latest goss from our eating out insider

Knowledge story, The Knowledge

It is rare that a month goes by in Dubai without some sort of new pizza parlour opening: Italian-style, New York-style, you name it (we’ve even had Australian-style before). Now, the latest pizza place on the block, NONNO, claims to offer the very thinnest crust in the world. Despite the brand name (which literally means ‘grandpa’ in Italian), this spot located in Business Bay has a female-friendly, fashionista-focussed concept. Aside from a super skinny crust, NONNO promises that no sugar or yeast is used to make the base, while the sauces are made fresh (using locally grown tomatoes), no added sugar, salt, colourings or preservatives.

Another fashion-focussed, no-sugar concept in Dubai is Souk al Bahar based café Icons Coffee Couture. The brand recently announced plans for expansion, having made a franchise agreement for a further six outlets to open in the UAE.

Expansion is also on the cards for American causal dining concept Applebees. Adding to the 34 outlets already operating across the Middle East, the restaurant chain has announced plans to open more than 20 extra venues by 2017, at a rate of approximately seven outlets a year.

Expanding, but in the opposite direction, are two home grown brands: Just Falafel and Delice. Just Falafel has just opened its first state-side branch, located in San Francisco, California, as well as its first Canadian outlet, located in Toronto. This is the beginning of a staggering 168 venues planned to launch across North America (both USA and Canada).

Meanwhile, this month Dubai-born chocolatiers Delice opened a new store in London’s famous department store Harrods. Following on from this news the Dubai brand will be expanding further, with franchises in Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Cote d’Ivoire.

Homeward bound again to Dubai, and Vogue Café has announced a new Arabian inspired menu in time for the Holy Month. While Level Shoe District (in which the café is located) runs a ‘Arabian Pearl Heritage’ theme during Ramadan, Vogue Café will be serving the ‘Pearls of Wisdom’ menu. This menu includes classic Arabic mezze, kofta, lamb cutlet, a platter of seafood sourced locally from the Arabian Gulf, as well as Umm Ali and a honey and yoghurt mousse for dessert. Level has been given a majlis makeover for the month. Here, there will be Arabic music performances with an electric oud, weekly poetry readings (Tuesday 9pm-10pm), as well as art installations and performances.

We leave you with some fun news for the season. Last year, the iftar selection at The Ritz-Carlton DIFC pushed the culinary boundaries a little with the inclusion of ‘Arabic sushi’. This year, they are at it again with unexpected fusions of a ‘hummus fountain’ (for dipping pitta bread, falafel and stuffed olives) and a ‘falafel waffle’. No, we’re deadly serious.

Until next week, bon appétit!

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