2009 was another incredible year for dining in Dubai.
Newcomer Reflets Par Gagnaire walked away with the coveted Time Out Dubai Restaurant of The Year award back in March, but that was only one of many fascinating foodie stories in the emirate this year.
Restaurant critic and food writer Daisy Carrington looks back at Dubai's most interesting food trends of 2009.
Cupcakes: There were a couple of weeks that we thought we’d die from eating too many cupcake samples sent our way. But who are we to complain? Dubai has its answer to New York’s Magnolia.
Gelato: We finally learned the difference between this Italian dessert and ice cream. It’s all in the texture. You can now pick up a scoop of this satiny, smooth version at almost any mall.
Contemporary Japanese: Because who can ever get enough miso-marinated black cod? Okku and Mirai joined the ranks of Nobu and Zuma (and there are still more to come). Dubai has proved it can never get enough overpriced Japanese food.
Odd names for brunch: It seems many of Dubai’s establishments are attempting to rebrand brunch. You know guys, we’re not fooled. Call it anything you want, it’s the same exercise in excess it’s always been. Own up - how many of you got excited by hearing about frunch, drunch and Friday lunch?
Cheap and cheerful: We’ve seen the heyday of the big, fancy restaurant openings linked to Michelin-starred chefs. This year, it’s been all about little street-side eateries that favour personality over price. It’s a change we welcome.
Dim sum: Several new restaurants dedicated to dim sum opened up this year, while established Chinese restaurants launched dim sum menus. One of our favourites was Duck King on Jumeriah Beach Road.
Dining around the Dubai Fountain: When Souk Al Bahar first opened, it was a ghost town. Now that the glorious Dubai Fountain has opened up, it’s the place to book a table. To catch the view on the cheap, get an outside table at the new More Cafe.
JBR: For a while this bustling community was starved for good restaurants. Now, the residents have their pick. Venture down the walk and you’ll see an explosion of cute little packed places.
International City: An isolated community no more. This year, dozens of new restaurants opened in International City. Many of these were quirkier than anything we’d seen before. Diggy Dog, The Crepe Cafe, Afghan Cuisine – all spill over with personality.
Fancy chocolate: Perhaps, given the recession, the city folk preferred to splurge in little ways. What better way to indulge on a small scale than with an artisan box of chocolates?