As if Valentine’s Day wasn’t enough to worry about, gents are now cautiously eyeing the approach of February 29, the one day of the year when ladies can pop the question. To avoid such a scenario, we suggest lavishing them with so much attention from here on in that they fall into a blissful 15-day food coma, only to wake up on March 1 and miss the chance to tie you down for another four years. Start early with the Red Velvet Valentine Cake at More Café (www.morecafe.biz), or the take-home hamper for two at Carluccio’s (www.carluccios.com/restaurants), which is stuffed with beetroot tortellini and parmigiana di zucchini, as well as heart-shaped chocolate brownies, available from February 9 (Dhs199). Alternatively, anyone hoping to add sweetness to their relationship need look no further than the Oreo mousse at Circle (04 342 8177), which, according to one Time Out staffer, is the best thing she’s eaten in 2012. ‘So Oreo-y, without the rubbish white cream!’ she yelled while on a frenzied sugar high. The best part? It’s available all year.
Alternatively, fill your boots at the brand-spanking-new brunch at Toro Toro (04 399 8888), which started in late January. The brunch will be served via the medium of small sharing plates, which include lashings of guacamole, ceviche dishes and Toro Toro’s ‘famous’ yucca fries (we’ll be the first to guiltily admit to not having heard of them until now), plus chorizo empanadas, crispy calamari, salmon flatbreads with horseradish and cuts of meat from the churrasco grill. Hungry? Yes, so are we. This all-you-can-eat Latino feast costs an affordable Dhs300 (with soft drinks) or Dhs400 (selected house beverages).
Keeping with brunches, a recent visit to the Friday festivities at Zuma (04 425 5660) reaffirmed it’s still one of the best in town. Our only advice is to be wary of the DIFC charge, which, at 10 per cent, is quite a thwack on top of the Dhs550 bubbly option. Be warned!
Seamlessly switching back to Latin American cuisine, we welcome chef Matias Ayala and restaurant manager Luis Serol into the fray – the two Argentinians are set to run the kitchen and front of house respectively at Pachanga at the Hilton Jumeirah (04 399 1111), so we’ll be keeping a keen eye on any changes in the menu.
We’re also welcoming the arrival of Gluten-Free Supermarket (www.glutenfree-supermarket.ae). But before coeliacs grab their wallet and run for the door, salivating uncontrollably, we’ll add that it’s not a supermarket as such, but an online resource that allows you to order hard-to-find gluten-free products, as well as providing recipes and info.
So, on that less glutinous note, we bid you a fond farewell. Until next time, bon appétit.