28 November, 2013

TRIBES

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Food and Africa. Two things I love separately so how could I not love them paired together! Tribes kindly invited me in to try out their menu but, seeing as I'm not a huge meat eater, I wasn't overly keen to begin with to be honest. However, I decided to take a meat-loving friend along with me to make up for my herbivore tendencies and was actually very pleasantly surprised by their selection of veggie and seafood dishes! 

For starters we ordered the West Coast Calamari and the Ugandan Fish Croquettes for starters and then, for mains, I chose the Snapper Fillet, whilst my date went for the Kalahari roast lamb. All of the food was absolutely wonderful but my favourite by far was the calamari - just so fresh and the sauce was divine. The atmosphere was really friendly and relaxed, and I would definitely go back, even if just to order another plate of that wonderful calamari (little bit obsessed)!

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Right, now I'm off to fully embrace the long weekend!


23 November, 2013

The streets of Beirut

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Unfortunately, blogging has had to take a backseat over the last couple of weeks, due to the crazed amount of work and events that are going on in Dubai at the moment but, finally, here is my Beirut photo diary (part 1). What I would give to escape back to this mad, gorgeous city for another four days right now! 

I'm not sure I've ever visited such a beautifully eclectic country - modern, Parisian-style streets juxtapose sobering, bullet-ridden buildings, whilst snow-topped mountains look over warm sandy bays. Tangled electrical wires run above streets dotted with lively bars, mosques neighbour churches and vibrant graffiti crowds the walls, each drawing complementing the mural yet clamouring to be seen. Ultimately, there is just such visceral energy that oozes from every corner of Beirut, from every crack in each crumbling building, which makes such a refreshing change from the numb glitz of Dubai.

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I do have one other Beirut post coming up - expect less street scenes and more of a focus on all of the eating and drinking we did!


15 November, 2013

Fraiche Cafe and Bistro

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I've been hearing great things about Fraiche for a few weeks now so, when they invited me in for a review, I was more than keen. Located right opposite the Damas building, before you enter the maze of skyscrapers and are lost in the depths of JLT, this charming cafe is very easy to find and easy to love.

My beautiful friend Steff and I arranged to meet for breakfast here last Saturday morning, which sounded dreamy at the time but, inevitably, we both went out the night before and so arrived at Fraiche slightly worse for wear! Steff's remedy of choice was a fresh orange juice, whilst mine was a cappuccino and, eventually, we were ready to embark on Fraiche's breakfast menu. The offer is: order a dish from their breakfast options, such as eggs or pancakes, and then help yourself to the spread of extras - granola, fruit, croissants, yoghurt etc. All of this, plus a drink, for just AED 55 - not bad hey.

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Steff went for an omelette, whilst I opted for the Eggs Benedict with salmon (I'm predictable, I know). Both were absolutely scrumptious and just what we needed. The hollandaise sauce on my dish was stand-out and, as I was informed, has been tweaked and fine-tuned over months until this divine concoction came about. One of my favourite things on the plate, albeit the least photogenic, was the mushroom - how did they make it so delicious?! Let's just say that when I found out that the chef was Michelin star, I really wasn't overly surprised.

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The charismatic and enthusiastic owner of the cafe, Yousef, chatted to us and explained that the cafe is Montreal-inspired (as this where Yousef  spent many years) and brings the Canadian concept of great food and vibe to this little corner of the world. What I most love is that Fraiche is helping to solve Dubai's dearth of breakfast culture and almost positions itself as the anti-brunch* - simple, affordable and relaxed.

In the spirit of keeping things "Fraiche", Yousef and the team also held their first event last week, Fraiche Boutique, an evening at which local designers and artist showcased their talents and wares. With more pop-ups like this and, with the young, hip crowd who are already customers, Fraiche is well on it's way to becoming a 'happening' destination. 

I just can't wait for their outdoor terrace and vegetable garden to open - don't expect to find me anywhere else on a Friday and Saturday morning!

*(N.B. brunch is used here in the utterly 'Dubai' sense of the word and does not refer to time of day - the Fraiche breakfast is served until 3pm on the weekends!)


07 November, 2013

Warde in Beirut

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The fact that I've lived the large majority of my life in the Middle East and haven't visited Beirut until now is a crime, but one that I'm determined to make up for. The city absolutely stole my heart; I only left four days ago and I'm already planning my next visit! Unfortunately I landed back in Dubai in the early hours of Sunday morning and jumped straight back in to a more-hectic-than-usual week at work, so I haven't had a chance to trawl through and organise all of my photos yet and, for now, all I have to offer you are these outfit pics. 

These were taken on an afternoon spent strolling around Hamra, after jewellery shopping on the streets and before cradling a cup of hot chocolate in the artsy De Prague cafe. The maxi skirt was a purchase I made in Copenhagen back in June and, although the material is thinner than my trusty Topshop one, the front split just takes it to a whole new level of exciting. Pair this with my staple Celine T-shirt, plaid shirt (I promise I don't wear this every day) and new leopard print sandals and hey ho I was ready for whatever Beirut had to throw at me.

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Top: Celine, Skirt: Monki (similar here), Leopard print sandals: Topshop, Necklace: Borrowed, Bag: Mulberry.

Stay tuned for a full photo diary of my trip...