December, 2013

Dec 13

Chard, broccoli and mushroom bake


Sometimes some of the most surprisingly delicious meals happen quite unexpectedly. This is definitely one of them. I was wondering what to make having received my Abel & Cole Gourmet ingredient box the other week, and to be honest, I really wasn’t sure what to cook. Of course all the vegetables were lovely, but I really was at a loss as to what to do with them, aside from serve them as vegetables with other dishes, which I really didn’t want to do.

This bake really was made up as I went along. It’s a essentially an adaptation of cauliflower cheese. The addition of the herbs and mustard in the sauce gives it a real depth of flavour. You could serve it as a side, but I thought this was so good, I had it on its own for

lunch. And I’ll be having it again very soon. It’s utterly delicious.

Chard, broccoli and mushroom bake


For the bake

500g chard, cut into 4cm slices

250g broccoli, cut into small florets

20g butter

200g mushrooms, thinly sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

20g unsalted butter

20g plain flour
(gluten free if needed)

300ml whole milk

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only

½ tsp Dijon mustard

75g strong, mature cheddar, grated

For the topping

75g breadcrumbs

50g parmesan cheese, finely grated


Preheat the oven to 190C. Set aside a large ovenproof dish.

Quickly steam the chard and broccoli until just al dente. This should take around 4-5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter and cook the mushrooms in the butter for around 10 minutes until softened. Drain the broccoli and chard well, place into the ovenproof dish, add the mushrooms. Mix them together and spread them evenly over the base of the dish. Season well.

Now it’s time to make the sauce. Melt the butter for the sauce in a medium saucepan over a fairly low heat, then stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Cook gently, stirring continuously for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and add a third of the milk. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon or whisk until you have a thick, smooth paste. Add the rest of the milk in one or two lots, stirring it in until smooth. Return the sauce to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring. Let it bubble for two minutes, stirring every now and then, to “cook out” any raw flour, then turn the heat right down. Add the bay, thyme cheddar, and mustard, stir gently until the cheese melts into the sauce – don’t let the sauce boil, or it may curdle – and season.

When you’re ready to assemble the dish, fish the bay leaf out of the sauce and stir well. Pour the sauce evenly over the vegetables in the dish. Scatter with the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, and bake for 20 minutes, until golden and bubbling.

Dec 13

Hakkasan, Dubai


Hakkasan Dubai is one of those rare restaurants that wows you from the moment you arrive. Situated in the Jumeirah Emirates Towers area of Dubai, it is a gorgeous and glamorous restaurant and bar with a whole host of celebrity regulars.

The dining room is sleek, stylish and beautifully designed and lit and feels a very private and intimate place to dine. The bar is stunning and is a great place to meet for cocktails. The private dining room is a favourite with A-list gusts and regulars alike.

Although the experience of visiting Hakkasan is quite wonderful in itself, the stunning interior and exterior pale into insignificance when it comes to the food and drinks, which are just sublime.

Hakkasan prides itself on its cocktails which are exquisitely delicious. The lychee martini was an absolute favourite, with the strawberry basil concoction coming a close second.  The wine list is extensive and impressive, as much of the wines on offer are specially imported into the UAE by the restaurant.  What is on the list is very carefully chosen, too. Olivier Gasselin, Head Sommelier explained to me that he works with his wine team every week, and conducts a dedicated tasting session, trying out new wines with at least four different dishes from the menu: if a wine does not work with one dish – even if it is great with the others – it does not make the list.

The food here is divine, too. Staff are very caring and sensitive towards any intolerances and are happy to tailor your choices accordingly.

To start, I went for the Hakka steamed dim sum platter, which included a generous portion of exquisitely prepared and flavoured dim sum, which was the perfect way to start the meal.

To follow, we shared a selection of small dishes. The absolute standout without question was the Jasmine tea smoked Wagyu beef ribs. Meltingly tender beef ribs, marbled with chunks of sweet fat, cooked in a gorgeously sweet, sticky and smoky sauce were without question one of the best things I’ve ever, ever eaten. I’m salivating now, just even thinking about them again.  We also tried the delicious Steamed red snapper with assam sauce, which was lovely. Super fresh, perfectly cooked fish with a punchy sauce.  The Sweet and sour chicken with pomegranate was a fantastic take on this classic dish, with a wonderfully fruity sauce and delicious, crunchy vegetables.

We didn’t see the dessert menu after this, we just sat and finished off our delicious cocktails and soaked up the atmosphere.  If you’re in Dubai, a meal at Hakkasan is an absolute must. – a truly unforgettable experience.

Dec 13

Exploring new cuts


We all know that food follows trends in the way of everything else in the world, but one trend that seems to grow in popularity year after year is the variety of cuts of meat on offer. Forgotten cuts of meat seem to be making an appearance again, thanks to top restaurants and celebrity chefs serving them up, and butchers widening the choice of cuts available to customers. Of all the traditional cuts experiencing a huge rise in popularity, it’s bone-in meat. These cuts would have been familiar to our parents or grandparents, and are making a come back of late. They are full of flavour and generally offer good value, and we all know the saying: “the closer to the bone, the sweeter the meat”! I recently spoke to Hugh Judd, a Quality Standard beef and lamb butcher to find out more.

Could you tell me about the advantages of cooking bone-in meat?

The big one is the flavour, Quality Standard bone-in cuts generally tend to have a better, more rounded flavour compared to other cuts. Additionally, there is something fun and appealing to consumers in the primeval, eating from the bone aspect, as people are generally looking to have more fun than ever with food. Another advantage to those looking to impress guests when hosting, is that bone-in cuts can really add the wow-factor, with great presence on the plate.

Please tell me about the market for bone-in meat – who’s buying it and is it becoming more popular?

It is becoming more popular, yes. Bone-in cuts are now a staple on upmarket restaurant menus. Demand comes from worldwide travel, for example, from those who have visited the United States where bone-in cuts continue to maintain strong popularity.

What are the best ways to cook with bone-in meat?

It totally depends on the cut. With something like a classic lamb shank, it has to be slow cooked, with the best of the bone marrow coming out to thicken to sauce and provide maximum flavour. Roasting bone-in cuts is also great. In fact if you have a cut where the bones have already been removed, asked your butcher to given you them anyway. You can then use them as a privet to go underneath the meat when roasting it to create a delicious gravy – for both beef and lamb. Grill also works if you have something like a cote de beouf. The key to this is searing it in a hot grill then let it rest properly. If bone-in meat isn’t cooked in a hot enough grill, the meat close to the bone will be raw.

So, here are some of Hugh’s and my favourite recipes below. For more information and recipes, please see


Roast Rib of Beef with Thyme, Port and Redcurrants

Serves 8-10

Cooking time

Rare: 20 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 20 minutes

Medium: 25 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 25 minutes

Well done: 30 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 30 minutes


2.7kg/6lb lean bone–in rib of beef or sirloin joint

Salt and freshly milled black pepper

3 large garlic bulbs, cut in half horizontally

24 shallots, peeled and left whole

For the Thyme and Redcurrant Marinade

100g/4oz redcurrant sauce

200ml/7fl oz Port

Large handful fresh thyme leaves

For the Gravy

25g/1oz plain flour (can be gluten free if required)

600ml/1pint good, hot beef stock


1)   Preheat the oven to 180C

2)   In a large, shallow bowl mix together the marinade ingredients.

3)   Place the joint on a chopping board, score the fat, season on both sides and transfer to the bowl with the marinade and coat well.  Cover and marinate in the fridge for up to 2 hours, or overnight if time allows, turning occasionally.

4)   Remove the joint from the marinade mixture, strain the marinade and reserve for later.  Place the joint on a metal rack in a large non-stick roasting tin and open roast for the preferred, calculated cooking time.  After 30 minutes cover the joint with foil.

5)   45 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the joint and the rack from the tin, add the garlic and shallots to the tin and place the joint directly on top.  Return to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.

6)   When the beef is ready remove the joint from the tin with the vegetables and transfer to a warmed platter, cover and set aside to rest.

7)   To prepare the gravy; spoon off any excess fat from the roasting tin and discard.  Place the tin over a medium heat and sprinkle over the flour.  Stir well with a small whisk or spoon, add a little stock and stir again, scraping the base of the pan to release any rich, beefy sediment.

8)   Add the remaining stock, 150ml/¼pint of the reserved marinade and any meat juices from the platter.  Adjust the seasoning, if required and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until reduced to a well-flavoured gravy.  Strain before serving.

9)   Serve with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and the gravy.


Barnsley chops with mustard mash

This is a traditional yet delicious way off cooking Barnsley chops. If you’ve never tried them before, they a type of lamb chop, cut from across the loin, leaving you with two chops, effectively.


1 tbsp olive oil

400g shallots

400ml lamb or beef stock

A sprig of rosemary

700g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 tsp Dijon mustard

A handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

100g butter

100ml whole milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 Barnsley chops, all visible fat removed


1)   Start by making some gravy. Place the oil into a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Add the shallots and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the lamb or beef stock and rosemary. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

2)   Preheat your grill to a medium temperature.

3)   While the grill is preheating, boil the potatoes in salted water for around 15 minutes. While the potatoes are boiling start to cook the lamb.

4)   Season the chops and place under the preheated grill. They should take around 4-5 minutes a side for rare, 7-8 minutes for medium and 10-11 minutes for well done.

5)   Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the pan. Add the mustard, parsley, butter and milk, and mash until smooth.

6)   Serve the Barnsley chops with mash, gravy and some steamed green vegetables.


Cote de Boeuf with Red Wine Sauce

Cote de Boeuf is one of the best cuts for steak lovers to enjoy.


2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

15 shallots, thinly sliced

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp caster sugar

2 small glasses red wine

1 small glass port

2 Cote de Boeuf


1)   Take the meat out of the fridge at least 2 hours before cooking.

2)   Place the oil and butter into a pan over a moderate heat. Melt the butter, then add the shallots and sauté until soft but not browned for around 15 minutes. Add the thyme, sugar, wine and port and cook for a further 15 minutes.

3)   Meanwhile, cook the steak on a smoking hot griddle pan for 5-8 minutes per side, depending on your liking. Try not to move the steaks whilst cooking, except for flipping them over.

4)   Serve the steak with the sauce, and possibly some sautéed potatoes, chips or a crisp, green salad to go on the side.

Dec 13

Lisbon: A foodie’s guide


Lisbon, Europe’s westernmost capital city is a brilliant destination for a city break. At just under three hours away from London by plane, it’s a beautiful, historic and characterful capital city, which is perhaps less well known for its food.

I recently paid a visit to discover the foodie delights of Lisbon, digging a bit deeper than salt cod and custard tarts, so here are my tried and tested top foodie picks from Lisbon.


If you like fish, you are absolutely spoilt for choice in Lisbon. Can the Can in Praça do Comércio or Trade Square is a newly opened restaurant situated in the square, with plenty of outside seating with views across the square and of the river. Its menu, unusually, features a variety of canned fish, which is extremely popular in Portugal, as well as fresh fish, such as octopus and a rare find – Portuguese dry cured tuna, which is only made by one elderly gentleman in the country. A rare combination of great food served in a fantastic location.

La Tasca da Esquina is a small neighbourhood restaurant on Rua Domingos Sequeira. It has a great local feel, a warm, open kitchen and is a favourite of local residents.

5 Oceanos at the Doca de Santo Amaro is a particularly nice restaurant for lunch and dinner. The views from their outside seating area are stunning, and their fish is excellent. Try the seafood to start: the garlic prawns, fresh clams and crab in mayonnaise are all excellent. Try the whole baked sea bass for the main course. Simple but delicious.

If fine dining is more your thing, then Lisbon has some exceptional restaurants offering world-class dining. Portuguese celebrity chef José Avillez is one of the leading figures in food in Portugal. He owns four restaurants in Lisbon, with Belcanto his flagship venue. Situated in a very discreet building in upmarket Chiado, it is a must for any keen foodie, or if you are celebrating a special occasion.

Feitoria restaurant in the Altis Hotel is also exceptional. With one Michelin star, chef João Rodrigues cooks a blend of international and Portuguese flavours in his menus. The tasting menu is excellent and dining at Feitoria is a glamorous affair and feels like a really special occasion.

Visitors with a sweet tooth will be spoilt for choice in Lisbon. The Confeitaria Nacional is a famous Portuguese cake shop and tea room, founded in 1829 and is a fantastic centrally located spot to visit at any time of day. Popular choices are thick doorsteps of toast, or cinnamon French toast, served hot and buttered.


The Antiga Confeitaria de Belém, founded in 1837, it is the home of the famous Pasteis de Belém. These Portuguese custard tarts are made to a top-secret recipe, as they have been for nearly 200 years. These little tarts are exceptional – so much better than any you’ll try elsewhere.

If you enjoy wines, then Portugal has some really lovely regional wines to try. Viniportugal in Praça do Comércio is a must. Choose as many or as few wines as you want as you pay per sample.

If you are able to get out of Lisbon, José Maria Da Fonseca in Azeitão wine makers offers a tour of their premises and a tasting to visitors. Their Moscatel is particularly special and is just 5 Euros a bottle. Azeitão is around 45 minutes in the car from Lisbon and is a lovely, quaint town to visit. Stop off at Casa das Tortas, opposite for delicious, authentic cakes and good coffee.

Where to stay

Hotel da Estrela is a great independent hotel, which was recently a school. It is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and is a clean and comfortable base in a lovely part of the city.

How to get there

TAP Portugal operate a regular flight schedule from London Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

For more information, please visit the Turismo de Lisboa site.

Dec 13

Rivington Grill, Dubai


Rivington Grill is a well-established London-based duo of restaurants that have recently expanded to Dubai, where they also operate from two locations: Souk Al Bahar and Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Rivington is famous for its simple, unfussy British cooking. It’s a mixture of simple, top quality ingredients cooked following traditional recipes, with a modern twist. The quality of ingredients and cooking are everything here. Plates are ungarnished, and the dining room is simple, as the food speaks volumes. There is just one thing though – the view. Both Rivington Grill restaurants are situated in prime Dubai locations and enjoy an absolutely sensational view. Sit outside to make the most of it, if you can.

The menu here offers a good amount of choice with plenty of daily specials to choose from, too. The wine menu is short, but offers some excellent selections and is fairly priced, particularly for Dubai, where alcohol is very expensive.

We visited the Souk Al Bahar restaurant on a busy Friday evening, and sat outside. We were warmly welcome and felt really looked after by our lovely Spanish waitress. With a glass of Prosecco in hand a menu to browse, we were served delicious warm bread and butter – both the standard bread and gluten free were excellent.

To start, we went for the steak tartare and the crab. The steak tartare was a stunning blend of minced steak, tomato and Worcestershire sauce and made with superb black Angus beef. The crab was a Devonshire dressed crab, with the white and brown meat served separately, but both had been mixed with homemade toasted brown breadcrumbs and lightly dressed. Both dishes can only be described as perfection.

Moving on to the mains, we went for the whole grilled Dover Sole, served with tomato and caper butter and the milk fed veal chop with smoked bone marrow and caramelised shallots. Both dishes were delicious and faultless – perfectly cooked and filleted fish and tender, richly flavoured veal. What could be better?

To finish, we shared a knickerbocker glory, expecting a rather retro concoction, but out came an enormous sundae glass filled to the brim with divine strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, strawberry slices and the most heavenly strawberry sauce, which just encapsulated the exquisite flavour of strawberries at their best. It could not have been a better end to the meal.

A visit to Rivington Grill is an absolute must. Staff are really friendly and helpful, and the open kitchen gives diners a chance to chat to the lovely chefs, too. I’m dreaming of returning already!

Dec 13

A visit to Raffles, Dubai

Dubai is renowned for its luxury hotels and service, which is viewed as the best in the world by many. Celebrities and royal families flock from all over the world to Dubai. Where do they stay? Raffles. Why? Quite simply, imagine the best hotel you can possibly think of. Raffles exceeds this in every way. It is quite an astonishing feat, but they manage it.

This is a seriously striking hotel that impresses from the moment you arrive. Built adjacent to Dubai’s Wafi Mall, it continues the Egyptian theme of the mall throughout the hotel. Yes, the hotel is shaped like a pyramid and has its own granite obelisk outside, but the decor is executed to the finest possible standard throughout. Many trips to Egypt were made in the design process. It must be the heaviest hotel in Dubai, as practically the entire interior is decked out in marble.

The lobby is seriously dramatic with breathtaking features which wow guests as they arrive, incorporating the four elements of life into the design, something that continues through the hotel. Guests are greeted extremely warmly – the service at Raffles is genuinely second to none at all points of contact with staff – from the Front Desk, to the Concierge and even to housekeeping – friendly and helpful, making you feel like a regular by remembering your name and offering to help in every possible way from the minute your stay begins.

The rooms are really large, from the smallest rooms to the suites, which are favoured by Middle Eastern dignitaries and royalty, who regularly book out an entire floor for their entourage. Suites automatically come with a butler who is available to help you at any time of the day and night.

The hotel has a gorgeous pool, complete with bar and a gilded water clock and a really lovely outdoor jacuzzi. There is plenty of room to sunbathe and enjoy the gardens featuring an exceptionally wide range of plants. Inside, there is a great gym, salon and spa, which offers heavenly treatments. The couples treatments are particularly special, such as the romantic retreat which offers a private Jacuzzi experience, followed by a couples’ massage, all in the comfort of your own private room. Bliss.

One thing’s for sure, your privacy is guaranteed here – it is an exceptionally private hotel – you need not leave your room if you wish. Balconies come with tables, chairs and your own sun loungers, and are absolutely not overlooked – they are just the perfect place to enjoy the sunset with a stunning view.

The food is simply amazing at Raffles. Breakfasts are lovely – they can be taken inside or out, and the choice and quality of food available is superb. Fire and Ice, the hotel’s restaurant is one of the very best in Dubai, with a wide choice of exceptional meat and fish on the menu. The restaurant itself is highly atmospheric, with subtle lighting, dark wood panels and an open kitchen, and wide-reaching views across the city from the windows. The marinated feta with watermelon, aubergine caviar and peppers is a standout starter, and the Seafood Mix Grill is a sumptuous main. Excellent homemade gluten free bread is provided for guests, too.

Even here, in the middle of the desert, you can enjoy an excellent afternoon tea. Currently a fashion afternoon tea is offered for guests and non-residents in the ground-floor lounge, which is popular with locals returning from a shopping trip to the adjacent Wafi Mall. It was not a surprise to learn the Head Chef is English, such is the quality of the scones and fresh cream served. Raffles also offer roast dinners at weekends and sumptuous Christmas feasts for guests over the festive period.

If you are after exquisite luxury and the very finest service, you absolutely can’t beat Raffles.

Dec 13

Last minute Christmas gifts for foodies

If you still need to sort some Christmas gifts, here are some great ideas for any foodies in your life.

Knives. Good knives are just essential in the kitchen. They are expensive, but will last a lifetime. Start with a 10Ccm fruit and veg knife, a 16cm and 25cm knife and you’ll be well away. Wusthof makes my favourite knives.

Aprons. You can’t have enough aprons in my book. I love the designs by Sophie Allport.

Shoes. If you’re on your feet all day, you can’t do better than these for comfort and practicality from FitFlops

For the serious cook, Le Creuset is simply an investment – their casserole dishes will last you a lifetime.

Happy Christmas to you all!


Dec 13

Festive entertaining – The Christmas Table


With Christmas nearly upon us, you might be thinking, as I am about how to decorate your Christmas table. I do not go in for fancy decorations, but do like the table to look just right.

 Here are my top tips for a lovely Christmas table:

1)   Ensure any table cloths and napkins are really well-ironed. I use a professional steam-generating iron to get them just right

2)   Make sure your cutlery and glasses are lovely and clean.

3)   Some form of table decoration is nice, but less is definitely more.  As the table is often rather full, a simple lit candle or two can be lovely, rather than flowers or festive decorations

4)   Choose some lovely china. I love this range by Sophie Conran.

As you never know who will be dropping in over Christmas, and where you are likely to go, here are some favourite recipes of mine, to make in industrial quantities over the next couple of days.

Happy Christmas!

Dec 13

Festive entertaining – Christmas drinks


As Christmas approaches, I wanted to share some of my favourite drinks and homeware with you for the season. Be it to enjoy at home, with friends or at a party, these lovely drinks will instantly have you feeling in the festive mood.

Sparkling wine is just lovely to enjoy at this time of year. Although Champagne may be the first thing you think of when it comes to sparkling wine, I am increasingly choosing English sparkling wine over Champagne as it turns out, we’re getting rather good at making it now. I recently tried Knightor Brut NV which was very good indeed. Made in small quantities with an emphasis on quality, it is light, floral and immensely enjoyable.

Try making a Christmas cocktail by juicing fresh clementines and adding the juice of half a clementine to each flute, and topping up with English sparking wine.

My favourite cocktail of the season has to be a festive Behind the Sheets. Mix equal parts of brandy with white rum and triple sec. Stir well and serve. I make my own festive brandy in advance, using a simple recipe like this one,and use it in my cocktails. The brandy is also very nice served with lemonade as a mixer.

I love to make a big jug and to serve it in lovely Italian glasses from Luigi Bormioli at Denby. Be sure to make plenty to serve to your guests with some nibbles on a lovely big tray, such as this fantastic handmade oak tray from Make The Most Of – essential for festive entertaining.

For a festive non- alcoholic drink, try making a Christmas coffee or chocolate by adding 1 tsp sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and a cardamom pod to a cup of freshly brewed coffee or hot chocolate. Add double cream instead of milk, or top with whipped cream. I love to a good festive mug at this time of year, and these from Susie Watson Designs are totally gorgeous and by far the best I’ve found this year.


Watch this space for top tips for your Christmas table.

Dec 13

Eating out in Dubai – top tips


Dubai is a great destination for foodies. Visitors are almost overwhelmed for choice in this truly international Emirate, as there really is something to suit everyone.

The good news is that food is safe, and food preparation standards are generally good, with the only thing to avoid without fail  is the local water – it’s not drinkable, so mineral water is the only way to go. It’s not expensive, and hotels generally offer a decent supply free of charge in guest rooms, which is replenished daily. So, salads, and seafood, and all the things one might avoid abroad are definitely on the menu here and worth trying.

Hotels generally offer breakfast and the choices tend to be very wide, catering for guests from all over the world. The choice often includes the usual suspects, such as cooked breakfasts, with omelettes being very popular, and fruit, yoghurt, cereal, pastries and charcuterie all available, extending to pancakes, curries, noodles and fish quite frequently. The only thing you might not find is bacon and sausages made from pork – chicken or beef sausages and turkey bacon are generally offered as an alternative. Pork bacon and sausages are sometimes available, but are served in a separate station.

Food allergies are readily catered for, and restaurants and hotels are aware of food allergies. It’s always good to phone or email ahead, but Dubai is very geared up to receiving visitors with special dietary requirements.

Despite the cuisine being very international, there is a surprising amount of local produce available. Much comes from more agricultural Emirates, such as Fujairah, and you can easily find local Gulf seafood, and dairy produce on offer. UAE milk and yoghurt is particularly nice.

In terms of regional cuisine, Lebanese and Iraqi food is popular in Dubai. Karam Beirut offers very nice regional dishes from the familiar, such as excellent fattoush, hummous and grilled halloumi, to some more unusual dishes, all served with piping hot, fresh pitta bread and a giant plate of delicious fresh vegetables, herbs and lemon.

For a really authentic Emirati experience, Bait Al Wakeel on the Dubai Creek is the oldest restaurant in Dubai, which is situated on a jetty on the creek, close to the Abra (water taxi) stop. Service and food isn’t the best, but it is an interesting experience for those wanting something a bit more local and informal.

In complete contrast, Dubai is home to some of the very best restaurants in the world which have opened up local branches.

Hakkasan is a great example of this, located in the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. It is slick, modern and gorgeously decorated, serving the most exquisite oriental food, wines and cocktails you can imagine. Dining, or even stopping here for a drink is an unforgettable experience and absolutely worth trying.

Rivington Grill is also an absolutely superb restaurant, situated in two gorgeous Dubai locations: Jumeirah Madinat Jumeirah  and  Souk Al Bahar. You may think it’s mad to go to a British restaurant in Dubai, but the food here is absolutely sensational – simple ingredients cooked fantastically well, and served with a great view. Unmissable.

Those looking for more informal dining will find plenty of choice in Dubai. As previously mentioned, there are a huge number of international chain restaurants in Dubai, some good, some more average, but offering lower cost options. Bear in mind though that food is not particularly cheap in Dubai – you won’t find much on offer at a lower cost than in the UK. Some cafes found on both sides of the Creek and surrounding areas are very popular with the locals, but offer less familiar foods in an environment where English is not spoken as widely – definitely for the more adventurous.

Alcohol is available in hotels and more international restaurants. The quality varies from very average to seriously good, as there are numerous limits imposed on imports, which affect the quality, and price of wine available. Those that get around this by paying a premium to import their own wines generally have a wonderful selection, but it is not cheap. Beer too can easily be £8 a pint or bottle.

If you’re looking for some foodie gifts to take home, the farmers market which takes place every Friday morning in the gardens of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers is worth a visit. Stock up on Yemeni Sidr honey and blocks of jaggery sugar for an alternative gift. Otherwise, food gifts are not that easy to find – there are a small number of little supermarkets peppered around the more central areas of Dubai – or there is a giant Carrefour supermarket located in the Mall of the Emirates.

Dubai is a fantastic place for all foodies to visit – and there is somewhere and something new to try every time.

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