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Tag Archives: French cuisine

Dubai in 24 Hours

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I’m on a fabulous pre-Christmas trip to the northern hemisphere to explore food, culture and theatre! On the way to the UK I stopped off in Dubai to visit my friend and colleague the delightful Ms G, who is currently resident there teaching in an international school.

Ms G treated me to a whirlwind taste of Dubai in 24 hours! Way too short but enough of taster that I know I will return to investigate more Emirati delights.

So here’s the highlights:

Checked in to Ms G’s apartment with its stunning views of some iconic skyscrapers on  Dubai Marina Walk.  See headline photo!

Visited  Ms G’s school in the desert with its fascinating multicultural mix of students and buzzy vibe.

Lunch on the terrace at Jumeirah Beach Hotel with its views of the spectacular sail shaped Burj Al Arab Hotel (pictured below). It was 30 degrees C and we ordered roast Wagyu beef with horseradish and Yorshire pudding!

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Then an urgent nail appointment at The White Room Spa. I had got on the plane straight from work so no time for a manicure – those who know me, know that as a cook my hands are always in flour and sugar making pastry etc and need a lot of TLC!

Off to Atlantis, The Palm, photo below, to see this amazing man made island, and to gaze at the Atlantis, pictures of which have fascinated me when featured on television cooking programs. We had cocktails at Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay.  An enormous venue –  less cosy kitchen then colonial bar – think Somerset Maugham and empire days. One of the house specialties is gin. They have  an amazing variety. Not usually a gin drinker, I did succumb to a couple of wonderfully refreshing cocktails. The Floradora and the gin martini were delightful.

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Last stop was dinner at the highly acclaimed La Petite Maison in the Dubai International Financial Centre, a mix of the south of France with Italian overtones.

The venue was ritzy and glitzy, the clientele a mix of ex pats and Emirati, and the vibe was opulent. Not so the food, which while beautifully cooked, was the kind of cuisine that could be eaten in a few mouthfuls. This hungry diner needs a little more to wrap her chops around. A portion of a small sea bass fillet meunière, a tiny green salad, one piece of baguette, and a little pistachio cake were all charmingly served, and no doubt suited the elegant, waif like female diners draped languidly over dining chairs for maximum viewing potential. Oscar Wilde’s Gwendolen would have been impressed!

But I was in Dubai not just to eat, but to experience the vibe, and to whet my appetite for a further visit, so people watching definitely took precedence over food, on this occasion.

And finally, as a reminder that Christmas is a cultural as well as a religious event, the Christmas tree at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, pictured below.

I love Dubai and I will be back. The best part was spending the day with my friend, the ever optimistic, wonderfully organised and always, always, so kind, so caring, Ms G.

Ms G, thank you!

XXX Miss S

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Restaurant Hubert: Sydney Quirk Meets French Chic

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Imagine an underground venue in the heart of the legal and financial district in Sydney, that’s part restaurant, part bar, part theatre, and you have Restaurant Hubert at 15 Bligh St Sydney. The people behind the venture are Jason Scott and Anton Forte from the Swillhouse Group, with chef Dan Peperell in the kitchen. If you’ve been to Frankie’s Pizza or Shady Pines you will be familair with the quirky style of the Swillhouse Group. I love Frankie’s Pizza and have blogged about it here.

Hubert feels like walking back in time into a slightly decadent, old fashioned French restaurant. The decor alone is moody and seductive…dim lighting, dark corners and intmate booths, lots of period pieces. A great place for an “amour rendez-vous”…love tryst…or just a casual get together with friends.

I had several reasons to celebrate with my colleague Ms R,  as we dined together on this particular evening.  In our booth, adjacent to the Bar Normandy, we  perused the excellent wine list from a leather bound tome, the title page of which is pictured here.

wine-listWe began with a delightful sparkling from the Loire, moved on to a fresh and fruit sauvignon blanc from Tasmania and finished with a refined Muscadet dessert wine. All perfectly suited our dinner choices. The menu is based around the sharing of plates, small and large.

We started off with crusty bread – I’m presuming sourdough – and cultured butter. We shared a couple of small dishes: anchovy pain perdu, a wonderfully soft and flavoursome “eggy” bread and the Malakoff – a deep fried Gruyere cheese ball with Dijon mustard and pickle. Of the two, my fav was the latter – very cheesy, very oozy…yum. Our large plate (note only one – we were saving room for dessert) was the Bavette steak, flank steak cooked pink, with bordelaise butter. We had a dish of creamed spinach, to accompany it as well as a salad. Sadly I can’t remember what the salad was. Hmm. Must take notes in future! The steak was my least favourite dish. I’m not overly fond of tougher cuts of beef cooked À la Minute, the result is sometimes chewy.

There were just 3 desserts on the menu, and a cheese platter.  The Santa Claus melon with finger lime, sorrel jelly and young coconut sorbet, sounded intriguing. What is a Santa Claus melon?? But we decided to go down a more traditional path with the creme caramel and le grand macaron – a giant macaron filled with rice cream and raspberries. I ate the latter, and it’s fair to say I haven’t yet met the dessert that could beat me, but this one came close on size alone! Both desserts are pictured here.

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The service was lovely, attentive without being intrusive. The wait staff were young and hip. We really felt looked after with the VIP service.

Judging by the way the venue had filled up by 7.00pm, other Sydney-siders were appreciative of this amazing restaurant too.  Sydney needs more places like Hubert  – great French food, stunning venue and a lovely mix of authentic cooking mixed with a theatrical presentation. Well done!

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