October 30, 2011

Phulwani Trading Est, Dubai…A true fabric store…with tailoring (if you want)

Filed under: Shopping, UAE — Tags: , , , , , — PEr @ 8:55 pm

I will be honest.  I have a love/hate relationship with Phulwani.  They have an amazing selection.  They carry a great variety of high quality fabrics from the subcontinent, primarily for clothing – suits, shirts and skirts. From simple cottons to elaborate silks and wools – there are some great fabrics.  However, I do have a problem.

The prices.  Yes, I understand these are premium fabrics HOWEVER, I do think they are marked up more than they should be.  Don’t get me wrong, this place isn’t expensive, but you need to really bargain them down. Many years ago, they were reasonably priced, but now it’s a little harder on the bank account.

Phulwani can also organise for tailoring. Decent tailoring, cheaply priced and fast (within 48 hours). This is not Wal-Mart or Jo-Ann’s, but a true fabric store with a vast array of textile possibilities. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

October 1, 2011

Wafi Gourmet, Dubai…GREAT views, DECENT food, very UNFRIENDLY service.

Last Sunday  I had an odd and unpleasant experience at Wafi Gourmet in Dubai Mall. The food was okay– decent Arabic seafood. The location plus its views were GREAT, food DECENT but very UNFRIENDLY service.

I braved the  42 degrees heat, and chose to sit outdoors on the terrace, just so that I can enjoy the fountains and was immediately greeted by the sweet hint of shisha.  The key advantage of this restaurant is its location. You get to enjoy the Dubai fountain and the majestic Burj Al Khalifa.

The food on offer is of the Arabic variety (where Arabic cuisine is by default taken to mean Lebanese) – mezze, kebabs, shawarma, and a variety of Lebanese preparations along with fresh fruit juices and pastries. My order was  five perfectly cooked jumbo prawns, each prepared with spices. It was ok…decent.

Despite the nice food and superb location of the restaurant, the dining experience was soured by the very bad and unfriendly service. Not one waiter was smiling. They just don’t care. I was mostly ignored and by the end of the meal I felt uncomfortable, unwelcome, and disappointed. I’m deeply saddened that a place with such beautiful surroundings and great potential is run this way.

Moreover, it’s way overpriced. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

June 13, 2010

Vu’s Restaurant, Dubai…there are other better places for a view of Dubai

Located on the 50th floor of the Jumeirah Emirates Tower, Vu’s has a potential to offer a beautiful view amid a sea of buildings, desert and water, but the architecture leaves much to be desired. The view (the selling point of the place) is ruined by concrete and and dirty windows.

Other than the views (which was a letdown), there’s nothing much going for Vu’s –  the rest is mediocre. Staff were pleasant but clearly not enamored by their jobs. Many places have a better atmosphere.

As befits its opulent setting, expect to pay more than you would at your local café.  I most certainly would not put this place as a must see integral part of Dubai’s must-do. This is the true truth and I’m still saying it as it is…

June 12, 2010

Sammach (The fish restaurant), Dubai…go only for the view of the Dubai Fountain. Don’t eat here

Souk Al Bahar sits on the Burj Lake overlooking the iconic Burj Khalifa, the Address Hotels, and the Dubai Mall. On the perimeter of the Souk are an assortment of restaurants, most with outdoor seating and a view of the Dubai Fountain

We had dinner in a waterfront restuarant called Sammach, The Fish restaurant, just to see The Dubai Fountain. Sammach is a Lebanese  restaurant with emphasis on seafood. I was amazed by the crowd standing around outside the restaurant waiting for the show to begin.

The food quality is terrible and the service was just a joke – attempting to order something is like trying to land a two-metre marlin. So beware: you will get charged an exorbitant price for a sub standard meal with ‘couldn’t care less’ service at Sammach!!!

Go to Sammach only if you want a good view to admire Burj Khalifa and see the fountain. Then again, buy a drink. Don’t eat there. The food’s no good and you pay an arm and a leg. In fact, the headline for this posting should be “what a rip-off!” This is certainly the true truth as I say it as it is…

View of Dubai fountain from Sammach

June 9, 2010

QD’s, Dubai….you’re on cloud 29 (much higher than cloud 9)

This is my favourite place to go shisha smoking in Dubai.

QD’s is all about location. Located at the Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, it has seating on a breezy deck area that reaches out over the water. From here you can watch the Abras (waterbuses) as they ply their trade up and down the creek. For shisha and cocktails, QD’s (Quarterdeck’s) at Dubai Golf & Yacht Club is the place to be seen. This super chilled out, funky venue is hugely popular. The ambience’s nice, very conducive for a laidback night to catch up with friends. It is so good to have peace and quiet from time to time and just talk to your friends and when I say talk, I meant a modulated voice not screaming at each other’s ears with loud music blasting as a background like what we normally have when we go clubbing.

The varied flavours of  ‘hubbly bubbly’ include apple, grape, strawberry and mint. Shisha waiters are constantly on hand with more hot coals to keep the pipes bubbling and the air filled with the sweet smoky smell that has become synonymous with Dubai at night

This is the place that locals go so if you want to take guests somewhere “authentic” this is the place to go! The location is the main part of this creekside eatery’s appeal. When the weather is fine you’ll be hard pressed to find a more chilled out spot for shisha, drinks and snacks. I am telling the true truth as I always say it as it is…

June 8, 2010

Al Safadi, Dubai…the shawarma is outstanding!

If you are looking for something authentic in Dubai, my absolute favourite after all these years is still Al Safadi. You can go to the one on Sheikh Zayed Road  – right before the Dusit Hotel or Al-Rigga Street. Al Safadi has the best EVERYTHING in Dubai! The Shawarma is outstanding!!

Excellent food, quick and efficient service (though not so friendly) , the price is very reasonable for the quality of food you get (in other words…dirt cheap), and a nice garden to sit outside in the cooler months. Wonderful selection of cold and hot meze (dips and nibbles), and they have fresh fruit juices, including exotics like  avocado. Other than the shawarma, I particularly love their mixed grill and grilled seafood (the prawns and squids)

In conclusion, Al Safadi have the tastiest Shawarma I have ever tasted! This is the true truth because I say it as it is…

June 4, 2010

Shamiana Tandoori & Indian Cuisine, Dubai…food court food that’s cheap and good

All shopping malls in Dubai have a food court. Mall food courts are extremely noisy place and have the usual selection of junk food. However, there is an exeption:

Shamiana serves piping-hot tandoori food, biryani, curry and kebabs. Visitors can create their own combinations from the selection of daily specials and traditional dishes

I tailor-made my own order of a garlic naan, masala prawns and chicken tandoori.

I tried the same combination at both their Dubai Mall and Deira City Centre outlets. Although it is located in a food court, all food is cooked a’la minute (made to order). Shamiana is a good spot for good Indian fare at less than average prices. The main disadvantage of eating in a food court is the paper plates and plastic cutlery! This is still the true truth as I say it as it is…

June 2, 2010

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo…worth a visit

Located inside the Dubai mall, the aquarium is dubbed the largest in the world… having won the Guiness Book of World Records as the largest acrylic viewing panel of the world. It takes its role of educating the public very seriously and its tours are designed with this in mind, in an enjoyable hands-on way.

Highlights include feeding time for the enormous Sand Tiger Sharks and the majestic Stingrays. The aquarium & underwater zoo is a mecca for marine-loving individuals a  large collection of over 30,000 types of sea life.

Everyone there is sure to enjoy the view and immerse your senses in a stimulating environment of vivid underwater colours and stunning marine life. They have an experience called shark dive – an opportunity to have a diving experience in an aquarium environment. I didn’t do it this time, but next time, I certainly will ditch my street threads for a wetsuit to dive with sharks. That’s definitely the true truth and I say it as it is…

June 1, 2010

Dubai Outlet Mall…..a waste of time

Filed under: Shopping, Travel, UAE — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 7:38 am

Dubai’s first ‘outlet’ concept mall is quite a way out of town, and bargain-hunters will NOT find it’s worth the drive. I used inverted commas fo “outlet” because in turth, it’s like an ordinary mall, and not really an outlet mall.

Getting there was quite simple as there were free shuttels running from various places in Dubai. However, there were lousy sales. No great deals,. Nothing I couldn’t live without. To be truthful, there were some very good deals but you reallyhave to look for them like a needle in a haystack. They were rare and few.

We Asians have a long-standing love affair with bargains. Dubai Outlet Mall capitalise on that with a web of marketing and manipulation with their glittering promise of “big brands, big savings.” Actually, Dubai Outlet Mall is for suckers. This is the true truth and I say it as it is.

May 25, 2010

The Irish Village, Dubai…discriminating service levels

Dreadful service by dreadful staff.

I used to like this place very much. The fountains, trees, outdoor picnic style seating and cobblestones create an atmosphere of relaxation.

However, though The Irish Village may have been a great place once, Dubai has moved on and left The IV behind. Unable, unwilling or too vain to change, this once Colossus of watering holes in Dubai is now a parody of itself. Visiting the place in May 2010, I met people who are sullen, unfriendly and who want to fight (and that is just the staff!). You have to carry your own tables and chairs because the staff would only attend to westerners and we were of the wrong colour of skin. The staff would be chatting amongst themselves and not take your orders until you walk up to them. It’s also the first Irish pub I’ve been to in the world which doesn’t screen English Premier League soccer/football matches.

Dubai is not known for its service, but this place sets all time low standards. This is the true truth and I say it as it is.

from left: Rafin, Isabella, Gerard, Hawk, Wendy, Kenneth, Paul, Karin, Elaine, Cindy, Shirley

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