Gourmet Q&A

30 Nov 2011
By Ahlanlive.com

Foodiva’s Samantha Wood tackles your culinary questions on local farmers markets and fine Indian dining

I have visitors staying with me for Diwali and would like to take them out for dinner to experience Indian cuisine in Dubai. Where would you recommend?
We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to Indian cuisine whether it’s from the north, south, east or west of the country, so it’s a tough call but here are three very different experiences.
1. For a truly memorable experience, I’d go for Amal at Armani Hotel (04 888 3888). The menu is concise and the food exquisite, but what sets this restaurant apart is the location overlooking Dubai’s magical fountains. Grab a table on the terrace and your guests won’t want to leave. It’s licensed too.
2. Another licensed restaurant, but without the glitz and glamour of a five-star hotel is Asha’s at Wafi (04 324 4100) serving up North-West Indian cuisine with a contemporary, almost fusion twist. Food aside, you’ll find killer cocktails and plenty of atmosphere.
3. If you’re after something low-key and casual, Dubai’s brimming with hidden gems. Go to Gazebo (04 351 9006) for mainly North Indian cuisine – the Karama, Dubai Internet City and DIFC locations are the most popular. And yes they cook up a mouthwatering butter chicken too!

Where can I find farmers markets that sell local fruit and vegetables?
You’d be surprised but we do have a couple of great, affordable options in the U.A.E…
1. The new Ripe Farmers market (ex-Bumble Box) www.ripeme.com is held every Saturday morning at Dubai Garden Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road. Starting November 18, Abu Dhabi residents will also find it on their doorstep at Desert Garden Centre. All produce sourced is local, from farms in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Liwa and Ras Al Khaimah, and in some cases certified organic. Until it cools down further, you’ll see mostly vegetables, with fruit coming later in the year.
2. The original Farmers market returns to Souk Al Bahar adjacent to the organisers, Baker & Spice (04 425 2240) later this month, with stalls from Abu Dhabi Organic Farm, as well as crops from farmers across the region.

A different dining out experience
With Halloween just around the corner, fancy dining in the dark? Nineteen restaurant at The Address Montgomerie (04 390 5600) is hosting a four-course dinner in complete and utter darkness on 31 October 2011. You’d be surprised how you begin to appreciate the taste, flavour and texture of dishes without the lights on.

Ever heard of a salt sommelier?
We’ve all been preached to minimise salt content in our diet, but a little sprinkling can bring out the flavours of certain dishes. Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara (02 801 5400) on the nature reserve island of Sir Bani Yas has taken this chef’s tip head on and employed a Salt Sommelier (or guru, I should say) at its Samak beachfront seafood restaurant who guides guests through a trolley full of natural salts, pairing flavours with dishes.

INFO: Samantha wood is the founder and author of u.a.e-based restaurant review and foodie website, www.foodiva.net

Need help finding the right restaurant or have a foodie question that needs solving? Samantha Wood is here to help! Feel free to send your questions to gourmet@itp.com