Insider Diner

10 Feb 2015

Food guru Samantha Wood of serves up the latest on the UAE's dining scene

The UAE’s First Smokehouse
The UAE has its first smokehouse. We may have Fümé with a handful of smoked dishes – but Dubai’s Perry & Blackwelder is a new casual American restaurant dedicated to all food smoked over a barbeque. It sits in Souk Madinat Jumeirah replacing the infamous and rather tired Barzar. Dishes to try are the prime beef short ribs and mac and cheese.

INFO: 12noon-2am daily, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, 04 366 6197, 

Where is the Next Pop-Up?
Pop-ups and supper clubs are a key trend here in the UAE this year. Even major hotel chains are jumping on the bandwagon. Starwood (the operators of hotel brands like Sheraton, Le Meridien, Westin and Luxury Collection amongst others) has teamed up with social concierge Lime & Tonic to bring a series of pop-up dinners at ‘secret’ locations within its UAE hotels, each with a different host and theme – all under the hashtag #SPGSeriousEats (SPG denotes its loyalty programme). The next event is on 17th February in Abu Dhabi.

INFO: From 6.30pm,,

From New York to Dubai with Junoon
Remember Marrakech in the Shangri-La Dubai? Well it’s long gone and in its place sits a new modern Indian restaurant Junoon, imported from New York where it boasts a Michelin star. The menu features five Indian cooking techniques; tandoor (clay oven); tawa (cast iron cooking); sigri (open fire pit); handi (curry); and patthar (stone cooking). From what I tried and tasted, the tandoori poussin, lamb chops with black chickpeas in an achar sauce, the fried brussel sprouts and the egg-stuffed bhurji should be on your order.

INFO: Lunch Sun-Thu 12-3pm, Fri-Sat 12noon-3.30pm, Dinner Sat-Wed 6.30pm–12midnight, Thu-Fri 6.30pm–12.30am, Shangri-La Dubai, 04 405 2716,

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first restaurant in Dubai opens at the Four Seasons in April with Colin Clague of Q’bara fame moving across as executive chef.