My Favourite Restaurant: Karma Kafé

02 Dec 2011

UC Production co-founders Nina Zandnia and Tariq Erdees talk about their favourite food haven in Dubai

What do you like most about Karma Kafé?
Nina: The food is amazing and they have many different small dishes, so you can come here with a group of friends, order a variety of things and taste different kinds of food, which is very nice. The location, in Souk Al Bahar, is beautiful as well, there are a lot of things happening here, there’s movement and energy; you really feel alive here.
Tariq: The restaurant just has a very nice atmosphere, the colour combination is very relaxing and it’s somewhere you can come to both chill out and talk business; somewhere you can enjoy yourself.

Do you often eat out in Dubai?
Nina: Yes, I don’t even know how to cook, so I always eat out! I can’t cook but I love to eat, food is my passion in life and I eat a lot.
Tariq: I actually wanted to be a chef, so I have an interest in food and I like to order the weirdest things on the menu when I eat out, to try new and adventurous food. I often ask the waiter what their most traditional dish, their signature dish, is and order that. People tend to be very safe with what they order but I just think it’s nice to try something new.

Do you enjoy cooking and entertaining at home?
Nina: Well since I don’t cook, what I do is invite my friends around and get them to cook! I just buy the ingredients for them. Or I order in. I would love to be able to put a dish together myself but I don’t have the imagination. Although I do actually know how to make one dish very well; Persian potato salad.
Tariq: I love cooking and I cook everything from Asian food to Saudi and Italian cuisine, I make homemade pasta sometimes. And I always put something new on the table, something that I created myself.

What do you think of the Dubai restaurant scene?
Nina: Honestly, I think it’s the third best food in the world, after New York and Sydney. It’s in the culture here for people to eat out a lot and Dubai has a lot of good restaurants. The culinary scene is also very cosmopolitan, with [influences from] many different continents and countries, it’s very mixed.

Do you have a favourite cuisine?
Nina: I love sushi. Asian food in general, in fact. But sushi and Japanese food is my favourite cuisine in the world. And steak, red meat is my religion. I love red meat and Argentinean cuisine is amazing for that.
Tariq: I don’t really have a favourite cuisine, I’m a big foodie and I love every kind of cuisine to be honest. I tend to have my seasons: sometimes I’m really into Thai food, sometimes I go for Arabic food, I have my cravings. Though if I really had to pick one, I would say that my favourite is Asian food as well.

What are your guilty food pleasures?
Nina: I don’t have guilt when it comes to food, unfortunately…
Tariq: I do! My biggest guilty pleasures are waffles, cake and peanut butter, though not all at the same time.

Do you make an effort to eat healthily?
Nina: I’ve never been on a diet in my life. I actually want to put on weight but I’m having difficulties with that. And I just love food in general, I sometimes wake up and have steak for breakfast! I have a very big appetite and I eat whatever I feel like whenever I feel like. I also tend to eat a lot of junk food, which is a very bad habit.
Tariq: I’m on a diet right now, a low-carb diet, so I’m not eating rice or bread and I’ve been losing weight on it, it’s working.

What do you look for in a restaurant, apart from great food?
Nina: The atmosphere is very important, especially when it comes to taking clients out. Luckily you have the variety to choose from in Dubai, depending on whether it’s a younger, more hip and funky clientele, or a slightly older one.
Tariq: We don’t really like to hold our meetings in the office, so we pick very nice, atmospheric, restaurants and have business lunches or dinners there.