A Delightful Dine Around with the FooDiva.

Well friends, finally settled and available for an exciting dine around with the FooDiva herself, I was delighted to experience a Dine Around last Monday evening.  Other than knowing we would enjoy a very nice meal, I had no specific opinion of what the evening would involve.

To start, one of the elements I liked best about this was the surprise factor.  Yes, we were told to meet at the first restaurant, but after that, we had no idea of the plans — which I loved!  Given the expert organization and how a night out is usually my jurisdiction it was fun to simply sit back to see what would come next.  In my years in the region, I really can’t think of any similar offer.  Furthermore, at each venue, we were personally greeted by the chefs — if you are a foodie of any kind, this would be an excellent opportunity to talk to industry professionals you might not usually have access to.  And finally, while I (obviously) enjoy dining with Hubs, it was lovely to sit and enjoy a meal with other educated Dubai diners.  Being around others who get excited about food is my favorite type of evening.  (Really, I would love this sort of ‘match up’ more often as not everyone we know is into fine dining like we are…).

So, we were fortunate to visit three restaurants I had never been to (Bice Mare, Play and Q’bara).  We started with a bit of history on the art of sabrage of champagne (Ruinart Brut was served with a proper sabre, instead of the kitchen knife Hubs and I usually use), before we were plied with all kinds of hors d’oeuvres (literally, I lost count after the first three).  As we sat for a selection of starters, we were treated to the always impressive Dubai Fountains.

With a selection of sharing plates (very appropriate for a larger group) we enjoyed Yellow fin tuna tartare (my favorite starter), Sicilian octopus, baked eggplant and Angus beef carpaccio.

With an explanation of the wine (discussed by the proprietor of The Tasting Class, quite knowledgeable on all of the servings during the evening), we finished our glasses and walked to the waiting Mercedes motor coach I will never take a regular coach again to our next surprise destination…  Play!  Recently opened and much discussed, I was quite excited to sample the cuisine, which did not disappoint.  Even though we were treated to five selections from the menu, the restaurant and lounge will be well worth another visit, with the Wagyu fillet being my favorite.

For desert, we hopped back in the van and heading towards the Creek, ended up at Q’bara (not ‘Planet Hollywood’ as Hubs tried to remind us all of what formerly occupied the space).  This was another venue I had heard wonderful things about, but had not yet had the pleasure of dining at.  Our deserts included a brioche, baked kunafa and my favorite, the light and tasty sweet milk bastilla with strawberries.  If the pudding is any indication, I would love to return for a proper meal.

A selection of photos from our evening (poor quality pictures = I was too busy socializing and eating!):

I did offer my sabering skills (but sincerely appreciated the lesson in champagne and part of its history).
Some of the delicious starters.
I hope you like cod, because this was nine kinds of delicious (and served two ways).
Wagyu beef with I am already dreaming of eating again.
Moroccan sweet milk bastilla with strawberries – so light and delicious!

While the cost of AED850 per person may sound like a lot, consider the AED60 credit (with Careem) to provide transport to the event, the fact we sampled six different wines (including champagne and a desert wine), along with a large variety from some of the top restaurants in Dubai.  There was also a valuable coupon from MonViso, a classy take home gift, and a polished copy of the menu with all of the wine and food selections.

I highly recommend this experience!  This is a perfect night for when you have guests in town and want someone else to handle all the details, or when you feel like getting out for one of your better Mondays of the year.

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