It’s been a long old slog without international travel, and after both the UK and the UAE dropped their entry restrictions back in March, myself and my partner Josh scoured the web for a flight out of the UK for the first time in over two years for some much-needed Vitamin D. After a 7-hour flight, we touched down in Dubai and were greeted by the notorious hot air when you step out of the airport that everyone's been yearning for. Bearing in mind it was still 26 degrees when we landed at midnight, we knew we were in for a scorcher of a week.
Before we’d even stepped foot onto the plane, there was only one thing on my mind: restaurants. After seeing some extravagant looking spots on Instagram, I already had a couple of places in mind, but I still had a quick (okay, lengthy) look on old faithful TripAdvisor to see what was around. We had a whole week to fill, after all! It soon became apparent that we were going to be spoilt for choice when it came to cuisines. Thai, Lebanese, Turkish, Italian, Indian… you name it, they had it.
First thing’s first: breakfast. I’m a sucker for a good Instagrammable brunch spot with beautiful interiors and beautiful plates of food to match, so when I found out that Brunch& Cake was just a short Uber ride away from us, I was there quicker than you can say ‘waffles’. Situated on Dubai’s iconic waterfront destination, The Pointe, Brunch and Cake serves up generous portions of wholesome dishes with a promise of ‘Grandma’s Goodness’. Let me tell you, ‘Grandmas Goodness’ was well and truly served. With a delicious selection of hot and iced drinks, sweet and savoury dishes and a display full of fresh cakes and pastries, it’s safe to say that I was in my element.
After much deliberation, I settled on an iced vanilla latte and a stack of fluffy American pancakes topped with a vanilla cheesecake filling (can you tell I like vanilla?) fresh strawberries, a scattering of pistachios and a generous glug of maple syrup. I kid you not, these were the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve had a pancake or two in my time) and I have no shame in saying that I demolished the whole plate. Did we also go back there for brunch the next day? You bet we did!
Next up: lunch spots. We dabbled with a couple of lunch spots whilst we were in Dubai, but the restaurant which took centre stage is The Meat Co. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the Burj Khalifa in Souk al Bahar, The Meat Co. claims to have the best steaks in Dubai with some of the world’s most premium cuts of meat. Naturally, both of our eyes gravitated towards the Meat Co. Speciality Burger which combined a 100% Pure Angus Beef Patty, caramelised onions, melted cheese and veal bacon all sandwiched between a buttery brioche bun. You can count me in with anything covered in caramelised onions, so this burger was an absolute treat. Juicy, tender beef which was pink in the middle, gooey cheese, crispy veal bacon (a new one for me!) all in one mouthful… what’s not to love?
Now onto the main event: dinner. Again, we had some beautiful meals during our week in Dubai but Pai Thai took the crown for me. Hidden away in Jumeriah Al Qasr hotel, Pai Thai is an award-winning Thai restaurant serving aromatic traditional dishes in a beautiful garden setting which can only be reached by a traditional Abra boat (have you ever had to get a boat to your restaurant before? Me neither!). I love Thai cuisine at the best of times, but it’s safe to say that my eyes really were bigger than my belly when I was looking at this menu. We ordered vegetable spring rolls, chicken satay and chicken dumplings to start, followed by grilled Australian beef, wok-fried crispy chicken and a whole lot of coconut rice for mains. I honestly could not fault this restaurant; vibrant flavours, amazing service, and a beautiful setting. Pai Thai would definitely get 5 stars on TripAdvisor from me!
All in all, Dubai proved to be a foodie’s haven with more restaurants than you can shake a fork at. We were both slightly apprehensive about travelling to Dubai during Ramadan, but we really needn’t have been! Cafés and restaurants still operate during daylight hours for those not fasting and, if anything, visiting the city during the Holy Month made the experience all the more special. We'll be back!