Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Must Try or Let It Pass By

Brunch Fit For Superheroes

Superhero Brunch at Mazina
Superhero Brunch at Mazina

My friend asked, “Why is this brunch on a Saturday?”

“Because all other brunches in Dubai happen on a Friday.”

The Bat behind the Bar
The Bat behind the Bar

And with this attitude, Mazina, the multi-cuisine restaurant at Address Dubai Marina hosted the first Superhero Brunch on a Saturday. Lovely meeting Spidergirl, who greeted us and deposited us in the safe hands of Ironman who welcomed us in. Spiderman was stuck to a corner as he wished us a healthy appetite. Man of Steel whizzed past with a serving tray as Batman smiled making a drink behind the bar! This is like having a lavish brunch while in Comicon!

Make Your Own Salad
Make Your Own Salad

Our smiling hostess took us from counter-to-counter, highlighting various cuisines and taste profiles. Started out healthy from the salad corner, where you could tuck into prepared salads or make your own with greens and condiments provided. The basil pesto and horseradish relish was to my liking.

The seafood counter had fresh prawns, mussels and king crabs that sat next to the sushi counter.

I moved on the “Jamon Jamon” counter – loading up on parma ham and smoked ham along. Went beautifully with creamy and hard cheese, walnuts, pine nuts, date compote and crackers.

Ideally I should have stopped after this. But Supergirl flew along and chatted us up. I headed to the South Asian counter. The chef prepared a simple Peking Duck roll with shredded cucumbers and leeks over a sweet sauce. Those that want to bunk the duck could have mushrooms and bokchoy, dimsums of all varieties and satays of choice. Try the mango fish with a melon ball on top. One could marry it!

Story in Pictures
Story in Pictures

I had to skip the roast counter that had smoked turkey and made a beeline for the dessert. Fondant fountains welcomes us but I went straight for the toffee pudding. Must confess that I have had better, but the mango chocolate mousse and other desserts could heal up a love-lorn heart.

#BurpAndBelch meter : 5 buuuurps

#5WordFoodReview : You Need A Superhero Appetite!

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TheCalmDev and a friend were invited for the Superhero Brunch at Mazina in Dubai Address Marina.

Mazina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Mozzo Centrale – for homey food

Mozzo Centrale
Mozzo Centrale

I have been frequenting this quaint neighbourhood on Umm Al Sheif that lies spot in the middle of Jumeirah. This stretch has about 5 restaurants shoulder-to-shoulder and is my favourite place to sit down with a book and not get distracted by the hustle-bustle around.

OMG! Loaded Stuffy French Toast
Mozzo Centrale

Of all Mozzo Centrale is my favourite. A cozy, laid-back Italian ristorante, Mozzo Centrale has introduced extended breakfast timings until 6PM on weekends. And the menu sure is appetizing. The Salmon Benny (eggs benedict over salmon), Chilli Al (eggs and bacon in brioche bun) and the Lobster Benny are some favourites to pick from. The fully loaded French Toast is not be missed at Mozzo Centrale.

Mushroom Bruschetta
Mozzo Centrale

However, my eating partner-in-crime and I decided to go by the menu. I ordered a big bowl of pumpkin soup that was the kinds that blankets you on a chilly night. We followed that with the away-from-the-traditional mushroom bruschetta. I am partial to mushrooms and when they have parmesan on them, I don’t judge them, I eat them!

Tagliatelle Alfredo
Mozzo Centrale

For the mains, we ordered for Gnocchi Al Forno and Tagliatelle Alfredo. When warm morsels of flavourful Italian food goes down your gullet, you know life is good. The portions were excellent and more than fills you. Ask for extra parmesan if you like to load up your plate with cheesy goodness.

We had to skip dessert. These are times I wished I had a portable stomach or an extendable one!

Angel Berry Triffle
Mozzo Centrale – on my next-to-eat list!

Nonetheless, Mozzo Centrale is doing things right, in a silent way. I guess saying “the test of the pudding is in its taste” sure goes a long way.

 

 

#BurpAndBelch meter: 3.5 burps

#5WordFoodReview: Have To Try Full Menu

Mozzo Centrale Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Calling All Denny-zens to Denny’s

The all American diner experience at Denny's
The all American diner experience at Denny’s

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. You hear parents, teachers, spouses and dolled-up nutritionists on TV say it all the time. Well, I say, if breakfast is such an important meal, then I want to have it all day. Looks like Denny’s heard me.

The second Dubai outlet opened recently on Al Manara, Shaikh Zayed Road, opposite Times Square Mall on SZR. When I walked in during lunch time, one sunny afternoon, I had breakfast on my mind. One look at the menu and I had my heart set on a hearty breakfast of steak, eggs, hash and toast. Yes, at Denny’s breakfast is all-day (as is everything else on the menu).

While breakfast was getting ready, my companion and I ordered some crisp mozzarella sticks. Biting into those crispy sticks filled with gooey, oozy mozzarella gives a feeling of happiness.

Oh this dark beauty!
Oh this dark beauty!

And then my eyes fell on this tall, slim, heavy-on-top, dark-complexioned, beauty. Totally seduced, I shamelessly asked for a big tall glass of thick, chocolate shake. You know it is good when you feel it resist the straw being dipped in. One good draw at it, and I was filled with cold, chocolatey joi de vivre! Unbeatable! One of nicest shakes I have had. This, at Denny’s, is a must-have!

Ah, yes! My breakfast arrived. Sour-dough toasted bread, with melted butter seeped in, 2 sunny-side-up eggs, warm hash on the side and a thick slab of steak – if this is not good, then what is! The rest of the time was spent trying out various combinations, like:

  • Steak and hash
  • Steak, runny eggs and hash
  • Toast, syrupy eggs and hash
  • Eggs
  • Steak
  • …it goes on.

Say hello to the friendly manager, if you meet him.

And remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Ask Denny’s – they are open 24×7!

#BurpAndBelch meter : 3.5

#5WordFoodReview: Always Go Hungry To Denny’s

Denny's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

GoGyroz: Easy Way To Go Greek

TheCalmDev goes Greek #GoGyroz
TheCalmDev goes Greek #GoGyroz
Pheidippides running on the wrapping tissue with a gyro in hand. Is this what led him to the Marathon?

Is this what Leonidas and his horde ate to get those hard 6-packs? If so, I am willing to go on a GoGyroz diet. 

For the uninitiated, it will not take long to understand the food in question. It is the Greek equivalent of the shawarma. Vertical skewer meat stuffed on to a folded pita bread, with a choice of what you want it go with it – veggies and sauce. And then, sink your teeth into it, Greco style.

I was tabled on this very sparse (Spartan idea, maybe), Greek-blue-and-green themed small outlet by the very warm and cheery team, an array of gyros. Now the menu is as Spartan as it gets. Read, minimalist. 4 different gyros. Make your own gyro empire. And that is it. This where you take a breath. Less is more. Unwrap your warm gyro, close your eyes as you open your mouth wide as a dinosaur and chomp.

Spartan Bite
Spartan Bite
The Spartan (Greek) is a juicy sandwich filled with red onions, arugula leaves, chicken, tzatziki sauce along with a special GoGyroz seasoning. This one, I really liked.

Babylonian Byte @GoGyroz
Babylonian Byte @GoGyroz
The next one is the Babylonian Bite (Persian) that had a hint of sesame tahini, shredded chicken, tomato, parsley, pickles. After all, you need to survey who the Greeks are up against.

 

 

Ottoman Odessey @GoGyroz
Ottoman Odessey @GoGyroz
The third one was the Ottoman Odyssey. What? I didn’t have to run a marathon like Pheidippides. I had a car. So this one was the Arabian doner with a roast eggplant sauce. I like that.

The fourth, and I did not try this due to unavailability of space in my stomach is the Mayan Myth, which is the Mexican. Tortilla bread with chipotle and guacamole. Maybe next time.

I definitely recommend the Spartan and Babylonian. And while you are chomping it, imagine the hoplites fighting the Persians on the plains of Marathon.

#BurpAndBelch meter : 3 burps

#5WordFoodReview : There Go My Dream Abs!

Go Gyroz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Sum Of Us

THE SUM OF US Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Math was never a favourite of mine. Let’s say, I didn’t have the appetite for crunching numbers. But when I saw this equation, I liked it instantly. The Sum Of Us. An urban, chic cafe that claims good stock, since it is the 2nd offering by the famed duo Tom and Serg, as they do their coffee, since they have their own roastery.

It was a lunch meeting venue. It was for me. You are welcome to make a special visit. Fear is that in lunch meetings, the focus is never the food. But since the meeting was food related, I made sure to be as shameless and gluttonous as I possibly could.

The Sum Of Us - Double for me
The Sum Of Us – Double for me

Began with my hostess’s recommendation of a double Sum Of Us burger that included fresh tomato, lettuce, cheddar, pickles with a side of mayo and fries. It was a tasty, fresh burger, no doubt, but would have preferred the mayo and fries to have more flavour. My partner gobbled on a soft-shelled crab burger. He only resumed conversation when the burger got over.

Salted Caramel French Toast
Salted Caramel French Toast

What followed, was beautiful indeed! A fat slice of salted caramel French toast with a dollop of mascarpone cream cheese, fresh banana and candied macadamia nuts. You should have seen the plate when it got over. Bet they didn’t have to put it in the dishwasher.

And when TSOU claimed a good understanding of coffee, it certainly called for drinking a cup, as we sat outside enjoying the changing Dubai weather. I agree that good coffee needs full fat milk for a ‘fuller’ taste and texture. And coffee that scalds and scales your palette is not something that will happen here because all coffee is served at 65 degrees C. The good cappuccino was downed quickly over the remaining conversation.

Will be back at TSOU, primarily to try out their breakfast options and a few other sundries.

 

#BurpAndBelch Meter: 3.5 burps

#5WordFoodReview: I Can Eat Alone Here

 

Maharaja Bhog: eat like a king!

Indian hospitality is fabled. So much so that restaurants, the world over, offer the royal Indian hospitality. If you are looking to spoil yourself or indulge your family and friends in some ‘food royalty’, then take them to Maharaja Bhog, nestled in Ansar Mall, Karama, Dubai.

Wife and I sat by the spice walls in the restaurant, waiting to be fed till we’d give up. Hospitality is tradition here. Maharaja Bhog started its culinary journey in 2011 and has outlets in Mumbai, Bangalore, Houston (US) and Dubai. Buttermilk arrived at the table. And we started off with that.

The delicious royal thali at Maharaja Bhog
The delicious royal thali at Maharaja Bhog

In olden days, a meal in a royal household was a grand affair. Varied metal tableware spoke of opulence. The main plate is a big plate, with a rather huge diameter and in it fits in various bowls in a stellar line up. Each bowl has a different dish that is ladled into it. Each dish is made with ingredients that are chosen for royal consumption with a sign of nuts, saffron or clarified butter. The rest of the space on the plate is for rice and different breads. Aristocratic families in various parts of India, still like to eat in this traditional manner. Certainly not meant for the middle class, lunch-on-the-go, sorts. Dining, royalty style, is certainly meant for the Indian “la dolce vita”. Meanwhile, an array of snacks arrived on the plate. Those appetizers are served with different chutneys that heighten taste buds and whet up your appetite.

I didn't know beetroots could do that!
I didn’t know beetroots could do that!

Maharaja Bhog makes me feel, just that. The name of the restaurant means exactly what I explained laboriously – feast for a king. The beauty of dining at MB is that mathematically speaking, you will never be eating the same food twice. Unless you work there and eat there. 30 days 30 menus is what they go by. Each dish is beautifully made, keeping in mind the 4 pillars of taste. All dishes are vegetarian and come from the 2 western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. I was so surprised to see red coloured ‘puri’s. I learnt that those were made from beetroot. I was so happy with the lovely experimentation that I didn’t refuse any servings of those deep red shallow fried bread.

Remember to say hello to the mild-mannered restaurant manager Susheel-ji. Watch carefully as the army of servers do not talk to each other or scream across the floor. Instead, they have a sign language by which they communicate what is required on each table. It is a strange pantomime act and it gets food on your plate each time. Next time, I will learn it, for sure. I wasn’t very sure when I got bitter gourd served. I remember my mother molly-coddling me to eat some. I tried a little of it and immediately attacked it for more. The bitterness of the gourd was carefully neutralised by the sweetness from the onions. I think mom would have been happy to see me eat this.

This was my 3rd visit to the outlet and it has never let me down. Consistency of taste is what it takes for anybody to make a name in the F&B industry. Maharaja Bhog’s corporate chef Gulabji is the reason for this. He is responsible for training and operation in all branches. With a robust mechanism like this, little surprise that Maharaja Bhog is also gearing up to have more restaurants. Many more cities across the globe will be welcome to Indian hospitality and taste.

Table reservations recommended. There gets a long waiting-line on weekends.

#BurpAndBelch meter : 4.5 burps

#5WordFoodReview : Recommend Skip Breakfast For Lunch

 

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What A Load Of CRAB!

Joe's Crab Shack
Joe’s Crab Shack

Home to the best variety of crustaceans, Joe’s Crab Shack has done very well for themselves in the US. 130 across the entire continent is not a feeble feat. And then, for the 131st, they decided to come to the other side of Atlantic and weigh anchor in Dubai. And, are we not happy!

JCS opens in the Dubai Mall, Level 2, right next to the Dubai Aquarium under the aegis of F&B stalwart Sahej Bin Lahej. It is a happy place with a warm and friendly staff, who know their crabs and sharks.

The Shark Bite - innovative drink at JCS
The Shark Bite – innovative drink at JCS

Ask staff for recommendations. And you will end up with something that you will really like. For example, this NatGeo-meets-nightclub drink called Shark Bite. Comes with an angry shark on the side that spills ‘blood’ on the blue waters of your drink. Creative. There is no sarcasm in this; it is creative. And you get to take the shark home.

Monogamous ones can try the Pina Colada and then wait to be surprised with the presentation. No spoilers here. Go there and see it for yourself.

The JCS Menu - this will take time
The JCS Menu – this will take time

The starters can get you soaked in a ‘mer’-ry mood. Try the Great Balls of Fire if you fancy hot and spicy or ask for the Good Old Crab Dip – toasty tacos served with a creamy baked crab dip with pieces of celery to add freshness. This is one starter that could feature in the mains, and I wouldn’t complain. Order 2 if you are a table for 4. Do it.

Grilled Red Snapper in Lobster Sauce
Grilled Red Snapper in Lobster Sauce

For the mains, I went straight for the grilled red snapper in a creamy spinach and lobster sauce! How fancy does that sound! it came with  some crab-infused rice. Pretty much fisherman’s food, minus the cream. The red snapper was fresh. Thank heavens, there is no over-harvesting of hammours here.

King Crab and Lobster - get cracking
King Crab and Lobster – get cracking

If you are in the messy mood, go straight for your bucket of crabs or lobsters. These king crabs or stone crabs are shipped straight from the US; reason being that they are not native to the Arabian Sea ecosystem. In fact, all the sea food is shipped regularly from America and made pan-fresh and served. While your bucket reaches you, you will be readied for battle. An apron will be draped, gloves donned and cracker and zipper handed over as weapons of choice. If you are a new soldier, ask the staff for a happy demonstration. And then you are ready to attack the orange-coloured crustacean army!

Shark eating Campfire S'mores
Shark eating Campfire S’mores

If you are brave enough for desert, try this camp-fire compilation of a chocolate cake slice over digestive biscuits, layered with a bar of Hershey’s chocolate, with marshmallows on top and then torched lightly for colour and effect.

Just one thing, Joe’s Crab Shack changed my childhood memories of loving Sebastian the crab, forever. Now I like crabs more!

#BurpAndBelch meter : 4.5 burps

#5WordfoodReview : What A Load Of Crab