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Zuma- Dubai

20 Jun

Phew, what a busy last couple of weeks! (My attempt to make an excuse for the large gap since my last post.) But really, it has felt like things are going so fast all of a sudden. But more on that later. For now, let’s get on to the food.

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Zuma is, without a doubt, one of Dubai’s best restaurants. Look at any “top ten restaurants” ranking for the city, and Zuma is sure to be there. It has been on my must-try list for a while now, and I decided I absolutely had to have it before leaving Dubai. After my plans to have dinner there with a group fell through last week, it was the obvious choice for my celebratory post-grad dinner.

We arrived at Zuma flustered, having rushed out of the grad reception to make our 8 pm reservation (we arrived 40 minutes late but managed to hold onto our table despite their 20 minute tardiness policy). Yet as soon as we entered the lounge/restaurant, the cool, relaxed vibe put us at ease. With soaring two-level ceilings, dark wood accents, and dim, muted lighting, Zuma screams–or rather, seductively whispers in your ear–cool, understated sophistication.

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La Petite Maison- Dubai

22 Feb


I went to La Petite Maison intimidated—by the French reputation for rudeness, by the possibility of being let down by yet another “just fine” meal in Dubai, where the food hardly ever justifies the price. I had read reviews, both good and bad: some praising the impeccable Nicoise cuisine, some complaining about the rude, rushed service. But when a restaurant gets as much buzz as La Petite Maison has, there will inevitably be a few negative remarks here and there.

Still, I went in fully expecting gruff service, knowing that French servers are not really inclined to chitchat. But I loved it. The service was actually wonderful—unobtrusive, polite, perfectly timed and in rhythm, whisking empty plates away before they began to get in the way. They were real sports when I tried out my French on them, giving me a little encouraging smile and a compliment as we paid the bill, Mais tu parles tres bien! And contrary to my fears, they made no snide comments when I whipped out my camera and began impulsively (though discreetly) clicking away.

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Oh and the food! The restaurant bills itself as French-Mediterranean, with the concept of shared dishes, placed in the middle of the table so everyone can take a nibble, somewhat like Spanish tapas. Though a little awkward for mains that are typically meant only for one (like my sea bass, or any of the proteins really), the concept is just my style—I can’t help but taste everyone’s dishes whenever I go out. Flavors were neither risky nor particularly surprising, but in every dish there was a little something that elevated it from good to…something more. With every dish, I’d chew carefully and try to figure out this flavor or that ingredient. It was compelling—I suppose that’s how you’d describe it. Stuffed as I was, I couldn’t leave a bite uneaten.

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