foodiva foodiva

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Award-winning food critic🍴🍷🍾✈️  * Impartial website/app on UAE restaurants, culinary travel * Mystery #DineAroundDubai events * Writer, consultant, awards judge samantha@foodiva.net

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A classic case study of a maiden dining journey that is ALL style and NO substance ☹️. My review of home-grown Chinese restaurant @maidenshanghaidubai at @viceroydubai raises the question of whether restaurants should invite guests for dinner in exchange for social media coverage BEFORE officially open? Would welcome your thoughts 😊. Now live on www.foodiva.net (see link in profile). My πŸ“·shows the striking view from the rooftop terrace (all style πŸ˜‰). 🍴🍜🍸 #foodivareviews

The mystery is revealed with our last #DineAroundDubai before Ramadan starts 😜. Pictured here is the #copperporn martini masterclass by @toniqueconsultancy that wrapped up our evening. Swipe for photos of the rest πŸ˜‹. A new itinerary launches after the summer in another slice of Dubai, plus a second #GoldenOldieDubai experience - unless you would like an event over July/August? All thanks to partners @mmidubai @ruinart @thetastingclass @absolutelyx @uber_uae @avantchatea and our restaurants @tuscanbistrodubai @ruyadubai @siddhartaloungedubai πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ. Plus most of all, the great company of our guests ❀️ x

For those planning trips to London over the summer, The Man in the White Hat (I know many of you, like me, miss his Dubai reviews!) who now works there recommends five quirky and affordable restaurants for our culinary travel section πŸ˜‹. Live on www.foodiva.net (see link in profile). Any other London restaurant tips? I am heading there myself, and would love your recommendations. β€οΈπŸ΄πŸ·πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§β€οΈ #londondiva #culinarytravel

A brilliant concept, @happyeggdxb serving eggy dishes all day long. On the same strip as Maria Bonita's. Loved my green shakshouka which compared favourably to Baker & Spice's πŸ˜‹. Slightly smaller portion, but considerably cheaper at AED46 πŸ‘πŸΌ. Service needs work though, partly because of a baby shower overtaking a large chunk of an already small cafe yesterday. Perhaps they should have closed for the day. How do you like your eggs? 🍳πŸ₯šπŸ³ #eggdiva

I finally got round to trying an organic-certified caviar, @amsturcaviar available here in the UAE. Farmed from white sturgeon eggs in Canada. Plus a couple of grades from the US awaiting organic certification. None use borax or preservatives - only salt - evident in their buttery flavour. Addictively delicious πŸ˜‹. Same day delivery by a caviar chauffeur πŸ˜‰. Pairs perfectly with this A.Bergere Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne. I am considering adding a caviar masterclass with the charming owner, Nicholas, for our next series of dine arounds after the summer. Would you be interested? πŸ’›πŸΎπŸ₯‚πŸ’› #foodivaloves #dinearounddubai

Hands up, who else loves Brussels sprouts as much as me? πŸ˜‹ I'll eat them cooked any way provided al dente. At @morahdubai last night, they were roasted with halloumi and drizzled with a tahini yoghurt mix. Crispy and crunchy; sublime. I love pan-frying them with pancetta, and serving with a dollop of honey. How about you? Morah's cuisine veers more towards modern Middle Eastern, than Eastern Mediterranean, as they like to position it. Guest review is on the site if you wanna know more. πŸ’šπŸ΄πŸ·πŸ’š

It’s the turn of Dubai! If you’re not fasting here’s our annual mammoth guide on independent (non-hotel) restaurants and cafes open for daytime dining over Ramadan in Dubai πŸ˜‹. And this year we have a new record of 120 establishments! For some it’s business as usual, so we have indicated where there’s more than just juice on the menu πŸ˜‰. Jointly researched with @geordiearmani who has her own round-up too - and the JLT section curated by @dining_in_jlt If you have any additions, feel free to comment, or use the hashtag #RamadanDining and we will update this guide daily. Also included is a link to a similar Abu Dhabi list. On www.foodiva.net (see link in profile). πŸ“·: a Ramadan-inspired dessert @gregmaloufchef made for us at his home – lemon and orange blossom cream with blood orange jelly and caramelised berries. πŸ΄βœ¨β˜•οΈ

We’re back with our annual guide on independent (non-hotel) restaurants and cafes open for daytime dining over Ramadan in Abu Dhabi (the Dubai round-up goes live tomorrow) πŸ˜‹. And this year we have 45 establishments across the capital! All thanks to guest reviewer @finediningmatt for researching and writing this round-up πŸ‘πŸΌ. If you have any additions, feel free to comment, or use the hashtag #RamadanDining and we will update this guide daily. Now live on www.foodiva.net (see link in profile).πŸ΄βœ¨β˜•οΈ

Hidden away through the back (and heart!) of house in Bur Dubai's Majestic Hotel is newly opened pan-Asian joint, @misswangdubai It's not going to win any awards for the food (this pad Thai was one of the better dishes), but it's cheap and cheerful...and licensed 😜. Dhs90 for any three dishes that are under Dhs50 each (that's the majority). Plus 50% happy hour on drinks until 9pm (Dhs20 for a decent glass of vino). The concept feels more like a bar (with a live band) than a restaurant. Excellent service. My tip; have dinner in one of my favourite haunts, Greek restaurant Elia in the same hotel, and head here for a nightcap. Do you have any hidden licensed gems? 🍴🍜🍷 #foodivareviews

Our last wine column by @simonelucagagliardi before Ramadan kicks in is dedicated to two outstanding regions in France. All four wines are under AED100 including tax! Available @mmidubai @african_eastern and duty free. Do you enjoy blends or do you veer towards single grape varieties? As always, thanks to our key partner for this column, the Italian natural mineral water brand, @monvisowater that keeps us hydrated throughout all this wine drinking πŸ˜‹. Incidentally, Luca has just joined @pierchicdubai as the new GM. He's got a lot on his plate...and in his wine glass 😜. Column now live on www.foodiva.net (see link in profile). 🍷🍷🍷 #foodivavino

Here we go again...another restaurant, @maidenshanghaidubai in the new @viceroydubai that is all style and no substance ☹️. Our dinner on Thursday started well with, what I reckon, is one of Dubai's most inspiring cocktail lists, and these moreish turnip puffs. Sadly all went down hill when our over priced Dhs200 main courses failed to arrive leaving us to eat egg fried rice and stir fried kai lan on their own. Half an hour and two complaints later, the staff finally acknowledge there's been a mistake. The mains eventually arrive (lacklustre, small portions and one of which a chicken dish hardly had any chicken). There's no dessert menu yet (why open then?!), but we are served two desserts on the house which clearly came straight from fridge to table. Towards the end, their customer service recovery finally kicked in with two team members including the manager apologising profusely, and the food, bar one dish, was waived off the bill. I can get much better and considerably cheaper food from a Chinese take-away. From what I can tell, it appears this is a classic case of owner pressure on the operators to open this restaurant despite the fact it isn't ready. It's clear from my Instagram feed that many have been invited to dine at Maiden Shanghai, raving about their experience. So this proves my strategy that only if you dine incognito is the experience an honest representation. Anyhow, rant over, for now. Question is, whether to review in detail on my site, given the food was waived? What do you think? 🍴🍸🍜 #foodivareviews

After last night's disastrous dinner (more on that when I can muster the energy to write the caption), Mary Poppins beckons! Finally made it to @dubaiopera 😊. Quite disappointed there's no restaurant here or a decent bar - any plans, do you know? Enjoy your weekend lovelies. x

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