Welcome to this week’s Food News where we’re talking about some unique iftars and a new healthy restaurant that has one of Dubai’s very few Gluten Free kitchens – Gourmet by KCal. Join me, Mark Lloyd, Stef Burgon and Zahra Soar on my slot Food News on Dubai Eye 103.8. If you missed any earlier podcasts then have a look at our podcast archives here.
Where is Gourmet by KCal?
Gourmet by KCal is a collaboration between KCal and Le Meridien Mina Seyahi hotel in the Marina. It’s on the ground floor of the Mina Seyahi hotel and overlooks a very mature garden, greenery area that in turn overlooks the sea, so a beautiful setting especially in our cooler months. But the inside space is very funky and modern, the chairs have been upholstered with sacks that once contained coffee beans in them! There’s even a fully grown olive tree in the middle of the dining space.
Can we get all our meals there? From June 10th it’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so a good option for those who aren’t fasting. I’m hoping to see some beautiful chia pots and bowls for breakfast here like we saw at Barsalata!
Gourmet By KCal – a completely Gluten Free kitchen
I really liked the caramel almond tart, the coconut caramel cheese cake and their apple crumble tarts. All of which are made without gluten! They also use fruit and vegetables from local sources wherever possible, so they’ve tied up with Ripe for that. I also liked their onion and carrot cups, little pastry shells made from carrots, not flour and water, filled with caramelized onions topped with shavings of grilled parmesan.
Our fellow bloggers all liked the chicken biriyani with it’s black, wild rice base and I liked the base of mango chicken dish we had, which had black beans, quinoa and strawberry salsa!
I would have liked to see a vegetarian biriyani equivalent, like a paneer, then I think that would really make sense, but I’m not sure if that would maybe add to much to the calories. So many people who are quite health conscious are vegetarian now, so maybe a few choice additions to the vegetarian mains. Like my beetroot cutlets for instance, or dishes like black eyed beans with feta burgers that we had at the uber healthy Hemsley and Hemsley cafe in Selfridges, a couple of weeks ago.
But don’t just take my word for it, have a look at what some well established and respected bloggers think of Gourmet by KCal here:
The Oberoi’s Camel Milk Iftar
I had a very different kind of tasting session last week at Dubai’s quite well known Oberoi hotel in their 971 restaurant. Know why it’s called 971? It wasn’t obvious to me… I was impressed with the passion shown by chefs Rajeev and Vishal who’ve come up with 4 or 5 sweet dishes (savoury on their way) using camel milk! Supposedly the milk is most like mother’s milk, in that it’s light and easy to digest, it’s contains more vitamins and minerals than normal milk and also easier on the stomach of anyone suffering from any kind of dairy intolerances.
I think it’s great they’re incorporating it into dishes for their iftar sponsored by Vimto this year at the Oberoi, I haven’t seen the tents as yet, but they’re supposed to be quite something and it includes a spice souk as well! So try some camel milk ice cream, I liked the date ice cream, again a great item to serve to visitors who may want something traditional. Don’t tell them it’s made from camel milk, they also have honey and saffron flavour and a plain, vanilla flavour.
They’re also doing a traditional Um Ali pudding using liquid nitrogen and coating it in caramel. It’s called an inside out um ali, definitely inspired by Chef Vishal’s time at El Bulli I think!
Have a look at the video here:
I also tried a very good camel milk mango lassi, that I think would be ideal if you were breaking your fast and it was very refreshing and not too heavy.
The iftar costs AED 195.00 and you can have this early eve or later on and you can see the live molecular gastronomy stations yourself! They source all their fresh produce from a farm in Al Ain Al Dahra Farms, they have a butcher they use in Ras Al Khaimah where they get Indian lamb so that’s where the ouzi will be from and they get some of their smoked items from Al Fumo, so they adhere to the S.L.O.W. food philosophy. Sustainable, Local, Organic, and Wholesome. And we have 2 iftars to GIVE AWAY at the Oberoi via the doindubai instagram so have a look at that for a chance to win. Or you can call +971 4 4441407 to make a booking.
An secret Australian origin pop up Iftar serving Contemporary Arabic food
Expect to walk down a fairy lit entrance along a garden path that leads to some red doors for this Contemporary Arabic iftar. Henry Dyer of Dish Catering has come up with his Ramadan Nights concept that’s happening in a warehouse in Al Quoz!
Image courtesy of Dish Catering
I went to a special preview and really loved the secret location angle but also the food, which isn’t served buffet style, it’s served properly at tables that have been very beautifully prepared for the occasion in a very modern way. So expect sharing bowls of fresh roasted vegetables, lamb, salads and desserts but all cooked in a very contemporary way. The hummus had lot’s of lime in it, the carrots we got were fresh baby purple as well as the orange variety and the roasted cauliflower had pine nuts and barberries in it with labneh dressing.
So I highly recommend you try this iftar, but I think you should book before hand.
The Desert Palm’s Iftar over the pool at Epicure
We visited this iftar last Ramadan and I mention it now because of the atmosphere at the Desert Palm at this time of year, it’s really puts you back in touch with the whole ethos and sprit of Ramadan, which is supposed to be a time that you reflect a bit and quieten down your mind and surroundings compared to what you normally do. So having an iftar whether it’s to break your fast or for your dinner that evening is a really good choice. The food is traditionally what you’d expect from a regional iftar, so that’s all the mezzes, hot and cold, some hot entrees and some traditional desserts. Priced at a reasonable AED 150.00
Image courtesy of Desert Palm
It’s going to be at Epicure this year that overlooks the poolside as their Rare fine dining restaurant is closed for a complete new look and refurbishment and we’ll be reporting back from that when it’s open.
And if you want to hear the podcasts for this link then listen here:
Talking about Gourmet by KCal and Camel Milk at The Oberoi : PODCAST 1
Talking about Ramdan Nights by Dish Catering and Desert Palm Per Aquum : PODCAST 2