Hukama Restaurant

Feeling a little Chinese-y a few days after Chinese New Year, we decided to give this supposedly one-of-the-best-Chinese restaurants a try.

Also, since Hukama is located at the sophisticated The Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai it felt like a post-Valentine lunch date too.  The lighting, decors, and furniture were done in a soft elegance with hints of red and gold.

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You have the option of dining indoors or enjoying the breezy sunshine outdoors.  As we chose our seats and settled inside, an elegantly dressed wait staff presented us with the menu, which was divided into 5 categories: steamed dim sum (5 orders), fried dim sum (5 orders), soup, noodles/rice/vegetables and desserts.

We came in ready (read: hungry) so 10 orders of dim sum to start with was a welcome. I enjoyed the chicken char siew pau (barbeque chicken buns) and the duck meat taro root best.  And everything else for me was tasty neither overly fried nor having too much MSG.  Even Lil T with his restaurant-provided kiddie orange plastic plate and utensils was chowing his way through the varied selection of dim sum.  But hubby being a fan of chee cheong fun so much that he wanted our first born to be named that (!!) wasn’t too happy with Hukama’s version.

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After we finished our hot and sour soup, our tummies were already losing space.  But then this brunch wasn’t over yet and a selection of noodles were served on our table.

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A few mouthfuls of each and we declared the wok fried duck noodles our fave among the three.   You could taste the succulence of the duck meat and its wonderful juices.

For dessert, hubby and I both ordered chilled mango and pomelo soup with berries and sago pearls.  It was alright, not good but not bad either.

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By this time we were already recalling the best Chinese eateries we had in Kuala Lumpur, where hubby was previously assigned.  They didn’t have all the bells and whistles of Hukama but you kept coming back because the food was full of flavor without costing anything close to 145 dirhams.

Still, I would say that in a location like this and with the look and feel of a high-end restaurant in terms of ambience and service, Hukama’s Friday brunch prices are reasonable. It did feed two and a half for lunch..and because we took home about 2/3 of our noodles or else our tummies would pop..and dinner 🙂

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Summer House, Zighy Bay

Lil T is an easy boy to care of.  He already sleeps 12 hours straight from 8pm-8am.  We brought his nanny along only so hubby and I can go out on a date after 8pm 🙂

Our date that night involved a smorgasbord of food.  We might be small compared to our Western counterparts but boy can we take in a meal, especially after a day of swimming.

Even from afar you’ll notice that Summer House Restaurant’s terrace was set up with low lighting and candles.  This time of the year allows for cooler temperatures and you can very well have an excellent dining experience outdoor.   It was just so romantic and serene.  I found a couple already cuddled together, their food getting cold (blush).

Appetizers and deserts were located inside but everything else, you can find outdoors.

I always liked live cooking stations even if it’s just for an omelet. Food cooked before your eyes enhances your dining experience.  

As expected in Arabic Buffet, there’s a lot of lamb and chicken, alone or in the form or shawarma and shish taouk.  Here they also had BBQ for beef, prawns, calamari, and fish. Yum yum yum yum!!

We found the staff efficient and knowledgeable, also very friendly.  The F&B Manager, Rei, realizing that we’re new to the region shared little anecdotes about Dubai and Oman.

He also recommended for us to try their Umm Ali, a traditional Arabic dessert.   It’s sort of a bread pudding with lots of milk.  We have tried this before in other restaurants but something was always off.  Here at Summer House, I believe they got it right.   It quickly became my fave version of the dessert.  I’m craving for it now just thinking about it.  You know the feeling when you’ve paid top dollar and you’ve been ripped off?? Well, that certainly is not the case here.  The food was exceptionally delectable.

My pictures are very few, it was really dark outside.  And these I have shared with you don’t do justice to the food. Forgive 🙂

This was one of the most enjoyable Arabic Buffets we’ve had.  The warmth shared over our dinner plate is an unexpected plus.

Our Tasty Brekkie at Limetree Cafe

Our alarm buzzed at 8:00am and Lil T was nudging us to wake up. I was just too lazy to battle the question, “What shall I cook for breakfast?” and hubby coincidentally was also in the mood to eat out.

Our friend had long suggested this well-liked resto-cafe along Jumeirah Beach Road called “Limetree Café”.  Probably all of Dubai has eaten here but for those new or here on holiday, here’s a quick post.

As you enter the resto, you’re bound to notice an array of sandwiches, salads, etc peeking from glass counters.   It’s as if everything is saying, “Pick Me!”.  While I thought a preview of your food would make ordering easier, it wasn’t.  This space can hold up a queue as your eye wanders from one fresh food to the other.  Decisions, decisions.

We ordered Grilled Aubegrine salad with pomegranate dressing, the Big One (Full Breakfast),  Banger, and Limetree’s Carrot Cake.

Everything was great, with special mention on the utterly delectable carrot cake.  While, the salad was undersized and the toast of the Big One was so hard it felt like a rock, we still relished the food.   I would have wished everything was perfect but taste of the whole lot overcame these trivial glitches.

The resto is not all hype.  Fine, it’s got a great location but it’s popular for a reason.  And that’s not because it has great interiors—there’s an outdoor area that has more cheer but inside (snore) it’s dark and dull.  And in contrast to most deli-type restaurants, I’m happy to say that the food here is as tasty as they are healthy.  Everything was truly savored.  This is how breakfast should be.

(I dont think Lil T liked the sun outside but he sure did enjoy the food inside)

Shakespeare & Co.

“She’s beautiful, and therefore to be wooed; She is woman, and therefore to be won.” (Shakespeare: Henry VI Part 1 – Act 5, Scene 2)

Well, Shakespeare, you wooed me alright.

Last Thursday marked Lil T’s 13th month.  Every month since he was born, we would treat ourselves out.  I thought we’d stop by time he was one but I guess one more wouldn’t hurt 🙂

We took him to Madinat Jumeirah last Sat.  The beach has always been our favorite place in the world, but that’s another story.  I promise to tell you about it soon.

That Thursday night, however, we went to straight to Souk Al Bahar.  Lil T eats dinner early so I had to pick a place before 6 pm.  We just walked from our apartment (the perks of living in downtown).

Near the Souk’s entrance was this pretty pretty restaurant that caught my eye.  Extravagantly ornate decorations, lace, flowers, knick-knacks, and richly patterned fabrics were used liberally throughout the place.

The moment you enter, you can’t help but sink in to its romantic interiors, evoking charm and intimacy of slower, older times.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a poet came to me and started reading Shakespeare’s lines.

Our waiter (he wasn’t a poet) came with a unexpectedly cute high chair.  Too bad it was pink.  Lil T didn’t mind.

The menu offered salads, crepes, saj, sandwiches, pizza and pasta, among others. It was still early for our dinner hunger pangs so we just zeroed in on 2 dishes– the Soujok with cheese and the Pollo al funghi.

The first one was a great appetizer.  The grilled pita with spicy beef sausage and halloumi cheese arrived fresh and warm.   It was delicious in a non-filling way—light and tasty.

The pizza had a funny smell (“funghi”—smirk).  But you really can’t go wrong with sautéed chicken breast, mushrooms, zucchini, mozzarella and tomato sauce.

For desert, you’ll find a mini Temptation Island with quite the selection of artisan cakes, pastries, croissants, and other sweet creations.

We decided on a dark chocolate cake.  I guess it wasn’t their best but it was quickly devoured, nonetheless.

I actually was a tad surprised that this place offered main courses, and even shisha, which you can smoke at the outdoor dining area.

The restaurant’s cozy interiors invite you to come back again.  As Shakespeare said, “Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?”

(even my takeout bag’s pretty!)

Hatam Restaurant, Burjuman

After a long day, hubby suggested dinner at the Burjuman Mall.  If you read my recent post (Where To Shop), you’ll know that we had dinner here before and it made quite an impression, hence a revisit.

Hatam, is located at the 3rd floor of the mall, alongside other restaurants.

New to Iranian food, we asked the wait staff for his recommendations.  He was very attentive to us.  He also played with my boy, Lil T.  You should count the fact that there were very few people in this part of the mall so it’s really no surprise that the waiter was very eager and friendly, obviously unstressed.  Plus I think our kid warms everyone’s hearts, hehe.  We agreed on Nan with Hummus, Yogurt Chicken, Shish Taouk, and a plate of Rice.

We were served the usual complimentary plate of veggies, walnuts, and cheese.  The salad leaves were fresh but the walnuts, I found wanting  (I have crunchier ones in my pantry!).

My little one probably found it too tangy but both my hubby and I were pleased with the hummus and the bread that came with it. It’s advisable to order an appetizer as the main dish can take some time.

The Yoghurt Chicken, which they claimed was their bestseller, was all right.  So was the Shish Tauok.  It gets more flavorful if you eat it with the seasoned rice, instead of solo or with nan bread.

(I took these pics after a few bites. We were extremely hungry. The camera had to wait)

I have to tell you that here the servings are huge!  Ok, since this might be subjective I’ll give you an idea–I’m 115 lbs and hubby’s an additional 30 lbs.  We eat moderately and for these dishes, we should have brought at least one (moderate-eating) person along.  Little T was with us but babies don’t count, plus he didn’t enjoy the food anyway.

The main attraction here isn’t the food.  I was satisfied but if I were a teacher, I’d give this place a passing mark, not a 100.  We did come for the ambience anyway.  And that delivered.

We enjoyed having dinner close to the water fountains.  And as mentioned in my previous post, “The wooden paneling of the 3rd floor restaurants makes you forget momentarily that you’re in a mall.  And with little noise, few distractions, (and well, people), my hubby and I felt very much relaxed.”  Even little T was calmed by the fountains beside our table. It was a good moment to just share each other’s company. 🙂

A Sweet Review of Patchi

My hubby’s old friend and apparently our neighbor (what a small world), gave us a petite avocado green box of chocolates on her first visit to our home.  My hubby is the ultimate choco junkie!  He is drawn to sweets like bees to honey, with no reserve, as if it were his body’s greatest need.

Wrapped mostly in gold, silver, or bronze foil, slowly undressing these things is just bittersweet.   Once opened, you’ll notice nice detailing on all the chocolates.

How lovely is that?! For others, this may go unnoticed, but I love seeing things like these.  You can tell they actually made an effort on appearance.  Food quality isn’t just taste afterall.

The chocos seem to have a shiny, solid texture on the outside.  On the inside, you never know what you’re going to get.  The box offers a rich assortment of flavors.  Some fillings are crispy, some are nutty, some are really sweet, and some have wafers.

Janice, my hubby’s former law school classmate, explained that Patchi is a Middle Eastern brand—Lebanese to be exact.  It’s the leading luxury chocolate brand in the Middle East with a menu of chocolates with all-natural and premium ingredients.  The brand also has a presence in the UK, USA, and Canada.

While I will always be forever loyal to dark chocolate (it’s a preference), eating Patchi was truly a treat!  For me this brand measures up to the more popular chocolate brands in the world.  I’ll definitely follow Janice’s lead and gift my Dubai visitors and friends back home, with a taste of the Middle East..literally!

Social House, Dubai Mall

Our friend invited my hubby, myself, and another friend to the Social House at the Dubai Mall.  It’s located next to the Dubai Fountains, but with all the people who have lined up in front of you with cameras, and shopping bags, and strollers, it’s not the perfect place to watch the dancing waters. I didn’t enjoy watching as I had in a different venue. (See similar post)

Anyway, we went to the Social House for the food.

Once inside,  you’ll notice that the place exudes charm and character with its bookshelves, fruit and vegetable baskets, and (fake) trees.   A lot of conversation starters.

It feels as though you’re inside a huge treehouse. I got comfy quickly and couldn’t wait to eat.

Our wait staff was friendly and helpful. With all these cheer around you, how can you have a bad mood?

The menu had lots to offer with both eastern and western sections.  We decided on Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Sushi, Beef Short Ribs, Duck Confit, and a Fish dish (I forgot what it was, didn’t give much of an impact).

We generally enjoyed everything but what I found really delicious was the Duck Confit.  Since we ordered for sharing, I had just a few bites of this tasty dish.  I definitely plan to go back for my own plate of Duck Confit 🙂

This is my kind of place for our kind of group—not too fancy, just easy and comfy…so you can socialize! I guess that’s why it’s called, “Social House”.