fois gras dates. Or, push the boat out literally with a dining doughnut at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club. On this floating barbecue vessel, you can cook up a culinary storm right in the middle of the Creek (Dh1,200 for six people).
Some oldies but goodies with retro appeal include Dubai’s only revolving restaurant, Al Dawaar, on the rooftop of Hyatt Regency Dubai, which offers incredible views of the Creek and skyline, while the almost-mythical Jebel Ali Social Club – a welcoming time warp of a sports club – has food and drink straight out of the 1970s, with decor and prices to match.
Oh, and the chocolate soufflé at Café Chic (Le Méridien Dubai Airport) and Ali’s Soup – a never-ending bowl of lentil and lamb soup – at any of the More Cafés are still two of the city’s most delicious dishes. Once you’ve ticked off the glossiest malls and the bustling souqs, where next? Jumeirah Beach Road, once the main stomping ground for European expats, may well be a little faded, but there are still treasures to be unearthed. Begin by breakfasting at Lime Tree (the homemade baked beans with feta dish remains my all-time favourite Dubai breakfast), before hitting Jumeirah Centre, where you’ll find cool gifts at Harvest Home, original Arabic-inspired fashions at BeYou boutique, and lots of interesting arty stuff in the super- sized stationery store. Dive into the Jumeirah Plaza, the pink mall next door, to browse the second-hand book bargains in House of Prose, before crossing the road to The Village Mall for a mooch around kooky design store S*uce. Then pop next door for some fun food with the kids at one of Jumeirah’s oldest outlets Johnny Rockets (if you’re lucky the waiters will sing you an Elvis tune while dishing up your super-thick shake) or chow down on good sushi and prettypeople watch with the grown-ups at Japengo, Palm Strip Mall. Finally, head to the oh-so-quirky Town Centre, where you’ll discover one of my favourite hot-weather hangouts, Café Ceramique – paint a pre-made piece of pottery while eating your pastry.
Mall-wise, ditch the glossy Dubai Mall and MOE and instead explore a few of Dubai’s older themed (read kitsch) shopping centres. I love Lamcy Plaza for its quirky character – a clown continuously climbs a rope, while a replica of London Bridge houses a café – and bag-a-bargain outlets. But it’s the children’s edutainment centre that keeps me coming back. One of Dubai’s oldest, Loulou Al Dugongs for kids aged two to 10, is cheap, cheerful and full of character. Highlights include a huge sandpit with hidden fossils you have to dig for, a mini supermarket with working tills and free cooking classes every hour – I guarantee kids will not get bored and parents can sit in the café – for the paltry price of Dh40.
Stay in Oud Metha for a mooch around the marbled-up mall that isWafi. This polished-to-perfection pyramid holds some true treasures. Petals is one. More a museum than a shop, this theatrical space is packed full of pretty antique-looking things. TTwo more gems wworthy of a wander aare fashion boutique GGinger & Lace (think ccute and girly ppieces from quirky designers)d andWafi Gourmet, a Lebanese deli offering a mouth-watering selection of edibles. The real jewel in the proverbial crown, however, is Crystal Maze at indoor theme park Encounter Zone’s Gallatica – a mentally challenging activity based on the Nineties UK TV programme of the same name, it’s brilliant for older kids and adults alike. Don’t