SHOP­PING SE­CRETS

Friday - - Hot List -

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

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