Held downtown in media city, just behind the CNN building, Taste of Dubai was held in the same location as the Dubai Christmas Festival had been. We went on Friday, the second day, and arrived about an hour after it opened. There was the oddest fog that was rolling in and out, I took some photos of it as we drove in. Frankly, I didn’t know *what* it was – clouds, fog, smoke, sandstorm, or what. Crazy looking to watch the Burj Al Arab simply disappear! But as we got closer to the coast, we realized it was fog rolling in. Pretty amazing looking.
Now, before the event, parking information wasn’t listed on their website, and I’d heard it was a big challenge. I think had we waited much later to arrive, it would have been a big problem, but we found a spot in the lot at the end of the festival area, opposite the single entrance. Which meant we had to walk all the way around the event to get inside. The good news is that parking’s free on Friday!
As a huge fan of Disney’s Food and Wine Festival, I was quite eager to attend this event. TBG got us tickets online at a discount, and bought us the VIP ticket package. Now, what the VIP ticket package got us extra was 4x drinks and 3x signature dishes from our choice of chefs. Oh, and entry into the British Airways VIP lounge area. That last turned out to be the truly valuable aspect of this package, because seating was hard to come by! Especially shaded seating.
There were tons and tons and tons of food and drink samples. I ate things that I wasn’t quite certain what they were, even after I’d asked! One thing that was truly tasty was the fried prawns with sweet chili sauce from Royal Orchid restaurant. And an incredibly wonderful staff was manning their booth – one of the women there noticed that my hands were quite full, and she actually placed it on my plate and then proceeded to add the sweet chili sauce too! Such a level of service rarely exists here – I was grateful. And, it was some killer stuff, too!
DJs were playing music in some areas, some places had drummers, some had live music, there was quite a variety of things to listen to – and, save for the big stage, none of it was annoyingly loud. Sadly, the VIP seating area was RIGHT NEXT to the big stage. And it was loud. Word to the wise, don’t sit too close if you’re looking for any conversation.
There were fun things, a couple of folks in the Maggi booth were cooking up a storm, and one of the local radio stations was there doing a live remote with them. It had drawn quite a crowd, as the pair were playing well off one another, and the crowd was enjoying their energy immensely.
Shortly, along came one of the TOD celebrity chefs, Gary Rhodes from the Grosvenor House’s Rhodes Mezzanine restaurant. He brought some beverages for the Maggi booth folks, and things really started rocking from there – it was a good time.
The individual restaurant booths were arranged in a semi-circle, all in the same area. Consequently, the people traffic in that area was thick, and lots of people spilling food and drinks because they had to step up onto a platform to get into the booth, then step back down into the moving sea of people after negotiating all the other people trying to order, pay for, or see the tiny menus. Word to the organizers, make the menus visible from the walkways, and put them all in the same general area, so folks know where to look. And make clearly-marked queues!
But the food? Oh my goodness…. It was exquisite….. The Noodle House’s signature dish of chicken and prawns was pretty good, too spicy for my tender palate, but TBG enjoyed it. Fogo Vivo’s Churrasco Selection of a beef cube, filet mignon wrapped In bacon, and a chicken drumstick left us both hungry – left most of it on the plate as well, I suppose we’re not fans of the particular spices used. ThipTara’s Thai Ped Nam Ma Kam (BBQ Duck breast in tamarind sauce on top with crispy fried onion) got mixed reviews from us… we both loved the flavor of the duck, but the texture left us reminiscent of overcooked calamari. We’re not fans of the layer of fat left on the duck, apparently. But that onion ring? It was one of the VERYVERYVERY best we’ve ever eaten.
The Dynamite Shrimp at PF Chang’s was exactly what we wanted – perfect.
We were both looking forward to Gaucho’s Churrasco de Chorizo, spiral cut sirloin – we’re both fans of red meat. Sadly, it was far too tough to cut with the plastic utensils given but the flavor was good. My favorite? No. 5 Lounge and Bar’s Mini Waygu burgers. Oh my. Perfectly done, perfect condiments, perfect flavor, easy to eat, yummy all the way around! Lots of cold beverages served with a smile, great music, and grateful for the shady spots that the VIP Lounge provided! As well as the cold beverages available….
Lovely location, and a wonderful day!
And there were goodies there, too…. see what I ended up bringing home?