Whether it’s a latte you’re after or a double shot of espresso, there’s no shortage of independent cafes in Dubai to satisfy your every coffee urge. With the help of Kim Thompson, one half of home-grown roastery Raw Coffee Company, I bring you spots you can head to when you’re in need of a caffeine fix. Be part of our burgeoning cafe culture of Dubai!
1. Try everything on the menu at The Brass
Lavender latte at The Brass
Tucked away in City Walk is this shiny new gem, which boasts one of the most extensive coffee menus in the city. They’ve got all the classics – latte, cappuccino et al – with a plethora of original blends, including Lavender Honey Latte, rosewater-infused white coffee, a dairy-free Coconut Latte … Aficionados can take it a step further and nominate how they want their coffee delivered: via French press, siphon, cold drip or pour-over.
Address: City Walk, Al Safa Road
Known for its medieval architecture and Jewish heritage, Poland in Eastern Europe boasts of a food scene that can lure even the most contained eaters. Melt-in-the-mouth meat dishes, butter-fried dumplings, warming spiced wine, mushrooms galore and, not-to-forget, the juiciest apples in the world
They often say – to get to know the history, culture and tradition of a country, you must sample its cuisine. And if the country would be Poland, you’d never want to book a return ticket back home. Yes, there is so much to eat and explore.
The soul of Poland lies in its food. The main meal of the day is dinner, eaten in early afternoon. Sunday dinner, prepared at home, belongs to family tradition and usually involves inviting family and close friends. What lies on most Polish dining tables is pork, but there is no shortage of beef, poultry and fish. Hearty soups are also popular. To prepare some of the tastiest local dishes, Poles often use seasonal vegetables and horseradish together with Mediterranean garlic and dill, exotic pepper, paprika, marjoram and oriental pink spice and cinnamon. But at the core of Polish taste are sweets: apple pies, poppy-seed cakes, Papel cake, cheesecakes, gingerbread etc. An obligatory addition to every Easter meal are mazurka (sweet cakes made with honey and filled with nuts and fruit) – a confection entirely unknown outside Poland.
PIEROGI – POLISH DUMPLINGS
If you thought it were the Chinese who had their copyright over delicious dumplings, you’ll be glad to know that the Poles too have their own buttery version of this light treat. Similar to Japanese gyoza or the Italian ravioli, Polish pierogi are made of thinly-rolled dough, boiled or fried and stuffed with various fillings, both sweet and spicy. There’s a lot to choose from – white cheese, meat, potatoes, cottage cheese and onions, spinach, mushrooms, groat, lentils, fruits and more. Another speciality is uszka (small, twisted version of pierogi) filled with dried wild mushrooms, dished up in clear borscht (beetroot soup of Ukrainian origin).
The city of Gothic architecture, Ghent in Belgium, is a place that should not only be visited but also tasted
WORLD’S BEST WAFFLES
If waffles have always been your weakness, leaving the Flemish city without sampling a home-baked warm waffle would be a serious offence. Belgium’s street food, classic Ghent waffles are crisp on the outside and airy on the inside (literally; even the ones with a micro appetite can easily gobble down two to three king-sized waffles without complaining of overeating) and to be had with a sprinkle of snowy powdered sugar. These waffles are so well made that they don’t really need a mask of maple syrup or any extra-sweet toppings to make them inviting. They are pure happiness all in their crisp, plain form; just the waft of these waffles can transport you to seventh heaven. But if you fancy a waffle meal, try one with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly-sliced strawberries or even Belgium-special dark chocolate.
Some hate it, some love it, Ghent mustard with its strong piquancy can set your mouth on fire! But after the initial sharp taste, you quite tend to crave its distinct spiciness. Located in the heart of the city at Groentenmarkt 3, Tierenteyn-Verlent produces arguably the best preservative-free mustard in Ghent since last 200 years (since 1790 without the slightest change in its taste). And it’s never more than three days old. What you see is barrels filled with freshly-prepared mustard. Pick one of the signature stone jars or glass bottles in your preferable size (price ranging from €1.80 to €8.80 depending on the size of the bottle) and get your mustard skilfully ladled in it. Ghent mustard makes for a great souvenir for yourself as well as your foodie loved ones as it goes well with everything from different varieties of cheese to meat platter and, of course, beer. Yes, you heard it right. Almost anything is edible with a dab of Ghent mustard on it!
It’s really hard to not love a place that offers the three most delicious things in the world – chocolates, waffles and beer.
Even before I booked my tickets to Belgium, I already had my chocolate-crazy friends making special requests to get them all possible varieties of Belgian dark chocolates. And this made me even more curious about what these oh-so-special “Belgium Chocolates” tasted like.
My romantic rendezvous with Belgian dark chocolate began the very moment I landed at Brussels airport. One of our co-travellers was yet to arrive and we decided to kill time by sipping a cup of hot chocolate at a trendy coffee bar. For a perpetual dark chocolate lover like me, it was almost close to experiencing one of life’s greatest joys.
Whirling it in my mouth, I could easily distinguish the Belgian choco drink from any other I’d had before. Decadently rich. Smooth in texture. And just the right amount of sweetness; nothing less, nothing more.
The variety of food available in this ex British colony is mind boggling, making it a gastronomic haven for every hungry instagram-ing soul. A few pages from my diary…
Hong Kongers are truly passionate about their food and novelty is their forte. Whether it’s on the sticks or in a pot, fragrant or stinky, intriguing or just weird, the food here is a curious mix of the traditional and western culture. Asia’s culinary capital, the city pretty much lives to eat and boasts of everything edible from Cantonese, Shanghainese, Vietnamese, Japanese, European and many more cuisines around the world. Whether you’re an adventurous eater or a picky desi vegetarian, the city can never leave you disappointed. Not to mention the former obviously has an upper hand. The variety here is so wide that you can consider a customised food tasting trip to Hong Kong. Yes, a tour completely dedicated to the city’s culinary experiences. From delicious egg tarts, wine jellies and ice-creams in flavours of red bean and green tea to a whole range of hot and cold teas, roasted chestnuts, dim sums and curried animal organs, Hong Kong brims with tons of restaurants, well-lit cafes, noodle bars and street joints that rustle up yummy local as well as international fusion delicacies on a daily basis.
When it comes to impressing the taste buds, Hong Kong’s close cousin Macau doesn’t lag behind. Just a 45-minute ferry ride from the noodle town, Macau has its own signature must-eats. What you certainly can’t miss out on is Serradura – a layered Portuguese dessert of crushed sweet biscuits, cream, condensed milk and vanilla and served chilled – and oven-fresh egg tarts.
While Hong Kong and Macau have the ethnic Chinese population in bulk, there is a sizeable presence of food-obsessed people from other places in Europe, America and Asia. Probably, the drool-worthy food scene here says it all about their cosmopolitan nature!