Grand Barbeque Buffet Restaurant, Dubai

We were invited to try the Friday buffet at Grand Barbeque Buffet Restaurant this weekend. Located in the busy foodie hub of Satwa, the restaurant is easy to find. The interior is decorated in shades of cream and brown with private seating for families and large parties. After being seated, we chose our drinks. The restaurant offers different types of lassis in addition to fresh juices and soft drinks. I went with the lime soda while my husband ordered a fresh orange juice.

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Restaurant Interior
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Lime Soda & Fresh Orange Juice

The restaurant manager and our server were kind enough to give us a tour of the entire buffet spread. The buffet consists of the following sections: soup, salad, barbeque – veg and non veg, non-veg curries and veg curries, chinese cuisine, a live pasta corner, live chaat station and dessert.

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The Buffet area

They had two varieties of soup – Chicken Manchow and Pepper Coriander Vegetable soup. The salad station had the usual salad varieties including hummus, potato salad, coleslaw in addition to salad vegetables. They also had piping hot dim sum.

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Salad Counter

In the barbeque section, they had Tandoori Chicken, Murg Malai Kabab, Amritsari Ajwaini Fish and Seekh Kabab which are served fresh and hot to your table in addition to being part of the buffet spread as well. In the vegetarian barbeque variety, they had Veg Shami Kabab, Paneer Tikka, Chili Garlic Mushrooms and Saunde Aaloo. Overall, we preferred the non-veg barbeque items over the vegetarian because the former were packed with more flavour.

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Top: Non-veg barbeque selection Bottom: Vegetarian barbeque selection

Moving on the curries, they had Butter Chicken, Mutton Raara, Murgh Kaali Mirch, Shanghai Squid and Mutton Paaye. My favorite from all of these was the butter chicken which was fantastic paired with the garlic naan. Your naan order is taken while you help yourself from the buffet and served hot to your table.

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They also had Chicken Biryani which was delicious. For the kids, there is a selection of chicken nuggets and fries. In the vegetarian curries section, they had Paneer Lababdar, Veg Miloni, Daal Makhni with white rice, Veg Pulao, Aaalo Jeera and Veg Chili Garlic Noodles. The Paneer Lababdar and Daali Makhni were our favorites from this section.

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They also have a live pasta counter serving up red and white sauce pastas. We didn’t get a chance to try the pasta since we were too full from the other mains at the buffet. This is another great options for kids.

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From the live chaat corner, we requested Gol Gappay. They were served to our table along with meethi chutney and the savoury “paani”. We absolutely loved them and wished we had tried them earlier during our dinner.

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Gol Gappay

They also have Gola Ganda – which is a traditional Indian snow cone made up of shaved ice soaked in various coloured syrups. This for us was one of the highlights of this buffet that sets it apart from the other buffets in town.

Moving on to the dessert station. They have an ice cream bar with different flavored ice creams in addition to Indian favorites like Gulab Jamun, Shrikhand, Phirnee and Halwa. They also had a chocolate fountain with different dipping options like marshmallows along with some western desserts like chocolate and strawberry pastry.

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Icecream Bar
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Gulab Jamun & Halwa

Overall, Grand Barbeque Buffet offers a wide range of variety for a very reasonable price. Their emphasis on providing vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian options makes this the perfect place for large gatherings and parties. The service is impeccable and the food is well worth the price.

Price breakdown is as follows:

Friday Buffet (not including drinks): AED 79/person

Final Verdict:

Food: 4.3/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Service:4.5/5

Value for Money: 4.3/5

Grand Barbeque Buffet Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wildfirez Grill, Al Seef Village Mall, Abu Dhabi

This weekend, we were invited to a bloggers event organized by Maheen of MahiBlog at the Wildfirez Grill at Al Seef Village Mall in Abu Dhabi. We’d heard of this restaurant but hadn’t gotten around to visiting it yet. Where there are chicken wings; there is happiness. So, naturally we were looking forward to trying the food. The restaurant is located on the first floor next to the Kids Zone. Although the interior is small, the restaurant makes up for it with it’s delicious signature grilled chicken and chicken wings.

The restaurant has a few tables inside with additional seating outside allowing a view of the entire floor of the mall. The menu is simple offering different varieties of  Buffalo Wings, grilled chicken, beef and seafood items along with sides. They also have a small section devoted to burgers and sandwiches.

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Restaurant Interior

We started off with the Wildfirez sides. The restaurant has the following options for sides to accompany your main: Yellow Rice, Baked Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy and for the health nuts: Green Salad, Sauteed Vegetables, Corn and Coleslaw. We tried all the sides but my absolute favorite was the baked Mac & Cheese. It was simply cheesy perfection with a crispy brown crust on top. We also recommend the Coleslaw and the Mashed Potatoes with gravy.

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Green Salad, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Coleslaw
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Baked Mac & Cheese

Next up, we tried three different varieties of the  Wildfirez 1/2 chicken. The restaurant has the following options for sauces to grill your chicken/meat in: Hot Fire, Buffalo, House BBQ, Sweet & Spicy BBQ and Tandoori. We tried the first three sauce options with our marinated grilled chicken. Our favorite was the Buffalo sauce – acceptably spicy without being too overpowering lending the perfect flavor for the grilled chicken. All grilled chicken come with your choice of two sides. We also had the Classic Buffalo Wings in BBQ and Buffalo sauce- topped with sesame seeds and coated in the rich sauce, they were hard to put down.

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Wildfirez 1/2 grilled chicken with BBQ sauce
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Wildfirez 1/2 Grilled Chicken with Buffalo sauce
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Buffalo Wings & Sauteed Vegetables

We also tried the Shish Tawook Skewers and Monterrey Flame Grilled Chicken. The Shish Tawook was nothing special but the Monterrey chicken was lovely with the addition of sour cream and bell peppers.

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Monterrey Flame Grilled Breast
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The entire spread

The restaurant offers kid friendly meals like Chicken Chunks – fried boneless chicken pieces accompanied with your choice of sauce and fries.

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Chicken Chunks with Fries

The last thing we tried were the Wilfirez Signature Stuffed Burger – two patties of Angus beef stuffed with mixed cheese and topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms. The burger is juicy and for those with a big appetite.

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Wildfirez Stuffed Burger

Overall, Wildfirez Grill brings affordable American cuisine to the Abu Dhabi food scene. Portion sizes are huge and the prices are very reasonable for the amount of food you are served. The restaurant is offering a 20% dine-in discount for those who mention “Dine with MahiBlog” upon their visit; which is a fantastic offer to avail. They also deliver all over Abu Dhabi with no minimum spend requirement and only an AED 5 charge. We would love to see them expand their menu and add desserts & signature drink options in the future.

As always, it’s a pleasure to meet & converse with fellow foodies & bloggers. A big shout out to MahiBlog for organizing such a fun event 🙂

Final Verdict:

Food: 4/5

Ambiance: 3.5/5

Service:4.5/5

Value for Money: 4/5

Wildfirez American Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Garden, Crowne Plaza Downtown Abu Dhabi

Who doesn’t love waking up late and heading to a fantastic brunch on a Friday? The Garden restaurant is the all day dining restaurant at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Abu Dhabi. In addition to having weekly themed nights for dinner; they also do a fantastic brunch every Friday. We were invited to try the Friday Brunch at the Garden this weekend and we came back stuffed & impressed with all the variety this brunch has to offer.

Located on the ninth floor of the hotel, the restaurant immediately invites you in with the delicious aromas of its lavish buffet spread. A live band serenades you with soft tunes as you are seated. The buffet is divided into 7 main sections: salads, bread, Asian, mains, live pasta counter, breakfast items & dessert.

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Restaurant Interior

We started our brunch with the salad section, which had an impressive variety of sea food appetizers like – Fish Taco Salad, Steamed Black Mussels, Assorted Sushi & Steamed Tiger Prawns. In addition to this, there were the usual salad offerings like Hummus, Fattoush, Chicken & Pineapple Salad, Chicken Terrine and some luxurious items like Caviar.

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Salad
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Assorted Sushi

Next, we moved on to the bread & soup section which had two options for soup which change weekly. There was a wide variety of bread with accompanying cheeses and crackers.

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Breads & Soup

To make the food at their brunch more international, they have an Asian section which has some popular items from Indian and Chinese cuisines. They had Kadhai Chicken, Daal Hara Pyaz and Vegetable Curry for the Indian food lovers. In the Chinese section, they had Vegetable Spring Rolls, Stir Fried Noodles and Sweet & Sour Fish. Our favorites from this section was the Kadhai Chicken and Sweet & Sour Fish.

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Indian Cuisine
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Chinese Cuisine

In the main course section, they had Steamed Rice, Mashed Potatoes (very popular with children),Herb Crusted Fish, Lamb Sapanak, Steak, Roasted Chicken & Whole Roasted Snapper Fish. Our favorite was the tender & juicy Roasted Chicken and the Herb Crusted Fish.

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Main Course Buffet
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Main Course

The restaurant includes a live pasta counter as part of its buffet for pasta lovers like myself to order a customized pasta. I ordered a Chicken Penne Pasta with all the veggies and a pink sauce. The pasta was delicious and served to our table.

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Live Pasta Counter
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Chicken Penne Pasta with Pink Sauce

The last portion of the main course buffet included some breakfast items like different types of sausages, hash browns, Beef Enchiladas & Chicken Nuggets for children. We tried the enchiladas which were delicious.

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Breakfast Items
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Fresh Oysters over ice

The brunch buffet at the Garden has more lunch items than breakfast items. Some things we would love to see them include in their spread would be a live omelette counter in addition to other breakfast favorites like pancakes and waffles.

Moving on to the most enticing portion of the brunch- the counter that is strategically placed at the entrance to make sure you save some room for the best – DESSERT! We were very impressed with the variety  and quality of desserts at the dessert station. From the usual mousse, cakes, tarts and custards; they had some really innovative desserts like Green Tea Mousse Cake & Cheesecake. The glowing bar like display of items like Strawberry Vanilla Pannacotta, Lemon Posset and Baked Yogurt not only tasted delicious but also looked like a work of art. They also had my personal favorite – Macarons which were tiny but delicious.

The icing on the cake was the chocolate fountain with different fruit, marshmallows, cookies and cake options to dip & enjoy.

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Desserts
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Desserts
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Desserts

Overall, the Friday brunch at The Garden restaurant has excellent variety & value for money. With the addition of a few more breakfast items, they are well on their way to becoming one of the best Friday brunches in the city. The restaurant is offering a buy one and get one free offer on their Friday brunch for the month of November which makes this an absolute steal.

Price breakdown is as follows:

Friday Brunch with Soft Drinks: AED 129/person

Friday Brunch with Alcohol & House Beverages: AED 179/person

*Price is subject to 10% Service charge, 6% Tourism fee and 4% Municipality fee.

Final Verdict:

Food: 4.3/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Service:4.5/5

Value for Money: 4.3/5

The Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Piazza, Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi Downtown

Seafood lovers: Rejoice! Because situated in the hustle and bustle of downtown Abu Dhabi, Holiday Inn offers a fantastic dining option for  seafood lovers looking for an affordable buffet. La Piazza is the hotel’s all day dining restaurant located on the first floor. While the restaurant focuses on serving an international buffet to its guests most of the week; every Thursday night is seafood night. If you’re into seafood and want to try everything under the sun; I recommend you give La Piazza a try because you will not be disappointed.

We were invited to try the “Seafood Night Buffet” this weekend. While we do love seafood, we can’t say we’ve ever had a seafood-only buffet. So, we were super excited to see what the restaurant had in store for us. The restaurant offers a view of the busy Sheikh Zayed -the 1st street. The restaurant is large with ample seating to accommodate dinner time rush with ease.

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The buffet is divided into 5 sections: salads, bread, live cooking, main course and dessert. We started with the salad section which had no shortage of options ranging from the usual salad offerings like Hummus and Fattoush to all sorts of seafood like Squid Salad, Steamed Mussels and Lobster. Chef Charles was kind enough to explain all the dishes in the buffet.

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Salad Vegetables and Seafood Terrine

Our favorite from the salad was the Shrimp Cocktail – four tangy, well seasoned shrimps served over bell peppers and a creamy dressing. We also liked the Squid and Mixed Seafood Salad. The salad station included a great cheese and olive selection along with different kinds of dressings to accompany the salads.

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Fattoush, Crab Leg, Hummus, Steamed Mussels with Chili Sauce Salad, Mixed Seafood Salad, Cheese & Olive Selection
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Shrimp Cocktails, Squid Salad & different salad dressings

The bread section had ten to twelve different bread varieties ranging from dinner rolls to Focaccia accompanied with Parmesan cheese.

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Bread Station

Moving on to the main course, the buffet had two soup options. The restaurant places the utmost importance on catering to all its guests; therefore there was a vegetarian (Potato & Leek soup) and a non-vegetarian (Seafood Chowder) option for soup. We tried the Seafood Chowder which was creamy and delicious.

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Seafood Chowder & Potato and Leek Soup

The main course options started with vegetarian options like steamed rice, steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. While the theme of the buffet is seafood, the chef made sure that there was something catering to every audience. In the Asian variety, there were Stir Fried Seafood Noodles, Sweet & Sour Fish. In the pasta variety, there was a Baked Seafood Pasta. For the curry lovers, there was a Fish Curry and Fish Saydia Rice. My favorite from the main course was the Fish Curry – the fish was tender and the gravy had a smoky Indian spices infused flavor. The Sweet & Sour Fish was another favorite of mine with its vibrant colors and flavors.

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Steamed Broccoli
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Mashed Potatoes
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Stir fried Seafood Noodles
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Baked Seafood Pasta
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Sweet & Sour Fish
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Fish Curry
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Fish Saydia Rice

The best part of the main course selection was the international nature of the seafood theme that allowed us to sample all our seafood favorites from all our favorite cuisines.

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Chef Charles with the Buffet

The buffet also included four live cooking station items that change weekly. These items included Grilled Baked Lobster & Scampi, Salmon Wellington and Whole Baked Fish. The baked Lobster was probably the best lobster we have ever tried. It was perfectly cooked through and seasoned to perfection. The Salmon Wellington was an interesting take on the traditional British classic with the salmon wrapped in spinach and pastry.

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Grilled Baked Lobster & Scampi
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Salmon Wellington & Whole Baked Fish

Moving on to my favorite part of any buffet, the dessert station! Obviously, there was no seafood present in this section 😛 We were ready to fill the very little space remaining in our tummies with the decadent pastries and tarts from the dessert station. The dessert station had a wide variety of cut up fruits and fruit salad. There was also a vast selection of cakes: Fruit, Vanilla Sponge, Pistachio Mousse and Dried Apricot. There was Strawberry and Chocolate Mousse along with Creme Brulee and Walnut Brownies. My favorite was the Walnut Brownie along the dainty little Fruit Tarts.

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Fruit Cake, Fruit Tarts, Strawberry Mousse & Chocolate Brownie
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Pistachio Mousse Cake, Vanilla Sponge Cake, Chocolate Mousse & Creme Brulee
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Whole Vanilla Sponge Cake & Dried Apricot Cake

Overall, we were highly pleased with the variety and quality of food at La Piazza’s seafood buffet. The food paired with the incredibly affordable price makes this one must-try buffet in downtown Abu Dhabi.

Price breakdown is as follows:

Seafood Buffet: AED 115/person

Final Verdict:

Food: 4.4/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Service:4.5/5

Value for Money: 4/5

La Piazza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spaccanapoli, Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi

The word “Spaccanapoli” stands for the narrow main street that traverses the old, historic center of the city of Naples, Italy. Approximately five thousand kilometers away, on another very busy street stands the three time “Best Italian” award winning restaurant named Spaccanapoli. We were invited to try the “Italian Mania” promotion available at the restaurant every Saturday. The offer consisting of an antipasti buffet, your choice of pizza or pasta with unlimited brew & grape selection runs from noon to 11 pm every Saturday.

The restaurant is located at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Hamdan street. It’s fluorescent signage paired with the interesting name makes it difficult to miss when driving on Hamdan street. The restaurant exhibits cosy Italian charm. The ambiance is softly lit and relaxed with wood furnishings and plenty of corner tables allowing privacy.

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For starters, we were served a bread basket with roasted garlic and a creamy Tapenade dip. We also picked our main course from the vast selection available in the menu. Everything seemed really tempting, but we settled on the Spaghetti alla Carbonara and Pizza del Salumiere.

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Bread Basket at Spaccanapoli

The antipasti buffet has a number of interesting offerings in addition to the usual salad and cheese components. Some of the items that caught our eye included the Pepper Crusted Tuna, Grilled Zuchini, Chicken Terrine, Octupus Potato and Fried Mozarella.

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Antipasti Buffet

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My favorite from the antipasti buffet was the Fried Mozarella drizzled with a rich tomato sauce. I wasn’t brave enough to try the Octopus, so my husband tried it instead and really liked it. The Chicken Terrine with its combination of sweet and earthy flavors was another favorite.

The buffet also includes a soup which changes weekly. This week’s soup was Lentil soup made with the black gram lentil. The items included in the antipasti buffet also change every week so there is always something new & interesting to try.

Our main course arrived shortly after we finished sampling the antipasti buffet. Being a pasta fanatic, I had ordered the Spaghetti alla Carbonara – what better way to end the weekend other than a big plate of creamy pasta. The spaghetti was served al dente with the most decadent cream & parmesan sauce. The beef bacon added an extra depth to the dish. The portion sizes were big. Even though I tried, I wasn’t able to finish all of my pasta.

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Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

My husband ordered the Pizza del Salumiere. His “pizza for one” was easily enough for two people. The pizza had a tangy tomato sauce as its base with mozarella, beef bacon, pepperoni, salami and turkey ham as toppings making this the perfect “man pizza” for those meat lovers.

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Pizza del Salumiere

Spaccanapoli is best known for its signature “1 meter long” pizza with four different pizza toppings of your choice. If you visit with a group of four, you can order the 1 meter long pizza as part of the Italian Mania promotion. I for one, will definitely be returning to try this signature 1 meter long pizza.

All pizzas & pastas at Spaccanapoli can be customized according to your dietary specifications. The restaurant offers vegetarian, dairy and gluten free options for its customers. The service is impeccable and the staff a pleasure to chat with. The Italian Mania offer includes unlimited alcohol and grape selection (upto four hours) which makes this a steal for those who wish to enjoy a casual drink and delicious Italian food over the weekend.

Price breakdown is as follows:

The Italian Mania offer: AED 146/person

*Price is subject to 10% Service charge, 6% Tourism fee and 4% Municipality fee.

Final Verdict:

Food: 4.3/5

Ambiance: 4.5/5

Service:4.5/5

Value for Money: 4/5

Spaccanapoli - Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Biryani Express, Al Rayyan, Doha

There is no shortage of restaurants serving Biryani in Doha. But, not everyone is skilled at perfecting this delicious layered rice and meat dish. Enter Biryani Express – a gourmet restaurant serving authentic Pakistani biryanis and grills. Biryani Express uses the fast food concept to fulfill the demand of affordable Pakistani cuisine in Doha. A high proportion of their sales are expected to be home delivered although they do have limited seating available for those who wish to dine-in.

We were invited to review Biryani Express this weekend. The restaurant is located on Shafi Street next to Applebees in Al Rayyan. The interior of the restaurant is bright decorated in shades of red and orange. Artwork depicting Pakistani architecture adorns the walls.

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Interior of Biryani Express

The menu has different varieties for biryanis, curries, grills, desserts and drinks. In the biryani category, they offer vegetable, chicken (boneless & BBQ), mutton and shrimp biryani. We tried the chicken, mutton and shrimp biryanis at our visit. Our favorite was the mutton biryani because the meat was extremely tender and well done. The chicken biryani was delicious as well. Shrimp biryani is a dish that is not offered in a lot of restaurants, but it’s definitely something to try at Biryani Express.

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Chicken, Mutton and Shrimp Biryani

So what makes the biryanis at this restaurant better than everyone else? Biryani Express customizes your biryani order according to a spice level of your choice. You can pick from the mild, hot and extra hot categories. Mild is perfect for anyone who is not from the Indian subcontinent and can’t handle the heat. The hot and extra hot categories are recommended for everyone who has grown up loving and eating biryanis.

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Customize your biryani at Biryani Express

Moving on to the grills, the restaurant offers Lahori Chargha, BBQ chicken, Seekh Kabab and Malai Boti. Our favorite from the grills was the Lahori Chargha – whole chicken marinated in spices and yogurt overnight and then fried in oil. This was our first time trying Chargha in Doha and we highly recommend this dish to all Lahoris missing the taste of home.

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Lahori Chargha with a side salad

The Seekh Kabab were juicy, well seasoned and succulent. The Malai Boti was soft and creamy. All the grills come in half and full portion with one or two parathas depending on which size you pick.

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Malai Boti
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Lahori Chargha & Seekh Kabab

From the curries category, we tried the butter chicken which was also delicious. The best part about Biryani Express is that you can order the biryani by itself which comes with raita or you can upgrade to a combo deal which includes an additional salad, kabab, dessert and drink. Combo deals for one range from QR 37 to QR 54 but that is great value for money considering the amount of food you get with the offer.

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Butter Chicken

The restaurant offers fresh juices and cocktails along with traditional & mango lassi. We tried the fresh cocktail juice and fresh lemon with mint – both of which were super refreshing. Dessert options include traditional Pakistani favorites like Gulab Jamun, Ras Malai, Gajar ka Halwa and Firni.

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Since Biryani Express does most of its business through home deliveries; we were curious to know what the packaging looks like. The biryani is packaged in microwaveable containers made of excellent quality and then packed into a larger box so all your food is neatly arranged when it arrives at your door. We were really impressed with the level of service and packaging that this restaurant is committing to.

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Biryani Express also offers catering services in addition to Family and Party Packs for 5 or 10 people. These family deals are great value for money as you get a biryani bucket, chargha, kabab, salad, raita, dessert and large drink. Prices vary according to the type of biryani you order.

Overall, Biryani Express is the restaurant you should go to when you’re in the mood for some authentic & affordable Pakistani cuisine. They place great emphasis on the quality & delivery of their food and bring some new dishes into the ever evolving Doha food scene.

Final Verdict:

Food: 4.5/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Service: 5/5

Value for Money: 4.5/5

Biryani Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Market by Jean Georges, W Hotel, Doha

The W Hotel is home to some of the best culinary experiences in Doha. You just need to know where to go. I’ve tried all the restaurants at the W, but nothing beats the Market by Jean Georges. This restaurant brings you cuisine from one of the world’s leading chefs known for his innovative and groundbreaking cuisine: Jean-Georges Vongerichten! The restaurant advertises itself as a “casual family kitchen emphasizing comfort and creativity, allowing guests to try new flavor combinations and explore spices from other regions”.

The Market is also the winner of several “Best Business Lunch” awards from Time Out Doha. Being a huge business lunch fan, I wholeheartedly agree that no one does a business lunch better than the Market in Doha. Market’s “Express Lunch” offer consists of a starter, main and dessert just for QR 98. The menu changes frequently introducing new dishes while keeping the cult favorites.

The restaurant is located on the ground floor, just to the right from the lobby. The ambiance is contemporary and casual. Reservations are required since they are extremely busy during the lunch hours.

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The Market offers five to six options within each section of it’s menu. Since the menu changes frequently, it’s always fun to try something new each time you visit. The appetizers selection always has a soup, different types of salads and pizza.

My favorite appetizer is the steamed shrimp salad with avocado and mushrooms. The shrimp is light & fresh and the champagne vinaigrette adds the perfect touch of creaminess.

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Steamed Shrimp Salad

The creamy tomato soup with cheddar and croutons is also fantastic if you’re in the mood for comfort food. The three cheese spinach and herb pizza is another great appetizer for when you’re super hungry. For the sea food lovers, they offer a great crispy calamari with a black olive tartar sauce.

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Three Cheese Spinach & Herb Pizza
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Calamari with Tartar Sauce

Moving on to the main course, they always have a chicken, fish, vegetarian pasta and burger option. My absolute favorite main is the Market Cheeseburger. It’s a thick meat patty topped with melted cheese, onion rings, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce. The patty is juicy and very well seasoned. The fries are super crunchy and addictive. The portion sizes for the appetizers are big (as seen in the pictures); but the cheeseburger will leave you in a food coma because it’s huge.

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The Market Cheeseburger

The pasta and burger are the more filling options in the mains category. The chicken and fish are perfect for when you want to keep it light and healthy.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

And finally, my favorite course at the Market is dessert. I can write several drool worthy paragraphs describing all the dessert options on their menu. But, let me summarize by saying that there is always a cheesecake, a chocolate cake and ice cream sundae option.

The Market cheesecake is a work of art. It looks like one of those desserts that you see on the Food Network and it tastes even better. The cheesecake is baked to creamy perfection and the crust has just the right kind of crunch. To cut the creaminess, the chef pairs it with a strawberry sorbet that is just delightfully fruity. Hands down, THE best cheesecake I’ve had in Doha.

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Market Cheesecake with Strawberry Sorbet

Another great dessert option is the salted caramel ice cream sundae. A very clever twist on the traditional sundae – this dessert consists of three scoops of salted caramel ice cream served on a bed of chocolate fudge sauce topped with peanuts and caramel popcorn. One word = divine! Another one of my favorites is the warm chocolate cake (with molten chocolate inside) served with vanilla ice cream.

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Salted Caramel Sundae
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Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice cream

The Market’s express three course lunch is an absolute steal at QR 98. You will leave the restaurant stuffed and satisfied – making mental plans on when to come back again.Trust me, just writing this review and staring at these pictures has made me super hungry.

Price breakdown is as follows:

Business Lunch Offer: QR 98/person

*Offer is inclusive of tax but does not include drinks

Final Verdict:

Food: 4.5/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Service: 3.5/5

Value for Money: 4.5/5

Market By Jean Georges - W Doha Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Punjab Grill, Ritz Carlton, Abu Dhabi

I was invited to my first bloggers meet-up this weekend at Punjab Grill. The restaurant is located in the picturesque Venetian Village at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Abu Dhabi. As you may know from my previous posts, I’m a huge fan of business lunches. They are the perfect, economical way to try a fine dining establishment and get to sample a lot of dishes from their menu. So, I was over the moon that my first tasting invite was for a business lunch!

Punjab Grill is offering their new business lunch menu which consists of an appetizer, main and dessert starting October, 2016. The menu has a lot of variety from vegetarian options to sea food in addition to the usual chicken & meat offerings. Here’s a look at the business lunch menu.

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Business Lunch Menu

We started out with ordering our drinks which are not included in the business lunch offer. There were a lot of tempting options, but I went with the “Aneeka” for my drink which was a pomegranate punch with lime juice, mint and vanilla syrup. A lot of the bloggers ordered this drink and we were not disappointed. It was refreshing and perfect to beat the Abu Dhabi heat.

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“Aneeka” – Pomegranate Punch

Whilst we chatted, our servers placed a very fancy bread basket in front of us. The bread basket had different types of “pappad” and bread. The accompanying condiments included a mint chutney, a labnah dip, a bean dip and a pickle dip. My favorite was the labnah.

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Bread Basket

The restaurant presented us with a complimentary amuse-bouche consisting of an onion pakora and a pani puri. The chef put his own twist on the traditional pakora by giving it a fried onion base topped with chutneys and sev. The pani puri had a sorbet center which had lots of flavour as we took a bite.

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Pani Puri and Onion Pakora Amuse-Bouche

Next, we placed our orders for appetizers. The business lunch menu has 3 options in each category. The appetizer options were lentil soup, vegetable samosa chaat and a watermelon slider. I was torn between the watermelon slider and the chaat but the Punjabi in me won at the end so I went with the chaat. The vegetable samosa chaat was delicious with a base of a punjabi samosa topped with yogurt, two types of chutneys (mint and tamarind), chick peas and pomegranate seeds. The presentation was super colorful and it tasted delicious as well.

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Vegetable Samosa Chaat

Up next, we were served our first of two palate cleansers. The first one, which was served after the appetizer round was a mixed berry sorbet. It was just the right kind of sweet without being too overpowering. At this point, all of us were saving room for the next courses to come so everyone went easy on this.

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Mixed Berry Sorbet – Palate Cleanser

The main course is usually the most exciting part of any business lunch and Punjab Grill was no exception. The main course options were a Spice Crusted Fish, Chicken Tikka Trio and Meat Punjab Grill. I ordered the Chicken Tikka Trio because…well, I love chicken. The main courses arrived and in true blogger fashion, everyone put all the dishes together and photographed the daylights out of them 🙂 So nice to be surrounded by like minded people.

The main courses were served with bread baskets consisting of plain, garlic and pudina naans. There were also two types of rice – plain white and jeera infused rice. Additionally, we were served daal and raita with the main course.

Portion sizes had been excellent in all the courses we sampled so far, but the main course portion sizes blew us away. All the mains were huge and enough to fill even the largest of appetites.

My Chicken Tikka Trio was absolutely phenomenal. Three types of chicken were included – the haryali chicken, malai chicken and the tradional chicken tikka. The chicken came topped with some salad (baby tomatoes and beetroot) and a “makhani” gravy. The makhani gravy was very similar to the sauce of butter chicken (which I love).

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Chicken Tikka Trio

The main was so huge that I wasn’t able to finish it. I tried the jeera rice which were wonderful and so complimentary with the chicken. The daal was creamy and seasoned perfectly. I tried the piping hot garlic naan and they were amazing.

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Main course
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Main Course
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Meat Punjab Grill

It’s easy to fall in a rut when its comes to innovating Indian cuisine. Everyone has the age old favorites and very rarely have I come across a revamped version of a classic dish that I loved. All the appetizers and mains at Punjab Grill bring something new into the equation. Whether it’s adding watermelon foam on top of the fish or coming up with that phenomenal “makhani” sauce to compliment the chicken; Punjab Grill is winning at innovation.

Next up, we had our second palate cleanser served to us after the main course. It was called a dew drop – a tender mix of coconut water, agar agar, honey, black pepper and ginger designed to cleanse your palate. I’m usually reluctant to try anything with ginger during my meal because it can leave a strong after taste in your mouth. The dew drop, however was a great palate cleanser which soothed the throat and didn’t leave any after taste.

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The Dew Drop – Palate Cleanser

We ordered our desserts and coffee/tea before going outside for the mandatory bloggers photo-shoot.  Lots of pictures were taken before coming back to our hot drinks and dessert. For dessert, we got to try both dessert options – the Ras Malai and the Gulab Jamun. (Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Weren’t you about to explode after eating so much? No. There is always room for dessert :D)

The Ras Malai was super soft and tender floating on top of a creamy mixture that was much thicker than the usual milk base. But, that’s what made it more decadent. The dried flowers on top gave it a nice touch. The Gulab Jamun were hot and not overly sweet topped with biscotti. I loved both desserts but if I had to pick one – I would pick the Ras Malai.

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Ras Malai & Gulab Jamun

Overall, the business lunch menu at Punjab Grill is great value for money. You get to try three courses with huge portions for AED 95 only. That’s definitely a deal to beat. Not only does all the food taste amazing, you will walk away feeling like you tried something different and unique. Service is phenomenal with the servers explaining what goes into every dish. The ambiance is gorgeous with the stunning chandeliers- perfect for date night. The business lunch menu is available from Sunday through Thursday, 12:30 to 4 pm only, starting October, 2016.

Price breakdown is as follows:

Business Lunch Offer: AED 95/person

*Offer is inclusive of tax but does not include drinks

Final Verdict:

Food: 4.5/5

Ambiance: 4.5/5

Service: 4.8/5

Value for Money: 4.5/5

Punjab Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nivea Brand Experience, Task Spotting

This weekend, I received my first Nivea Brand Experience kit from Task Spotting. Getting free goodies in the mail is something everyone looks forward to, so let me tell you a little bit more about how you can get free stuff too.

What is Task Spotting?

Task Spotting is an app launched by a Dubai based tech start-up that basically pays or rewards people for giving feedback. The app connects businesses who are looking for insight and consumer feedback with people who have smartphones and are ready to provide that information. The financial incentive is what is making this app a huge success.

The concept is quite simple. Download the app, put in some basic information and your location and start doing missions. Completing each mission gives you a certain number of points and helps you advance in levels. To learn more about how can benefit from this app, check out this article: Task Spotting – Timeout Dubai.

How did I get a free Nivea Kit?

I read a few articles from bloggers who had tried and recommended Task Spotting. So, I decided to download it and see what all the fuss was about. My first few missions were very simple. They were 4-5 question surveys with yes/no answers that took 2 minutes to complete. I did surveys for food brands and beauty products. Task Spotting has “crowds” that allow you to be eligible to access and complete missions for a certain company/brand. I did a survey applying to be part of the Nivea Soft crowd. Later, I got a notification saying that I was selected and a Nivea Soft Kit will be sent to me in the mail. It was literally that simple.

The requirements for the Nivea Brand Experience are to link your Facebook account with Task Spotting and post photos with the contents of your kit and how you found them. Task Spotting tries to connect users with companies that are marketing to customers of their age.

How did I find the Nivea Kit?

The Nivea Kit was delivered straight to my doorstep and here’s the box.

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Inside the box was a Nivea Soft Moisturizing hand cream and Nivea Soft face & body cream. The creams came inside a blue Nivea beauty pouch and a beach ball. The kit is designed to be the complete summer Nivea Soft experience with everything you need to keep your skin soft and moisturized in the summer.

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The beauty pouch and beach ball are great for when you’re outdoors or on the beach. I had already been a devoted Nivea Soft face cream user. It’s the perfect base before applying any makeup and absorbs into your skin super-fast. I have also used the hand cream which is also amazing with no smell and fast absorption. I have been using Nivea products ever since I was a kid courtesy of my parents who have also been a fan of the brand for a long time.

After un-boxing my kit, I accepted the missions and completed them by posting a photo of the contents of the kit and a photo of what “freshness” means to me.

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Final Thoughts:

Overall, it was a lot of fun to look forward to getting the kit and then reviewing it. I would like to see Nivea make the same pitch for their face care and deodorant lines because I feel like those are not marketed enough and have a lot of competition in terms of other brands. Task Spotting is a great app and I encourage everyone to check it out and get to be part of cool brand experiences like this one 🙂

Best Personalized Cakes in Doha

There was a time when walking into a bakery and buying a ready made cake for a friend or family member’s birthday was the norm. But, slowly the trend has definitely changed towards customized cakes. Designing a personalized cake for someone around a theme that describes them or their hobbies is not only fun; it also makes the birthday boy/girl feel more special.

My friends and I ventured into the world of customized cakes a few years ago. We’ve tried and tested a lot of home bakers in Doha making customized cakes from the comfort of their own home. When choosing who to give your order to, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. The first, is giving an advanced notice to the baker and asking them if they’re available to do a cake for you. The second, is working with the baker to come up with the perfect design and flavor so both parties are on the same page in terms of expectations. And third, is confirming the cost of the cake based on size prior to delivery.

In this post, I want to give a shout-out to three ladies who I’ve ordered many personalized cakes from over the last few years. They are professional, detail oriented and a pleasure to work with.

1.) Whisk It Up Bakery

Whisk It Up Bakery is the brainchild of a lovely lady named Aditi. You can find her page on Facebook and send her a message directly with your order. Here’s her story about how she got into baking and what she specializes in:

“My roots go back to the hospitality industry – where culinary and baking skills were a part of the curriculum. So, what started as a requirement grew into a hobby and now I know it as a passion. Whisk it Up was born as I started making cakes at home for my son’s birthday since I found the commercial cakes in Doha too sweet, moussey and repetitive. From there on with practice, my work has reached where it is now. We specialize in fruit and vegetable based cakes; however, are happy to whip up the regular vanillas and chocolates and the decadent Red Velvets too. Orders need to be placed a week prior at least- as no more than one order is taken in a week to give it the best of detailing it asks for.”

Here are some of the cakes I’ve ordered from Aditi for my family and friends

Aditi also makes fantastic cupcakes and detailed tiered cakes.

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Whisk It Up Bakery
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Cupcakes from Whisk It Up Bakery

2.) Tam’s Crazy Kuchen

Tam’s Crazy Kuchen is run by the multi-talented Tamara. You can get in touch with her via her Facebook page as well. Here’s what she had to say about her journey into baking and her specialties:

“Well, I’m a HR qualified personnel and have done my higher studies to National Diploma level in Human Resources. However, after moving to Qatar in 2003 to work at the Sheraton Hotel as an HR Administrator; I decided to make a career switch in to the Hair and Beauty Industry.  I have acquired City and Guilds qualifications in Hair & Beauty and have been blessed to open my own Beauty Salon here in Qatar in 2011. I started working on cakes in 2009 with no previous experience.  Then in 2012, I started baking cakes and decorating with a passion; and I have not looked back since. I learned a lot of the skills through YouTube and tried out new things in my spare time. Coming from a family of artists, I guess the talent of cake decorating was in my blood and this molded me to do what I do today.

I specialize in Wedding Cakes and Novelty Cakes; mainly working with Fondant. As for the advanced notice, in the case of Wedding cakes, at least 2 to 3 weeks notice is required.   Novelty cakes require at least a week’s notice. There are instances when I have worked on cakes on short notice,but only when I’m not busy with other projects.”

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Tam’s Crazy Kuchen Cakes
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Cakes by Tam’s Crazy Kuchen

3.) Nina’s Bakehouse

Nina’s Bakehouse is run by the lovely Nina. She can be reached on her Facebook page as well. Here is what she had to say about her baking journey:

“I first started baking for my family. Since I had a full time job then, I could only bake in my free time; thus I did not take orders. When I became a mom, I wanted to do all my son’s cakes. And my very first fondant cake was his 1st birthday cake.  Since I decided to become a stay- at-home mom, I started accepting orders. Initially, I just wanted to sell regular cakes but custom cakes are very in-demand from baby shower to kids and adults birthday and even wedding cakes. I specialize in buttercream and fondant cakes.”

Here are some cakes I’ve ordered from Nina:

She also does tiered cakes as well as cookies for any occasion.

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Cakes by Nina’s Bakehouse
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Cookies by Nina’s Bakehouse

Facebook pages of all three ladies:

1.) Whisk It Up:  Whisk It Up

2.) Tam’s Crazy Kuchen: Tam’s Crazy Kuchen

3.) Nina’s Bakehouse: Nina’s Bakehouse