Working on Dubai Time.

The handy thing about flying Emirates to Hyderabad when you have a friend living in Dubai is, you have to stop in Dubai for a connection. If you work very hard and smile a lot at your bosses, they might also let your 3 hours stop over become a four day stop over therefore enabling you to see your friend who lives in Dubai.

I managed to blag myself an upgrade to business and enjoyed the business class priority queue at passport control. I started as I meant to go on as I was collected from the airport in the supercharged model of the Range Rover Sport. There’s nothing like jumping into the  Dubai lifestyle by flying business class, being collected in a car than can only be described as the ‘Super Luxury” edition and finally arriving at a 33rd floor marina side apartment. I love Dubai for the sheer indulgence of it all but it still boggles my mind.

Anyway, it was a quick change into one of my new Mebaz dresses before setting off to eat lots of food at the ‘Taste of Dubai’ festival. The sun was blazing providing a balmy 32 degree heat (which I was loving). Anywhere you go in Dubai, you are surrounded by high rises and building developments. The taste of Dubai festival was no different. Here’s a snap I got which I think encapsulates the kind of day it was.

There was so much top class food on offer at the festival that I found myself salivating at every single menu I read. A lot of the kitchens were contained within tents behind the serving frontage. There were a few grills going on and I decided that the chefs working on those outdoor grills must have been the warmest people working in Dubai that day. I got a couple of pictures of tasty looking meat being grilled to perfection.

Now tell me you don’t want to eat that (vegetarians are excused form this rhetorical question). The next snap is of the chefs from Gauchos Steak House doing their business. We had a bit of this steak at Taste of Dubai and resolved to go to Gauchos before I left. It was simply amazing steak.

We spent hours at the festival because there was a Jack Daniels tent right next to the musical entertainment. We enjoyed Applejacks and a variety of really good bands. The first guys were covering rock and roll songs, old and new. The second band performed a lot of amazing Motown exceptionally well. The singer was absolutely belting out the classics. As night fell, the crowds didn’t really disburse much as you can see.

I have to admit that my 8am flight out of Hyderabad combined with the time change and generally travel fatigue meant that I was bushed quite early so we bailed out of the festival at about 10pm. I’m sure the party went on much later but that was as much as I could handle.

The next day brought more of what Dubai does best, over sizing and over indulgence. I enjoyed a movie at Dubai mall in their ‘Premier’ screen. Essentially, a premier screen is a leather recliner chair which you operate electronically into the position you find most comfortable. You get a blanket, a side table and a button which calls some to bring you food and/or drink. It’s just a bi fantastic. I can’t imagine anywhere else in the world where the concept would work though. There really is no level of luxury you cant experience in Dubai if you have the cash for it. I experience this first hand too as I was privvy to the purchase of a Porsche 911 Turbo (‘Super Luxury Edition’) whilst in Dubai.

The car is just something else. Organs move towards your back if you so much as sneeze on the accelerator and the 90kph alarm goes off if a slight breeze is circulating in the foot well. The beast needs to be unleashed on a track! It was super fast! I was quite disapproving of the massive ‘Turbo’ decal down the side of the car but then I thought, well, if you’re going to have people looking at you in your Porsche thinking what a c**k you must be then you may as well do the job properly and give onlookers the ammunition they want. Luckily, the owner of the car shared my sentiments on this one so the decal stays. Anyway, here it is.

So, after buying the car and seeing a movie (all ‘Super Luxury Edition’ activities), I consumed my weight in seafood at Red Lobster in Dubai Mall. We picked a pretty spot outside with a lake/pond side view and prepared for the onslaught. I mean, this isn’t a bad view for lunch is it?

Anyway, we’d worked out pretty hard that morning at some evil class called ‘Body Attack’ so I restocked myself by ordering a lot of shrimp (cooked 3 different ways, fried, grilled and in tasty pasta) with lobster tail on the side. I was not disappointed when it arrived because it looked and smelled simply amazing. This blog will now decend into before and after pictures of the food I ate. So, here goes with the before of the seafood:

Now that’s a lot of food right? Well, the next photo is special because it’s a picture of what I achieved single handedly. Ready?

BOOM! I did that. Yep. Please also note the empty lobster tail to the top left of the photo which was not seen in the before image. I did that too. It was so tasty! The lobster tail was so succulent and all the shrimp was cooked perfectly. Not one single piece was chewy or over cooked. It was actually a perfect meal! The pasta still had a little bite to it and the sauce was gentle enough to allow the full flavour of the shrimp to come through. Just so good!

Sunday brought a work out called ‘Body Pump’ into my life. I would rather Sunday hadn’t bothered. The work out was so tough that I was crying tears of pain by the end of it. I’m not even exaggerating. Actual tears of pain. I ached for three days and have resolved to never ever do it ever again (much to my friends dismay). I’m not unfit by any stretch of the imagination but I do lack muscular and core strength. I know this. I also know I am too lazy to address the problem because it’s a lot of hard work. Body Pump reaffirmed this knowledge for me and I’m still too apathetic to fix it.

Anyway, the rest of Sunday brought a nap and seeing the movie John Carter in 3D at the IMAX. I’d never been to an IMAX before and wasn’t really sure what to expect. I was absolutely floored by the size of the screen. This IMAX screen was incomprehensibly big. Even sat on the back row, as far away as possible from the screen, I still felt like there was no way I could see it all without moving my head/eyes to scan across the screen. Just massive! Anyway, the film was OK. Not at all what I had expected but entertaining none the less. I was more impressed by the IMAX experience than the film itself because IMAX is just impressive. It’s worth a trip for a ‘spectacle’ of a film but for anything less, don’t bother with IMAX, regular cinema will be fine.

My last evening was spent at Gaucho’s in Dubai which is possibly the swankiest restaurant I have been to. It feels a bit like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but with steak. You go up to the restaurant in a glass elevator and are greeted by very plush surroundings. There was actual cow hide (fur inclusive) lining the backs of the chairs, uniformly well dressed staff, chandeliers made entirely of blown glass and excellent cocktails. I had an excellent Mojito. Aaron had an excellent virgin Bloody Mary. Then, we all had steak. And my goodness it was good steak!

Aaron was quite resolute that we should have the Gaucho’s sharing platter which was 1.2kg of steak taken from 4 different cuts. We had sirloin, rib-eye, fillet and rump all cooked medium rare. Here is the spread:

The really great thing about this platter is that you have direct flavour comparison capabilities which, normally, you don’t get when eating a steak. I mean, you never sit and order 4 different cuts of steak at once when dining out just to see which cut you like the best. The experience was a massive eye opener for me as it really brought home the massive difference in taste that the four cuts present. We started with the sirloin which turned out to be my favourite. The texture was very smooth and the meat made no protests about being sliced through. The flavour mild-ish which allowed you to enjoy the sides too (we had spinach). I’m not a big fan of sauces so the sirloin was ideal for me as I had no desire to attack it with a sauce anyway but I don’t think the mild flavour would really have held up well against a sauce. If you’re a lover of sauces to go with steaks, don’t get sirloin because the sauce will just obliterate it.

Next up was the rib-eye and my least favourite. The texture was slightly more hard work than the sirloin and, for me, the flavour was a complete non event. None of the sauces seemed to enhance the flavour and when you coupled the rib-eye with a side, you lost the steak entirely beneath the side. This was the weakest cut for me and I shan’t be ordering rib eye steak anywhere is there’s a different cut on the menu.

Fillet was third and an entirely enjoyable cut of steak. It had a more pronounced flavour than the sirloin and could accomodate the stronger sauces and sides without being over powered. The fillet steak had legs and was perfectly capable of standing on them. I would have found the flavour a bit over powering without sides or sauces to be honest which isn’t my preferred eating style (I’m really not a sauce fan). However, a couple of good sides, and you’d still be able to enjoy a good bit of fillet without drowning it in sauce.

Last was the rump. The heaviest flavour of the three and the one my pallet really couldn’t handle. Even with sauce and side, the rump was too strong for me. It was incredibly overpowering no matter what you tried with it. It was all too much meaty goodness for me but went down well with the others at the table. I think I’m justa  bit of a steak wuss. Anyway, here was the result of our tasting:

A very good effort I am sure you will agree. Gaucho’s in Dubai is most definitely worth a visit.

So Dubai, I came, I ate and then I left. I’ll be seeing you again.


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