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Monthly Archives: July 2012

China Garden Restaurant

Another new night lost contemplating what to have for Dinner. Especially in Ramadan, it does get rather tough figuring out what you feel like. I decided I wanted some Chinese and also wanted to try somewhere new. This is where China Garden fit. I remembered that I had received their Menu once.

Well.. I remembered I received it, but I lost it. 24h.ae came in handy with that, luckily they had China Garden and I had access to their entire menu.

Speaking of the menu, Here is a shocker, How many items do you find in a typical restaurant? 30? 40? 70? 100?!
China Garden have over 170 Menu entries! Choosing what to have is like making a life changing decision! Far too much! I had to go down to basics, too broad a selection worries me.

The delivery did not take much time, it took about 30 minutes.

The food came in a White plastic bag with their logo on it. It was clear that the quality was low, but still they actually bothered.

The bag had the food in different containers (More on that later) but had no tissues or utensils.

For starters I had their Sweet Corn Soup, with Chicken.

The food came with two small side cups, which had Vinegar and Chili Paste/Sauce.

The Soup was nice but I did have an observation. There was taste, flavor, the soup was thick and hot, just right for soup. So what was this observation?

I have had this EXACT Soup in about 3 or 4 places till now! No really, the very same soup. Taste, Flavor, Ingredients and even color! I have had it in Cafeterias (Food and Drink which I had reviewed their Shawerma) and a few other Cafeteria-like places. I do not know.. do they all have the same supplier? Weird. All that does matter is that it is nice. I just find that having Soup that isn’t specifically theirs, kind of pulls away from how original they are, being a Chinese Restaurant.

For the Main Dish, I ordered the Schezwan Fried Rice with Chicken.

This pack is supposedly half a portion. Certainly enough for 1 person.

The rice was.. alright. There was little flavor going on. The Rice had a little vegetables and a few Chili Peppers (for the Schezwan effect) but weirdly they were just in the center of the plate. Compared to ordinary Chicken Fried Rice there was just a tiny bit of different flavor, not as much as I would expect to have ordered this instead. The rice was cooked well but overall the taste was just alright.

To go with the Rice, I ordered their Chicken in Hot Chili Sauce.

The first thought was that this is too much quantity for my portion of rice. There aren’t half portions for Sauces. So definitely worth getting one sauce for two half servings of Rice or Noodles.
The Chicken in Hot Chili was pretty nice actually. There is a ton of Flavor in there and that is all down to the amount of ingredients in there! Some types Chili Peppers, Onions, Sauce, etc. There are plenty of them in there and the results are pretty good. There is a lot of Chicken in there as well, which are thin strips of Chicken that were cooked well.

Regarding the Packaging, I just wonder why the many types? White container for the Soup, Foil for the Rice and Clear for the Sauce..

Overall their food is not bad. They do have a huge selection of foods and it would be unfair to judge the entire place based on 3 out of 173 menu options! Main factor to take in is that the place functions more like a Cafeteria that is dedicated to Chinese Food rather than an Authentic Chinese Restaurant (Including a few which are Fast Food Authentic Chinese Restaurants too) and this means that the quality is not very high, the prices aren’t very high and is an alternative to Fast Food.

The Value:

One Sweet Corn and Chicken Soup was 15 Dhs, Half Portion of Schezwan Chicken Fried Rice was 18 Dhs and a Full Portion of Chicken in Hot Chili Sauce was 29 Dhs. This totaled to 62 Dhs and they do not charge for Delivery.

Ratings:
The Packaging: 5 / 10
The Food:         5 / 10

Overall: 5 / 10

I’d recommend this place for a trial, especially since they have such a broad menu, one might find some interesting dishes. The food is quite alright too.

You can now order from China Garden Restaurant Online through 24h.ae with a click of a button and save the hassle of telephone calls, wrong orders and wrong addresses while being able to go through the entire menu with ease.

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Delivery

 

California Pizza Kitchen For Dinner at Dubai Mall

Many times I would pass by the ground floor on my way to the fountains and notice California Pizza Kitchen and find its name interesting. Today I wanted to find out what’s it about.

As we walked in, the server was polite, wished us and asked if we wanted a table for two. They do have a Booth Bias, where almost all the Booths were full and most of the tables were empty. With the large individual and comfortable Booth that we sat in, I understood why.

The decor was warm. There was a whole line of booths on the side (where I was picturing from) and a few booths in the center. The rest were all tables. The lighting and ambiance was really relaxing. The booths were large enough for 4 people to be comfortable. There was a cut out in the wall to look at the kitchen, although one cannot see much of the cooking being done (Sometimes cooks would stand and look at people, this I didn’t enjoy).They do have outdoor seating with views of the fountain as well.

Shortly after sitting, we were handed the incredibly tall menus.

The menu had a good selection of Starters and Main Dishes. The selection of Pizza’s (Being their highlight) was a whole page long. They do have a few pages in the middle for pictures of random dishes.

The tables were already set up with Plates, Salt & Pepper shakers, and the Dessert Cube. There is no Dessert section in the menu.

Nothing special going on here, just simple and neat.

For Starters we had something called Dynamite Shrimp.

This was a surprise. I love ordering starters, sometimes more than the main meals but not always do they surprise me in terms of flavor. This was spot on, a very delicious starter. So nice in fact, it disappeared in no time.
The shrimp were perfectly cooked with a Special Sweet Chili Sauce topped with Sesame Seeds. They lay on a bed of Rice Noodles. The flavors in the Shrimp dish were delicious and left a little Spice Tingle in my mouth. The Sauce is fairly sticky so it picks up some Rice Noodles, and that adds some crispy-ness to the experience. Very well done. If I had a criticism, it would be that the flavor of the Shrimp itself was light. Maybe they could experience with different types of Shrimp to find one with a bit more flavor.
They definitely need to replicate this dish in Chicken too.

For the Main Dish, we went with a Pizza (what else would I really want to order from a Pizza Place?) and the selection was plenty, and I had narrowed it down to like 3, out of which I went with The Original BBQ Chicken (Also mentioned as their most popular Pizza, so I had to know what the fuss was about!)

It arrived looking quite good, but not as good as it did in the menu (I know that’s usually the case). It was a bit smaller and thinner than the typical Medium Sized Pizza from Domino’s or Pizza Hut, but not by much.
The ingredients were: Barbecue Sauce, Barbecued Chicken Cubes, Red Onions, Two types of Cheeses (Gouda and Mozzarella) and topped with a little Cilantro.
So, we dug in. The Pizza is a bit thin, not very thin though (They do have a Thin Pizza at a charge) and tasted really good. 6 Slices and was nice and hot. The Pizza is very light while eating. I went with the fork and knife even though I prefer Pizza with my Hand and I was full after 3 slices (I was not that hungry though).
There is something about it that is light while you eat but filling once it reaches your stomach.
The flavors were very nice, and throughout, the flavors of Barbecue Sauce, Cheese and Red onions were tasted. There was a lot of Onions on the Pizza but they were very well cooked and left no Onion after-taste or anything.
The Chicken was Barbecued well, was tender and delicious.
I really liked this Pizza and I would think it would be enough for a person who is hungry. It was soft and juicy throughout and was a delight with every bite.

The Service: It was very good. The server who seated us handed the menus politely and was smiling all the time. The other server came over to take the order and when we requested more time, she was more than happy. During the Meal she had come by and gave my drink a refill, and it showed they are looking at their customers even though almost all their booths were full. Plenty of staff were going and coming all the time and it was easy to find someone to serve. Food was quick and by the time the Shrimp was done, the Pizza had arrived. I did dislike the window to the kitchen, and saw no necessity for it. One could not see any cooking from this view and the staff sometimes standing and looking into the Dining Area was a bit uncomfortable. Maybe if there is cooking going on behind the glass or people can see the delicious food coming and going, sure, but as it was, it wasn’t a nice touch. The bill arrived quickly and upon leaving we were greeted and thanked with big smiles.

The Value: 1 Small Bottle of local water, 1 Soft Drink (refillable), 1 Juice, 1 Starter and 1 Pizza came up to exactly 125 Dhs. It is good value for a place that is relaxing with good service and if seated outside, fantastic views too. For two hungry people, one could assume a bill around 200 Dhs. which is still good value considering the above.

Ratings:
The Place:   6 / 10
The Service: 8 / 10
The Food:    7 / 10

Overall: 7 / 10

I’d really recommend this place.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Dine In

 

Wendy’s

I have had good experience with Wendy’s in the past and it is one of my favorite Fast Food restaurants because of their approach. As I have mentioned in my Dine in review of them, they do things a little differently compared to most Fast Food places. (You can read the review here Wendy’s for Dinner at Dubai Festival City)

I decided to order in and see if they maintain their quality throughout (Especially since the delivery would be from another branch than the one I tried before)

I made an order online through 24h.ae, So I didn’t get an estimated time of delivery, but it did take 45 minutes.

The food arrived hot, so at least the time wasn’t spent letting the food get cold.

The food came in 2 White paper bags, full with their logo and a slogan. I usually like that, and have spoken a lot about how appearance somehow reflects in food. The smaller bag had the drink, keeping the cold drink away from the hot food. The big one had a huge “Fresh” written across the bag, which with Fast Food is always doubtful, but as per my previous visit, tastes fresher than the usual.

Quickly unpacked everything and laid them out..

They do have a good selection of Appetizers / Starters which is nice, especially for people who like these additions.

I shall start from the top:

The French Fries: They were good, the cuts are nice, crispy from the outside and salted with Sea Salt, something that does give it a different flavor compared to ordinary Salt. I do not know why they did that but it certainly works.
Beside it, The Chicken Nuggets: Obviously, the Nuggets are sitting in a Fries Pack, so I am guessing they haven’t thought of its own container. The Nuggets were good too and they were actual Chicken Cuts, unlike most place’s Minced Chicken Treatment. It does reflect in the Quality and Taste of it for sure! The Nuggets do come with a Choice of Sauces (Barbecue and another one) but I really adore the Asian Spicy Sauce (That comes with the Asian Spicy Boneless Wings) and I had requested they swap the Barbecue for Asian Spicy Sauce which they did with no extra charge.

The Asian Spicy Boneless Wings: I have lost track of how many times I wondered, why are they still called “Wings” but as my previous review, Delicious. Again, they are Chicken Cuts rather than Minced Chicken, which have a nice Crispy outer layer, soft and tender center. With the Asian Spicy Sauce, it is just lovely.

They provided two small cups of Ketchup and Sufficient Tissues. The only thing really missing was Utensils for the Asian Spicy Boneless Wings. Now, time for the Burger! I ordered their Dave’s Hot’n Juicy – Double.

It looks interesting at first glance. The Sandwich comes in Single, Double and Triple Patty options! The Sandwich’s description is:

“2-4oz beef patty, sliced of cheese, mayo, ketchup, pickles, onion, tomato and lettuce, w/ reg. fries and reg. drink”

It is a pretty straight forward and traditional Burger with Ordinary Ingredients, so if there is any flare it has to be from the Quality of the ingredients. Was there any flare? Yup.

The Burger tasted good. The Ingredients were good and seemed fresh, the Cheese was plentiful as can be seen in the picture and the main ingredient, the Beef Patty, was delicious. It was really soft, cooked really well and had a different taste to it than most places. Why the Beef Patty’s are Square I have no clue, but hey, it tastes well, so I am not going to complain about shape! They do have something about the Square Shape that is like a signature factor about Wendy’s. I enjoyed it as everything came together really well.

The Packaging was pretty straight forward, Nothing really special to go about, but I did have an observation that was rather a question mark. The Asian Spicy Boneless Wings was covered with Aluminium foil, and this isn’t the first time it was delivered that way. Odd since when Dining in, they do provide a Clear Plastic cover.

The Value:

It is quite good, more or less on par with most Fast Food places. Dave’s Hot’n Juicy Meal is 24 Dhs, Chicken Nuggets are 12 and the Asian “Wings” are 16 Dhs. They do also charge 5 Dhs for Delivery. No Side orders would make the Meal 29 Dhs including Delivery.

Ratings:
The Packaging: 6.5 / 10
The Food:           7  / 10

Overall: 6.75 / 10

I’d recommend this place. They do have a different flare compared to ordinary Fast Food Burger Places, and it really does work. If you are looking for a change of Fast Food, they are worth a try. They have a good selection of Appetizers and Sides worthy of trying too.

You can now order Wendy’s Online through 24h.ae and save the hassle of telephone calls, wrong orders and wrong addresses while being able to go through the entire menu as well.

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2012 in Delivery

 

QD’s for Dinner at Dubai Creek Resort

QD’s is one of Dubai’s lovely outdoor places to relax, listen to music, have shesha and enjoy the atmosphere. On normal days they usually have a DJ. For Ramadan though, they have a part of the place covered and air conditioned, including Arabic style menus and hot drinks.

In their new tent styled area overlooking the Creek, they have revamped the place with TV screens and redesigned the table settings. As soon we walked in, the waiter asked us how many people we were and took us to the area with the best places actually, which is good considering that we had not made a reservation. They were polite and brought over the menus quite quickly.

Their menu does not have a big selection of main courses, but do cover the basics. I guess their main focus is the Ramadan Buffet.

Once I ordered the food they brought the Place Setting

Pretty straight forward I guess. Paper Napkin holding the Knife and Fork. Interestingly, the Orange color is part of their theme (Which is found on the Logo, Menus, Staff Uniform, etc)

The tables already had Salt and Pepper Shakers.

I went through their menu and fancied their Shesh Tawooq (Grilled Marinated Chicken Cubes) which is something they have in both their Ramadan and Ordinary menus.

First of all it looked quite appealing! Yes, usually a person will not go through all the things on the plate but still, it does give a nice feel to it. So how was it? One of the nicest Shesh Tawooq dishes I ever had!

First of all, The Chicken: Marinated Perfectly and Grilled Perfectly as well. It was presented on a really big Skewer right off the grill. At the beginning, just looking at it, you can know it was Grilled to perfection. It had lovely spices and was very tender. Absolutely Delicious. It is a big skewer though, and has about 6 cubes but it might not be entirely filling, especially since it tastes really good and gets finished up fast.
The Rice: It was nice, but had no seasoning. There was a slight flavor to it, but really needed seasoning.
The Sauce: Incredible! Nothing fancy, but could possibly be the best Garlic Sauce I have reviewed till now. The Garlic isn’t overpowering, certainly will not leave any after taste or smell because it is more creamy than strong. It really went well with the Shesh Tawooq. I usually pull back from Garlic because they are usually very strong but this was very creamy yet having good enough flavor.

The rest of the things on the plate are hardly eaten like the Grilled Lemon, Tomato and Onion. Onions, Lemon and two slices of Bread. These are as expected, ordinary. Still nice to have on the plate for mixed tastes! Someone might use the Bread, cover a Chicken Cube, add some Onion and Sauce and enjoy it as well.

The Service: Very good. The servers are nice and polite. They smile and interact with people, greet them, ask how they are doing, etc. There are plenty of servers and shesha people around and asking for something is pretty easy and quick. Upon leaving we were thanked. Especially with most of the people sitting in the closed area they are more servers around. When we requested to lift the blades on the Air Conditioning, the waiter instantly did so. You really do get a feeling they care about the customer’s overall experience. For a place that received so many awards in the past (Among most of their restaurants), they do live up to the expectation.

The Value: The Shesh Tawooq dish is 55 Dhs. Considering it is a hotel level setting, with good service and high quality food, it is pretty good.

Ratings:
The Place :   7  / 10
The Service:  7  / 10
The Food:    7.5 / 10

Overall: 7.2 / 10

I’d really recommend this place. Good Service and Food with a lovely Atmosphere.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Dine In

 

Pizza Company

There are so many places that make Pizza and it really is hard to decide where to order from. Essentially there are two main types of Pizza places in Dubai; the Fast Food type (Made in Modern Ovens, quick and not as Authentic Pizzas) and the Authentic Italian type (Wooden Ovens, Done the Italian style, usually thin, etc). In each category there are the good and the bad. Pizza Company is one of the really good Fast Food type of Pizza Places.

As with typical Fast Food Pizza places, ordering items individually is almost always more costly than going for a Meal, and they had a good variety of meals to offer thankfully.

I decided to go for their Meal for 2 and the delivery did take about 45 minutes.

The packaging had two Aluminium Packs and the Pizza box. Why one of the Packs was in a Bag and why the other wasn’t I have no clue. The Bag and the Box had all the logos and branding expected.

I had ordered the Meal for 2, with a Medium Pizza and a Pasta, and BBQ Chicken Wings.

First up, the Pack in the Bag had the Pasta. It came with Utensils and Tissues.
The Pasta ordered was their Spaghetti Diavola. It’s ingredients are:

“Spaghetti, Spicy Chicken and Onion in White Cream Sauce”

I think that the Pasta needs a little re-think. In a Meal for 2, it would fit perfectly as a person can have the Pasta and probably have a Slice of the Pizza. That way it would be filling, but if ordered on its own, it might not be really filling.
But how was it? Good. Could be much better easily though.. The Spaghetti isn’t actually Spicy, there are herbs and spices but not enough. Another thing that isn’t enough was the Sauce. It tasted good, its just that I had very little on the bottom and it left most of the Spaghetti a little dry. A little more Spices and Sauce and it would be very good. The Chicken Pieces are nicely cooked, and fairly sufficient.

For the Pizza, I went with their signature Pizza, the Super Deluxe

They really made sure they cut it! aside from that it was quite good actually. The Super Deluxe has a lot of ingredients and they are:

“Pepperoni, Sliced Chicken, Beef Ham, Ground Beef, Italian Sausage, Mushrooms, Onion, Capsicum and Black Olives”

Might sound like that is a whole lot of ingredients but they are put reasonably, its not like a Mountain of Pizza toppings as you can see. The result though, is interesting taste. There are a lot of flavors to go around, and it was good. The Dough was soft throughout and it gets Crispy around the edges. It was actually yummy eating the crust alone as it was Crispy on the outside and Soft on the inside.

As a side order, I had their BBQ Wings

There is definitely something special about Pizza Company’s BBQ Wings, something that I have not had anywhere else till now. They are not covered in any Sauce like in most places, but the important part is that the Chicken Wings have a Flavor that came from the Wings being Marinated before Barbecuing or something (In most places, after biting in the outer part, there is not much flavor in side) and with the Barbecue Sauce provided, it was delicious.

The Value:
I usually have a copy of the Bill but weirdly enough, they didn’t provide me with a copy! The Meal for Two was 45 Dhs, the BBQ Wings was 24 Dhs and they have a 5 Dhs Delivery Charge totaling to 74 Dhs.

It is good value for two people in general, but I do feel the BBQ wings is slightly overpriced compared to the Meal for Two. There is a 8 Pieces BBQ Wings order for 18 Dhs as well.

Ratings:
The Packaging: 6 / 10
The Food:         6 / 10

Overall: 6 / 10

I’d recommend this place. As with all Pizza places, I suggest you actually go to the restaurant rather than ordering because this Pizza, Fresh out of the oven would be amazing!

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Delivery

 

P.F. Chang’s For Lunch at the Mall of the Emirates

I have only once tried P.F. Chang’s and it was a good experience. Passing by Mall of the Emirates, I decided it would be nice to have lunch there as I have never been to this branch before.

First impressions walking in? Wow!

I could have sworn it was Night time even though my watch said 3 PM! They have really done a very good job with the way the place is decorated. It certainly looks not in the Mall. The decoration was very nice, and there are tables and booths to go around. This is one big restaurant! I really like the design and the amount of work done. Well done!

The servers were very polite and very excited to assist and somehow lead us to a booth which I would have picked either way. Co-incidence but a nice one. They do care about spreading people out nicely. As soon as we sat we were handed their Menus.

Soon after sitting down the server came over telling us of their sauces and they mixed and matched some sauces in the middle cup saying that is the special sauce. I tried it, it was not bad but then again, I had nothing to use it with at the moment, or later even.

When coming to order individual Soups and Dishes, the server was saying how most of their Menu was designed for two people. So instead of two soup, We ordered one. The Hot and Sour Soup.

I didn’t really enjoy the soup so much. It had a lot of vegetables that I have never tasted in my life, and it was a delight when I chewed on some Chicken. The flavor was quite Soy Sauce like and there was certainly plenty of Hot and Sour going on. On the other end of the table, the Soup got some acceptance. I had my serving and it was alright. The main Bowl could easily serve 6 cups. Suitable for 3 people with ease.

For the Main Course, We ordered the Chicken Fried Rice, and Chang’s Spicy Chicken as sauce. Again, each serving was sized for two.

The Rice: It was very good! My first observation was that it was a bit sticky, now most people would consider this over cooked, but as it turns out, P.F. Chang’s has a spoon-phobia, the rolled napkin had 2 forks, 1 knife and Chop Sticks. When the Rice came, it made some sense, that is how they do it!
Flavor-wise, it was very good, there was a good mix of ingredients and flavors. Nothing was under cooked, chewy or crunchy. It reached nice and hot, not too hot to burn either.

The Chang’s Spicy Chicken. It was Delicious! There was sufficient to go around the Rice and it was really flavorful. The tastes of all the Chilis, Onions, Sweet and Sour sauce were all there. The Chicken itself was very tender and soft. All the Chicken cubes were pure Chicken Breast cuts (as it seemed to me, do not quote me on this). There were no skins, fats, or any weird pieces. It also really complimented the Rice. It certainly was a really good dish.

The Service: It was really good. All waiters were polite, sweet and quick to react. They were very welcoming when we entered and thanked us when we were leaving. The delivery of food was also fairly quick. I did enjoy the little show of the “Special Sauce” that the waitress created. The only downfall of the service was, in the gap where we were having the Soup, and the Food came. The server placed the food on the table and left. It was highly disorganized rather than trying to set the table for us to easily reach the food (The Rice was placed in front of me, and on the other end of the table was the Chicken, rather than push the Soup bowl and let us both have the Chicken and Rice in front of us both). They need to consider placing down food with a bit more thought.

The Value: 1 large bottle of water, 1 big bowl of Soup (Suitable for 3 people with 2 servings each), 1 Rice Dish (Suitable for 2), and 1 Main Sauce (Also suitable for 2) came to an exact total of 150 Dhs. Which I think is really good value! The place is huge, the decoration is good, the service is good, and the price is good too.

Ratings:
The Place:   7 / 10
The Service: 7 / 10
The Food:    7 / 10

Overall: 7 / 10

I’d really recommend this place, but be sure to at least go with a friend, almost everything is a service for two.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Dine In

 

Leil Nhar for Dinner at Dubai Festival City

Leil Nhar is one of the most popular Cafe’s in Dubai Festival City. This is because of its location that overlooks the Festival City Marina, Indoor and Outdoor seating, and because they have Shesha Indoors and Outdoors, which gets busy every evening.

I have eaten here a few times in the past but haven’t had anything there, in a long time. In my last visit they had Ramadan Offers and had revamped their menu. I was a little hungry so went for one of their light sandwiches.

All their tables have everything you could possibly need already set!

I do find this convenient, and you would rarely need to ask anything from the waiters, which helps them too.

Their menu has a new look, is bigger and is nicer to look at and read.

They have a wide variety of Sandwiches, Saj’s, Salads and other dishes. They also have a big selection of desserts and drinks.

For dinner I went with the Chicken Fajita Sandwich. Their sandwiches come in soft white bread that is prepared fresh, and is rather delicious in all sandwiches. As an additional charge option, you can get brown bread.

The presentation is too straight forward, in the sense that it is lacking something. The first thing it lacks would be some sides! A few French Fries? Wedges? Salad? Coleslaw? Something on the side I feel is always necessary. The second thing I feel is missing, is a care for appearance. Maybe layer them at an angle above one another, add some garnish, etc.

The Sandwich itself was pretty delicious!

The ingredients of this sandwich are:

“Chicken Fajita, Mozzarella, Guacamole Sauce, Green Peppers, Onion and Mayo Dressing”

I got to say, they all come very well together! I really didn’t feel or taste much of the Guacamole Sauce but pretty much everything else tasted really well. The Chicken was soft and Tender and cut into small pieces.
It was hot, soft, and pretty juicy, no dryness at all. Very well made.

The Service: The staff at Leil Nhar are nice and polite. There is no Fixed entrance being that one can enter from 2 places and they could probably sit outside which can be reached by 2 ways as well, which basically means there isn’t always someone to greet you. We walked in and we picked a table and took a seat. Sometimes if a waiter is by a door and notices, they do wish the customers. The menu’s came and we were left for a few minutes to go through it. They are almost always busy so the waiters do have a lot on their hands, but the service isn’t affected by this much. The server was smiling and was happy to serve us. Then on, everything was smooth and every time we asked for anything they were happy to serve.

The Value: One Chicken Fajita Sandwich and One small water came to around 40 Dhs. It is pretty decent value considering that the sandwich was really nice with good service. A real advantage to most people that visit is the ability to smoke Shesha and Cigarettes Indoors!

Ratings:
The Place:   6 / 10
The Service: 6 / 10
The Food:    7 / 10

Overall: 6.3 / 10

I’d recommend this place. They have lovely sandwiches which are unique in their own way, good service, and pretty decent value.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Dine In

 

Al Farooj Fresh

I have seen Al Farooj go through many of its transitional stages where they had quite a few bumps. There were times where they were more Arabic Restaurant than Fast Food, times in the middle, and times like now where they have totally transformed into Fast Food.

What does keep them different is their partnership with Al Islami (For those who aren’t familiar with Al Islami, they locally produce all sorts of Chicken Products, from Full Chickens to Burgers). This means they do get Fresh Chicken through their supplier, which is always a good starting point!

Food took about 30 Minutes to deliver, which was their estimated time when ordering.

They have their own branded plastic bags. I do not want to make this an official comment, but as a mere observation, I have experienced that many places that just provide plain bags without any branding turn out to get lower ratings. Now I certainly never rate the food based on the packaging but an observation. Perhaps the attention to detail and importance of their branding does in some way reflect in food?

I was really hungry and I unpacked everything real quick. The smaller bag had the drink I ordered.

Let me start from the Left:
The Drink, 4 Packets of ketchup, 1 Cup of Garlic, Paper bag 1: The Sandwich I ordered with its Fries, Rice with Chicken Strips, Tissues, Utensils and finally Paper bag 2: Dessert.

First up, the Sandwich Meal, which was their Super Fillet Combo.

Without a second of doubt, this is certainly Al Farooj’s spin off Zinger Supreme of KFC, and had the exact same ingredients:

“Cheese, Mayonnaise, Lettuce, Chicken, and Turkey Mortadella”

The first thing I noticed eating it was the fact that the Chicken Tastes quite good. I think it has to do with the Freshness of it. I definitely am not expecting or saying that its Freshly Cut Chicken Fried on the spot, but it is certainly fresher than big Fast Food brands. All together, it is pretty good!
The Fries were ordinary fries, they lacked salt.

Alongside the Meal, I tried their “Crispy with Rice”, which is essentially their yellow rice, with some herbs and a side of a little vegetables with 3 Pieces of Chicken Strips on top. The rice was cooked well, soft and plentiful but its sauce did require a little more flavor and seasoning.
The Chicken Strips were really similar to the Chicken in the sandwich. It was soft, crispy and fried well.

For Dessert, Apple Pie

This was very typical Fast Food Apple Pie that I have had in several Places. The outer bit was really crispy and crunchy and deeper in, nice and soft. On the inside, it was sweet and the Apples were soft. The only thing missing from this was Sugar on the outside! Without the sugar, the outer crust definitely felt like it was missing something.
I also know why there is no sugar. The packet that its in, has a big cut out so you can see the Apple Pie. If they had added sugar, it would end up everywhere. I’d say, close the hole and add the sugar!

A nice touch Al Farooj has, bringing back the topic of packaging, is that their Paper Bag has a little history brief of the company. I found that interesting, a quick read into the company.

Any real purpose other than information? No. Is it required? No. Is it nice to have just because they can? Definitely!

The Value:

1 Super Fillet Combo, 1 Crispy with Rice and One Apple Pie totaled to 37 Dhs which includes a 5 Dhs Transportation Fee. I believe for the quantity of this meal and taste, it is very good value! Mind you, Crispy with Rice is pretty much a second meal, too!

Ratings:
The Packaging: 7 / 10
The Food:         6 / 10

Overall: 6.5 / 10

I’d recommend this place to deliver. Decent food that has freshness to it, not really common with Fast Food and good value.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Delivery

 

Bikers Cafe for Lunch in Jumeirah

Its rare to find a place that has a special theme out of the usual, and this cafe does have that unique factor. Bikers Cafe has a lot of Motorcycle and Motorsport influence all over and was an interesting experience.

Walking towards the place, there is plenty of seating outdoors, but due to the weather, indoors was the only real option. Walking in there are two dining areas, both filled with Motorcycle influences

This is the first dining area, pretty nice and on the right there is a store where they sell T-shirts and accessories. Nice lighting and plenty of photographs! There is a lot to look at.

In each of the dining areas there are Bikes on display, some are for sale, some to be won, etc. They really have focused a lot on the Bike Factor. There is a board where people can sell Bikes, Bike number plates, etc. Big glass panels allow you to see outside. The other dining area has more sunlight coming in though.

They have two menus. One for drinks and the other for food.

There is a good selection of international cuisine, from Sandwiches, Fast Food, Salads to Main Courses with a Kids Section too. They do have special dishes for the day at fixed price for those interested, this is also written by the main door outside on an old fashioned black board.

They set up the tables based on order, so only when I had ordered my food had the place settings arrived.

If I had seen this before ordering there would be a 95% chance I’d order it! I’d recommend Biker’s Cafe put the place setting early on because it looked great!

For starters I ordered the Creamy Tomato Soup. The soup of the day didn’t grasp my attention. Maybe they need to add 1 or 2 more.

The soup was pretty nice. I prefer Tomato Soup a little thicker, but it wasn’t runny or anything. There was plenty of bold tomato flavor. There was a lot in terms of quantity.
It didn’t really need any seasoning, it was well made.

For the main course, I was considering a sandwich but went with a main course dish, the Southwestern Chicken.

This dish looked interesting. The menu describes the dish as:

“Grilled Chicken, topped with Barbecue Sauce, Melted Cheese and served with Grilled Veggies and Roasted Potato”

Time to dig in!
The Chicken: Really good flavor. The Barbecue Sauce wasn’t overpowering, it was light and delicious and the Melted Cheese was a nice touch. It gave a Southwestern look and taste to the Chicken.
The slight issue I had with the Chicken was, it was a little Overcooked, slightly dry. There is something else that I was wondering. It states that it was Grilled, yet the Chicken seemed breaded and perhaps cooked in a pan? I am not certain, but it was good, just needed a little less time cooking. There was plenty though, 3 Pieces of Chicken Breast.
The Vegetables: They seemed steamed rather than Grilled. I have had some incredible Grilled Vegetables and the real appeal is when they are grilled on the flame and are slightly dark on the edges. They were nice, and the seasoning on them was good, but nothing impressive. They could have easily made it delicious with a little more (if they did) grilling! The Roasted Potato was nice, dipped with the Barbecue was made it really good.

The Service: It was quite alright. There was staff around and easily accessible. The server I had was new thus he did not know the Specials by heart. Also, confused asking for a menu for the bill at one point. They do need to just relax and listen to what the client needs with a smile. Other than that, the service was good. The servers were polite too.

The Value: Prices are slightly above average, but do keep in mind that the quantity is large. The Creamy Tomato Soup is 28 Dhs, and the Southwestern Chicken is 56 Dhs.

Ratings:
The Place:   6.5 / 10
The Service: 5.5 / 10
The Food:      6  / 10

Overall: 6 / 10

I’d recommend this place. They have a lovely theme going on, have good food and is definitely a change of place to dine in. Really recommended for Bikers and Motorcycle fans.

Special Thanks
I would like to specially thank Mr. Mario Diaz, Business Development of Bikers Cafe, for their warm lunch invitation!

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Dine In

 

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

I always found the name interesting, and previously had good food so it was about time to give them a review here. I gave them a call to deliver.

The order did take about an hour and 15 minutes to arrive! So keep in mind they can get delayed!

As soon as the the delivery guy arrived and handed me the bag, I was pleased.

I was pleased because it was quite a while now that I haven’t ordered from a place that put some care into their appearance! I was kind of tired of white plastic bags. Here though, they had a nice Brown paper bag with their logo, a slogan and website.

I quickly unpacked everything..

Pretty straight forward. I had ordered two types of Burgers and a “Half and Half” which is half a serving of French Fries and half a serving of Onion Rings. The only issue was that everything seemed pretty Greasy.

As an Appetizer/Side, I thought Half and Half would go well with Burgers.

The problem with the delivery was due to the time, the food had got a bit cold, including the Half and Half. They weren’t French Fries as much as Steak Fries as they were chunky. They were soft on the inside, and I could imagine they were Crispy when hot.
The Onion Rings were very nice. They were really crispy, I mean really really crispy! Nice flavor as well.
This order definitely compliments Burgers well.

The first Burger, was the Hot Chili Grilled Chicken Burger.

This was a lovely Burger with plenty of flavor. The ingredients are:

“Hot chili sauce, mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions and mayonnaise”

I ordered mine without Tomato. The Burger tasted pretty good. The Chicken breast was grilled well, juicy and was quite large. The sauce tasted more BBQ sauce like than spicy. In fact, I didn’t taste any spice, just flavors. It was seasoned well but the sauce had got everything messy, I guess from the transportation. Definitely a nice Burger for Chicken lovers.

But the highlight Burger was definitely the Mushroom Swiss Burger.

The First thing I noticed, compared to the Grilled Chicken, was that it certainly looked more Gourmet like and that it was smaller. The ingredients are:

“Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, caramelized onions, and mushrooms”

I got to admit, this was really good. I quickly warmed it up in the Microwave (The picture is before reheating) as it really looked good enough not to eat slightly cold. The flavors were really there! The Caramelized Onions really do give a distinct flavor that is slightly sweet, while the Mushrooms and Cheese just went really well together. For the meat, I asked “Medium Well” temperature as Well Done is usually too dry, and it was just right. The Bun how ever was a little hard, might have not been freshly made today, but overall, a very delicious Burger. The size might make it seem like its not enough, but it is quite filling.

The Value:

2 Burgers with 1 Side order totaled to 81 Dhs including a 4 Dhs delivery Charge. Pretty decent value considering their Burgers are quite good, especially that Mushroom Swiss one! The only issue I would have to mention would be the temperature due to the delivery time.

Ratings:
The Packaging: 6 / 10
The Food:         7 / 10

Overall: 6.5 / 10

I’d recommend this place. They have some very nice Burgers, and a wide selection of Burgers for almost any taste. I would recommend going there rather than delivering though.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Delivery

 
 
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