mylifestylenews

2020-02-21

Belgian Cafe Dubai Festival City - Dubai's Original

If moules-frites, burgers, ribs, porterhouse steak & prime cut your kind of ideal fun for a weekend indulgence, as well as bottomless varieties of your favorite premier crafted beers on tap, head down to Dubai’s original 1920s European bistro-style Belgian Café in Festival City to embrace the winter sun by sitting at the outdoor terrace while the weather is still pleasant. mylifestylenews writes.
 

When you enter the Belgian Café that is part of the Crowne Plaza complex at Dubai Festival City, you are immediately transported to Europe, perhaps back into the 1920s.


In here, you can embrace the essence of Brussels with its interior that is decorated in the dark wooden paneling. Antique ornaments and collected items from the past such as the brass accents, bevelled mirrors, retro posters, wrought iron and glass chandeliers, plus a mix of banquettes and chairs in the same style are scattered and decorated all over, with the motif to transport you back to the past.


When the weather is beautiful in Dubai, outdoor terraces become everyone’s favorite spot to enjoy the winter breeze overlooking the skyline of Dubai through the creek, kitted out in the classic European café pavement furniture with the chequered bistro chairs and tables under the umbrellas.


There was some groovy house music to set a brunch vibe by its resident DJ, without being too intrusive, while we perused the menu. We came for the Friday brunch Belgian Fun Fest – that's all you can order from the crafted menu with bottomless beers and appetizer refills.


The menu is not large, but all your Belgian favourites seem to be covered and you get to choose one main course each as well as a live dessert station for after. A good selection of Belgian hops on tap and others ranging from Stella Artois, Cidre, Hoegaarden, Hoegaarden Rose, Leffe Blonde and dark Leffe Brune, Belle Vue Kriek……just to name a few and a café menu that oozes classic favourites.


To set the taste buds salivating, an amouse bouche of pretzel bread and Belgian fries with mayonnaise is brought to the table along with our first beers for the day. The pretzel bread had a fantastic smoky malt flavor and was served warm and was utterly delicious, while the fries were perfectly hot and crispy.


<Duck Rillette with syrup de liege on multigrain bread>
Once we settled in, the Hoppetisers started flowing, alongside with the food as all the appetizers came at once on takeout paper trays, with individual items separate on its own. We first sampled the fine hand pulled duck rillette, the meat was tender and tasty and yet overpowered by the syrup de liege, which is sweet and sticky.

<House Cured Salmon with pickle beetroot aioli on multigrain bread>
The salmon had a beautifully smoked flavor that was to die for and not too much of the beetroot content yet made the color look inviting, it was a perfect balance to allow the salmon to take centre stage on the tongue.

<Cheese Croquettes with truffle mayo>
Moist and perfectly crispy, it was deep-fried to a light fluffy texture for the filling and it goes along well with the beer.

<Bitterballen with curry mustard aioli>
Quite similar to the cheese croquettes and rounded out with the flavoursome minced beef fillings.

<Shrimp Croquettes with tartar sauce>
Another deep-fried item from the appetizer selection with a creamy light filling and the right piquancy for the shrimp flavor.

<Crispy Chicken Wings with BBQ sauce>
Smoky and rich, the chicken wings are well marinated with the BBQ sauce and cooked to a delectable flavor and chunky bite.

<Goat Cheese Salad with cherry tomatoes, beetroot, apple, grapes, mesculum & balsamic dressing>
A good palette cleanser in between those deep-fried items despite the bland goat cheese which lacked that punch in flavor to bring out the highlight of the dish.


<BBC Special Burger>
Homemade beef patty, crispy veal bacon, onion marmalade and gouda cheese, this is the in-house special burger and is worth the wait. Tender and tasty beef and the veal bacon was nicely done with a juicy texture overall, plus a generous salad on the side.

<Smoked Beef Brisket with mashed potato, sundried tomatoes, pickled cabbage and mustard>
We opted to try more than the usual main courses so that we could get a handle on the breadth of offerings, so we had an additional order for the smoked beef brisket. The portion is quite generous, but brisket is a cheap cut of the meat and most of the time it needs to be cooked slower and longer. As we found the meat to be not as tender as we would have liked or expected, it was totally dried and also lacking of the intense flavor.


<Belgian Mussels>
Moules is a must order when it comes to Belgian food sampling. There are five different ways offered here to cook the mussels to your liking, from mariniere, Thai, garlic and cream, natures or provencale. We opted for the Thai red curry version and it was utterly enticing and delicious. Despite that the mussel was on the small side, the flavor and portion size was spot on, accompanied by some large thick cut frites. You can’t dine in any Belgian café without ordering the fries, as this is quintessential Belgian snack food that is the perfect accompaniment for the meat dishes. To some, it may be strange but mayonnaise dipping is the way to enjoy the thick cut frites for its authenticity and tradition.


<Belgium Waffles>
A choice or waffle and crepes prepared a-la minute and the server keeps persuading us to have the waffles and it was to be anticipated, however due to some technical glitch, the live cooking station was not operational on the day we visited, but we still got to try the Belgium waffles with a dark chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream which was brought out from the main kitchen instead. It was presented in a paper box tray and did not look very appetizing, as there was too much crammed into too small a box, topped with a watery chocolate sauce. The waffle had a funny salty taste and soggy which was not to our liking. While the menu said, it shall come with fresh fruits compliment and icing sugar, it was totally out of the picture and you can tell that the desert was done in a hurry to please. A total let down to end the meal.


The service team was quite switched on, with the manager spending time with most tables, but the service was a little inconsistent – one moment there is someone in your sight lines and then there is nobody when you want them, plus not enough time spent checking tables. For a casual weekend brunch out to enjoy the winter sun and some light bite with a taste of Belgian flavours, overall, it is still quite enjoyable to have some good company to share the laughter and the limitless hops served.


Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Experience: 4/5

InterContinental Hotels, Dubai Festival City
P.O. Box 45777
Dubai, UAE
Tel: +971 4 701 1111

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated. 

MARIA ARISTIDOU Haute Couture SS2020 "BOLD" Collection - mylifestylenews' Top 10's Pick

 Maria Aristidou SS2020 knit couture collection is, in every respect, inspired by the Art Deco movement of the early 20th century, when the need for change following World War One spread in all aspects of art and design.


From buildings to furniture, jewelry, fashion and every day objects.


Similar to the Art Deco movement the collection combines bold styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials representing luxury, glamour and exuberance.


Maria Aristidou’s BOLD collection, guided by the essence of shape to form clean, geometric designs with vivid colors and vibrant patterns using knit fabrics, represents a challenge for both men and women to deviate from the norm, be BOLD and dive into the fascinating abyss of Art Deco inspired shapes and colors of knit couture.


The magic of knitwear inspired the designer to first explore and then create, using luxurious threads and elaborate techniques, various knit patterns.


The craftsmanship of detailed hand embroideries adds to the uniqueness of Maria Aristidou's fabric collections for the couture evening and accessories.


The process of each collection production starts from the fabric design. Yarns such as wool, viscose, lurex, cotton, silk and velvet (depending on the season) are ordered from France and Italy.


Then, a series of patterns are designed in great detail followed by a series of tests to decide on the yarns to be used for each pattern, how thick or thin the fabric will be, colour sampling combinations, hand-embroidery design testing, quality and durability checks etc.


The whole design and production processes take place in Cyprus.


2020-02-20

ZIAD NAKAD Haute Couture SS2020 "Atlantis" Collection - mylifestylenews' Top 10's Pick


ZIAD NAKAD Haute Couture SS2020 "Atlantis" Collection


The idea of Atlantis - the "lost" island subcontinent often idealized as an advanced, utopian society holding wisdom that could bring world peace has captivated dreamers, occultists and New Agers for generations.



For his SS2020 Couture collection, Ziad Nakad imagines the Modern Day Warrior Princesse.



The inspiration is the celebration of fierceness, softness, determination, ingenuity and compassion.


The Atlantis inspired him to make up the Modern Day Warrior Princess which is electric and eclectic.


Tulle, silk and taffeta mixed with organza and chiffon emphasize the mermaid silhouettes.



The Modern Day Warrior Princesses have been able to play to the strength of being female, to celebrate their femininity, not to shy away from it or downplay it.



Crystals, beads, feathers, all handmade details, are underlining all shades of blue, water green, sun yellow, peach and gold.



A hymn to sensuality, as fluid as the sea and as bright as the sun.



2020-02-19

Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City - Business & Pleasure Urban Retreat

Soak into the scintillating views of the city’s skyline set on the bank of Dubai’s Creek or simply dive into one of the city’s most “instagramable” glassed bottom outdoor swimming pools, stretch and reach out to the winter sun, Crowne Plaza Festival City invites you for a less pressure but more pleasure urban retreat. mylifestylenews writes.


While Dubai Festival City is an urban destination in its own right, for less than ten minutes away from Dubai International Airport, Crowne Plaza Festival City blends business and pleasure in its neighborhood, almost a city within a city for numerous corporate offices as well as a gigantic Festival City Mall housing the city’s one and only Robinson departmental store among many other diverse retail, culinary and entertainment options.


With the convenience of direct access to the well facilitated mall and surrounds, over 550 shops and 90 restaurants & cafes connected to the luxury 100-berth marina via a landscaped waterfront, the hotel boasts 316 contemporary urban designed rooms and suites with an array of leisure facilities that meets warm hospitality, our arrival experience was being handled smoothly by a no fuss speedy check-in efficiency.


The lobby is not big yet curvy, adorned with dark wood paneling on the wall. Striking color modern design chairs and sofas sit around the long lobby hallway leading to the waterfront as well as the side entrance to the happening Dubai’s original Belgian Café.


Across the hallway offers heavy lounge chairs for further relaxation while looking out to the creek waterfront.


Two opened-concept informal meeting areas separated with see-through flora motif wall panels enlighten the ambience with a contemporary twist to the stern corner.


Level 19 - the highest floor in the hotel


Nothing like a good nights sleep where comfort and space essentially are well laid out! Our 39sqm west facing deluxe room comes with the city’s skyline panoramic view of the creek and from the 19th floor – the hotels highest level, offering an uninterrupted sunset view to the fullest. Light and airy, the beige colored carpet is juxtaposed with the high ceiling and dark woven headboard which adds an elegance and stylish contemporary cozy mood to the room, separated by the large window glass and white wooden blinds with the flick of a switch closes the blinds for privacy.


A heartfelt welcome amenities


Adjacent to the Inter-Continental Festival City, the outdoor and recreational areas are shared within both two hotels on level five. A well spread out giant lawn right outside of Zaytoun – the hotel all day dining restaurant - can be turned into various leisure events and is known for their Friday’s Picnic Pantry brunch as well as its regular outdoor terrace dining under the stars.


The hotel offers a 24-hour gym complete with steam & sauna rooms which helps you to stay energized so that you won’t miss out apart from your active lifestyle. Both temperature-controlled swimming pools and three spa pools are beckoning for a refreshing dip and splashing fun, especially the 25-metre long swimming pool with the glassed bottom curved up the edge towards the creek cantilevered above from the ground level on the 5th floor of the premises, which is the highlight and becomes everyone’s favorite.


Soaring palm trees are lined up by the pool and recreational leisure deck and add a more relaxed and retreat staycation mood. Despite plentiful sun lounges on offer, it is still a busy hang out to all guests especially over the weekends by the locals to bask in the sun while savoring the view of city skyline.


Sky high glassed bottom swimming pool


The city’s most “instagramable” glassed bottom outdoor swimming pools


Breakfast and dinner is served at the all-day dining Zaytoun restaurant – Mediterranean by day and Arabian by night. During our stay, the Valentine’s day special Mashawi themed dinner concept was offered and not to be missed by savouring succulent meats and seafood grills cooked to order together with a semi buffet with a selection of salads, soups, a good spread of mezza and desserts.


Freshly made saj bread is prepared right in front of you at the interactive live cooking station. Live music entertainment by the well known oud player Mohamad Jamal is to be expected whilst enjoying the relaxing backdrop of the glistening evening Dubai skyline.


Breakfast is transformed to a great variety mix of local and international selection buffet spread. Don’t miss out its Chinese section with some great flavours ranging from steamed dumplings, fried rice and noodles, congee as well as daily changes of meat and soup dishes such as chicken in black bean sauce and chicken corn soup and so forth.


There is plenty to divert you during your stay, so whether you are visiting Dubai or live in Dubai and wish to have a change of scenery for a weekend staycation, the Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City can make a difference for your enjoyment. Overall service from the courteous food & beverage team, to the housekeeping attentive turndown service, as well as the warm front desk guest services experience, our stay was above the expected hospitality service level. With a positive team spirit that attends to your needs, they certainly would cheer you up!


Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Design & Decor: 3.5/5
Room Amenities: 3/5
Housekeeping: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Service: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Experience: 4/5

P.O. Box 45777
Dubai, UAE
Tel: +971 4 701 2222

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.