Al Ghurair Centre has been further gilding its reputation as a pioneering UAE mall by adding yet more diverse names to its dining and retail offerings.
The landmark Dubai shopping and foodie destination pride’s itself on delivering a rich medley of brands, restaurants, and entertainment.
And it continues to keep its offering fresh and relevant - four decades after first opening in Deira - with a steady stream of new openings to inspire regular visitors, and draw newcomers.
City food lovers will be delighted at the arrival of two new restaurant names, while the mall also welcomes a driving school, opticians, plus X-pressions, a retail brand for gifting and much more.
Romantic Baka is a vibrant new name in Korean cuisine that opened at Al Ghurair Centre in December and further expands an already extensive dining roster.
Al Ghurair has long been recognised for its eclectic dining offering and Romantic Baka feeds the current appetite for Korean culture and cuisine by adding a mouth-watering menu an experiential food option.
Occupying a prominent ground floor spot, this new to Dubai name brings a bright take on the Korean at-table grilling experience - a popular dining past-time in the Asian nation.
Angelo Reston, Romantic Baka’s managing director, says it is not just K-Pop, dramas such as Squid Game, or its movies that are growing more popular around the world.
“Korean food/dishes are garnering greater attention and love as well, and booming in popularity here in UAE,” says Mr Reston.
“We wanted to bring Korean food with passion, differentiating our uniqueness in each and every aspect … Korean vibes with a relaxing experience, great ambiance, and delectable savoury food.”
Even the restaurant name reflects the universal love of food.
“It can symbolise our romantic feeling toward others or to our self,” Mr Reston says.
“Eating what we love somehow rewards us with a feeling of pleasure … our way of delivering food is somewhat connected in a romantic way and sense of well-being.”
Beef bulgogi - tender, mildly sweet, savoury, and embracing a smoky flavour as you grill the beef - is cited as a best-seller.
And Romantic Baka says it is not a typical grill restaurant as it adds another dimension to the 60-strong cafes, restaurants and diners that already serve visitors to Al Ghurair Centre.
The venue promises a sociable, experiential style of dining where customers can use the Korean grill set to cook their favourite meats and seafood choices with friends and family.
The kitchen backs up these flavours with a range of side dishes ranging from tofu and Korean veggie staple kimchi, as well as classics such as tteokbokki, japchae, kimbap and bibimbap.
“Korean people love to grill their meat, they are considering it a healthier way since it will lessen the fat,” Mr Reston says.
“They also love to gather and to eat together after a day of work…a hearty meal of grilled meat became the natural choice to replenish energy.
“Korean food has a special element that gives magic to anyone tasting it - that is why it is massively welcomed by UAE foodies.”
But if that menu is proving a little tougher to read these days, another incoming Al Ghurair Centre tenant could assist.
Anyone who has been in the UAE for a while will recognise the Aster Opticals name.
In 2019 Aster DM Healthcare marked a major milestone when it acquired Grand Optics at strategic locations - and now it adds another key branch inside this Deira mall.
The brand has become an optician of choice for many in the country by transforming its identity to a one-stop destination for complete eye care solutions.
On site, customers will find fully equipped eye test facilities, great customer experience, and “best in class value added services”, all backed up by a strong network of ophthalmologists.
Aster Opticals is now open. X-pressions Style is also likely to be a welcome addition to the mall.
The brand is another successful shopping formula from Al Safeer Group, the retail conglomerate behind a string of shopping and entertainment names across the Gulf.
The opening of X-pressions provides Al Ghurair Centre customers with a one-stop-shop for adorable gifting ideas through to branded cosmetics, perfumes, fashion accessories, watches and handbags.
An imaginative display of lamps, perfumed candles, photo frames and paintings is designed to give inspiration to homemakers, while also selling gifts for teenagers, eye wear and famous names such as Gucci, Channel, Christian Dior, MaxFactor, Elle, Levis, and Calvin Klein.
Also adding further diversity to the Dubai destination mall’s retail floors is Tommy Life, recently opened and bringing children’s activities into the centre’s mix.
It is described as the “perfect place for your kids to play”; young ones can get among their favourite toys under the supervision of caring nannies while parents are busy with shopping.
On offer is sculpting with Play Doh, a visit to the LOL Doll house and travel to the Frozen Kingdom.
“Boys can also ride Hot Wheels on tracks and trains on the railroad,” a Tommy Life spokesman adds.
“It is a place where childhood dreams come true.”
Guest feedback, meanwhile, means the Romantic Baka name is growing in the food scene, according to its managing director, who is looking forward to catering to more Dubai foodies from their Al Ghurair Centre launch pad.
“Choosing a location is as equally important as creating a menu, marketing our brand, as well as customer reviews,” Mr Reston adds.
“Good location can give any business a push towards success…Al Ghurair Centre is in the heart of Dubai, it’s very visible and accessible for all, and there is no other place better to launch our brand in the UAE.”