Arts&Life team: a week in food

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I may be the one that writes about food, but my colleagues have a keen interest too so I thought it would be a good idea to do a round-up of what we’ve been enjoying eating this week – both out and about and at home. Here goes.

When lunching at Make Business Hub, The National's film writer Alex Ritman barely glances at the menu before ordering the toasted flatbread topped with chargrilled steak, rocket and garlic creme. This week, though, I witnessed him branching out and opting for the homemade burger that was on special. A tense 15 minutes or so followed as we waited for our food to arrive. When it did, he was rewarded for his bold move with an excellent burger (pictured above) featuring juicy meat, a firm yet soft bun and a sweet little side order of chilli roasted new potatoes.

Meanwhile Maey El Shoush has been attempting to recreate a bagel that she tried this summer at a specialist coffee shop in the UK. She described the Mediterranean flavoured, cream cheese-filled sesame bagel as “the best ever” and on her return to Dubai made a special trip to the supermarket to source the ingredients. Maey successfully combined cream cheese, peppers, pesto and spinach with a little olive oil and described the end result as “light, fresh and tasty”. One to try, I reckon.

Assistant Arts & Life editor James Gabrillo has been enjoying a taste of home recently. He explains: “My favourite dish is kare-kare, a stew from the Philippines, where I'm from. It's oxtail, beef and tripe, thrown in with different vegetables, then topped off with peanut sauce. It's brown and oily and delicious.

"I've been in the UAE for just about a year now but it was only last month that I discovered that the Filipino fast food chain Chowking serves an excellent kare-kare. Chowking outlets back home don't serve the dish, hence the delightful surprise. A single order, priced at about Dh30, comes with a serving of white rice. I take it up a notch by opting for a shrimp fried rice instead – great with the kare-kare's peanut sauce. I've been eating it at the Mushrif Mall outlet at least twice a week. Visit"

As for me, for lunch I’ve been devouring bowl after bowl of gazpacho. A generous serving from Market & Platters in Dubai Marina costs Dh26 and the chilled soup is delicious; full of ripe, summery flavour and tomatoey goodness. Be warned though, it is rather garlicky and isn’t the easiest thing in the world to lug about.

Over the weekend, I made some spiced turkey meatballs (similar to this recipe) and served them in a Jamie Oliver-inspired, Chinese five-spice-heavy noodle broth. They went down really well, with even my harshest (chef) critic asking for seconds. I then ate the leftover patties wrapped in lettuce leaves and drizzled with sweet chilli sauce the next day – next time I'm going to make a double batch just to ensure that I can do the same again.