What to eat, see and do this weekend: from Dubai's new Japanese restaurant to a tasty podcast

A bona fide foodie makes her recommendations for the finest things to consume this weekend

Salad with cherry tomatoes, candy tomatoes and vine tomatoes with cheese. Photo: Scott Price
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So, you think you love food? Well, the weekend is nearly here and we have a menu that’s packed with delicious suggestions of things to eat, as well as what to see, read, visit and follow.

The ingredient you should be eating: local tomatoes

It’s nearing that time of the year when tomatoes are at their peak: juicy, ripe, gleaming with goodness and available in abundance.

If you want to taste the very best, then locally grown is the way to go. Enter Pure Harvest Smart Farms in Abu Dhabi, a company that takes its tomatoes seriously.

Here the fruits are grown using cutting-edge controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) techniques in order to farm sustainably and efficiently, with chemical-free, high-quality results. While that’s commendable, it wouldn’t mean so much if those tomatoes didn’t deliver on taste. Luckily, they do.

Best of all, when the fresh produce is this good, you don’t need to do much to it.

Devour straight from the pack, enjoy a classic tomato sandwich (good bread, a smear of high-quality mayo, slices of room-temperature tomato and a dusting of sea salt) or make a mix-and-match medley salad featuring crunchy, cherry tomatoes, sweet candy tomatoes and the larger, firm-textured vine variety scattered with thyme leaves and creamy mozzarella.

Pure Harvest tomatoes are available to buy at various supermarkets across the UAE, including Waitrose, Spinneys and Carrefour. Storage and other details are at pureharvest.ae.

The place to visit: Kinoya

View of the Kinoya restaurant in The Onyx Tower 2 in The Greens in Dubai on May 10,2021. Pawan Singh / The National. Story by Mary Paulose

First, a little back story. Japanese restaurant Kinoya is the brainchild of Neha Mishra, the cook responsible for the most talked about ramen in the UAE.

Back at the tail end of 2019, foodies in the know began whispering reverentially about the dishes popping up on Mishra’s popular Instagram account @astoryoffood. By 2020, her supper clubs were selling out in seconds and people clamoured to get their hands on her meal kits, often to no avail.

Fast-forward a year or so and trying her food has become that bit easier thanks to the opening of Kinoya in The Greens, Dubai.

We’ll cut to the chase: the place does not disappoint. In fact, it exceeds expectations. The izakaya section of a menu that is driven by an obvious commitment to authenticity and attention to detail offers an elegant masterclass in how sharing plates should be done: super-fresh sushi and sashimi, perfectly executed tempura, textbook gyoza, a miso eggplant dish that might make your heart sing and a katsu sando that certainly will.

As for the various ramen dishes, we're talking next-level good: think rich, aromatic, long-simmered chicken broth bases and slippery home-made noodles, all of which can be customised as you wish. Go hungry, leave sated.

Kinoya is in The Onyx Tower 2 in The Greens, Dubai. For more information or to make a reservation, visit kinoya.ae or call 04 548 6776.

The Instagram account you should be following: @marykeim

An illustration by food stylist Mary-Kei Macfarlane

Mary-Kei MacFarlane is a professional food stylist with more than a decade of experience in making food look sensational. So, as you’d rightly expect, the images on her Instagram grid are mouthwatering. But what sets MacFarlane’s account apart from myriad others are the thumb-stopping posts combining her whimsical paintings and drawings with what she describes as “actual solid real food”.

Among these clever pieces of food art are deconstructed recipes featuring illustrated and physical ingredients – think bowls of gazpacho surrounded by fresh tomatoes and basil leaves as well as their sketched counterparts and a tempting plate of avocado toast accessorised by eggs so delicately drawn you can almost see the yolk quivering.

Other posts show the illustrated labels of famous products – Heinz Ketchup, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, Mrs HS Balls Chutney – with the bottle or jar shape formed out of real ingredients (reveal: it's fishy anchovies that give British favourite Lea & Perrins its umami depth). In addition, fun shots showing words, sculptures and buildings formed out of food prove you can still make an impact on Insta without taking things too seriously. MacFarlane's website, www.marykeifood.com, is home to more examples of this wall-worthy work.

The book to read: 'World Travel: An Irreverent Guide' by Anthony Bourdain with Laurie Woolever

'World Travel: An Irreverent Guide" by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever. Photo courtesy: HarperCollins 

The premature death of the inimitable Anthony Bourdain left a lasting void in the lives of his many fans. And while World Travel: An Irreverent Guide wasn't specifically written by Bourdain, it is the realisation of a project he had begun work on in collaboration with long-time assistant Laurie Woolever.

As the name suggests, the book is set up as a travel manual spanning 40-plus countries and featuring a compilation of practical advice on how and where to travel, hotel recommendations, notes on where to eat and the like.

Perhaps more importantly for many, though, this information is supplemented by added insights: essays from colleagues, friends and family, as well as exerts of Bourdain’s own writing and musings directly lifted from edited and unedited versions of his television shows.

It should be noted that this is no Kitchen Confidential (Bourdain's seminal, searingly honest, memoir), but it is informative, interesting and, most importantly, there is the same joy to be found in those snippets of Bourdain's acerbic yet lyrical prose.

World Travel: An Irreverent Guide by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever is available to order online.

Podcast to listen to: ‘Table Manners with Jessie Ware’

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock (10580817cg)
Lennie Ware and Jessie Ware
'This Morning' TV show, London, UK - 12 Mar 2020

It’s a real family affair in the kitchen today as we’re joined by singer-songwriter Jessie Ware and her mother Lennie. Following the success of their podcast ‘Table Manners’ the pair have released their first cookbook of the same name and today they join us in the kitchen to whip up their delicious ‘Marbella chicken’. This one pot dish is the perfect people pleaser - guaranteed to leave your guests full and their plates empty.

Hosted by Mercury-nominated singer-songwriter Jessie Ware and her mother Lennie, a stellar cook and podcast breakout star, Table Manners might just be the reassuring, comfort-food listen that you need in your life right now.

The premise is simple: each episode, the mother and daughter invite a celebrity or well-known public figure to share a meal with them (past guests include Paul McCartney, David Schwimmer, Nigella Lawson, Alanis Morrissette and Joe Wicks). Over a leisurely chat and a stellar home-made dinner (there’s a cookbook to accompany the series), they discuss food-related memories, preferences, associations and most-loved dishes. Far from feeling forced, the conversation meanders along insightfully, with the guest often revealing far more than they would in a formal interview situation.

For the listener, it all feels rather like being privy to fun dinner-party conversation, and there's something special about the mother-daughter dynamic, and their genuine love of food and interest in their interviewees that keeps you coming back for more. Plus, who doesn't want to know what Mother of Dragons – Emilia Clarke – would eat for her last meal?