Dubai, 21st November 2011.  Ravi Restaurant a known restaurant down Satwa area.  ( Jeffrey E Biteng / The National )
Ravi Restaurant, which opened in Satwa 33 years ago, still does a roaring trade.

A taste of the good old days



There can be few places in the world where the food scene is expanding as rapidly as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. International brands and established eateries vie for customers, amid a steady stream of restaurant openings.

In the past month alone, Dubai has seen the launch of The W Grill in Wafi, the Argentine restaurant Gaucho, a second branch of the contemporary Indian restaurant Zafran and the much-anticipated Hakkasan in Emirates Towers. In Abu Dhabi, the recently opened Emirates Towers complex, Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Park Hyatt on Saadiyat Island have brought with them a slew of new restaurants.

Despite this, some of the region's oldest restaurants remain as popular as ever. Among the plethora of shops and street cafes in Satwa, the Pakistani restaurant Ravi's, which opened 33 years ago, still does a roaring trade.

The same can be said for Lebanese Flower, a branch of the popular restaurant in Abu Dhabi's Khalidiya, where shawarmas have been served under twinkling neon lights for years.

Ali Al Hassani, 27, says he has been frequenting the restaurant for more than a decade. "The shawarma are still great, although they have become smaller over time, or perhaps it is just me getting bigger.Lebanese Flower is an institution - and rightly so," he says.

Emma Stinson, 28, was born in Dubai and says that in her lifetime the dining scene has changed dramatically. "In the days gone by, it would have been inconceivable to have so many five-star restaurants here. When they came it really was a big deal," she says. "Perhaps this is why I still see fine dining as being a huge treat and still frequent and love the old haunts of Dubai, such as Sind Punjab in Karama or Ravi's in Satwa or Eat and Drink."

This sense of loyalty to the region's more mature restaurants is shared by many. Emma Akielan first visited Dubai in 1977 and says that Kwality, a north Indian restaurant in Bur Dubai, has remained a family favourite ever since. Her son, Charlie, a group account manager for Sept PR, says: "It still serves the same food and is overall a quality place to go. My parents have been going there since it first opened and it has turned into a bit of a family tradition."

Lizzie Eschauzier arrived in Abu Dhabi 25 years ago and says while choice may have been limited back then, this did not detract from the enjoyment. "It didn't matter that there weren't many restaurants," she says, "we made our own fun. Everywhere you went, be it La Mamma at the Sheraton or Le Beaujolais, you would meet people you knew - there was a real community feel."

Ms Eschauzier says that two of her favourite restaurants were the Fish Market at the InterContinental, which she still visits today, and Bu Tafish, when it was in its original location. "Sometimes we would eat on the boat and other times we would order the grilled fish to take with us on a picnic. It was such a shame when it relocated to Hamdan Street."

Donal Kilalea, an Irish national who was brought up in Africa and arrived in Dubai in 1986, was similarly nostalgic: "The old days were great fun. The small restaurants in Deira and Bur Dubai were in the heart of the city and you felt it when you went to them."

Shirley Ali has been living in Abu Dhabi for almost 30 years and remains loyal to her old favourites. "The Hilton hotel is ageing now, but back in the mid-90s, their coffee shop was one of the only places that I would feel comfortable going to alone," she says. "Some of the staff are still there and they always ask after the family, which is so nice."

Fast food restaurants and mall food courts have also had a significant impact. In 1994, the first McDonald's opened in Dubai's Al Ghurair Centre. In August this year there were about 90 outlets operating in the country, with plans for more.

At the other end of the market, celebrity chefs have made their mark in both emirates over the past decade or so, with Gordon Ramsay making headlines when he opened (the recently closed) Verre in Dubai in 2001. Others, including Giorgio Locatelli, Pierre Gagnaire, Vineet Bhatia, Gary Rhodes and Marco Pierre White, followed suit.

What will happen next remains to be seen, but with evermore openings, an increased number of home-grown, local restaurants and weekly farmers' markets now being held in both emirates, the future looks good enough to eat.

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Know your camel milk:
Flavour: Similar to goat’s milk, although less pungent. Vaguely sweet with a subtle, salty aftertaste.
Texture: Smooth and creamy, with a slightly thinner consistency than cow’s milk.
Use it: In your morning coffee, to add flavour to homemade ice cream and milk-heavy desserts, smoothies, spiced camel-milk hot chocolate.
Goes well with: chocolate and caramel, saffron, cardamom and cloves. Also works well with honey and dates.

What is tokenisation?

Tokenisation refers to the issuance of a blockchain token, which represents a virtually tradable real, tangible asset. A tokenised asset is easily transferable, offers good liquidity, returns and is easily traded on the secondary markets. 

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The Africa Institute 101

Housed on the same site as the original Africa Hall, which first hosted an Arab-African Symposium in 1976, the newly renovated building will be home to a think tank and postgraduate studies hub (it will offer master’s and PhD programmes). The centre will focus on both the historical and contemporary links between Africa and the Gulf, and will serve as a meeting place for conferences, symposia, lectures, film screenings, plays, musical performances and more. In fact, today it is hosting a symposium – 5-plus-1: Rethinking Abstraction that will look at the six decades of Frank Bowling’s career, as well as those of his contemporaries that invested social, cultural and personal meaning into abstraction. 

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

SPECS

Engine: 2-litre direct injection turbo
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Power: 261hp
Torque: 400Nm
Price: From Dh134,999

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The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.

First-round leaderbaord

-5 C Conners (Can)

-3 B Koepka (US), K Bradley (US), V Hovland (Nor), A Wise (US), S Horsfield (Eng), C Davis (Aus);

-2 C Morikawa (US), M Laird (Sco), C Tringale (US)

Selected others: -1 P Casey (Eng), R Fowler (US), T Hatton (Eng)

Level B DeChambeau (US), J Rose (Eng) 

+1 L Westwood (Eng), J Spieth (US)

+3 R McIlroy (NI)

+4 D Johnson (US)

J Street Polling Results

97% of Jewish-Americans are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism

76% of US Jewish voters believe Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism

74% of American Jews agreed that “Trump and the Maga movement are a threat to Jews in America"

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League final:

Who: Real Madrid v Liverpool
Where: NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Kiev, Ukraine
When: Saturday, May 26, 10.45pm (UAE)
TV: Match on BeIN Sports

Tips for job-seekers
  • Do not submit your application through the Easy Apply button on LinkedIn. Employers receive between 600 and 800 replies for each job advert on the platform. If you are the right fit for a job, connect to a relevant person in the company on LinkedIn and send them a direct message.
  • Make sure you are an exact fit for the job advertised. If you are an HR manager with five years’ experience in retail and the job requires a similar candidate with five years’ experience in consumer, you should apply. But if you have no experience in HR, do not apply for the job.

David Mackenzie, founder of recruitment agency Mackenzie Jones Middle East

SNAPSHOT

While Huawei did launch the first smartphone with a 50MP image sensor in its P40 series in 2020, Oppo in 2014 introduced the Find 7, which was capable of taking 50MP images: this was done using a combination of a 13MP sensor and software that resulted in shots seemingly taken from a 50MP camera.

TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
About Seez

Company name/date started: Seez, set up in September 2015 and the app was released in August 2017  

Founder/CEO name(s): Tarek Kabrit, co-founder and chief executive, and Andrew Kabrit, co-founder and chief operating officer

Based in: Dubai, with operations also in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon 

Sector:  Search engine for car buying, selling and leasing

Size: (employees/revenue): 11; undisclosed

Stage of funding: $1.8 million in seed funding; followed by another $1.5m bridge round - in the process of closing Series A 

Investors: Wamda Capital, B&Y and Phoenician Funds 

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The specs

Engine: Dual permanently excited synchronous motors
Power: 516hp or 400Kw
Torque: 858Nm
Transmission: Single speed auto
Range: 485km
Price: From Dh699,000


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