No blog last week as my wife and I travelled to Dubai for a week to visit our son, daughter in law and two granddaughters, aged 23 months. Travelling is an odd experience in many ways. Firstly, it’s artificial in that it takes you out of your normal routine and you do things that you would not normally do e.g. sit down in the same chair for most of 7.5 hours, eat your breakfast and lunch in that chair, watch a film on a small screen in that chair AND share this experience with a couple of hundred people also sitting in a chair AND do all this while hurtling through the sky at 37,000 feet and at 620 miles an hour. Then there are the airports. Dubai airport is architecturally impressive with its fountains, curved pillars and glistening steel structures and high ceilings. In some parts of the airport, there appears to be so much space but when you go up the escalator to the departure lounges and meet the throng of travellers, space is restricted. Then of course, the travellers. If people watching lights your candle, then sit in Dubai airport – at most times of the day and night – and watch the world go by. Some look tired, some excited, some determined and then there are those with time to spare (or fill in) who amble by, casually glancing at the many stalls (electronics, perfume, scarves), but seldom stopping. Who they are, why they are in the airport, where they are going, what concerns them, you will never know, but of course you can speculate….
When we were in Dubai, we were taken for another visit to the Table 9 Restaurant ( see previous visit here). This time was an extra special visit as we were at the Chef’s Table which is separate from the main restaurant, is near the kitchen and has a video link to the preparation of the meal. One of the 2 head chefs – Nick – gave us a warm welcome and during the meal both he and his other chefs came to introduce each course. We also had a cheery sommelier who gave us the reasons for his choice o wine to accompany each course. There’s a phrase “How the other half lives”. Well, when you are at the Chef’s Table, you are the other half – even if it’s only for the evening. The food is packed with intense flavours and there are also some presentation surprises, such as the smoky hen’s egg, mushroom puree and maple syrup, as this comes with a bell jar over each plate, and the jar is filled with smoke, which is released on serving. The dish is a great combination of the smoked hen’s egg, which Nick explained was poached earlier, put straight into ice, coated with dressing and cooked again. I’m not particularly a maple syrup fan but it really did add to the flavour of this dish. Nick said that this was his and Scott’s (the other Head Chef) signature dish – and it’s a spectacular one. Photo 1 shows the halibut, black radish, sesame and four spice dish, which had a depth of flavours rarely experienced. This is a very expensive night out but worth every dirham, especially if you’re being treated.
A common sight in gardens in Dubai is the frangipani (proper name Plumeria) tree. I have previously seen these trees in Australia, although they are native to South America. They are instantly recognisable by their flowers – white petals with a yellow centre (Photo 2). I always think of them as joyful flowers.