Ashiana, by Vineet

What an experience, what an incredible evening and journey through India, while being in Dubai. We recently had the chance to enjoy dinner at Ashiana, by Vineet located in the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers. We made our reservation for the 3 of us, online a couple of days before our visit and could not wait for the night of our dinner to come. We heard so much about the hidden juvenile, Ashiana by Vineet and were excited about reviewing it.

Ashiana by Vineet

The dinner was planned for 7:30 pm and we were not the only guests when arriving at Ashiana. Mr.Sajesh, the restaurant manager welcomed us in the restaurant and offered us a table in the centre. It was beautiful; from the decor to the atmosphere and the overall first impression about the restaurant.

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We were served Pappads with two different dips while waiting for our beverages to be served. Mr.Sajesh and his supervisor took great care of us from the start to the end. They initially took us through the a la carte menu, however, we had difficulties deciding what we wanted to taste. Everything sounded more than appealing. Due to the fact that we could not decide about what to try, we asked the Chef to prepare a few of his highlights for us.

It took a few minutes only until we received our first course: a welcome from the kitchen.

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Vegetable samosa, with chickpeas and sweetened yoghurt, served with tamarind chutney and sev sprinkle. What a prelude!

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The amuse bouche was followed by a selection of starters such as: Lamb kebab, filled with masala cheese; coriander mint -chutney chicken tikka and roasted pine nuts; and chargrilled home-made pickled jumbo prawns.

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It was delicious and Chef Vipin Kala himself came out of his kitchen to check on us. We congratulated him and his team for the amazing creations and thanked him for taking us through India – on culinary bases.

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Chef Vipin was pleased about our compliments and ensured us to pass them on to his team too. He furthermore offered us to prepare a few mains to share for the next course of our dinner, and went back to the kitchen with a smile; leaving behind three very happy and curious guests.

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As said, one course followed the other, and we enjoyed every single bite of it. While waiting for the main course selection, the Indian life band started to perform. Due to the fact that our table was right in the centre, we had the best view of the four talented performers and enjoyed listing to their songs. The picture below shows the two singers; a great couple.

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It was a wonderful evening; we felt looked after, happy and satisfied and were astonished by the culinary adventure Ashiana’s team offered us. Minutes after the starters were removed from the table, Chef Vipin continued sending out more food for us to try. We were offered a selection of his main course favourites, accompanied with typical Indian bread:

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The chicken was tender, the fish was fresh and the prawns tasted wonderful along with the vegetables. It was a feast of taste – explosions; especially once we mixed the sauces and fresh yoghurt and dipped the Pista Peshwari Naan (filled with pistachio and coconut) into it.

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The highlight of all mains, however, was the Biryani served and presented by the restaurant’s number two, himself. He presented the Biryani in such an elegant way, that it was great watching him opening the pastry lid of the dish. His way of cutting the pastry resembled a celebration of joy and pride.

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There is no dinner without desserts – that is for sure, and so we were happy to taste even more culinary highlights to enhance our gustatory sense towards the end of the evening.

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The combination of pistachio, rose water, coconut, caramel and cardamom were incredible, just like the overall experience at Ashiana itself. We were excited about the culinary adventure around India and simply had to take the time, sharing this experience with all of you.

If you do have the chance to visit the restaurant, please do so! We are 100% sure that Mr.Sajesh, and his team will look after every single one of you, as much as they looked after us. We would like to thank all of you for the great efforts and the wonderful time – and yes, we will be back very soon!

A wonderful day to all of you, SE @chefvineet!

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Accents, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Dubai Marina

Good afternoon to all of you. We hope that your week is going well so far. We recently had a meeting at the Accents, located on the ground floor of the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, in the Dubai Marina, and thought of sharing our experience with you.

The hotel itself is quite nice. The combination of minimalistic interior design and extraordinary, huge art sculptures, the open space and the gloomy lightening have that certain indefinable something.

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We were greeted by the friendly valet parker upon entering the property’s premises, who shared a genuine smile with us and took over the car. We then continued our tour through the hotel, passing by the reception desk, a fairly small seating area in the lobby and finally found the Accents (Deli) Restaurant.

The entrance to the restaurant is quite hidden, and one would not be able to find it, without asking the staff, for those who visit the hotel for the first time. There are signs; these signs however not really indicate the hotel’s food and beverage outlets properly.

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Upon entering Accents, we found the restaurant to be empty. It was about 5 pm and the chefs as well as service staff were just about to get the restaurant ready for the dinner operation.

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We decided to take a seat on the terrace, to conduct our meeting outdoors. As soon as we took a seat, a waiter welcomed us and took our order; we decided for a Cappuccino. Minutes later, the hot beverage was served, with a cup of sugar sachets on the side. We were quite surprised about the Cappuccino and the beverage’s overall presentation: a Cappuccino, prepared by a full – automated coffee machine, served in a breakfast cup. Not really what we expected, however, good enough to boost our energy for a while.

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The meeting went on for a while. It got darker outside; the lights around the Dubai Marina light up, and another table next to us invited a couple of ladies, to take a seat. The same waiter, serving us initially, welcomed the ladies and took their orders. He also looked at us from the corner of his eye and passed our table while walking back to his service station.

We thought that he would come towards us, offering another round of coffee, water or anything else; he did not. Our meeting went on for 1,5 hours until we finally decided to get the bill.

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We heard so many positive things about the hotel – especially their food and beverage outlets and offers – this visit, however, did not meet our expectations at all. We would have expected a little more attention, service and care, being a guest in a luxury, high -end hotel like this, and left feeling confused and disappointed.

We hope, nevertheless, to get the chance to  review another outlet in the future. Have a great day, SE

 

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The Pavilion Downtown, Dubai

Looking for a new breakfast location this weekend? We recently had the chance to enjoy a wonderful Saturday morning at the Pavilion, Dubai on Emaar Boulevard. The place is known to most people living in Dubai – it is a hot spot for all sorts of people who love a good cup of coffee or a place to work from. It is one of the most stylish Cafes in the city.

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We heard about their new brunch offer on weekends and had to give it a try. The Pavilion Downtown, Dubai invites its guests on Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm for a great buffet filled with fresh juices, cold cuts, fruits and a huge variety of cheese.

Furthermore, guests can choose a hot or cold dish from the a la carte menu as well as a cup of tea or coffee. All of that is available for only 99 AED per person.

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We sat outside on the terrace – its best to arrive early as the word of mouth spread fast already – covered and protected from the sun. The place was packed. Every single table was occupied, yet the cafe did not feel busy. The overall atmosphere of the Pavilion is relaxed and cozy, even on weekends for a brunch.

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We had two cups of coffee and ordered Egg Benedict as well as a White Egg Omelet with goat cheese from the a la carte menu, and helped ourselves at the buffet.

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The set up was wonderful. The choice of juices (and Detox Shots) was incredible and the mini – salads and dishes prepared in jam jars were delicious. The sandwiches and the White Egg Omelet, however, were not as tasty. The taste was what was missing. The sandwich (tomato and cheese) was what it was; it had nearly no spices or any other distinct taste. The omelet, filled with goat cheese, tasted plain and uneventful.

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The salads and fresh juices, as well as the coffee, were delicious on the other side. The nice and friendly service also complimented the overall experience. Food and beverages were served within minutes after we place the order, and we felt that everyone who worked in the Pavilion had fun pleasing their guests.

We had such a great breakfast and we would like to take this review as an opportunity to congratulate the Pavilion Downtown, Dubai team for a great new brunch offer and a fantastic weekend experience.

Keep up the great work,

SE

 

 

 

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Freedom Pizza, Dubai

Good day to all of you. We hope you had a great week so far and that you still have the chance to explore what Dubai has to offer on food, service and dining experiences. We recently had the pleasure of trying out a few bites served by Freedom Pizza, UAE.

IMG_5839It was a great experience. Why? Because from the first contact made with the restaurant to the actual food tasting, we were impressed and satisfied.

We were approached to try out some of their new pizza and Edamame salad, their Mango Pasho, vegan cheesecake as well as one of their gluten free chocolate brownies. When placing the order, we were informed that the food would arrive at 6:30 pm. We kept an eye on the watch and were surprised that exactly at 6:24 pm the door bell rang. Wow, what a great first impression.

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Waqas, one of Freedom Pizza’s ”free riders”, as they call their delivery men, stood in front of the door, presenting our dinner. He was friendly and greeted us with: ”Good evening Mrs. Sofie, I am pleased to deliver your food order”, he furthermore said: ”I also brought our new menu along for your review.”

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A couple? He handed over about 8 menu cards, as well as the previously mentioned Edamame salad with goat cheese and lemon dressing, a small Beetnik (Mozzarella, goat cheese, spring onion, truffle oil, fennel, beetroot and caramelized onion), a small Nacho Libre (Mozzarella, broccoli, beef, Cilanto, spring onion and a lot of Jalapenos) as well as the brownie and the cheesecake.

What a feast. We thanked him, took a picture to capture his smile and were excited to try the new creations.

The food presentation was nice and appealing. We were wondering, however, how much plastic and cutlery and plastic covers were in the delivery bag. This is not about Freedom Pizza only, this is an issue that concerns all home – deliveries.

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Instead of filling the bag with cutlery that goes to the bin, the order taker should ask if it was necessary to deliver forks and knifes at all.  We had to through the add-ons and laid the table. The smell was breathtaking. The taste was delicious. The combination of truffle, with beef, crunchy crusts and a refreshing salad with lemon dressing was divine – and this was before we tried the desserts.

The taste experience reminded us of a quote we once heard in the movie, Fools Rush In: “You’re Everything I Never Knew I Always Wanted.” – fresh, crunchy and distinct in taste.

The gluten free brownie was moist and held what the packaging promised: it was a fresh, chocolate flavoured brownie, cut in four equal blocks – ready to enjoy and be shared with loved ones. It complimented the fresh, sour combination of Mango Pasho and the smooth cheese creme. IMG_5844

We were very impressed with the food and the timely delivery and already had a look at their menu online for more of their ”free riders” to knock on our door in the future. Ordering is made very simple on their website, as you do not actually have to log in – you can simply order as a guest and even track your order.

”Freedom Pizza – Freedom has never been so easy”, they say, and we fully agree. We are thankful for the experience and will be in touch soon – either online or by visiting one of their branches in the near future.

Thank you,

SE

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Treehouse, Taj Dubai

Happy weekend to all of you. We hope you had a great time with your family, friends and loved ones so far. We had a great start into the weekend, while exploring Dubai’s most prestigious ‘Treehouse’.

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The Treeehouse, a terrace located on the 3rd floor of the beautiful Taj Hotel, Dubai in Business Bay, opened its doors recently. The Treehouse is a classy and chic open-air lounge featuring a Renaissance-like decor mixed with house-lounge music and unique cocktails and bar snacks.

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The view is breathtaking. Surrounded by the Burj Khalifa and the Address Hotels on one side, and the residential areas of Business Bay on the other side, the Treehouse’s terrace feels like a little hide away in the middle of the city.

When entering the Taj Dubai, you will have to ask the staff where to find the lounge, as there are no signs up yet. Take a right in the lobby and take the elevator to the 3rd floor, follow signs for the pool area and walk up the stairs again, following the DJ’s sounds.

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We arrived at around 9:30 pm on Thursday and found the lounge being half empty. We were greeted by the hostess and offered one of the high tables next to the bar. The lounges were empty (there is a minimum spent if you want to occupy one of them) and the staff at that time still had the chance to interact with their guests regularly. Damian, the bar’s in – house Mixologist, welcomed us too. We knew him for quite some time and were happy to see that a young and smart individual like himself, progressed in his career and is able to add value to Dubai’s night life today.

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Welcoming us in ‘his’ bar, he offered us a few new cocktail creations such as a ‘smoked’ Oldfashioned and Champagne by the glass. It was great to catch up with him, and his creations were lovely. As time progressed, the lounge got more and more busy and the busier it got, the less attentive the staff was. It was a little hard to gain their attention when asking for one of their blankets (it was a bit cold up there) or another round of drinks, once the clock turned 11pm; however we did not mind as their attitude and their smiles were great.

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When noticing us asking for their attention, every single one of them (from the hostess to the service personal) was friendly and happy to serve us. We felt welcomed and taken care of and we are sure that with a little bit of time and training, they will fly around the lounge – even if it is packed. Attitude is, what counts – and the team at the Treehouse impressed us; not only by their product but also by their positivism and their service skills.

It was a wonderful evening, accompanied by a great ambiance and unique vibes in the middle of Dubai; the city that never sleeps. We are excited about the opening of the Treehouse and will be back for sure.

Thank you,

SE

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Vapiano, Dubai Mall

Good day to all of you. We hope you are very well, and ready for another review by Servicexcellence – Business Consulting and Development. We recently went to the Dubai Mall for  shopping and a decent lunch with one of our friends. Having heard that Vapiano opened its doors in Dubai, we could not resist and had to have a bowl of freshly made pasta in the Dubail Mall branch.

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Vapiano, in Europe is known for fresh, authentic, Italian food which is prepared a la minute and handed over the kitchen counter from the Chef, himself. It is a combination of fast-food and traditional meals, not only Italian’s would have for lunch or dinner. The menu offering of Vapiano revolves around the simple yet amazingly delicious classics of Italian cuisine.

We used the visit Vapiano in Vienna, Austria countless times, and were excited about watching the Chef preparing our Calamari Pasta. Two portions of pasta, fresh bread with a little bit of Balsamico and olive oil topped with a glass of  San Pellegrino – what would one wish for more in life?

Salt. A little bit of salt was, what we actually wished for our pasta. 

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Even-though the food was prepared a la minute and the pasta was fresh and boiling hot, it was lacking of spices. Luckily each table at Vapiano, is equipped with salt & pepper and a bottle of Chili Oil. We helped ourselves and spiced up our meal – literately. 

The overall environment, look and feel of the restaurant is pretty nice. It does not feel, as if one was in Europe; the a live olive tree, spectacular green wall and an assortment of fresh herbs and the large oak tables however, do invite guests to stay a little longer than in one of the other ”Mall Restaurants”. 

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The team of Vapiano – they call themselves Vapianisti – were all very friendly and attentive. From the welcome, to the actual interaction with the Chef himself and the cashier – everyone was smiling.

”A smile is more worth than a pinch of salt they say, right?”,  well that’s what we say at Servicexcellence, in regard to our experience at Vapiano, Dubai Mall. 

 We will be back. SE

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The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi

Good afternoon to all of you. We hope you had a great and exciting start into the year of 2016! On behalf of Servicexcellence – Business Consulting and Development, we would like to wish you success, health and happiness for the new year!

St Regis Entrance

We started off our working week at the beautiful St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi and loved the cool weather and a lovely view from our hotel room.

Located on the lobby level, level 3 of the property, we had an entire balcony to occupy and work from – and enjoyed every single bit of it. Well, at least until the rain started.

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The resort is huge. If you did not get the chance to visit it yet, you should take off some time during the week, or book a romantic get-away for a night. The resort offers spectacular recreational facilities such as a state of the art gym and high class spa, children- and adults pools as well as direct access to the beach.

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It is an oasis on Saadiyat Island. Besides the great leisure and business facilities, the hotel furthermore hosts more than five food & beverage outlets. Our favorite is, and always will be The Sontaya. The Thai restaurant is the perfect spot to enjoy a great meal with friends and families. The beautiful setting is complimented by the attentive service and the amazing food created by talented and passionate chefs.

The Foie Gras Dumplings, Red Thai Curry and the traditional Pad Thai are dishes we would recommend to anyone. From none spicy, medium spicy to very hot and even ”Sontaya hot” are the choices one can make when placing the order. We obviously went for ”Sontaya hot” and it was delicious!

The Sontaya

The overall experience during our short stay at the St. Regis was marvelous. The entire service staff was friendly, attentive and very proactive in regards to valet parking, check-in and overall guest handling.

We would like to thank the team for all their efforts and wish the property best of luck for the upcoming year.

We will be back, SE

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