Tasteful Taiwanese @ Taipei Dao

I’m so thankful to a lovely friend of mine for inviting me to a tasting evening at Taipei Dao. I’d never heard of this restaurant before which is now situated in Southridge Tower #4 in Downtown Dubai; a) even though it had been open for 5 months already and b) it had a been a long standing restaurant in Dubai but previously located in Healthcare City.IMG_1789The restaurant has a modern Asian twist in terms of design and is broken down into 3 parts; the restaurant, a bakery and a grocery store. You’d be surprised to know this restaurant does not serve any white rice which the owner likes to call ‘dead rice’. Instead they serve a variety of germinated brown rice which is better for your insides. Taipei Dao also caters for Gluten Free.

 

The owner, a lovely lady named Felice, is so passionate about what she does. The grocery items for sale (which are also used in the restaurant for cooking) are all hand picked and imported from Taiwan. This includes a range of tea, organic brown rice, vinegars etc. None of their food contains any MSG. They make all of their sauces used in their dishes in house and they also use a deep sea salt which means it’s in it’s purest form but also free from any pollution. They don’t do any advertising as they believe the food will speak for itself. Or the patrons will speak for the food. I, myself haven’t stopped raving it about it since my last visit.

The drinks: Taipei Dao’s shelves and menu has so many varieties of tea that you will be spoilt for choice. They even have a dedicated tea master tasting area. On my visit I chose to drink a black bubble tea with milk and chewy tapioca pearls. Enjoyable but filling so beware on drinking too much too soon and not leaving enough room for the food. However the pu-erh xiao tuo cha tea we had between dishes helps to aid digestion as does the shot of lavender vinegar we had post food, both of which are available for purchase from their in-house store.

The starters: A mixture of steamed dumplings, beef pan fried dumplings, a hot and sour soup (which you won’t find on the menu but can request as a special) and oriental spring onion pancake served with a homemade soy based sauce – very addictive.

Favorites included: The almond and prawn spring rolls with pineapple and the seafood cake. The almond and prawn spring roll was a new concept to me. Coated in almond flakes making the coating extra crunchy whilst the sweet pineapple addition inside is a nice contrast against the chunky prawn filling. The seafood cakes are like giant pan fried dumplings with combination of seafood inside. Just delicious!

The mains: We were served a mixture of hot and cold main course dishes. The cold dishes included slices of chicken and goose served with fresh strips of ginger. One of my favorites was the pineapple fruity prawn. Firstly the presentation was impressive, served in half a pineapple, garnished with cleverly designed vegetables but the flavor and quality of the ingredients was superb. The beef stew served in a hot pot was another. Having been steamed for hours which keeps the texture of the beef together the tenderness alone is something not to be missed as is the gorgeous gravy it is based in. However it was the well executed hammour in ginger which stole the show for me. Delicate, fresh and flavorsome. I secretly wished I didn’t have to share it. Highly recommended.

The dessert: It may look like a regular chocolate fondant but it was anything but.  Made with 50% whole wheat and 70% cocoa and served with a pomelo and kumquat home made ice cream which created an intersting flavor contrast between dark chocolate and citrus.IMG_1844

Takeaway: We were given the choice to take home some freshly baked treats from the in-house bakery. I chose the spring onion roll which I ate the next day. I devoured it so quickly I was tempted to drive downtown immediately for more. Full of flavor. I’ll be picking some up on my next visit for sure.

IMG_1871For all those dumpling lovers you’d be please to know that Taipei Dao offers ‘all you can eat’ dumplings every Friday and Saturday for lunch & dinner for just 98AED! What a steal. I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

Opening hours: 12-3 pm, 6:30-10:30pm

Address: Southridge Tower 4, Downtown Dubai, Dubai

Phone number: 04 4510694

Taipei Dao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A healthy surprise @ Comptoir 102

I must admit I rarely go out for breakfast. I mean I can poach my own eggs and smash my own avocado. Although sometimes it is nice to catch up with friends, explore new parts of Dubai and try somewhere new, cue Comptoir 102.IMG_1585 (2)I had heard about the cafe on social media and also found in featured on Dubai Food Festival’s website, via a YouTube video by the Al Awadi brothers. Click below to watch it – Dubai’s culinary secrets

Comptoir 102 was an idea brought to life by owners Alex and Emma for their common interests in healthy food, art, design and fashion. It shows as soon as you walk onto the premises. The eclectic decor covering multiple rooms is as refreshing as the mini farmers market outside. There is over 3,000 items available for purchase for the home or ones self from 30 hand picked boutique sellers from around the globe.

Being our first time here we walked straight through the premises into the back patio which is lined with a bamboo wall. However next time a better seating option would be the front side of the cafe which has ample natural light flooding in providing better photo opportunities for us foodies. Although I also enjoyed the book shelf wallpaper they used inside.IMG_1610 (2)The breakfast menu albeit less than extensive, my friend and I still struggled to choose. My friend wanted a bagel which they’d run out of. I was going to get scrambled eggs and buckwheat pancakes although I eat eggs too often so I settle for the labneh panini and smooth kale smoothie whilst my friend goes for the vegetable sandwich and a matcha latte.IMG_1591 (2)Comptoir 102 serves mainly organic, gluten free and raw food which is great for the health conscious. They even have a main menu which changes daily – I assume according to what they’ve sourced from the local farmers.

Our drinks and food both arrive in a timely manner and we decide to share our sandwiches so we can try both flavors. This worked in my favor as I found the labneh panini to be a little overpowering with the saltiness of the olives however I loved the texture contrast with the addition of crushed walnuts inside. The smooth kale smoothie was creamy and delicious although a bit steep for the size.IMG_1592 (2)IMG_1593 (2)After devouring our food and relaxing in the patio we browse the mini farmers market to see what’s on offer before moving indoors to check out the various home wares, clothes and jewelry inside.IMG_1598 (2)IMG_1605 (2) Not only does Comptoir 102 offer a cozy and relaxing environment, they also have a range of bicycles near the front door which are free for patrons to use around the immediate area. This is such a great idea and really accentuates the healthy lifestyle theme.IMG_1614 (2)In conclusion, Comptoir 102 offers a refreshing surprise to the usual cafes found in Dubai. It was not a bad way to spend my Saturday morning and I’m looking forward to taking guests here and possibly even riding the bikes too!

Location: 102 Beach Road, Jumeirah 1

Phone: 04 4489502

Comptoir 102 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

24 hours in Singapore

I touch down after a 7 and a bit hour flight from Sydney and I pass swiftly through immigration. When I say swiftly I was through there in no longer than 5 minutes. That’s a first in any country I’ve ever been to! I’m already impressed with Singapore as I make my way to cab line, making sure not to get into a premium taxi or limo by mistake. I’ve heard Singapore is an expensive city so I’m trying to save money where I can.

My taxi driver is knowledgeable having grown up here. He know’s exactly where I’m headed. As we drive away from the airport I am gobsmacked by how green and luscious the streets are, a stark contrast to the sandy roads back home in Dubai.

After reaching my friends condo and dumping my suitcase I get changed and we head straight out for some food. We take a short walk and we arrive at Lau pa sat hawker center which just so happens to be the largest and oldest hawker centre in Singapore! For those who don’t know what a Hawker Centre is basically a food market containing numerous different types of stalls offering a range of cuisines all for a reasonable price.

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It’s a Victorian style building which houses this food market and every where you look there is something cooking, wok’s sizzling, steam rising and it’s in this precise moment, jet lagged or not, I feel like I am indeed in Singapore.

I pace around look at all the varieties. How does one choose. With umpteen noodles, rices dishes, dumplings, poultry and seafood it makes it nearly impossible. We settle on carrot cake A.K.A Chai tow kway, soursap for drinks (which has immense health properties), Hainanese steamed chicken and rice served with buk choy and chicken broth (which I decided on as there was a queue full of locals so it must be good right?), cheung fun stuffed with prawns and some boiled dumplings. Cheap, delicious and very satisfying.

After our tummies are full we head to Marina Bay Sands for a nightcap at CÉ LA VI SkyBar. The view will leave you speechless. It’s also super scary being that high up if you’re scared of heights like I am but it’s definitely not to be missed. You might even be lucky enough to catch the light show.IMG_1033A cocktail on the rooftop averages around the 25 Singaporean dollar mark. Whilst a standard nip & mixer still around 20 Singapore dollars.IMG_1032We managed to get into the VIP lounge so I could snap a quick photo of that famous infinite pool which only the hotel guests have the pleasure of using.IMG_1051The following morning we went for breakfast at Wild Honey in Scott’s Square. The menu sounded super appealing and even though it was fully booked when we tried to call, they were able to seat us as a walk-in around 10am on a weekend. We even managed to nab an outdoor table.

A spicy citrus juice, roast almond latte, flinders lane breakfast with a side of candied bacon set me back a whopping 50 Singapore dollars including tip & service charge. It was a delicious breakfast but the portion size defeated me.

Wanting to do some site seeing in my short time remaining we grabbed a taxi to Gardens by the Bay Unfortunately due to the weather the OCBC skyway was closed when we arrived. Probably a good thing for me considering I’m a wuss when it comes to heights. Inside we find a restaurant inside one of the futuristic super trees which you can pay entry for and also enjoy a beverage whilst taking in the 360 views. The outdoor balcony was shut for a little while so we drank our tea inside.

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However once it was open we were both eager to go outside on the balcony. Again, the nerves kicked in as what instills more fear in me than heights itself is a floor beneath my feet which I can see through. It was like a metal grate which did not seem safe to me at all but I’m sure it was.

Even on a gloomy overcast day the unrestricted views from the rooftop viewing platform are magnificent. I’m sure on clearer days you could see the surrounding islands.

 

IMG_1086IMG_1087We head downstairs and buy tickets for the cloud forest dome. It’s a magical place. An indoor forest of exotic plants and waterfalls.

After exploring the cloud forest we start to venture back towards my friends place with a pit stop along the way for lunch. We end up in the food court at Marina Bay Sands where I search for a soup, something to try cure my throat which by this stage is starting to close over. I stumble across a place serving a Beef noodle soup for about 9 Singapore dollars.

IMG_1234Right behind us we see another food shop and were mesmerized as we watched a chef making handmade noodles.

Part of me wish I got to see this first as I definitely would of eaten from his shop. However for a first timer these food courts can be overwhelming as there is so much variety to choose from, you could spend all day just deciding.

I do recommend doing your research before travelling as Singapore can be quite an expensive city depending on a) how long your there for b) what you want to do and c) where you want to eat.

I only got a taste of what Singapore has to offer and there is so much more to see, eat and do, that next time I’ll definitely be staying longer than 24 hours.

Eat well, travel well.

Nossy x