Hi Guys!

Whew – it feels like it has been light years away!

You might have notice the changes on this site. This is, in no way, planned at all. The blog has been hacked for days and it’s only yesterday that it somehow functioned properly, though not entirely back to its previous state. I’m in the process of rebuilding what’s left of this site. Crossing fingers that the blog will be up and running again sooner than expected.

In the meantime, feel free to browse the site even without the images – I’m trying my best to bring them all back. But should you have any questions/concerns, please shoot me a mail at janesarabiadxb@gmail.com

Apologies for the convenience.

Gone Italian at Buca di Beppo

We had a hectic and tiring start of the month – packing, moving and unpacking with countless heavy lifting in between. Yes, we’ve moved to another apartment again. Moving in and out of our first home was quite a learning experience so I guess there will be an update on my post about finding home in Dubai.

Anyway, while we may had two unexciting weekends, we managed to turn one errand run to a quick lunch date! We were in Dubai Festival City Mall two Sundays back and when we found out that Cheesecake Factory was full to the brim, we walked around and discovered one of the new restaurants in the mall – Buca di Beppo.


The ladies dressed as gondolier were the first to catch our attention. A closer look to the restaurant and we were intrigued by its busy interiors. We scanned the menu and the desserts look promising so we got in!


Buca di Beppo is an Italian restaurant from the US, known for their half-pound meatballs. Of course, before visiting the restaurant, we hardly knew that. Prior to getting escorted to our seats, we were whisked to a quick intro to Buca – history and all. I felt like a small kid on a field trip.




As with any Italian joint, we were served complimentary breads with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It kept us mum from complaining as the mains took some time to arrive.


We shared a medium plate of Pizza con Formaggio, which is everything we ever wanted for our pizza. Thin crust with lots of cheese! It might look simple but it’s fabulous in the taste department. Portions are big – the medium pie was good enough for two and it’s their smallest pizza size.


Of course, if the staff tells you that they’re known for their Spaghetti with Meatballs, you gotta order one for yourself. We asked for the smallest serving and wow, it was too much for us. One humongous meatball (half a pound) sits on a bed of spaghetti. Though it wasn’t as spectacular as I was expecting, it was delicious!


I had their signature cooler Buca Bellini and it was super refreshing. The mix of passion fruit and peach is perfect!


We were keen to try the desserts but unfortunately, we got no more room for them sweets. I guess we have to return to Buca di Beppo to get our hands on that tempting Colossal Brownie Sundae.

The food was nice, ambience is okay but service needs improvement. The mini-tour of the restaurant is a nice touch but if you’re hangry, it can be a little annoying.



Buca di Beppo
Ground Floor, Dubai Festival City Mall, Dubai, UAE
04 2865057

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai

In this era, when everything is a Google search away, it baffles me that there are people who see or think of Dubai differently. Some hesitate about moving or even visiting the emirate; afraid of things they should and cannot do. Here’s to shedding some Arabian light to common misconceptions about Dubai.


  1. Dubai is a country. Or Dubai is in Saudi. – WRONG!

Some people have come up to me and ask, “How’s Saudi?” For clarity’s sake, Dubai is an emirate (like a state) in the United Arab Emirates (that’s the country). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is located west of the UAE, a plane ride away from Dubai.

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai
The UAE flag in one of the numerous tunnels across Dubai
  1. Dubai is terribly hot year-round. – INCORRECT.

It is hot in Dubai, most of the time, yes. The temperature gets wild up to 50 degrees at the height of summer. But we get 2-3 months of good weather, also known as the Dubai winter (read: a few rain showers and temp as low as 5deg, in the desert area!). These are the best months to visit Dubai – from December to March.

  1. You won’t find pork and alcohol in Dubai. – FALSE!

When we go home and meet friends and relatives, they’d bring us to a restaurant serving the best pork in town, thinking that we’re deprived of that here in Dubai. No. Pork is available in a few supermarkets like Spinney’s, Al Maya, Waitrose and West Zone. A couple of licensed restaurants serve pork and alcohol as well. Also, there’s such a thing as individual alcohol license, which allows one to purchase alcohol legally.

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai
Irish Village is one of the known places where alcohol and pork are served
  1. There’s nothing in Dubai but desert. – HAHAHA, DEFINITELY NOT!

Unless you’re a hermit living in a cave, I don’t know how to forgive you for thinking that Dubai is nothing but desert. In case you missed it, Dubai has the tallest building in the world, the largest fountain, and the biggest mall and whatever superlatives you can think of. We have manmade islands over here and nice beaches, too.

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai
The magnificent Dubai skyline as seen from one side of the creek
  1. Ladies are required to wear abaya. – NOPE!

Dubai is an open city, the entire UAE, if I may add. Ladies are free to wear whatever they want as long as they respect the local customs and traditions. It’s okay to wear a bikini if you’re at the beach or a short dress in malls. But it’s highly advised to wear as conservative as possible to avoid frowns, raised eyebrows and unwanted glances, especially during Ramadan.

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai
Dubai is not very strict with clothing but as visitors to this country, we’re encouraged to dress respectfully
  1. You cannot practice your religion/belief in Dubai. – NOT TRUE.

As of my latest count, there are 8 Catholic churches across the UAE. Two of these are in Dubai. I also know of a Hindu temple here. The UAE is an open country, tolerant of other religions. Christmas may not be a public holiday but everyone is free to celebrate. In fact, malls here are lavishly decorated during this season.

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai
A typical Christmas day scene in Dubai’s St. Mary’s Church
  1. It’s necessary to learn Arabic. – NOT REALLY.

While it will be beneficial if you know the local language, it’s not a requirement to survive in Dubai. English is widely used across the country whether in spoken or written form.

  1. Everyone in Dubai is rich. – OF COURSE NOT!

Oh, how we wish this is true! Expats take more than half of the population of Dubai which means everyone here works to earn money. Not because media portrays Dubai as a luxurious city does it mean that everyone lives extravagantly. Dubai is rich, but most of us are not.

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai
There will come a time that stumbling upon luxury cars becomes normal
  1. It is not safe in Dubai. – I DON’T THINK SO.

The UAE in general is a very safe place to live in. Crime rate is close to zero and police responds quickly to any emergency. You can whip out your iPhone, camera and laptop at the same time without feeling scared that someone will come to take it from you at gunpoint.

  1. The locals are not friendly. – HMM, NO.

Emiratis are normal people just like you and me. A lot would love to have small talks once in a while. We’ve met locals who are cool, down-to-earth and have good sense of humor. There’s no reason to be afraid of them.

10 Common Misconceptions About Dubai
A local in one of Dubai’s art events

#BreakfastDate at The Hamptons Cafe

Rose croissant – I have to admit that that was the driving force that finally prompted us to visit The Hamptons Café. There was a time when this pink pastry was all over my feed and it gets me hungry every single time. Housed in a charming three-storey villa, with commanding views of Umm Suqeim on its covered rooftop, this café is located along Jumeirah Beach Road.


We visited on a Saturday morning for breakfast. It was a bit full so we were seated on the third floor. The room is airy and cozy – just beautiful. The jazz music in the background complements the chic interiors so perfectly. It’s not hard to picture how romantic this place is at night.


The menu is on an iPad with corresponding images to (almost) each dish. I was ecstatic to find a hot matcha green tea latte. Clearly, I have to break my long hot chocolate streak for this one. It came with pistachio macaron and a glass of water. I love how creamy it was though it wasn’t the best matcha latte I’ve had to date.

Hot matcha green tea latte – it looks greener in actual

The husband had Valrhona hot chocolate which is rich and very thick. It was served with a cream, vanilla macaron and glass of water on a tray. This way you can mix the consistency according to your liking.


When the raspberry and rose croissant arrived on our table, I can’t help but swoon at how pretty it looks and smells. It’s something new for my palate and I’m quickly in love. There’s a single rose petal on top of the croissant that I found really nice. The hubs wasn’t much of a fan though coz it’s too flower-y for his taste.


For the mains, we tried the uber savory (and satisfying) eggs and cheese in tomato basil sauce. It’s basically a shakshuka. It’s very delicious that we finished it up to the last sauce.


I’m already full by the time I got to taste the banana nut waffles. But it tasted very good nonetheless. The waffle was a bit chewy though.


We had a wonderful morning at The Hamptons Café and it’s certainly one of those breakfast spots I can recommend. Service is great; ambiance is exquisite and the food, heavenly. We see ourselves returning in the near future, perhaps for a romantic date night.

KimChikin: Korean Fried Chicken and More

We recently had a weeklong Korean craze going on in our little home. It started when we saw the much-hyped film, Train to Busan. Two days after, I had this super weird dream about a Korean guy. Then, the following day, we were invited to review KimChikin, a Korean casual restaurant in Al Ghurair Centre.


So, Kimchikin! We were instant fans the first time we’ve tried their famous fried chicken. For this dinner, however, we explored other dishes but kept the fried chicken on the sideways just in case we’re being too adventurous.

The cashier recommended her favorite Japchae. It’s basically stir-fried noodles with soy sauce and topped with mushrooms, sliced scrambled eggs and veggies. I learned from a quick Google search that these noodles were actually sweet potato noodles! Japchae is perfect – it’s delicious! The seasoning was just right and the toppings were quite generous. Well, the overall serving is generous coz this is the smallest portion and yet it’s good enough for two.


We also had Topoki – rice and fish cakes boiled with sweet red chili sauce. To be honest, I had the inkling to try it because of the photo in the menu. I didn’t read the description so we were surprised at its level of spicy-ness. The first scoop got me teary-eyed!


From the Sizzling Treat menu, we tried Katsu Curry Rice. I’m not sure why it falls in the sizzler menu and yet it’s not sizzling when served. This is more of a Japanese dish than Korean but we like it nonetheless. The breaded chicken was perfectly seasoned and fried. Tastes really good!


The Kim Chicken was fabulous as usual. We couldn’t find any fault at it – we could have it at any given day. The combo meal comes with 3 chicken/fillets (soy or spicy) and a choice of 1 or 2 sides. We had crisscut fries and kimchi to go with this dish.


Overall, it was a nice dinner. We’re impressed at how spotless and modern the place is. The staff, especially the cashier who served us that night, deserves a shout out coz she did her job very well. We had quite an odd experience during the beginning of the review but the cashier’s assistance made us enjoy our night. We’ll be back, that’s for sure. :)




The Desert Life has been invited by KimChikin to review their restaurant. As always, all opinions/comments are mine.