One of my favourite new additions to Abu Dhabi is tucked away at the Body Tree Studio, where I take yoga and Pilates classes.
The woman behind this establishment, Mira Naaman, is one of the few people Iíve come across in the UAE who gets that a healthy smoothie or cup of juice should not be loaded with sugar or unnecessary, unhealthy ingredients. (Iíve actually purchased smoothies only to later find out a hidden ingredient was chocolate cookies!)
This juice bar uses natural and organic products Ė even making the peanut butter it uses in my favourite smoothie so far. Nut and Bolt (Dh26) combines organic pumpkin and flaxseeds, organic honey and vanilla with banana and non-fat milk. I am also a big fan of the green detoxifying juice, Ginger Apple Cleanse (Dh24), which blends romaine lettuce, spinach, apple and ginger.
Nectar also offers even more healthy add-ons to its smoothies and juices, including chia seeds and, a rare sight in these parts, bright-green wheat grass. Body Tree Studio is located at 11th and 26th streets, in the villa across from the Adnoc station.
* Ann Marie McQueen
Iíve always known Pearls&Caviar at Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, was a nice place to spend an hour or two, but I felt it was a bit too over-the-top for my dining desires and so until recently, Iíd never sat down to eat a meal there. What a shame. Not only is the setting both intimate and luxurious Ė I love the cordoned-off, semi-private tables in the corner Ė but the food is amazing. In the past month, Iíve had both brunch and a delicious dinner in the cosy yet elegant dining room. I am still thinking about the tender wagyu beef tenderloin, augmented with a red onion marmalade, bordelaise sauce and a crispy slab of seared foie gras, featured on the new menu. As for brunch, I was blown away by a vibe that managed to be utterly relaxed and laid- back, but quite adult and upscale, all at the same time. For Dh249 or Dh349 (depending on beverages, with a proper offering of seafood including the all-important oysters) itís also one of the more reasonable deals around. And like all my brunch mates, I am already planning my next encounter with its gussied-up macaroni and cheese. Reservations for dinner and brunch recommended. Adjacent to The Villas by Shangri-La. Dress: smart casual. Hours: 7pm to 11.30pm, 8pm to 11.30pm on Fridays. Call 02 509 8777.
* Ann Marie McQueen
A couple of weeks ago, I tried Rivington Grillís BBQ brunch and it was excellent. First of all, the location is great Ė set out in the open air on the restaurant terrace, which overlooks the Madinat Jumeirahís waterways. The atmosphere is lovely and casual Ė no fussiness or pretentiousness here Ė the service is friendly and the food good, too.
For Dh150 (including soft drinks), you select one main course and two side dishes to accompany it. Although the butterflied lamb shoulder, marinated baby chicken, lamb and rosemary sausages and the Rivington burger all sounded tempting, we opted for the grilled prawns and the Black Angus sirloin, which was very tasty and generously portioned. With that, we ate baked potatoes, corn on the cob, an apple, celery and walnut salad and a very good Caesar salad.
Beforehand (and also included in the price), we enjoyed a large platter of warm flatbreads and interesting nibbles Ė cauliflower hummus, broad bean and minted yogurt, smoked aubergine and a cucumber and anchovy dip.
All in all, it made for a very pleasant, relaxing Saturday afternoon. Go now, while the weather is good.
The Rivington Weekend BBQ is held on Fridays and Saturdays from 12.30pm until 4.30pm. For reservations, email RivingtonGrill.ReservationsMJ@jumeirah.com or call 04 4366 6464.
* Emily Shardlow
? bought it, love it, canít live without it
Every so often we stumble across an item that was so worth it, we want to tell everyone about it.
I have to admit, Iím pretty unadventurous when it comes to buying fruit. In my country of origin, the UK, our bleak climate impedes the growth of any plant that is remotely exotic. Fearing change, I usually just stick to what I know from back home: apples, pears or, if Iím feeling particularly daring, a tin of pineapple chunks. But on a recent visit to my local supermarket, the apple section was surrounded by an impenetrable barricade of burly chaps, all of whom were seemingly intent on handling each piece of fruit with their clammy mitts until they found the perfect specimen. So circumstance forced me to explore unfamiliar shelves. I ended up purchasing what I later found out is called a persimmon, a delicious fruit from the subcontinent that resembles a cross between a tomato and a nectarine Ė and since then I canít get enough of them. Now Iím even considering plucking up the courage to try something as outlandish as a banana.
* Hugo Berger