x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Christmas dinner: festive feasts to please everyone

Wondering where to celebrate Christmas in the UAE? Whether you're cooking at home, dining out or ordering in, we've got your options.

Lime Tree Cafe & Kitchen's gourmet cheeseboard. Courtesy Lime Tree Cafe & Kitchen
Lime Tree Cafe & Kitchen's gourmet cheeseboard. Courtesy Lime Tree Cafe & Kitchen

if you’re doing the cooking

For the vegetables

The Ripe market’s festive veggie box comes filled with all the vegetables you need to whip up traditional side orders. Think red cabbage for braising, parsnips, potatoes and carrots for roasting, celery for the stuffing and rosemary for seasoning. For more information or to place an order, email info@ripeme.com or call 043806902.

For something a bit special

The gourmet food delivery site Chez Charles (www.chezcharles.ae) has a section dedicated to Christmas goodies. If you’re looking for an extra-special centrepiece for the meal, you may find what you need here. As well as traditional turkey from France, it’s selling partridge, pheasant, goose, capon, venison and roe deer. Orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance.

Brush up on your skills beforehand

Being in charge of cooking the Christmas meal is a big responsibility. If you’re worried about overcooked turkey and soggy roasties, help is at hand. APi CAE Gourmet in Abu Dhabi is holding an Italian Christmas cooking class on Thursday at 7.30pm (Dh250 per person). Call 02 666 8909 or visit www.apicae.com for more information. In Dubai, meanwhile, Top Chef Cooking Studio (www.topchefdubai.com) is running a range of cooking classes that will help you to entertain with ease and prepare the perfect Bûche de Nöel.

A little extra

If you’ve undertaken the task of preparing the main meal yourself, it’s useful to have a few ready-prepared bits and pieces on standby. The Lime Tree Cafe & Kitchen’s gourmet cheeseboard comes with chutneys, flatbreads, fruit, crackers and homemade rolls and would finish the dinner off nicely. For a relaxed starter, its antipasti platter contains various cheeses, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted artichokes and garlic, pickled shallots, olives, tomatoes and cured meats, which would make for rather nice nibbles. Lime Tree also sells gourmet hampers, all manner of festive sweet treats and offers a catering service. To place an order, email catering@limetreecafe.ae, visit www.thelimetreecafe.com or call 04 325 6325.


Christmas pudding isn’t the most loved of all desserts. For a cute alternative that will no doubt appeal to children, the Abu Dhabi-based bakery Maison Sucre has created a range of colourful festive cupcakes featuring Santa Claus, snowmen, candy canes, stars and Christmas trees. Customers can also place special orders, if they would like a bespoke holiday design on a cupcake, cookie or cake ball. As well as the main Khalidiya store, Maison Sucre’s cupcakes are also sold at Caboodle Cafe in The Dubai Mall. For enquires call 02 6396622 or visit www.maisonsucreuae.com.

An extravagant, stress-free option

He’s already been booked for the 25th, but  the private chef Tomas Reger still has dates available around that time, if you fancy hiring him to cook a gourmet Christmas meal at your home. It’s up to you whether you opt for a traditional turkey roast or plump for a more extravagant tasting menu. Either way, chef Tomas will turn up on the day with ingredients, crockery and equipment in tow. He’ll then cook up a storm and ensure that when he leaves, your kitchen looks just the way he found it. Book a home dining experience with chef Tomas Reger exclusively through Lime & Tonic (www.limeandtonic.com).

Ordering in

If you want to order your Christmas meal from Jones the Grocer then hurry – today is the last day to do so. A 6kg sage-and-onion-stuffed bird (serves 8-10) costs Dh390 or Dh560 with trimmings, which include roast potatoes, carrots, shallots, broccoli gratin, chestnuts, pumpkin, peas and rosemary gravy. Jones is also selling mince pies, plum puddings, Christmas cakes, festive sandwiches and gingerbread cookies. Call 800 56 637 or email events@jonesthegrocer.com. Baker & Spice in Dubai does Christmas catering well, offering all the classics with a signature twist. Give Baker & Spice 48 hours notice and you can have items such as roast chicken with chestnuts and leeks, fillet of beef en croute, apple and cranberry relish, bread sauce and roast potatoes with fresh zaatar and cumin butter delivered to your door. To place an order, call 04 427 9856 or email almanzil@bakerandspiceme.com or info@bakerandspiceme.com.


For out-and-out extravagance, the Take Away Treats option from Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire should keep refined palates happy. Begin the day with oysters Tsarskaya, making sure that you leave room for a main course of French goose stuffed with foie gras. Finish the meal off with Gagnaire’s special festive log, macaroons and orangettes (candied orange dipped in dark chocolate). Orders must be placed at least four days in advance. Call 04 701 1127/28, email restaurant.reservation@ichdfc.ae or visit www.diningdfc.com for more information.

Eating out

If you fancy eating out, but aren’t fussed (or are even actively avoiding) traditional turkey, both the Fishmarket at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi and Chamas are sticking with their usual fare, with Chamas serving a meat feast churrasco special on the 25th. The Belgian Cafe, meanwhile, is offering a set Christmas menu. Call 800 IC DINE (800 423 463) or email dine.icabudhabi@ihg.com or book online at www.dining-intercontinental-ad.ae.

The brunch out on the lawns at the Al Badia Golf Club in Dubai is a really lovely one and perfect for families. For a relaxed Christmas meal that takes full advantage of the weather, pick up an old-fashioned wicker basket filled with treats, spread out your blanket and sample dishes from the live cooking stations on the 25th. For more information visit www.diningdfc.com, call 04 701 1127 or email restaurant.reservation@ichdfc.ae.

Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara has plenty going on over the next week or so, including a special Thai-inspired set menu at Pachaylen on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day brunch at Ingredients restaurant, with traditional dishes sitting alongside mezze items, a sushi bar and cheese wall. Call 02 656 1000 or email easternmangroves@anantara.com.

For a Christmas meal with a view, a table outside at Riva Ristorante on Palm Jumeirah is a good choice: the atmosphere is relaxed, with a beach-chic feel and there’s an al fresco terrace and stretch of private beach. Chef Aurelien’s Italian-inspired menu sounds good, too, with items such as grilled sea bass as well as fully garnished turkey on offer. Riva is also hosting a children’s party tomorrow, with a magic show, face painting, balloon modelling, a visit from Father Christmas and even snow. Call 04 430 9466 or email reservations@riva-beach.com. For more information email info@riva-beach.com.