Masafi Water: Knowing your water source

23 March 2016

I am constantly staying hydrated!! In fact, I drink approximately 2-3L water per day and this keeps my skin looking beautiful. I had the pleasure of working with Masafi recently, on educating people on the importance of knowing where your water source is from. Masafi is considered as the region’s only leading bottled water that doesn’t come from the sea. It is coaxed from deep beneath the Hajar Mountains in Masafi. Not only can you taste the difference but you can feel the difference too.


In the UAE, desalinated seawater and groundwater are the only two main sources of drinking water, the long term future of the UAE bottled water industry will remain stable as with the exception of Masafi most of other leading UAE brands are using desalinated sea water resources for their water source. I learnt that Masafi will always continue providing natural water from our land that is bottled at source that come deep underground from the mountains of Masafi with the same quality and natural health benefits that the original water from the Hajar Mountains of the UAE contains.


It’s important to know where your water source is from… is it natural water or desalinated water that you’re drinking… Natural is the way to go!!! Ask for Natural. Ask for Masafi.


For more information about Masafi, visit:


Written by Karen McLean - 0 Comments

Dubai Food Festival 2016: #DubaiFoodFest

6 March 2016

Dubai Food Fest 2v2

Dubai Food Festival 2016


The Dubai Food Festival 2016. WOW!!! What an incredible experience!!! I can honestly say that this year has been bigger and better than previous years! Every year it celebrates Dubai’s emergence as a gastronomic destination. Offering a calendar of exciting food-related events and promotions, highlighting Dubai’s unique food scene, its personalities and it’s world-class dining experiences. The world’s best food trucks have flown in, Kite Beach is set up as a foodie hub and the city’s finest restaurants have prepared affordable three-course menus. There is something for everyone! 🙂


Dine with the Stars 1v2

Australian Celebrity Chefs

Dine with the Stars 2v2

Star studded dishes

DINE WITH THE STARS: Dubai Food Festival 2016 introduced the first ever ‘Dine With The Stars’ concept on Friday, 26th February, to a sold out crowd. The magical night at Armani Pavilion at Armani Hotel saw food lovers gather to taste the most delicious dishes prepared by the top five Australian Celebrity Chefs!! Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris from Aussie MasterChef, the lovely Matt Moran and Shannon Bennett, and Frenchman in Australia Manu Feildel (who reality TV fans will know from My Kitchen Rules).


The Dine with the Stars menu for the night included:
– Marron, Tarragon, Coral (My favorite!!)
– Dukkah crusted Salmon with pumpkin and liquorish puree, honey dressing
– Roast Chicken & Carrots, Yellow carrot hummus, parsnip crunch, jus gras
– Veal Brisket, Shitake Bonito Tea
– Peach Baklava


Chefs Table 1v2

Meeting Andy Bates


Chefs Table 2v2

Dubai Chef’s Table

Chefs Table 3v3

Amazing dishes by Andy Bates

DUBAI CHEF’S TABLE: This was an opportunity of a lifetime! A 3 course meal prepared by celebrity chef, Andy Bates who is known for his hearty street food. His modern twists on classic dishes are fuelled by his international travels and a passion for re-discovering and cooking great British food. I was given the opportunity to be amongst a lucky 8 people to dine in a pop-up style 3 story shipping container on Sheikh Zayed Road. What an amazing experience!!


Chef’s table menu for the night included:
– Scotch Eggs
– Proper Fish & Chips
– Custard Tart


The menu was so simple, yet so unbelievably delicious!! This is a big call, but I would have to say that this was the best Fish & Chips, I have ever had!! Crispy on the outside, not too oily and melt-in-your-mouth fish inside, which has been cooked to perfection. WOW!!!!


Cook off 1v2



BEACH CANTEEN: There are many fun attractions and entertainment and Beach Canteen. One of my highlights was my cook off with Chef Faisal who is a 1/2 Emirati and 1/2 Kuwaiti. What an honor!! We did a simple demonstration on how to make Alfredo Pasta using only 3 very simple ingredients: Pasta, butter and parmesan cheese. Chef Faisal plated his dish in a restaurant style, whilst I served mine, home style, showing how easy it is to make it at home!! I must admit, I did put half as much butter in my dish, than in Chef Faisal’s dish 😉


Eat the world 1v2

The Cheese Truck

Eat the world 2v2

Milo & Hector’s

EAT THE WORLD DXB: London’s best meals on wheels flew in for a special food truck festival as part of the Dubai Food Festival. This was such a cool experience as it was such a great day to spend in the park with lots of entertainment and of course, FOOD!!! It’s very exciting to see the food truck scene growing in Dubai, and London has been setting the example for years. My top picks were the grilled cheese sandwiches from The Cheese Truck and ice-cream sandwiches from Milo & Hector’s. YUM!!!!


Beach Canteen 1v2

Beach Canteen

Beach Canteen 2v2

Fruit Salad Ting Irie

For more information on the Dubai Food Festival, visit:


Written by Karen McLean - 1 Comments

Dubai Food Festival 2016: Etisalat Beach Canteen

1 March 2016

Beach Canteen 1v2

Etisalat Beach Canteen at Kite Beach


It’s my favorite time of the year!!! The Dubai Food Festival 2016 is here!! 🙂 YES!!!!! The Etisalat Beach Canteen is one of the most popular attractions during the food festival and there is no reason to say why, because it’s in a fantastic location, amazing food, great atmosphere, lots of activities and funky music. I just love it!!! Especially during these cooler months where we can make the most of the weather!!


Beach Canteen 2v2


Beach Canteen 3v2


Seventeen outlets, mostly home-grown brands, have pop-up dining concepts where you can have a taste of their delicious food offerings! There is a range of food which suits everyone’s taste and what I love about it most is that you can just eat your way around the canteens 🙂 These include Jambo’s Grill, Ting Irie, Pinza, Shawarma Station, Karak House, Moshi, Classic Burger Joint, Mantoushe, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management , WOFL, The Hot Dog Stand, Barsalata, Khameer & Dough, Mokha 1450, Häagen-Dazs and Sugarmoo.


Beach Canteen 7v2


Beach Canteen 4v2

MOKHA 1450

Other attractions include cooking demonstrations, food and film nights and lots of fitness classes!! Each day the Etisalat Beach Canteen features a different class: HITT (High Intensity Training), beach yoga (morning, and evening), Hula Hoop Jam, Fitness and Fun for Kids by MyGym, FlyBarre and beach Pilates. Amazing!!! 🙂 There is also loads of shopping and many attractions for the kids including comfy bean bags and grass to play.


Beach Canteen 6v2



Ahhhhhhhh I met Manu Fieldel!!!! Such a cool guy!!! If you don’t know him, he is a celebrity chef from the popular TV Show, “My Kitchen Rules” and this was such a fan girl moment!! Etisalat Beach Canteen-goers enjoyed top culinary tips and tricks from Australia’s most legendary celebrity chefs during interactive demonstrations at the live chef’s theatre. These famous Australian chef’s included George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan, Shannon Bennett, Matt Moran and Manu Feildel. What a line up!!!


Beach Canteen 5v2



And if this all wasn’t enough… the sunset at Kite Beach will literally take your breathe away!!! Have a wonderful evening and I hope to see you at the Etisalat Beach Canteen!!! xoxo


For more information on the Etisalat Beach Canteen, visit:


Written by Karen McLean - 0 Comments

Best-Kept Secrets: Comptoir 102

11 March 2014





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Comptoir 102 was definitely LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT and I instantly fell in love with this fabulous cafe! It’s bohemian chic, sophisticated and perfect for a relaxing weekday or weekend breakfast or lunch. The cafe and dining space is attached to a little shop full of fashionable jewellery, beautiful homewares, textiles and interiors. The space is so inviting and attractive, it’s hard not to be drawn in and look at EVERYTHING!! It’s the perfect place for a girly catch-up and then be tempted by all the beautiful designer items in the shop 🙂







Wholesome healthy food. Dubai needs more cafes like this which provide simple, yet delicious and nutritious food! Cafe Comptoir 102 offers a small menu which includes raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or sugar-free options resulting in something really special and truly unique. The daily menu is ever changing according to the local organic produce that is available that day. A la Carte includes a selection of sandwiches, salads, freshly pressed green or fruit juices and smoothies made with organic homemade almond milk. It’s so DELICIOUS!
Green Smoothie: Spinach, fennel, pineapple, avocado and mint. A happy outside starts from the inside! I love Green Smoothies and this was made just how I like it!
Skin Glow: Pomegranate, cucumber and apple. Ooooooh yeah! This was so refreshing! Pomegranate is extremely rich in antioxidants, which helps improve skin quality. YUM!
All Green Salad: A bowl full of vitamins: Romaine, avocado, cucumber, fennel, walnut, parsley, spring onions, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, gomaiso and organic argan oil. I loved how this dish showed off the fresh local organic produce and packed full of goodies!
Fennel, Feta & Pomegranate Salad: A delicious combination of shaved fennel, crumbed feta, juicy pomegranate seeds, roasted pine nuts, radish and coriander.
Avocado Crostini: Gently toasted cereal bread topped with homemade fluffy macadamia sauce, alfalfa sprouts, avocado and cucumber slices, served with house salad. This was definately the dish of the day! I was so tempted to lick the macadamia sauce off the plate – so smooth and creamy… mmmmmmmm
Quinoa Nori Stack: Wow! Soft fluffy quinoa, avocado, cashew cream. It was a surprisingly delicious combination of flavours!
Choco Petit Pot: Satisfying and health conscious chocolate ganache (sugar-free, egg and dairy-free). Decadent chocolate mousse without the added nasties! Very Secret Squirrel xx.
Banana Chia Delice: This dessert is full of calcium, protein and healthy fats (sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan). Lovely ripe bananas mixed with coconut milk and chia seeds. I was so tempted to order another one! Yum, yum and more YUM!


There is a beautiful garden courtyard behind the cafe with lots of greenery and comfy seats as well as a front terrace area where you can lounge around in the sun chatting and sipping green smoothies all day! Alfresco dining, sunshine, nutritious healthy food, trendy fashionable cafe… it’s LOVE at first sight! ♥


For other great suggestions in the Dubai Food Festival Gourmet Trail: Best-Kept Secrets, please refer to:






Written by Karen McLean - 4 Comments

Ultimate Dining Experiences: TOKO Dubai

4 March 2014






What a fabulous way to kick off the Dubai Food Festival Gourmet Trail with my favourite suggestion from the Ultimate Dining Experiences: TOKO Dubai! I cannot tell you how EXCITED I was when I heard that TOKO was opening in Dubai. It’s one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney and this one in Dubai is just as fabulous! It definitely brought back happy memories and made me homesick for the first time. TOKO is a Japanese Izakaya Lounge Restaurant and I could spend hours there, listening to groovy tunes, happily snacking from the extensive menu, lounging in the open courtyard space beneath floating Japanese umbrellas and reminiscing about home. It’s a foodie lover’s dream come true! What I love most, is that it has a very relaxed and chilled out atmosphere and the service is impeccable.








The menu is quite extensive, and might I add… I was very tempted to say “I’ll have one of each, please!” It was extremely difficult to select dishes from the menu as everything sounded so appealing, which means, I have an excuse to come back for another visit. Yippee!
Edamame: I can never go to a Japanese restaurant without ordering some edamame to kick-off the meal. I sometimes feel like a vacuum cleaner, inhaling the little beans from their pods one after the other 😉
Pan-fried scallop, sweet pickled apple, jalapeno garlic dressing: Wow! It’s a party in my mouth! There is an explosion of flavours which match perfectly together. It’s slightly crunchy and sweet from the pickled apple, slightly savory and juicy from the scallops, and sticky garlicky from the dressing. YUM!
Kingfish, wasabi, finger lime: I loved this dish, it was so light and refreshing. The finger limes also gave it that extra special touch.
Heirloom tomatoes, tofu cream, popped quinoa: Amazing crisp fresh tomatoes, an interesting smooth cream made from tofu and the added crunch of popped quinoa. This dish was great balance of flavours and it felt like I was eating a rainbow.
Sweet eggplant, miso: Also known as Nasu Dengaku. I loved the contrast of the dark and light sticky miso glaze on top of the grilled eggplant. Perfect harmony of sweet and savory.
Warm french beans, tofu, sesame, nori: A delicious salad which again featured the delicious tofu cream.
Smoked miso salmon, house pickled ginger: The salmon was cooked to perfection. It was very tender and melt-in-your-mouth! A distinct smokey miso flavour comes through gently.
Grilled avocado, sweet soy, lime: I loved the simplicity of this dish. The grilled avocado had a really soft buttery texture and together with the sweet soy, dash of lime and a sprinkle of salt, it was a surprising delicious combination of flavors.


WOW!!!! The food was AMAZING!!! I would happily come back to TOKO over and over again. Dining outside in the beautiful terrace underneath whimsical floating Japanese umbrellas, watching water trickle down the water feature walls, lots of lush greenery… I’m in LOVE!!! … and I love everything Australian! 😉


For other great suggestions in the Dubai Food Festival Gourmet Trail: Ultimate Dining Experiences, please refer to:





Written by Karen McLean - 0 Comments