The great thing about living somewhere like Dubai - a city that is still in its infancy - is that there is always something new cropping up. The latest talk of the town desert is The Farm.
This new restaurant is really something different for Dubai. For one the location. Although in the desert in the plush Al Barari estate just off the Emirates Road opposite Global Village, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in some tropical Asian country. This is very much thanks to the immense amount of thick green vegetation that has been planted flanking the road up to the restaurant and which surrounds the site. It reminded me of when I was in Ubud in Bali sitting in a restaurant overlooking a lake.
OK, the smell of frangipani is not there, but the setting is similar, with the tables on wooden decking beside a deep pool.
We got there about 1o'clock and, considering we hadn't booked, were lucky to get a table - even though it was outside. Despite the fact that, once again thanks to the vegetation, it's supposed to be six degrees cooler here, it was still a bit hot and sweaty for my liking. However, streams of mist floated down from the wooden rafters of the pagoda-like ceiling and enormous fans twirled and sprayed mist into the air. It was a great solution that made the 40-odd degree temperature bearable - but I fear they will be fighting a losing battle against the heat monster in just a couple more weeks.
Then there's the ethos which stands The Farm out from the rest of the Dubai pack. I'd go as far as saying it's almost unique for Dubai. Blimey, it's got is own herb garden and not only are all ingredients locally or organically produced where possible, they are ethically sourced too! Maheesha Ratnayake, the food and beverage manager for The Farm, was quoted in the National as saying: "We really research where our ingredients come from and ethical trading is something that we take very seriously. We look at the origins and if we are given a hint of suspicion that it might involve any kind of forced labour then no way, it has to be ethically traded, 100 per cent." Perhaps the fat cats at the head of Dubai's construction industry should have a taste of The Farm?
But there are more selling points. iPads. The menu is an iPad - how snazzy is that? It has onsite bakery where pastries and cakes are made from scratch each day and they serve a fabulous choice of fresh juices (although alcohol is not served - but apparently it's getting a licence).
I had a delicious lemongrass and shrimp salad - I never knew salad could be so darn flavoursome; hubby had a powerful saffron prawn curry - boy must they have used some saffron to make it that tasty; and the girls had chicken tenders, which were OKish but nothing to write home about.
But it's not all praise. The service was atrocious - but I'm putting this down to the fact that The Farm is still finding its feet. We waited for over an hour for our food and by the time we'd finished my two daughters were desperate to go home. So no coffee or desserts thank you. Admittedly had the weather been cooler, we would have cherished staying there for longer. I would have slouched back on a hammock beside the lake and the girls would have enjoyed playing on the adjacent lawn - rumour has it that yoga sessions will be held on this patch of grass eventually.
In fact, worshipping the sun and all that yoga 'stuff ' is all very apt in this tranquil wilderness that is a world apart from Dubai.
I will definitely be returning to The Farm. Check it our on www.thefarmdubai.com
About this blog...
I set up this blog to reveal what real life is like here in the UAE - the good and the bad. I'll chat about what I've been up to, Dubai news and developments, my thoughts about expat life here (and in general) and reports about my holidays and adventures in the region (travel is my bag after all).