There is a new cool hip area in Dubai and it hasn’t been built by Emaar. What is this area you might ask?? I will tell ya… AL MANARA.
You might be scratching your head, trying to figure out where you have seen this name. Al Manara is the last bit of Jumeirah before you get to the Mall of Emirates and Madinat Jumeirah. It’s between Al Manara Road and Al Thanya Road SZR side (not beach side). Predominately residential it has loads of beauty salons, Choithrams and a speeding camera just next to the area that has caught me too many times.
Recently Reem al Bawadi deigned the area suitable to open its new ultra big second restaurant which has meant my quick alternative onto Sheikh Zayed Road (Dubai side) has been thwarted with Lebanese/Syrian/pretentious wank Arabs parking like muppets and walking in the street in defiance when I have been driving past. I’m not annoyed! Nooooooo!
We also have the famous Emaraat petrol station with the 24 hours Mcdonalds. You cannot go there unless you are in a glam outfit and if you decide to wear your Yankees top on top of you pjs at 3 in the morning to get an ice cream sundae, the Mcdonalds crew will grin and make a comment. Emaraat has been good to me, except for the petrol attendant that keeps conning me of a few dirhams every week (I will get him fired soon if he keeps conning me). The lovely people in the bakery section try and keep me a fresh croissant and make a decent coffee and the lady at the till knows what I am asking for mumbling away in the morning half awake. But it was time for a change in our area…
And change has finally opened!! This week is the soft opening of two new outlets next to Reem – Al Zawaya and Crumbs. Al Zawaya is a little (when I mean little I mean tiny) supermarket which is very convenient for us Al Manara folk as we can get fresh milk and water and other bits and pieces which looks fresher than the corner shop by the mosque and feels more right to buy from rather than from Emaraat. I went in today to check out what was on offer. There were the normal stuff you would find in a tiny supermarket but the big massive bonus is that they deliver. So when I cannot be arsed to go get water from the Emaraat at 2am I can call the supermarket! Huzah!
Crumbs is a French/Lebanese bakery looking a bit Shakespeare’s like. The soft opening was just that and they were a complete mess but it looks promising, especially as the owner also owns Reem. The costs are high – pain au chocolate and Croissant were 8dhs each and they are a bit hard. I guess I can warm them up before eating but it’s not to my French liking. There were condiments and expensive pasta to buy (who buys this pasta??) but also mouth watering deserts which I need to try. Also they do breakfast and meals so when i’m feeling lazy (which is every weekend) I can go there for some brekkie. The only downside was that the cappuccino I ordered take away was 22dhs (ffs!) and also they had to go to Reem to make it as the machine wasn’t working in Crumbs. Not a good start but the coffee tastes good.
These two new outlets could brighten up my life if the service improves but I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt (as both places asked me to) and also as they only just opened. If all good, my parents will be in heaven as they love going to these type of shops in the morning for a wander when on holiday.
There is also a Canon shop in the same row of shops. But unless you have a Canon (which I don’t have anymore) you wouldn’t be too bothered. The only thing I can say about the shop is that the Canon themed car drivers are maniacs on the road.
Also in Al Manara is an amazing massage place (end of Al Wasl near the Enoc petrol station going towards Madinat). I can never remember the name, but if you have a really really bad back they will sort you out after 2 hours of pain and unknotting all for 300dhs.
There are the numerous beauty salons in the area as well. Aroushi is good and clean but the waxing lady keeps asking me if i’m pregnant which is piss annoying. The Thai centre had a slippery floor and they were rude to me when I went to ask what services they provide. There are others but I haven’t tried them out yet.
Also there is my lovely laundry guys. They know my name, the know how to fob me off when I ask for them to dry clean my stuff in a day and they have only once lost something (a belt – not too bothered really).
The area might not be as glam as Downtown Khalifa or as overgrown by malls as Jumeirah 1 and 2, but we’re getting there. Soon we will have a Jones the Grocers (not too excited if they are overpriced like in England) and a bookshop (also not over-enthused now that I have discovered reading books on my iphone) but still its making the place more vibrant. Now all we need is a cool relaxing non pretentious bar to go to after work and this place will be sorted and a Wild Peeta outlet (hint hint @wildpeeta and @gourmetsharwama).
If you are in the area give me a holla!