The New, Improved Bu Qtair

151228 bu qtair restaurant

The New Bu Qtair

 

Bu Qtair is famous in Dubai. It has been showcased on BBC World and on Anthony Bourdain’s No Limits Show (the pre CNN series). It is so unlike anything else in Dubai and is a perfect place to take visitors from abroad to show the non-bling side of Dubai.

Set in an old corrugated iron giant shed thing, it was rough but clean (what we didn’t see wouldn’t harm us…).  The menu was limited to fish in masala (Sheri and Hamour being the main fresh fish choices) and prawns in the same masala. You got to choose the fish, kilos of prawns and then wait for an hour for it to be fried. Once ready, your name would be called and you would be given a plastic table to sit on with plastic plates, paratha, fish sauce and cabbage salad. Whilst waiting, we would sit on plastic chairs and drink a cup or two of tea and people watching.

Now that has all changed. The cabin/shed thing has disappeared.

151228 the old bu qtair site

The old spot for Bu Qtair.

 

The restaurant has moved to the opposite side of the road to a purpose built restaurant (see above). The system for ordering is the same. Queue (for bloody ages) to order fish and prawns. pay the guy, wait in the designated waiting area, get your name called, sit at a table and eat.

Whilst waiting in the order queue you will be pushed out of the way by passer-bys who want to go clean their hands in the sink. Due to non-excellent planning the sink for washing the hands is beyond the order queue. Not clever.

 

151228 The queue for food next to the hand wash

In front is the queue to order the food. Behind is the sink area to wash your hands. If you were waiting, there would be a lot of people pushing past with dirty hands to wash their hands.

 

There are seats inside but this area was overrun with customers who had ordered and were waiting for their food. The actual waiting area is outside past the purpose built dining area. A lot of customers didn’t see or understand the concept of sitting in the waiting area (which now has proper benches as well as those old plastic stools to sit on).

151228 the new kitchen

The new clean sparkly kitchen

 

 

It is not clear by the staff or the signs that all customers have to wait in the waiting area and that their name will be called out by the staff. They will then be given a table to sit on.

151228 wait for 30 mintues

It was amusing to watch the customers trying to grab tables and then being told to move off the tables for customers with food. However, it got to the point that the waiters were practically begging these people to move off the tables and facing a lot of attitude.  I stepped in twice to reassure customers that they would get a table once their food was ready.

The restaurant needs to have a poster or massive sign explaining the process for eating at the restaurant: ordering, buying drinks separately, waiting, sitting and eating. They can read the process whilst waiting in the really slow ordering queue.

151228 bu qtair food

The food was the same as normal, although our prawns were a bit cold. So (as another reviewer mentioned recently) same same, but different location.

Is it worth visiting. Absolutely. Do you need to have more patience than before. Yes.  We got there for 7ish on a Monday. After that, it was heaving with people. It might be due to the holiday season and cool weather, but it could be the norm now.

On a side note, we wandered around after eating and found a restaurant practically next door selling the same concept, called Al Fanna. The place was completely empty for some reason. It seemed to be very new and I can’t vouch for the taste of the food, but it looked exactly the same as Bu Qtair.  Maybe worth trying next time.

Enjoy if you do go visit Bu Qtair.

Shelina

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

 

The Italian

151112 the italian

There is a new sandwich being sold this month in McDonalds UAE. I was hungry. I was intrigued so thought I would check it out.

This was the conversation at McDonalds

Me: “Hi, what is in the Italian?”

The Server: “Chicken”

Me: “Yep I can see that, what else”

The Server:: “It’s a Chicken Burger”

Me: [big sigh] “Ok I’ll get it”

How can you be at the front of the house and not know what is in the burgers?? It’s McDonalds! Do they not train their cashiers on what to say to customers when there are new burgers?

Obviously not.

If you were curious, here is the information on the burger.

151112 the italian view

It was not bad but the Basil pesto mayo sauce was a bit too tangy for my liking and the bun crumbled being Focaccia style!

But most importantly, once again a fail in customer service here.

*sigh*

Shelina

 

 

 

 

 

© 2015 Shelina Jokhiya | All rights reserved – This post is provided for the convenience of Shelo’s Cheeky Rantings readers. Any reproduction of the content within this feed is strictly prohibited.

 

The Good, Bad and Ugly – Customer Service in Dubai

mind blown

Customer service is a continuous rant fest for us in Dubai. It’s rarely good, but mostly appalling. The Managers don’t care, the serving staff are clueless. Supposedly we can complain to the Trading Standards here but no one I know has ever had a response from them.

However, there are moments of such amazing service that it makes you feel like you are on cloud 9.

Here are four of my recent picks and how they have treated me and my friends:

THE GOOD

1. Izel Dubai, Conrad Dubai 

My friend and I went to Izel recently. The restaurant/bar is a South American fusion restaurant with a Happy Hour on Wednesday and live music.

We hadn’t booked a table beforehand but walked in and were advised by the hostess, that they could definitely give us a table. As the restaurant hadn’t opened yet, they asked us to sit on their comfortable chairs at the bar and order from the Happy Hour Menu. When the table was ready, the friendly waiter took us to the table and passed us over to our new waiter.

The food was lovely, but it was the attention of the staff that made my day. My friend had ordered a glass of wine from the knowledgeable Sommelier. He returned during our meal to check she was happy with her drink and we were happy with our meal generally. The waiter of course was attentive during the meal but left us to chat alone. We also had the Operations Manager come and introduce himself and ask if all was fine. We were not anyone featured in Ahlan or famous, just two ladies catching up. It was a nice gesture.

When we left, the hostess asked us about our experience. We did mention that the toilets were really dark and that it would be nice if we could see the toilet paper. She agreed with us and said that she would advise the management as they were renovating the restaurant during the Summer. They might not listen to our advice, but acknowledging it was nice of them.

In the lift, the Chef held the door for us and said bye when we left. Small thing but really nice.

We missed the music (which I have heard is really loud) but we had a lovely, relaxed visit to the restaurant.

2. GQ Bar – JW Mariott Marquis

A few weeks ago a group of friends and I booked a table for drinks at the GQ Bar. I had forgotten to mention we needed a smoking table when booking. Oops.

As normal I was the first to arrive, so the hostess suggested that I sit in the bar area, and then when my friends had arrived, we could move to our table. When our party arrived, we realised that we were going to be seated in the non-smoking restaurant area. We asked if it was possible to be moved to the comfy seat area in the bar. The hostess said “no problem”, shuffled the reserved areas around and fitted us four in a corner section with no hassle. During the shuffling I had mentioned to the hostess that I was disappointed by the bar men not being so hawt as expected (I had been told they would be hawt as it’s the GQ Bar!). She laughed.

Later on, I checked us in on Foursquare. Within a short while, the Acting Manager of the bar came to our table with mini drinks and asked us how our night was. Turned out that the bar’s twitter handle is linked to the Foursquare account, so they knew instantly when I had Foursquared and thanked us with the drinks. Lovely gesture. He had also talked to the hostess and asked me about my views of the bar men (my friends were embarrassed of me by then) and asked me to return in a few weeks to check the new staff who were joining :D. When we left they both said bye to us at the door.

Two weeks later I returned to the bar for a networking event. At the door, the same hostess was there and she recognised me! Little ole me! She even asked where my friends were. That night the bar man who served me was so hawt and really good at making the drinks. I told the nice hostess to inform that Manager that I was impressed :).

It sounds stupid but in this superficial, Ahlan loving, celeb wannabe town, it’s nice to be treated like someone by staff even when we are not any of the above.

Also, to have great service is such a rarity that it makes the night even more special when it is amazing.

THE BAD

bad-customer-service

3. KFC

7pm – I ordered KFC (I’m sick today, KFC is my cure – don’t judge me). They knew my normal order. I was impressed.

8.05pm – I called and asked about my food. Was told that the operator would call me back once she found out where the food was.

8.24pm – Called again. The operator said that the KFC Motor City were not answering their calls. They couldn’t find out where my food was. Told her to cancel the order and to tell the manager to call me.

8.38pm – Driver calls and says he is near my villa (I live in an apartment – the address even says Flat…).  Told him to turn around and get the Manager to call me.

8.47pm – Manager calls me. Told him of my disappointment. His response was that their internet was down and they were taking orders by telephone. I politely told him that the operational processes in the restaurant were not my problem. I ordered food the correct way, I expected food within half an hour. He kept making excuses.

There was no offer of giving me a voucher to use for next time as an apology. No offer of anything.

No profuse apologies.

Nothing.

His view was that as his operations system was down, it was my problem and I had to accept it. He said he would take my order now. I told him that I had ordered from elsewhere as I was so hungry.

The way he talked to me was sooooo arrogant that infuriated me more.

I advised him that his behaviour was unacceptable and that I would be informing all on social media. He didn’t care. That was the end of the conversation.

I won’t be ordering from them again.

Update 19 June 2014:

A KFC Manager called to apologise profusely and also confirm that the excuse about the system was actually not true. They were very angry at what happened to me and they were sincere in their apologies. As a gesture of goodwill they delivered lunch to me (and the Manager of Motory City called to check all was fine when the delivery man arrived). I will be ordering from them again. 

UGLY

inbound-marketing-wonka-meme
4. Clinton Bakery Cafe – Downtown Dubai.

Two of my lovely friends are leaving Dubai. They are having several Tweetups. This was one tweetup they set up for breakfast on Friday.

a. 3 of us entered and asked for the 6 person booth.

b. The waitress said she would have to ask the Manager if we could have booth as we couldn’t get a table unless all of our party had arrived. (I must add at this point – I had to leave after an hour and we didn’t know when exactly the rest of the party would arrive, but it would be soon).

c. Manager came to front, ignored us. Said in a nasty tone to the waitress, that we couldn’t have a table until our party arrived. At no point did he talk to us the customers, he just spoke about us to the waitress.

d. I told the waitress to just give us a table for 3 of us as I had to go. Told the Manager as well, he turned away from me.

e. Within 10 minutes 3 more people arrived. We got a booth.

f. I left.

g. My friend Khaled Akbik and his wife turned up after me. Here is his story of what happened when he entered, in his own words:

“I went a bit late to a friend’s farewell gathering this morning at Clinton Street Baking Company, Dubai. It was my first experience there and the place looked lovely and promising. I was looking forward to having a nice cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast.

My friends had already finished their breakfast when I arrived and some were still sipping on their coffees and shakes. When I called in the waiter to give him my order I was politely told that we can’t order anymore because there are others waiting for a table!! When we argued with him he called in his manager who was somewhat rude. He said there are others waiting and implied that we had exhausted our time on the table and that it would take long now for them to make a new meal, serve it and for me to take my time eating it!!

This was the first time I witness such a behaviour from a restaurant’s staff, let alone the manager, who is supposed to be accommodating to say the least.

When a restaurant puts the interest of incoming customers more than existing ones; is practically saying, you came, we served you, you paid us, now leave….we got our money from you, off to the next one.

That is not a way to run a business and needless to say, despite the apparent popularity of this restaurant, I won’t be going there ever again.”

Now yes, it was Friday, it was busy and people were waiting for the table but we had ordered a lot and still were going to order in our group. But the main issue was the Manager. I saw how he spoke to people or didn’t speak to us. He was a nasty human being.

The food was nice, but expensive for what it was. If we had been treated like humans I would go again but after being treated so appallingly, continuously by the Manager I have no desire to return until I know he has left.

The chain might be big in New York but this is not New York and you don’t treat people like this.

Update 19 June 2016 – nothing. 

This is a small pool of good and bad customer service. I could go on but it would take days to write. Where have you been that has been amazing or appalling with regards to customer service?

Foodie Blog – High Tea at the Burj Al Arab

A few years ago my Mum came to cheer me up and I decided to spoil her with High Tea at the Burj Al Arab.  At that time we were seated in the main lobby. Since then my Dad has complained endlessly that he has not had the privilege of going to the Burj for High tea with me. As Dad was here to visit last week, I put right to wrong.

This time when I made the booking they offered us a seat at the Skyview Bar. Of course I couldn’t decline this kind offer. I didn’t get the obligatory email with reference number, so had to call to obtain it the day before our reservation as you cannot get into the grounds of the Burj Al Arab without this number.

Once in, we weren’t offered the Majool date you used to get on entry but were advised by pretty ladies where to go to get the Skyview Bar lift.

Once up we got to the bar, we were seated by the window (I had requested for it and thankfully got it) with a view of the Palm and the World. Dubai would have been nicer but hey we got a view.

The tea menu is no longer as expansive as it used to be and had a page of wellness teas. Firstly, yuck and second who is going to pay AED495 for wellness teas when you are stuffing your face with cakes, sandwiches and stuff.  We started off with date tea (it was ok bit datey) and I had the Jasmine Pearl tea. It was ok but after a while all the Chinese tea tastes the same to me. Maybe I’ve been spoilt for too many years drinking the expensive stuff given to us as presents from Dad’s mates. You can try as many different teas as you like during the High Tea so we tried a variety but ended up liking the English Breakfast tea in the end. You can’t change us Brits.

First course was shortbread with fruit. Buttery but not too rich and with the tartness of the fruit was a nice start to the tea.

Shortbread with fruit

Shortbread with fruit

Next up was stuffed turkey from the Chef’s carvery. Being December and nearly Christmas there was a theme of Christmasy things for the tea.  The dish was lovely and would have been nice to have more but anyway.

Turkey from the Chef Carvery

Turkey from the Chef Carvery

Next up were the sandwiches plated on a metal Burj Al Arab. All very clever. The sandwiches were:

  1. Salmon with come caviar on it. – nice
  2. Chicken tikka roll – nice
  3. Tuna mayonnaise on squid ciabtta – interesting and nice
  4. Beef sandwich – my favourite
  5. Cucumber sandwich – it’s the same wherever you eat it.
Sandwiches

Sandwiches

We were able to have more helpings of the sandwiches as they brought a giant tray with them. I had a few more of the chicken tika, beef and tuna sandwiches.

The next course was scones and pastries. The scones were accompanied by  date, passion fruit (yuck) and strawberry jam along with Devonshire Cream. I’m a purist and I was very happy with the Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Jam.

Pastries

Pastries

The cakes were mostly coffee based and ok. Nothing spectacular to write about. I find pastries in Jumeirah hotels are always a disappointment.

On the bottom row of the Burj plates were muffins, chocolate chip cookie and crème brulee. The crème brulee did not have the crisp sugar topping which Dad and I found akin to blasphemy. How can you not have the sugar crisped top!? It’s wrong. The crème was lovely but it wasn’t perfect. The cookie was nice and soft and the muffin; it’s a muffin what more can I say.

Muffins, cookie and creme brulee

Muffins, cookie and creme brulee

Whilst we were getting a sugar fix we also were offered Christmas cookies, which had some bizarre non-sensical names, which could have been German. They were nice enough especially dipped in our tea (told you we were too British).

Christmas cookies

Christmas cookies

The final course was a lychee and rose sorbet. I am not a fan of lychee based products and drinks. Give me a lychee and I’m fine, anything more and I’m not amused. We also received a box of chocolates to take home. I kept that unopened to give to Mum as she wasn’t able to join us on this trip.

Chocolates and Rose and Lycee sorbet

Chocolates and Rose and Lycee sorbet

Have to say the Manager was very good (looking [sic]) at the end of the meal about trying to sort out the lack of Sirius card still from Jumeirah after all these years. Haven’t heard from Jumeirah since last week so I’m betting that after 8 years I won’t be any closer to getting rid of my temporary card. :S

All in all the food was nice and we had a good time. The staff were really friendly and patient with us and our multiple tea requests. The place was mostly full of tourists. One lady thought that wearing a see-through white top and see-through trousers was a great idea as she had a see through shawl on top. It’s never acceptable. I have no idea how she was allowed into the Burj. A family next to us decided to call Scotland and Pakistan and boast they were at the Burj for most of the tea which was piss annoying. Fine, yes you are excited but seriously?? Otherwise me and Dad had a lovely very genteel time.

Here are some photos of the Burj just to prove we were there.

Foodie blog – Yildiz Saray – Turkish

As a newly made entrepreneur and with an aim of saving money going out is now limited to non top brand expensive restaurants unless someone else is paying (Nobu would be nice if you’re offering). My friend is in the same boat so we decided to go to deepest darkest Deira (ok it was lit so not so dark) to go get some cheapish filling food. After reading my favourite foodie blogs in Dubai, we decided to try out Yildiz Sarayi.

The restaurant in the Concorde Hotel on the side and looks like a posh Arabic/Turkish restaurant. We sat in a booth which was nice and cosy. To call the waiter they had those call buttons on the table which was handy as you couldn’t see the waiters ever from where we were sitting.

The reviews had raved about Iskendar which i have not had in a long time and craved, so we decided to forgo any nibbles and order the mains of Iskender and Adana kebap along with some fattoush, to add a bit of healthy salad to the mix.

Whilst waiting for the mains, a basket of warm sesame seeded bread and dips were served. The bread was soft and delicious and enhanced with the tomato based dip and labneh (not bitter which i like) we had a few pieces (just a few as we knew we had big mains coming). The bread was that thick wholesome bread you would love to dip in a saucy curry.

Then came the Ayran., which is the Turkish version of laban.  At 20dhs its a bit steep, but it was lovely. Not too thick or too watery with the right amount of saltiness to not over thirst you.

Next came our mains. Iskendar, if you have never had it before,it is cubes of bread, with layers of doner kebab on top, a lovely rich tomato sauce and with yoghurt either on top or on the side (as it was for me). The yoghurt seemed generic but the rest of the plate was tender and delicious. For once I finished the plate before my friend who usually gobbles everything on site within 5 minutes. His Adana Kebap whilst looking plain was full of flavour in the soft pieces of lamb kebab. I didn’t try the rice but he had no complaints so it must have been good.

After resting our tummies, we ordered Turkish tea which was served using two teapots (one with the tea) and the other with the water to add to the glass. I have never had the tea served in this way even on my trips to Turkey but it was a nice end to our meal. We were a bit full by then to eat dessert, but they did look good.

Our meal came to 200dhs with 20% off as there was an offer at the time we went to the restaurant. Not overly cheap, but not extortionate for a filling meal in a very nice looking restaurant.

The restaurant website is http://www.yildizsaray.ae/Default.aspx

and you can find them:

Emirates Concord Hotel, Al Maktoom St. Deira, Dubai, Tel:04-252-2142

Totally Fabulous Fujairah Food Tour

As a few of us were missing the food delights of Fujairah we organised a tweetup to join our good friends @daddybird and @kangayayaroo to eat ourselves full yesterday.

Our first pit stop was at Nepal Kitchen House where we had Peanut sandeko, chicken momos, mutton momos, thukpa (noodle soup), chicken chili, chicken tass (chicken and puffed rice), and aloo jeera fry (potato, cumin seeds, corriander). I loved the mutton tass last time and had been dreaming about it for this trip. Unfortunately the chicken tass whilst tasty, the rice was not as puffily nice as last time. :(. The chilli chicken and momos were delish though.

Mutton momos Chicken Tass 2

To give our tummies a rest we ventured up to Al Hayl Castle. The road was slightly bumpy but it was nice going through an old skool village (with beautiful doors for each residence).  The castle is the very old home of the Fujairah Royal Family (saw 100 odd years old).

View from top of fort Daddy, Kanga and Mita Al Hayl Castle 2

We then took our first tea break on one of the main streets, with the men coming to the car to give us our 1dhs karak chai.

Next stop was Salu Salo which is a Filipino restaurant in an alleyway. I couldn’t tell you which alley, but you can find it on Foursquare. Here we had: Bicol express, Bopis, Lumpia, Pinakbet, and Kare Kare were our choices. Bicol express is a stew in a coconut milk sauce. Bopis is heart and lung sauteed in tomato, chili, and onion. Lumpia is meat filled fried rolls, Pinakbet is a shrimp and vegetable dish, and Kare Kare is an oxtail stew in peanut sauce. I loved Kare Kare and Lumpia, but my mate G was a big fan of Bopis.

Filipino

After that lovely meal we had one of the best karak chai’s i have ever had at Finjan Cafe on the Corniche which was served in a clay pot! It was 4dhs but worth it.

Karak Chai

Our final meal for the day was at the very long titled Zamarod Al Afghani Rice Bukhari Restaurant. There we had mixed grill, mutton curry, lamb kofta, “special” flat bread and hummous. The hummous was freshley made and divine. Reminded me a lot of the lovely hummous we ate in Beirut. After a final cup of tea we left our lovely guests and headed back home. Full but happy.

Afghani

(Thanks to Kangayayaroo for the list of food we ate from her blog post (with the same title)  as I couldn’t recall them off the top of my head :)).