REVIEW : Cafe Bateel @JBR Walk

Cafe Bateel : The Perfect Lunch Date 

Travellerczech rating : kT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxc

Location : Walk@JBR ( opposite Ritz Carton Hotel ) in Dubai Marina


Overview : 

Cafe Bateel recently opened a new large, open plan restaurant/cafe/shop on the ever changing JBR Walk, Dubai Marina.

Of course, Travellerczech couldn’t miss this opportunity to visit and sample the food, service and general ambience.

Cafe Bateel is not just a lunch stop on the way to the beach…It’s Bakery, Coffee Bar and Gift Shop offers one of the best date/chocolate confections I have ever tasted. You can pick your favourite fillings and have them wrapped in a choice of luxury gift boxes…The perfect gourmet gift for all occasions.

First impression of the service is great, but I am finding hard to believe the welcoming smiles are genuine. I get the sense  the  staff are nervous under the watchful eye of the ever-present manager. Maybe this atmosphere will change in time when the new staff settle into their surroundings and become more comfortable.

Interior is delightful, with an airy, welcoming fresh feel.

 


Food : 

The Extensive Menu offers everything from soups, salads, meats, sea food and excellent breakfast options. The Dishes are inspired by Mediterranean cuisine. It is refreshingly light without leaving you feel too heavy.

Portions aren’t big but presented skillfuly and visually appealing.

They offer Seasonal menu with the freshest ingredients. Finish off the experience with a cup of Bateel coffee, it makes a pleasant change from the usual fare, you will find on every other corner.


Ambience :

The elegant interior complements the food with visual panels that clearly define the different zones. Natural tones infuse the interior with calm and a backdrop of palm prints adds a local flare.

With options to eat inside or out, there is still plenty of opportunity to observe the colourful parade of beach goers with floor to ceiling windows throughout. The dropped ceiling towards the back of the restaurant gives a more private intimate feel for those lazy afternoons browsing on your laptop.

There are free daily newspapers on offer and clever sockets underneath of the sofas at the back, for those who need to re-charge their gadgets. Free Wi-Fi is also available.


The good :

  • tasty fresh food
  • best dates, chocolate & coffee
  • ideal location for beach / cinema / shopping
  • place to be seen
  • good service in general
  • freshly baked artisan bread and deserts

The not so good :

  • notoriously bad traffic ( parking available at Murjan Tower for 10aed/hr )
  • on-going construction on JBR Walk
  • bit pricey
  • occasionally slow payment process

Practical INFO : 

  • opening hours : 8am-1am
  • accessible parking in Murjan Tower ( paid 10aed/hour )
  • Web : http://www.bateel.com
  • MAP:

 

 

 

 

 

JORDAN : Wadi Rum Desert / GUIDE

Wadi Rum Desert, also known as The Valley of the Moon is just being re-discovered after “playing leading role as a planet Mars” in recent Hollywood blockbuster “The Martian” with Matt Damon.

I haven’t see the movie myself, but I am more of an Indiana Jones fan and nearby Petra was on my bucket list for quite some time. ( about Petra in another post though )

Once in Jordan, Wadi Rum is the place no to be missed and by all means … it wasn’t just the highlight of my Jordan adventure, but this year travels itself.


The sandstone and granite desertscape in southern Jordan is 720sq.km in size. It’s beauty and serenity satisfy and surprises even the most experienced explorers.


Zalabia Bedouins, living in the desert developed eco-advenute tourism and offering bedouin camp stays, treks and tours across the entire destination.

I booked overnight camp and trek  thru travel agent in Amman on-line, with recommendations of my Jordanian work colleague.

Camps have no electricity, but you can have a quick hot shower and traditional “desert” dinner/breakfast  is being served as part of the stay.

Your bedouin host will unfold stories from the past, while serving hot arabic tea next to a crackling bonfire.


It’s not possible to do one day Wadi Rum trip from Amman. The drive itself is about 4 hours one way. Neither I would recommend to drive yourself after encountering couple of lost tourists.

Gateway to the desert represents small village, from where you will be driven on the back of open pick-up truck thru the desert…leaving just cloud of red dust behind while watching sunset and rocks turning into dramatic shades of red and purple.


The red color of the mountains and sand in the valley is due to the presence of iron oxide.

Rocks growing from open valleys reach heights up to 5580ft (1700m).


Best time of the year to visit Wadi Rum is  March/April or October/November with pleasant day and night temperatures. ( even so, it can get cold during the night )

Wadi Rum is located 36mi (60km) north of Aqaba, in the south-western corner of Jordan. Main roads connect the desert with Aqaba , Petra (71mi/114km) and Amman (201mi/324km).

Distance from Amman is 4 hours drive and 1,5 hour from Petra. Note, that the roads are quite bumpy.

Bring bottled water with you and have a cash for entrance fee / tips.


For those who have a doubts about safety in the region…Jordan is very secure, with friendly people who appreciates your interest of their country and support the economy thru tourism.

If you are looking for adventure, peaceful and “out of this planet” escape…visit Wadi Rum and Jordan in 2016!

REVIEW : Ultra Brasserie Dubai Marina

Ultra Brasserie : Whole Food with a smile

Travellerczech rating : kT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxckT8neMAxc

Location : Marina Plaza Office Tower / Dubai Marina


Overview :

Ultra prides itself on healthy, simple and affordable food…and in my experience, it does exactly that!

Ultra is a refreshing break from the generic “chain and fast food alternatives” with friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere and quick service it is a fine place to spend a lunch hour or two.

 


Food :

The menu was recently simplified, but the selection still offers something for everyone. All dishes are “designed” with health in mind, but without compromising on flavour. In other words, tasty and wholesome food you can enjoy with friends that won’t impact on your hard earned beach body 😉

All meals are freshly prepared on the premises and can be accompanied by an organic/fairtrade cup of tea or coffee.

Nice selection of guilt free cakes and muffins.


Ambience :

Bright, spacious and airy interior with fun colourful motifs and quotes. Floor to ceiling windows offering good views of the Marina Walk for those who like people watching.

Comfortable seating and laid back “urban bistro” vibe. light jazz/lounge music adds to the ambience.

Outside terrace is perfect for relaxing during the cooler winter months.


The good :

  • great tasting, healthy food
  • good location
  • affordable prices
  • quick service
  • Dubai Tram station just outside the building
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • home delivery
  • lovely views

The not so good :

  • if you don’t know where it is, it’s not easy to find
  • parking may be difficult ( parking available in Marina Mall )
  • construction next door may bothersome while on the outside terrace

Practical INFO :

  • opening hours : 7am -10pm ( daily )
  • accessible from Al Marsa st. & Marina Walk
  • Web : www.ultra.ae/marina
  • MAP :