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baitmisk

 

This quaint Lebanese restaurant is located in the Fisherman’s Harbour in Jumeira 1, a place that is a pain to locate for those who are unfamiliar with the area, such us ourselves. But the food is totally worth the drive!

Bait Misk opened sometime late last year, although I have never heard or read about it until two weeks ago. But then Dubai is home to a gazillion restaurants, with probably a dozen new ones opening up each month. It’s hard to keep track!

I came to know about Bait Misk whilst searching online for a good Lebanese restaurant. My newly wed sister and her husband came for a short trip and we wanted them to try something different. The pictures and reviews on the restaurant’s Facebook page look promising so we decided to give it a try.

The Ambiance:

The building that houses Bait Misk is called the Gourmet Souq. Bait Misk shares this building with three other restaurants, all of them colorful and gorgeously decorated. Bait Misk appears to be like an Arabian tent from within, complete with brick walls, a few pieces of antiques, and lamps.

We made dinner reservation for 11 people on a Sunday evening and requested for an outdoor seating arrangement. The weather was delightfully pleasant, and while waiting for our guests, Masood and I explored the quaint harbour and the parked yachts that were swaying with the water.

I would definitely suggest this place for a romantic date, preferably during sunset.

The Service:

From the moment we arrived at Bait Misk until the time that we left, completely satiated and happy, the staff treated us like VIP guests. I could not find a fault with regard to service. Everyone was polite, courteous, smiling, and knowledgeable.

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I would like to specially mention this gentleman who was in charge of your table. His name is Ali and he’s simply the best. Everyone at the table appreciated his polite and friendly manners. He knew the food very well and made excellent suggestions. He made us feel like we’re guests at his home.

Thank you so much, Ali!

The Food:

I can only say this: The food served at Bait Misk is the best we’ve had in the UAE. Everything was served warm, fresh, and flavorful. Everyone at the table were highly satisfied with the meal. I highly recommend the following:

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Fattoush – Cucumber and tomato salad, fresh herbs, olive oil, vinegar, pomegranate sauce, and toasted Arabic bread. AED 24

Hummus – Velvety puree of freshly boiled chickpeas and tahina sauce. AED 22

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Chicken Wings – Grilled chicken wings brushed with coriander, lemon and garlic sauce. AED 26

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Grilled Hamour Fillet – Marinated in lemon and garlic and then charcoal grilled. Served with melt-in-your-mouth mashed potato and assorted grilled vegetables. AED 79

Now, while I normally do not purchase or order the endangered hamour, I had to make an exception here for my seafood-loving mother. I was disappointed to learn that Bait Misk does not serve any other kind of fish.

Not shown in the pictures (but you must order when you visit):

Grilled Lamb Chops – AED 75

Shish Taouk – Chicken cubes marinated in garlic and lemon. AED 59

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Fresh fruit platter, AED 24

Mouhalabiyah – Classic Arabic milk, sugar and rosewater pudding. AED 22

Umm Ali – Puff pastry with fresh milk, raisin and pistachio. AED 24

Kunafa bil Jiben – Kunafa dough with white sweet cheese and pistachio. AED 24

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Halawa bin Jaben – Rolls of sweet cheese with pistachio and sugar syrup. AED 24

I must say that although I am not fond of desserts, Bait Misk has awaken my sweet tooth. Everything was so delicious!

Bait Misk

If you’re craving for some good and authentic Arabic food, then head straight to this restaurant. There wasn’t a dish that we did not like. The bread, by the way, arrived fresh from the oven (both white and brown types). They also give you garlic paste and chili paste, but the grilled meat is flavorful enough to not require these condiments.

Lots of free parking available, which is a plus.

Cons: The place is difficult to locate. The water (from Spain) is overpriced.

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Bait Misk
Fishing Harbour, Jumeira 1
Opening Hours: 9 AM – 11:30 PM
Phone: (04) 343 7332

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24

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“…the redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us. Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue black.”

    —Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees

These past few days were one of the most relaxing times we have had this year. Our boss surprised us all with a generous two-week holiday, and since it was literally a surprise we had not planned anything at all. “What are we going to do?!” I panicked out of excitement. Fortunately, Masood, being the calm person that he is, immediately devised exciting plans for us. “How about we upgrade your operating system to Yosemite during the holidays?” he sweetly suggested, “and we could also go shopping for that new orthopedic mattress you keep telling me about.”

I stared hard at him, giving him the I-won’t-be-cooking-any-of-your-favorite-dishes-for-the-next-ten-years look. He laughed and told me that there was indeed a surprise in store for me. He whisked us away on a weekend getaway where I had a private pool all to myself, something I’d been dropping hints about for a year or two now.

Getting there consisted of riding three different modes of transportation, but it’s really just 2 hours away from home.

banyan tree boat

The Banyan Tree Beach Resort in Ras al Khaimah is about 80 kilometers from my home. That is roughly 50 miles. This reminds me of Fox News presenter who, quite seriously, suggested that the missing AirAsia flight QZ8501 may have disappeared because the pilots used metric, rather than imperial, measurement systems.

While Masood thought that the directions provided to us were ridiculously easy to follow, I still took out the GPS device, just in case. Halfway through our trip and the device was still trying to search for the resort. We did finally reach our landmark, the Al Hamrah Golf Club, and were supposed to take the first right, which Masood did. I looked at the map again: it says turn right into the parking area. I glanced up and saw that the parking sign was posted on the next right turn. “This is the wrong way,” I said. “Is it? Let me ask that fellow over there for directions,” said Masood. “Oh, but there’s no need. I know for a fact that we need to take that next road,” I mentally pat my back for being good with directions.

Masood drove into the next road and we came face-to-face with a dead-end. “Um, this is weird,” I quickly tried to cover-up my blunder, “I do suppose we can ask that guy there. I’m sure the direction on the website isn’t updated.”

The first right turn immediately after the Golf Club building was the correct one. Masood had been right, but I did not need to remind him that. This parking area was right next to the water and there’s a jetty a few steps away. The nice guy told us we’re at the right place, welcomed us with a smile, and told us to park our car. He then spoke into his handheld transceiver. A couple of minutes later a boat came to pick us up. I silently enjoyed the cool breeze ruffling my hijab and the plush, luxurious seats of the boat as we sailed across the ocean. The entire boat ride was over in 4 minutes.

banyan tree ras al khaimah reception

Those weren’t our bags. We had one small suitcase in which I had carefully packed my hijab-friendly swimwear (which was what I wore most whilst on this resort), four sets of clothes (of which I only used one), a couple of books (which I did not get around to reading), and my laptop (because I was on call during the weekend, in case something came up at work, and it did).

Check-in was a breeze, although the reception was quite … um, quaint … so that the nice lady at the counter was talking to us from behind the giant silver Christmas tree that occupied most of the floor. We were given warm towels and a glass of cool hibiscus juice while we wait.

We then rode a golf cart which made me feel like royalty, albeit briefly since our room arrived in less than 2 minutes.

golf cart

Ever heard of glamping? It’s going camping but with glamour so that there’s no tent to pitch, no sleeping bag to unroll, and no fire to build. This resort is a glamping experience. 

The luxurious tent from the side of the road.

Banyan tree resort in ras al khaimah review

There are roof to floor glass windows instead of walls which allows all the natural light in, giving the interiors a lovely golden glow from the setting sun. I was immediately drawn to the pool. The website says “plunge pool” and, to be frank, I had assumed it to be an extra large bathtub. The pool turned out to be larger. The water is about 5 feet deep so diving is not possible (nor allowed; there’s a sign that says so) but hey, one can swim in it. The staff was taking his sweet time showing us the room and its amenities when all I wanted was for him to leave so I can jump into the heated pool.

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A four poster bed occupies most of the space in the room. Under normal circumstances, I would have immediately jumped into the bed to check how comfortable it is, but this time I was distracted. In fact, by the time I did climb into bed it was almost midnight.

And I staked my claim on the right side of the bed because then I can watch some TV without the drapes obstructing my view, not that I actually watched TV. It was more like switching channels for 15 minutes and then turning it off. Masood has strategically been assigned the left side of the bed because it’s closer to the air-conditioner’s control panel.

It had been a cold night. By the time I got out of the pool and showered, my nose and toes were like ice cubes so we turned the air-conditioner off. Sometime during the night, however, I woke up perspiring so I asked Masood to turn it back on. One of the several things about Masood that makes him awesome is that he never, ever complains when I ask him to do something even when it meant waking him up from a deep sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, thirsty. And speaking of thirsty, we’d been married for quite sometime now and I just realized that the water bottle has always been on his side table. Always. And though I could easily exert a little effort and reach out across his side to grab the bottle, I’ve always asked him for it. Always. He has not complained even once. And then, there were a few nights over the years when we’d stay at some places during our travels where the bathrooms were located in another room. I would wake him up in the middle of the night and ask him to wait just outside the bathroom door. The need to use a bathroom having huge windows with lots of trees outside (specifically when it’s the middle of the night) in a foreign land  scares me. This is why there’s a ban on me watching horror flicks or movies involving brutal murder scenes.

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banyan tree resort bed

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Masood had to go back to the parking lot because I forgot my laptop in the car. While he was away, I took more pictures and surveyed the area. The pool isn’t completely private; it faces the beach. Hence the need for a burkini. And although there were people in the nearby villas/tents, I did not hear or see them during my entire stay. I did see a couple walk down the beach twice, but they kept to the area near their villa.

resort with private pool in the uae

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Banyan Tree Beach Resort in Ras Al Khaimah is safe and clean. Despite it being peak season, we did not feel like the resort was crowded because the villas are spaced nicely to give privacy. And the staff is polite, courteous, and unobtrusive.

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I had to spend a couple of hours for work that evening, which I did whilst lying in that cabana with a laptop, facing the pool with its blue light on making the water appear like jelly, and a cup of jasmine-infused green tea (without sugar, of course) on the side table. The fresh breeze from the ocean was caressing my hair. It’s been quite sometime since I’ve had the privacy to let my hair down and enjoy the ocean breeze.

I finished work and jumped into the pool. Dinner had to be ordered in the room because Masood failed to pull me out of the water. I came here to relax and enjoy, not spend time dressing for dinner in a fancy restaurant. Food came in a huge picnic basket, which was a cute touch. We had corn-fed chicken (which meant that the meat was certainly delicious but weighed a quarter of what a regular chicken would) with steamed vegetables, potato mint soup, and fresh homemade bread.

The following morning, I insisted on having an early breakfast so that I’ll have more time for swimming before we checkout. Waking Masood up at 7 am for breakfast is not for the faint of heart. He can get agitated, brutal, and vicious. But when I request kindly and sweetly, he gives in. Always. May Allah bless him.

The breakfast place is impressive, facing an infinity pool and the clear blue ocean. The buffet, while not as massive as the other 5-star resorts, has a decent selection. The food’s presentation is excellent and so is the taste. 

breakfast at banyan tree resort

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pancakes with mascarpone cheese and fruit

scrambled egg

waffles

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I highly recommend the Banyan Tree Beach Resort in Ras Al Khaimah for a relaxing and private getaway. For those who can afford to indulge further, there is a great spa in the resort. There are also activities you can book, such as a private BBQ on an island, sunset cruise, yoga, jet-skiing, parasailing, etc.

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Banyan Tree Resort, in Ras Al Khaimah, was quite a lovely treat for me. I returned home with happy, achy muscles. In fact, I have been so chirpy and blissful lately that I’ve spent the next few days on a baking frenzy, spending hours in the kitchen preparing food that Masood loves. Tomorrow, I’m making him pizza. From scratch. As in I’m starting with flour.

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dubai global village

From hosting 18 country pavilions in 1997, Global Village has expanded over the years to now include 31 pavilions representing more than 70 countries, with over 12,000 cultural and entertainment shows, culinary attractions from across the world and fun fair rides.

globo mascot

Global Village is like our baby and we’re so proud of it. Can’t believe it’s 19 years old already! It has become a local tradition here in the UAE to visit the Global Village at least once, and it’s also a favorite place for us to take visiting family members and friends.

turkish ice cream

Let me tell you some interesting facts about Turkish ice cream. You see, while I’m not crazy about this ice cream (is it weird that I don’t like ice creams in general?) there’s a reason why I hesitate to eat Turkish ice cream in particular.

Traditional Turkish ice cream is chewy, thick and has an elastic texture. This result stems from two of the main ingredients that are a thickening agent called salep and a resin called mastic. It’s quite popular because this type of ice cream has a marvelous resistance to melting and on hot summer days, it is consumed slowly without a fear of it dribbling down the cone.

But here’s the thing, salep is a type of flour produced from the tubers of dried, wild orchids growing in the mountains of south-eastern Turkey. Now, these rare orchids are under very serious threat. For example, for one kilogram of dried Salep, around 1,000 orchids are needed. I hope Turkish ice cream manufacturers find a good, environmentally friendly alternative soon.

chestnuts

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …

Yep, one can opt to have roasted chestnuts instead of ice cream. Chestnuts (unlike other nuts and seeds) are relatively low in calories, contain less fat but are rich in minerals, and vitamins. Oh, and they are exceptionally rich in vitamin C and folic acid. Plus, they’re gluten free!

Definitely skip the ice cream.

shadi clothes

This is how much color, glitter and sparkle we desi ladies wear to our wedding parties. My sister is getting married early next year, insha’Allah, and I have yet to pick a dress. I’m thinking navy blue or deep violet.

Some people here wear these type of clothes whilst grocery shopping. Strange but true.

fancy jewelry

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There are more than 3,500 shopping outlets and 150 kiosks showcasing various authentic products and handicrafts in Global Village! I did not count; just read this information off their pamphlet. The Global Village is so large and besides, how can one possibly visit all those shops in one day? We spent 6 hours and still missed out on a lot of shops.

moroccan lamps

What I love about the things sold in Global Village is that almost all of them are made in their countries of origin. I mean, aren’t we all tired of stuffs that are made in China?

These oriental mosaic lamps, for example, are handcrafted in Turkey and Morocco. I love these lamps and have one in my living room. They don’t come cheap but are extremely beautiful and give a warm glow to a room.

tunisian furniture

Look at these lovely furniture pieces! If you think these are Moroccan, you’re wrong. We often hear about Moroccan design. We love it for its bright colors and bold patterns. However, there is a similar type of African decor that gets overlooked – Tunisian decor.

The Tunisian style is bold but tends to be slightly subtler than its Moroccan counterpart, making it easier to incorporate the style into a modern home.

tunisian wood

Tunisia’s pavilion is my favorite stop at the Global Village. I always buy chopping boards from here every year. These wooden products are hand-carved from very old olive trees. When new, you can actually detect the faint smell of olives. I love olive wood for its distinctive swirling patterns, which create beautifully intricate designs.

In Tunisia the olive trees are protected by government regulation. This means that only trees that no longer bear fruit can be cut down and harvested trees must be replaced. Besides being eco-friendly and fair trade compliant, these olive wood pieces are non-porous and do not retain germs, odors, or stains. How awesome is that!

rides at the global village dubai

No fair is complete without rides and Global Village have a lot of exciting rides to choose from. There had been a very unfortunate and tragic accident in January last year after which another company was hired. The current rides are operated and managed by the British Organization “Mellors Group”, who have more than 100 years of experience in the field.

In Dubai? Don’t miss the Global Village!

Global Village is open until 11th April 2015.

The parking area at Global Village is designed to host more than 17,000 cars with additional overflow parking areas used during peak times.

With the exception of public holidays, Monday is a family day. Saturday to Wednesday: 4pm to 12am. Thursday, Friday and Public Holidays: 4pm until 1am.

Entry ticket per person is AED 15.

Entry is FREE for: children below the age of 3, guests with special needs and their companion, as well as the elderly aged 65 plus.

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