Here we go folks – last news before Christmas. If I get time between parties, I’ll let you know what’s going on for new year, but this should take you up to the 25th at least. Included are some of the las places left to book Christmas lunch, and then the home-delivered Christmas if you can’t cook it yourself (if you are cooking, you should have had a look at our e-mag by now). Finally, a few openings in the UAE to get you going.

Last events before Christmas (mainly for the kiddies):

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Elves Tea party

  • What: Festive choir, pony rides, face painting, and a magic show, along with a buffet and Afternoon tea for adults 200AED, free for under 6 years old.
  • When: Saturday 14 Dec
  • Details: website

Christmas Tree Lighting at Bab Al Shams

  • What: Christmas tree lighting ceremony, with giant gingerbread house, carol singing and Santa to make an appearance. Promises of being able to relax on the grass with hot chocolate or mulled wine as they switch on the lights.
  • When: Friday December 13th, with tree lighting at 18:00.
  • Details: website

Gingerbread making classes at the Oberoi

  • What: Children’s baking session with Executive Chef Dirk Haltenhof and his team of merry chefs.  Classes start from AED 80 per child, including supervision.  Chef Dirk has two small children himself and is originally from the Black Forest in Germany, making him an expert in festive fare and controlling cheeky sprites.
  • When: Saturday 14 December from 3pm until 5pm
  • Details: website

Madinat Jumeirah Winter Wonderland

  • What: market is open from 3pm to midnight on weekdays and 1pm to midnight on weekends. Spread over 2,200 square metres and extends from the amphitheatre across the waterways of the lagoon. Seasonal food and beverage snacks such as roasted chestnuts and gingerbread treats. Activities for children will include a giant snow globe, an ice rink, Santa surfing, a reindeer rodeo, Santa’s grotto, and a North Pole Train.
  • When: 17 to 27 December
  • Details: website

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DDD12-img-xmas5Christmas Dinner

If you haven’t booked your dinner (which of course, I mean lunch) already, you could be a bit stuffed like the proverbial Turkey. Luckily, at last check, these places still had some tables available.

  • Center Cut at the Ritz DIFC, AED 280 per guest includes food and soft drinks, AED 450 per guest for house vino and sparkling
  • St Tropez, MOE: 3 course set menu with softies, AED 259, or house beverages – AED 395
  • El Sur, Westin: Spanish sharing menu AED 445 per person including soft drinks or AED 595 including Sangria, sparking, wines, beer and selected cocktails. Children under six are free, and for those between 6-12 AED 225
  • The Ivy: traditional four course set menu AED 550 per person, or Boxing day also sounds good – up to 8 courses plus Jazz, starting at AED 195, up to 595 depending on how far you want to take it.
  • Le Classique Gourmet Christmas Lunch AED 360 for four course set menu
  • Robertos – Fantastic four-course lunch menu will be offered on Christmas Day and Boxing Day at a fixed price of AED380 per person
  • M’s Christmas Day Brunch AED205 per person food only, AED295 with selected house beverages, AED395 for the sparkling package, Children from 4-12 year AED75 including soft drinks
  • Bab al Shams (Al Forsan) – Christmas Day Brunch Buffet including soft drinks: AED 395, including house beverages AED 499 Children aged 5 -12 years AED 199, under 5s free.
  • At. Mosphere – pretty fancy deal with Canadian lobster and organic turkey at AED 600, food only.
  • Nine7One, Oberoi – Festive Brunch AED 390 per person for soft drinks. Booze version AED 490 per person and bubbly package from AED 690 per person.
  • Pullman Deira City Centre – Christmas Brunch priced at AED 70 for child, AED 165 soft drinks, AED 195 alcohol, AED 450 Champagne all inclusive
  • Al Dawaar – revolving restaurant at the Hyatt: AED220 per person, food only AED110 per child, food only (6 to 12 years), under 6 free.
  • Rivington Grill – 450 AED will get you a welcome drink and three very special courses.
  • Chamas Dubai – Enjoy endless barbecued meat for 450 AED per person; children below 12 years are 119 AED.
  • Desert Palm’s Rare – AED495 per adult and AED295 excluding alcoholic beverages and children aged 5-12 years costs AED195.
  • Plaj at Zabeel Saray have an Al fresco BBQ Brunch AED 310 (incl. soft drinks) AED 435 (incl. house beverages) AED550 (incl. Champagne). Kids half price.
  • Khasab – found this deal on Marhaba deals the other day. Beautiful – a basic meal for Christmas, but the stars come free. I’d call the tour operator and check there’s still space before you buy the deal though.

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Take Aways

Fortunately, if you can’t find anything you like there, you might be better off having the whole deal done at home. There are several I mentioned last year that are probably still doing similar packages, but you might also want to consider the following:

  • Baker and Spice – have a menu with a difference, and promise good wholesome ingredients, local or organic wherever possible. You’re looking at around 1000 AED for the lot for around 6 people, delivered for free.
  • Meydan have a bang-up total package (including pud and pies) for 10 at 950AED – Bargain, but you have to pick it up yourself.
  • Al Bayt, Palace Downtown – Pickup only, 850 for a giant turkey with trimmings.
  • Secrets Fine Foods – have a whole list of gourmet suggestions (no turkey, but some super oysters!)
  • Ritz Carlton – have some simple but lovely options: Roast Turkey AED 140 per Kg Roast Angus Strip Loin  AED 400 per Kg Smoked Salmon platter with condiments AED 275  or Prawn Cocktail AED 280 (serves approx. 10 people)
  • Desert Palm have 6kg Turkeys with trimmings at 585 AED
  • Zabeel Saray have turkeys from 625 and some lovely desserts (dig a bit of stollen!)

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New Openings:

  • Ocean Basket, fish restaurant chain from South Africa have arrived in Mirdif City Center
  • Katsuya, US Sushi chain have opened with great reviews in Dubai Mall.
  • Cravin Cajun – Licenced authentic Cajn cuisine at the Novotel Al Barsha
  • Iris – a new club at the Golden Tulip, al Jazira
  • Koi – sushi bar and lounge at the St Regis, Abu Dhabi
  • Anantara, Sir Bani Yas (Abu Dhabi) have just opened their second area of villas on the desert islands

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Some other suggestions or opinion to add? Please comment