Restaurant Review: Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar

I am one of those people who get intense food cravings, and cannot be satisfied until my craving is fulfilled. Just yesterday, I needed to have baked brie with green apple slices.  And the day before, it was red velvet cake (specifically the red velvet with cream cheese frosting, not the whipped cream frosting). My food cravings happen pretty often, but the thing I crave for the most is by far: chocolate.

The urge to eat chocolate strikes unexpectedly at any given time, and this time happened as I was at Mall of the Emirates.  Just as my chocolate craving hit, I looked up to see a restaurant called Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar. With the word Chocolate in the title, I knew I couldn’t  go wrong.

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I walked inside and noticed their bright interiors, smiling staff, and delicious chocolate displays, and had a good feeling I was in the right place. There was ample seating and we immediately got our menus and started perusing what chocolatey goodness to order.

After flipping through the pages complete with mouth watering pictures, my chocolate craving was on overdrive and we decided to order dessert first.  First to arrive was the molten chocolate cake, a warm moist cake with chocolate syrup and served with vanilla ice cream. I felt pure bliss as my spoon pierced into the cake and released the steam and chocolate syrup inside.

molten lava

The next dessert to arrive was the chocolate fondue, a chocolate dipping sauce served with fresh berries, brownies and bananas. The fondue was not only delicious but also fun to eat!

choc fondue

Dinner time was approaching, so I decided to stay and eat there.  In  addition to the many chocolates and desserts on offer, there is also a selection of savory foods such as salads, pastas, sandwiches and more.  I was a bit hesitant to eat anything but dessert as I always thought of Chocolate Bar as a dessert place only,  but the staff recommended the tagliatelle pasta and I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived. It was creamy and flavorful, with grilled chicken, veggies, and chopped herbs, and although it wasn’t amazing, it was tasty.

In addition to the menu, there is also a range of chocolates and truffles, gift boxes, candy bars, and other fun paraphernalia such as t-shirts available for purchase.

I finished my meal off with a cappucino, content that my chocolate craving was satisfied…until next time!

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Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar has several locations in Dubai including Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Center and Mercato Mall.  For a full list of locations and more information check here

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Disclaimer: I was a guest of Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar.

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Barbecue Delights in Downtown Dubai and Banjan Borani (Afghani Eggplant) Recipe

Being a food blogger definitely has its perks, and one of them is receiving invitations to fabulous foodie events around town. Barbecue Delights, a restaurant specializing in Pakistani, Afghani, and North Indian cuisines, was hosting a lunch at their newest location in Downtown Dubai, and I was one of the lucky food bloggers invited.

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Barbecue Delights downtown location

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Upon walking into the restaurant, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful artwork on the walls, inspired by the colorful way in which trucks are designed in Pakistan. The restaurant had commissioned an artist from Pakistan who makes “Truck Art,” and he flew all the way to Dubai to see the panels fitted together and mounted on the wall. The finished result is striking.

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Beautiful “Truck Art”

On a side note, my husband is Pakistani. When I visited Pakistan, I loved seeing all the colorful busses and trucks driving around, and was constantly pointing out how beautiful they were. I even bought a postcard with the colorful trucks on it, much to the amusement of my local Pakistani family. So seeing the “truck art” on the wall was a fun (and beautiful) reminder of those memories.

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So back to the meal. After being seated we were welcomed with a refreshing beverage of green mango blended with cumin while we perused the menu’s selection of appetizers which were about to arrive. The starters were a Rocca Salad, both Aloo and Keema naan, and an Afghani Mutton Rosh, which is a hearty stew of mutton, vegetables and aromatic spices.

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Afghani Mutton Rosh

After the appetizers, came a selection of naan and barbecue items such as Malai Boti, Gola Kabob, and Hara Fish, boneless cubes of fish marinated in fresh herbs. But the real star of this course was the Mutton Ribs, a fall-off-the bone tender rack of mutton steamed and grilled in a rich and spicy marinade. I was told Barbecue Delights sources all of their mutton from Pakistan from the best high quality suppliers. The ribs were a testament to that quality.

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Malai Boti, Boneless chicken marinated in cream, milk, and herbs and spices

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Although I was stuffed at this point, I realized the main courses still hadn’t been served. Before I knew it, Chicken Karahi, Prawn Masala,  Afghani Pulao, Daal, and Banjan Borani was placed before me. The Banjan Borani seemed to be the blogger favorite of the afternoon. It is an Afghani eggplant dish, with a garlicky yoghurt and tomato sauce. It has simple yet bold flavors and an elegant presentation. I have written the recipe at the end of the post so you can create your own Banjan Borani at home.

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After the mains we finally moved on to dessert of jalebi, kheer and pistachio ice cream. I cannot end any meal without dessert, even a very very large filling one, so I gobbled a few jalebi before leaving, loving the sticky sweetness of every bite. As we left, we received a beautiful parting gift of a colorful little rickshaw so I can showcase a little “truck art” style at home.

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Barbecue Delights Locations:

Downtown Dubai-Clarens Building

Mohd Bin Rashid Boulevard (formerly Emaar Boulevard)

Tel: 04 4343 443

 The Walk in Jumeirah Beach Residence

Adjacent to Sofitel Hotel, Dubai

Tel: 04 4230632

Lamcy Square, Oud Mehta Road

Near Movenpick Hotel, Dubai

Tel: 04 3359868/69

Note: I was a guest at a lunch hosted by Barbecue Delights. Some of the images in this post are from Barbecue Delights

Barbecue Delight’s Banjan Borani – Afghani Eggplant RecipeImage

INGREDIENTS:

500g (About 1 pound) Eggplants, cut into round slices

500g (About 1 pound) Yoghurt

15g (1 tablespoon) Garlic paste

5g (½ teaspoon) Cumin seeds

5-10g (1-2 teaspoons) Olive oil

100g (about ½ cup) Tomato paste

15g (1 tablespoon) vinegar

Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Coriander for garnish

Olive oil/Cooking oil for frying

PREPARATION:

1. Fry OR bake eggplant slices until cooked.

If frying, heat oil in pan and fry on both sides for a couple minutes until cooked.

If baking, brush each side of eggplant slice with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with salt. Bake at 450F for about 10 minutes each side or until done. Remove and cool.

2.  Add garlic paste into yoghurt. Saute cumin seeds in oil and add into yoghurt. Mix well.

3. Mix tomato paste and vinegar in a small bowl.

4. Spread a layer of yoghurt on serving dish. Place cooked eggplant slices on yoghurt. Spread the tomato paste mixture on top of eggplant slices. Add a bit of yoghurt on eggplant. Garnish with chopped coriander.