Black Rose

Black Rose

Painted in the darkest hue
Exquisite and rare
Held by her dream and hope
In wind she swayed

I shall shine with the sun
And stay calm  under the moon
Rest shall my soul
And be born again

She sang to herself
day and night
Rest shall my soul
And be born again

Then again she went
Under the moonlit sky
Painted in the darkest hue
In wind she stood

Under the moonlit sky
he stood
But he cast not an eye
As he was a hue darker

She felt his hue
And saw him sway
She let him be
For he was to be born again

She inched closer 
And it was all perfect
They both were reborn
under the moonlit sky

EETEN, Dubai Marina

Eeten is located on the ground floor of Marina Mall, and offers International and American cuisine where the only thing better than the conversation is the food and coffee.

The best part is that it’s open from Breakfast until late and has a wide selection on the menu to choose from. Offerings include breakfast classics like the all-American and continue with mains like glazed salmon and juicy burgers. Meanwhile, power bowls, salads and soups make for a perfect quick bite. Food is best washed down with a house-blended coffee, promised to impress caffeine-purists.

The interiors are cozy with an eclectic mix of furniture -  a fine blend of stripped-back counters and monochrome tiled walls with contemporary leather chairs and super-sleek lights. Effortlessly fusing New York casual with London luxe and embodying Dubai’s own brand of cool. Trailing plants brighten the grab-and-go coffee bar, while booths offer cozy nooks to relax. I loved the outdoor seating option and as far as te weather does permit, it’s amazing to sit back and relax with the view of the walk and the hustle and bustle of the city.
An American theme runs through the menu, but there are Asian influences too with a tempura starter and wasabi-glazed salmon.

The avocado hummus dip is thick and creamy, and when we run out of crostini, the staff are only too happy to bring us an extra plate of the crunchy herb-infused mini toasts.
The zucchini fritters are crunchy and a good starter over conversation.

For mains we ordered Herb crusted tenderloin beef filet medallion and Oven baked wasabi glazed Salmon.

For the Beef filet, we went for Herb and butter sauce with fries on the side. Perfection.

For the Salmon, I asked to go with the 4s sauce, but it was a little overpowering for me. So, I just ate the salmon on it’s own, and it was moreish. And the kale and spinach soup as a side was flavorsome. The portions are quite huge and can be easily shared among two in my opinion.

Now comes my favorite part of the evening – desserts. We ordered the Affogato ice cream and the chocolate chip cookie with macadamia. OMG, both were out of this world desserts and I’m running out of words to describe how good both the desserts were. The Affogato ice cream is a soft serve that tastes extremely good. I would highly recommend this.

I expected the chocolate chip cookie to be hard when I dug into it, but I was pleasantly surprised as to how effortlessly by spoon slipped into the warm cookie dough. Combined with ice cream and the crunch of macadamia it was pure bliss. Love, love, loved it.
I would highly recommend both the desserts!

The service is good. Min zao was extremely helpful, and both he and Sandeep (the restaurant manager) came to notify us of the fire alarm and explained why our mains would take longer. I felt it was a nice touch and it didn’t keep us guessing as to what was happening.

I loved the ambience, service and most importantly the food.

It's a nice restaurant to unwind post or mid shopping at the Dubai Marina mall

Location: Lobby Level, Dubai Marina Mall
Cost: AED 250 for two

Reserve your table at: 043928604

I was invited to EETEN and all views and images are © Urbanmodish, unless stated otherwise.

EETEN Urban Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Restaurant Review - Ostro, Dusit D2

Ostro is located on the lobby level of Dusit D2, in Barsha Heights. With both indoor and outdoor seating, Ostro transports you to a calm and relaxed space instatntly. The warm low ceiling lights, the earthy tones with vintage space makes you feel like you are on a retreat far away from the city.

The interiors with comfortable workstations with plug points makes it an apt place for digital nomads.

My friend and I visited for a dinner invite for an exclusive tasting menu. 

We started off with Caesar salad, please do check with the servers as the portions are huge.

The salad was enough for us both. I prefer less dressing in my Caesar salad (I know, it’s a personal choice), and hence I didn’t really like the salad as much as I would have otherwise. The salad was fresh nevertheless.

For the mains we ordered the tenderloin fillet. This is definitely a must have. The plate was beautiful with rocket salad, boiled baby potatoes, and medium rare steak with a side of jus. The steak was cooked to medium rare perfection, the rocket salad was delish. I could eat a bowl of that. It had the perfect amount of olive oil and fresh juicy cherry tomatoes! The potatoes, steak and salad were just perfect!

We then chose to go for chocolate bomb!

It’s a seemingly innocent chocolate globe that is drenched in chocolate sauce, and then comes the best part when you break it apart.

The name is rightly so, it is an explosion of chocolate, caramel, vanilla icecream, and fresh berries. I would highly recommend this. We both savored every last bit and wiped the plate clean.

The ambience is amazing and just perfect! The service is really good, they were extremely attentive to our needs and the plates were cleared post the second course.

Location: Lobby Level, Dusit D2 Kenz Hotel, Al Khareef 1 Street, Barsha Heights, Dubai
Cost: AED 200 for two

Reserve your table at: 045672246

I was invited to Ostro and all views and images are © Urbanmodish, unless stated otherwise.

Ostro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Le Burger - MOE

I visited the new branch in MOE, and loved the interiors and the complete setup. Booths and seating areas that were spaced out and offered a private experience. The restaurant had a very chill vibe and it didn't feel like you were inside a mall! Loved loved the interiors a lot.

Every table was equipped with a bell, you could use it to place your order whenever you are ready!

The food was really good. I loved the use of recyclable straw.

We tried the burgers in both veg and non veg options with a side of sweet potato fries (yummmm) and grilled veggies.

I chose the farmhouse burger with with beef, bacon, fried egg, mushrooms and onions - it was delish!

The veggie option was keywest burger with zucchini patties.

You can skip the bun and go for a low carb option with lettuce or use a vegan whole meat bun.

I loved the many options!

For drinks i tried the El Gouna - it was pure yum and refreshing! Loved it.

For dessert we tried the chocolate cake with chocolate sauce as drizzle served with mandarins. 

Location: B3, Level 1, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, Dubai
Cost: AED 250 for two

Reserve your table at: 048808989

I was invited to Le Burger and all views and images are © Urbanmodish, unless stated otherwise.

Le Burger Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Vegan Menu @BiCE Ristorante

I was recently invited to the Go Vegan food tasting menu at Hilton Jumeirah. The menu has been curated by Kamilla and Chef Davide. Am I vegan? No! but do I love some good food? Yes, absolutely.

I walked into a beautiful dim lit restaurant buzzing with a quiet excitement. I was ushered to my table within minutes of entering the restaurant, and I loved how courteous and well informed the staff was.

I started off with some freshly baked bread and dips, and of course some red wine. I went with Nero D’Avola which was suggested by Asia (I hope I got his name right). It was light and perfect for the evening.

I was served tacos on a bed of rocket leaves. I bit into the crispy taco to find some yummy avocado, hints of lime and caramelized onion. It was delectable. Loved it.

My plate was cleared for the first course of Mushroom and truffle dumplings. The mushroom was filled with a bronoise of mushroom and vegetables and was served on miso broth. I was there was more broth, but I know not many like it. I enjoyed It and the evidence was  a clean plate.

For the main course I had eggplant Moussaka. I loved the texture of vegan cheese and meat combined with eggplant lasagna and tomato and basil puree. It was a little difficult to cut into, but it was so worth every morsel. It tasted amazing (must try).

To finish off, I was served the Vegan temptation – which was chocolate fudge topped with raspberry wafer and berry sorbet. The fudge was gooey and paired well with the sorbet. I didn’t like the waffle wafer much, but the addition of fresh berries and chocolate sauce was the perfect finish to this vegan affair.

The staff were extremely attentive and were well versed with the menu which was a plus. They ensured every guest was comfortable and taken care off. I was served by Haider, and I had brief yet memorable conversation with Anusa and Asia.

The Vegan 3 course meal in on for 2 weeks and is priced at AED 170 each. In my opinion, you must try it.

Location: Lobby Level, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Dubai
Cost: AED 350 for two

Reserve your table at: 043182520

I was invited to BiCE Ristorante and all views and images are © Urbanmodish, unless stated otherwise.

BiCE Ristorante - Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

24th St. - Dusit Thani

Located on the 24th floor of the Dusit Thani hotel, 24th St Dubai, is what happens when street side flair meets 5 star sophistication. In true Dubai fashion, 24TH St. makes its mark as the first and only Asian eatery offering these six distinctive cuisines in a street-style setting, amplified with a bustling atmosphere, contemporary eclectic décor and stunning views of Sheikh Zayed Road, DIFC and Burj Khalifa.  Guests can make their journey through a myriad of bold flavors and spices, served from the six dynamic kitchens
The ambiance is vibrant and colorful, reminiscent of urban hawker stands in Asia. Cooks will prepare the food in open-plan stations. But instead of going to each stand, you can wait at the comfort of your table.
Open for lunch and dinner, we visited this Trade Centre Area gem for a cosy and casual weekend lunch. To start we sampled a variety of dishes and cuisines: from Kim’s Korean we tried Nakji Bok-kum (AED 49) and Japchae (AED 49); from Momo San we tried the Tempura Prawn signature roll (AED 59), Salmon Avo Maki roll (AED 52) and Kimchi; From Chatakana we ordered Tandoori Jhinga (AED 105). We wound up our food with Rasamalai and Japanese Cheesecake.
Nakji Bok-kum had stir fried baby octopus with carrots and mushroom.  It’s a popular sweet and spicy Korean dish and was mild on my Indian Palate, but delish nevertheless. The combination of Octopus and Mushroom was delightful. It was also my first time trying Korean Cuisine, so I was really excited to try it out.

We then had the Japchae, which was essentially glass noodles tossed in with beef, mushroom and vegetables and served with boiled egg. This is a dish I went back in again for a second helping.

I have a weakness for sushi and I loved the sushi at 24th – both the prawn tempura and salmon roll were amazing and soothing to the palate.

From the Indian menu, we ordered the Tandoor Jhinga, which is jumbo prawns  marinated in Indian spices and grilled to perfection. It was served with  lemon and a side of finely sliced onion, carrot and coriander leaves. The Prawns were coated generously in masala and grilled to perfection. I enjoyed the taste and flavors thoroughly.

We rounded up our afternoon with some Red Wine and desserts.

Rasmalai is juicy cottage cheese dumplings served in milk cream garnished with pistachio slivers. It was absolutely delicious. We also tried the Japanese cheese cake w=served with berries. It was perfect and not overly sweet, combined with the fresh berries and a gorgeous calming view of Sheikh Zayed road.
Drinks wise 24th St is fully licensed and offers a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

The ambience gives you the best of street food that you would so desire away from the hustle and bustle, in comfort and style. The seats are evenly spaced out, giving it’s diners the needed privacy to enjoy their meal.

The staff is very attentive and are well informed about the different cuisines. We skipped on trying Italian, Chinese and Arabic cuisine, but I’m confident that they would have amazing food to sample as well.
24th street is an extravagant celebration of street-food from 6 countries that have – from the beginning of time – stood as a fine synonym for the best street side fare. That coupled with a beautiful view and exemplary service makes this a must visit place.

Location: 24th Floor, Dusit Thani Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre Area, Dubai
Cost: AED 295 for two

Reserve your table at: 043154515

I was invited to 24th St.and all views and images are © Urbanmodish, unless stated otherwise.

24th St. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

North Vietnam - Ninh Binh | Day 2

The next day we decided to go to Hang Mu and Trang An.

It was the hottest that day, and even the taxi guy kept shaking his head probably wondering why we were there.

Anyways, so we reached Hang Mua and paid an entrance fee of 100,000 dongs each, and walked towards Hang Mua oblivious of what was in store for us. There is also a lodge inside the area and it is beautifully maintained with artificial ponds and small waterfalls. A giant sign of Hang Mua, a beautiful bridge, and swings all made this a beautiful walk.

We reached the starting point, and looked up to see steep steps. Mentally I was a little worried, as I was on day 01 of my menstrual cycle (TMI? well you already read it). But onwards and only onwards we go.

I literally had to mentally push myself and the heat wasn’t helping at all. We took more breaks than we could count. My body was all fired up with the heat and humidity and I was almost on the verge of giving up. But a little voice inside my head egged me on and I thought aloud, well we do have all day left. My mom, stopped mid 80%. I was so amazed at her sheer strength and will to go on. We found a small shop and I asked my mom to wait there, while I try and reach the top. I sat there, gathered my breath and went on. It wasn’t an easy one for me.

I sang many songs in my head, visualized how I would feel all the way up and with all the strength I could muster I climbed on. It’s amazing how our physical body reacts to our mental courage. It’s something that always keeps me going. Prepare yourself to be mentally strong, everything else follows.

I finally reached the top and lo behold I had some gorgeous views. I fancy mountains, and hiking, rocks, and all the raw stuff that nature is made of. I can go on and on about how the view made me feel. But there was one emotion that I felt on top, and that was pride. I was proud of myself and my mom, for even attempting the climb. I went a bit emotional, and thanked God for letting me believe that I could and that I will and that I can always go on from there.

Now back to the Hang Mua (clears head space). There is a long dragon (no surprise there) sitting atop rocks that resemble stalagmites. The surface is uneven, and has pointy corners and spaces in between rocks. So be extremely careful. There is no safety harness or something you can grip except the dragon. Since it was a little crowded I didn’t walk to the edge (also, I was worried/scared). But I did sit there and took in the greens of the rice paddy, contrasting with the muddy browns of the water dotted with bobbing human heads. The view is something I’d urge you to not miss, It’s beautifully breathtaking and worth the hike.

From there it was an easy task downhill, we both went down effortlessly and were excited to go on to the next leg of our adventure – Trang An ecotourist boat ride.

Trang An is Halong bay on land. It has 3 different routes, all priced similarly with similar duration. Route 1 is the most sought after, but didn’t include the King Kong set, so I chose route 2 instead.

My mom and I bought our tickets and got ready to be burnt on a boat (not kidding). But the highlight was the fact that we got the whole boat to ourselves along with a rower and a ‘guide’ who didn’t do anything ‘guide like’. He didn’t come with us to any of the places, didn’t tell us anything about the caves, temples, or at any stopovers. He was meh.

So mom and I did our own exploration, hatched our own genius history based on silly facts and evidence and had a lot of fun exploring. The water isn’t very deep and runs clean. What I did like about the guide was that he collected plastic garbage (we had a few) dumped in the water. Also, when we were waiting for our boat to arrive post the king kong set, there were a few indigenous tribe who came and collected the trash (mainly plastic bottles).

It really annoyed me to see how people so conveniently trash places they go visiting. Please do carry a trash bag with you and keep all your trash with you till you find a dustbin. It’s the least we can do!.

We were famished post the boat ride, and gorged on some more Pho for me and mom had fried rice with beef.  I was feeling really bad for my Mom who has had spicy food all her life and was made to eat Vietnamese food (not complaining, I loved it), but she was acing it everywhere. I hope I’m as adventurous and ballsy as her when I’m her age.  

Post lunch we visited Phat Diem church. It’s a beauty in itself. Reminded me of the old houses back in kerala. My mom found out that there was a bell tower, and we tried as much as possible to visit it. But language was a problem even with Google translate, and I was way too tired to try further. So we left from the church and went back to our guest house, ready to shower and rest before our train to Hue.