Paella , Tapas and Sangria Night at Home with Chef Luis from Urban Paella

Entertaining at home is something I enjoy immensely and in the past 13 years of living in Dubai , many reasons have been found to invite friends over .

I had been following Chef Louis from URBAN PAELLA on instagram for more than a year  after I read  few reviews on the Dubai Marina Mums Group page and was waiting for the perfect alibi to have home over for a fun filled Paella evening.

After a quick chat and confirming the number of guests and few brief conversations on the phone,  our Menu was set at the 6 Tapas items and one large Platter of Seafood Paella.


Tapas table ready on display

The Tapas Menu included Spanish Omellete , Lentil Salad , Board cheeses and grapes, Empanada Galega (baked puff pastry stuffed with olives tuna eggs and tomato,  Eggplant Tempura with Date Syrup, Chicken Skewers, and Prawn with Spanish Paprika.

For drinks, I really wanted to serve SANGRIA , and Chef Luis happily obliged to help me mix the botttlesof wine (personal ) with his concoction of Aniseed, Cinnamon, chopped fruit. He mixed them all in the Giant plastic tub and always had the sangria jugs well stocked during the party!

I was surprised to see Chef Luis as he promptly took over the kitchen, as 6feet5 he was the tallest person to ever enter my kitchen,  designed for a shortie like me he seemed very comfortable maneuvering around.


Chef Luis Esqueta – Urban Paella

After the initial round of drinks , Chef Luis served the tapas himself , interacted with my guests explained to us what went inside the food and loved helping out with refilling any empty Sangria Glasses!


Toast to the beautiful platter of Paella!


The Package includes serving ware and serving cutlery: i provided my own dinner ware layed buffet style for 20 guests.

What I enjoyed about hiring  URBAN PAELLA  and Chef Luis in the genuity he brings . From the serving ware and crockery , the tablescape  suggestions for a spanish playlist : he knows how to create an amazing atmosphere and bring a non spanish like me the best of Spanish Hospitality!

To add to the evening , I contacted 800 Flowers 800 Flowers  a company that collaborated with Marina Mums for a Christmas bouquet giveaway and their founder Sandrine Ales was a pleasure to work with: As dinner party favours I ordered 20 bouquets of Lavender bunches as a thank you to my friends who came, along with a Bright red Spanish Rose each for the guest to add to their hair as they entered to feel the Spanish Senorita vibe: the fragrance of flowers was beautiful and added to the evening!

This party was so much fun hosting, it was Senorita’s only so a lot of dancing , laughter , failed attmpts to boomerang , posing and giggles with some lovely people I am glad to call friends over the years!!

To get in touch with Chef  Luis , click this link for all the details! Urban Paella UAE


Easter In The Marina

Easter is always a special time for  families in Dubai depending on the date it usually falls on or before the easter /spring /midterm break, and signifies the beginning of summer…. the last of pleasant Dubai weather before the start heating up!

Now with it being Easter Sunday, and Sunday being a working day most of the Brunches/ Egg Hunts etc are on  Friday or a Saturday – I have however found a few falling on a sunday!

One of my favourite home grown  brands  *Local Dubai Marina * are the ladies behind Cooking@home In Dubai founded by two Italian Ladies who open up their kitchen and invite fellow foodies over to discuss, cook and eat Homemade Italian Goodies.

Details for their Easter weekend class on Actual Easter Sunday!! 17523146_1371850862874905_5139730960368311932_n

Dubai Marina is dotted with some of the best beach front properties in the city, with so many options at our doorstep enjoying the Easter Weekend is literally a HOP away!!

  • HILTON DUBAI JUMEIRAH BEACH :Culinary experts from BiCe and Oceana have put together an appetizing Easter Brunch for a day of fun in their Garden area Easter Brunch will include :
    Easter Egg Hunt
    Blow-up castles
    Magic Show
    Face Painting
    Ice Cream Stall
    Mojito Bar
    Starting at AED 295 personTo book call on 04 318 2999 or email fb.jumeirahreservations@hilton.com17757198_1424259240986478_665721103328483448_n

  • Easter Sunday Brunch at the Habtoor Grand Resort :  Easter Family Fun – Dine in an Al fresco setting with a lavish family brunch and great kids entertainment to be enjoyed by all at the Salamar Terrace
    For more information please visit


Easter Sunday Brunch at the Amwaj Rotana, Jumeirah Beach 


16th April 2017
12.30 – 4.30 p.m. at La Terrazza, Level 2

This Easter Brunch is big on the frills with an extensive buffet including Easter specialties, kids’ zone with egg colouring, cartoons, face painting and balloon sculpting. They also get to chase the tail on our bunny mascot and go on a hunt for yummy chocolate treats.

  • AED 125 (children aged 6 – 12 years)
  • AED 235 including soft drinks juices and water
  • AED 355 including house beverages, soft drinks, juices and water
  • AED 495 including bubbly, house beverages, soft drinks, juices and water

Contact Amwaj Rotana Easter Brunch for more details.

Whatever you do …have a lovely weekend with your Family and do share your Easter Traditions on the FB Dubai Marina Mums Group   for the mum’ s in the community to share!


My favourite coffee hangouts

One of the coolest things as a resident of the Marina is the massive number of options to choose from! Within a 1-mile radius, we have over a 100 cafés serving a much needed cappuccino… Yes, ONE HUNDRED…and most of it can be accessed by foot!

Hope you enjoy this list…there are so many to choose from and these are just the ones I visit because they are round the corner from me. Let me know what cafés you enjoy around this area. I’d love to meet you all one day over a coffee in our lovely neighbourhood!

Here are my top 5…

Starbucks, JBR

14330077_10153954427606696_5728277113607988655_nI am literally 150 steps away from this one. We’ve been neighbours since 2009 and it’s been my go-to place after a school drop-off caffeine fix. Perfect getaway for some peace and quiet, be it in my PJs, workout gear, or barefoot after a crazy mums night out!

Don’t forget to ask for your free Babycino every time you order your own cuppa. Kids get free froth milk complete with a chocolate smiley face! And of course, free WIFI – makes it a blogging Dubai Marina Mums dream!

Rimal, JBR, front right corner of Marina Tower. 7am – 12:45am. +9714 423 3751

Leopolds of London, The Beach


Nothing beats the view and the choice of coffee and tea on their menu, plus their giant copper coffee machine is a work of art!

The staff knows their coffee choices well and the ambience both inside and outside is amazing! Best time to visit is during the outdoor season (Oct-Apr) for the best views of JBR beach.

The Beach, near the kids Splash park. 

Le Pain Quotidien, Dubai Marina

While I’m not a big fan of the cups they serve (the wide open bowls without a handle) but 14322619_10153954427531696_3365156203437334360_ntheir organic coffee is a great selling point along with the staff at the Marina Mall Branch.

Convenient pit stop after a Waitrose grocery run, and their staff has been there since they opened, so they know most of their regulars well – their barista, David, knows my regular order whenever I walk in. Free WIFI, kids menu and organic coffee blends, along with the amazing vibe inside, makes it a must go.

Dubai Marina Mall, near Waitress, 7.30am to 11pm. +9714 419 0595

Bistro des Arts, Dubai Marina

Bistro des Arts is a quintessential 1970 Parisian bistro overlooking the waters of Dubai Marina, serving a repertoire of classic “Terroir” French home-style food with a rustic French décor and a garden vibe terrace.

Finally… an independent café, and not a large international chain! This place is located right next to the Marina Mall, a little walk from the Marina promenade. They have replicated a quaint French bistro with an amazing coffee and wine list (Yes, wine!). It’s a regular favourite if you are out for a stroll and would like freshly roasted coffee after a nightcap!

Marina Promenade (you can park near in Marina Mall)


The Brass, The Beach

This new cafe is for the hipster in us, minimalistic, high quality blends from Ethiopia to East Indonesia. The carefully selected menu allows you to experiment with your coffee choice further. It’s not just a cup of coffee here, it’s a learning experience. This one is a smaller pop-up version of their larger cafe in City Walk – but love how they have presented themselves right in the middle of The Beach amphitheatre – and used up their space and expertise well.

The Beach (central Promenade)


Hope you enjoy this list…let me know your go-tos for a java – morning or evening.


I will never say No! to ‘The Maine’

The Maine, Double Tree By Hilton, JBR

Perfect for Friday Lunch/Lunch with friends/Date night/ Catching up with a group/ enjoying a sunset view/added advantage if you enjoy freshly shucked oysters and grape juice. The vibe is amazing – casual chic – I have been here in stilettos and in slippers , unpretentious, original and proud to have this as my ‘Local’

Tucked away in a hotel loading dock, on the edge of Dubai’s sprawling coastline, The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill is a seaside brasserie devoid of any pretension or gimmickry.

FullSizeRenderIf you check with Reservations the number of times I have booked a table in the past 6 months, I would pop up the most! Absolutely love this place for all of the reasons listed above plus the people. The manager – Octave – is amazing – the owner Joey Ghazal can be seen serving the main course and ending up chatting with the table – the bartender’s make the best cocktails and my favourite waiter – Tony, knows our favourites!

Dont forget to take your customary picture by their infamous garage parking entrance. Their Instagram is buzzing with inspiration for photo ops!


This sign is synonymous with the end of a great night!

DMM Tip – This place is not to close yet too far to walk in heels??

Book an myeztaxi, those gold carts buzzing around the Walk? Yeah! You can actually book the golf carts you see buzzing around the walk – they pick you1b-1 up from your building within the JBR or public parking to any venue within the Beach /JBR The Walk!

Your feet can thank me later!

A: Ground Floor, The DoubleTree by Hilton JBR

T: +971.4.457.6719