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


You know you are a Marina Mum when…

Being a Marina Mum is not for the faint hearted.  You need a certain kind of spunk to “absolutely love” living here – it’s like being in the middle of the most ‘funnest’ place on Earth. Marina Living is synonymous with an outdoorsy life mixed with apartment living. You get your money’s worth by being able to enjoy the beach, pool, fountains, the Marina & 7km track all in one walk! Dubai Marina is perfect for those  who have the zest for life to switch from A.M. to P.M. in a matter of seconds.

I  opened this question out to the 4,500 members of the Dubai Marina Mums group, to ask them what they felt it was like to live in the Marina, to be a Marina Mum! Some of the best ones are posted here…so here goes.

You know you’re a Marina Mum when…

– You’re used to some of the world’s best firework displays views from your balcony or 825906455windows, the best of course,  being the New Year’s Eve extravaganza on JBR beach (with your baby mastering the art of sleeping through it all!) Plus the 30 days continuous one at the shopping festival and both the Eid’s!

– Your weekend entails going for an early brekkie, then beach, then pool and then maybe a date night , all without ever having to sit in a car.

images-1– You don’t bat an eyelid if you see 25 people falling out from an aeroplane with parachutes, because of  SkyDive next door.

– When you’re invited to check out a new 5-star hotel pool with your family and you’re reply is ‘meh’. True story!🙂

– When the thought of socialising anywhere other than Pier 7 or JBR on a Thursday night sends a chill down your spine.

– When you don’t need to make a mani/pedi appointment because you know at least one of the ten salons in your strip of buildings will have a space available.


– When looking out of your window you get a view of the beach, the parachutes, the Marina, the yachts, the buzzing traffic on SZR and an occasional helicopter, all in  one go.

– When some of the best nurseries for your kids are literally yards away.

– When you buy a bicycle instead of a car, because everything is close by (true story).

– When your calender is marked for the year with guests and friends’ visits booked well in advance.

– When your daughter tells people she lives in a tower just like Rapunzel.

camel-beach-800x585– When your kids’ friends are from Rimal, Bahar and Sadaf and not from UK, USA or India.

– When venturing out to Dubai Mall is considered a road trip.

– When you’ve mastered the art of getting an entire grocery shop, from your car parked in the basement of your building, in and out of an elevator and to your front door.

– When you can rattle off all the cool places to visit, eat, party and experience, depending on your visitor’s demographic and intention of visit (including options for best nights out and vouchers).

– When most of the mums are connected to each other by logging on to the Dubai Marina Mums, and you can recognise a fellow mum from her profile pic on the group! Many familar faces in Marina Mall, and you can connect with a mum in the same building who’s the same age as your kids at the click of a button! Ask, Support, Share!