We live in that part of Dubai where we always see that majestic Intercontinental Hotel from Business Bay on (my) weekends and (my husband’s) commute to work every day. But we have not been inside the hotel or in any of their restaurants. Somehow, in Dubai Festival Area, we always get stuck at Ikea – you know how it is when you go to Ikea.
We were guests at Anise Restaurant, one of Intercontinental Hotel’s many restaurants for their Saturday Arabian Brunch. This restaurant has very high ceiling and very big space to accommodate their numerous live cooking stations for Arabic mixed grills, seafood, Chinese, Japanese and dimsums.
The Saturday brunch was mainly Arabic although they offered other cuisines like Chinese, Pan Asian and Japanese. We were offered to try this wonderful fusion of Shawarma roll from their Japanese counters.
I say it’s a wonderful fusion for people who don’t like anything raw in their rolls (me!). Yeah, me and raw fish are not friends even after living in Japan for more than 10 years.
We arrived at 1:00 pm and it was quiet, with only very few diners. There is an oud player in the small stage. The place picked up at around 2 pm. People here really do take late lunch.
There is no dedicated area for children so it was quiet a challenge for us to be chasing around our toddler who became really overexcited with the huge space. I wish they could make it more family friendly to accommodate families with small children. It’s a difficult to sample all the food as much as I wished to while constantly running around. I am sure I am not alone with this problem. Toddler, no, toddler BOYS are just unstoppable.
Meanwhile, we caught this in one corner.
They have a corner for fortune telling using (Turkish) coffee!
I asked the floor manager and this was what he explained to me:
The art of reading coffee grounds is as old as coffee itself. Turkish coffee and fortune telling are an inseparable part of the pleasure and conversation associated with coffee. The guest is served Turkish coffee, served in cup and saucer and after the coffee is drunk the cup is placed upside down on its saucer. After the cup has thoroughly cooled, the fortuneteller examines the patterns formed by the grounds. The aim is generally to impart good news and to promote a positive outlook on the future.
I am not a coffee drinker but as someone who loves the excitement of fortune telling like a giddy school girl, I gave Turkish coffee a go. Black. No sugar.
My husband and I gave our cups to Ms. Zainab, the resident coffee reader and she carefully studied the coffee residue and smiling, ready to tell us our past, present and future.
“The bottom of your cup is so black. It means you are a sad soul.”, she began talking to me. “I see travel, I see papers (maybe related to travel or your current work or that you write a lot on paper), I see fish – which means money (yay!). Generally good…but you are sad.”
Ummm, okay. How can it be good if I am sad? But then I can’t totally disagree with her. I am at a point in my life right now where I am facing some issues that make me sad. No further comment.
Also? She said if I have some good news, I shouldn’t disclose it to every one because some of my “friends” are not sincerely happy for me. And I get a “bad eye”. Some get jealous of my good news and curse me at the back instead of being happy for me. Her face was really serious.
NOW, that is pretty scary. Not disclosing my good news to all? That’s actually a struggle since I blog and share things on social media! Hmmm. What would you do?
We shared a few laughs when she read my husband’s cup. It was a bit ridiculous but it was spot on like she had known my husband for long!
The Saturday brunch at Anise was definitely an experience – the Arabic spread was extensive and delicious. The Peking duck at the Pan Asian is a must have. Leave ample space for the wide array of sweets available. All good, all good but maybe you can find the same food somewhere else but the coffee reading was a wonderful and exciting surprise! I say, go there, even for the coffee reading part!
Anise has a Friday seafood brunch with alcohol options and the Saturday brunch has no alcohol option. They also host Pan Asian themed night on Tuesdays and seafood nights on Thursdays. You can find the details here.