Dinner in the Dubai Desert, Dubai

As it was our (Ming and my) first time in Dubai, Papa Bear organised a little treat for us – a ‘must do’ for everyone visiting Dubai – a trip out into the desert. My inbox had been flooding with this lot bouncing e-mails backwards and forwards trying to plan it all, whilst I was a quiet observer, ‘too busy to reply at work’. So without any input from me, all was sorted thanks to Dad and the frequent squeals of Ming via e-mail.
After driving around 45 minutes out into the dessert, we were armed with our essential turbans and ready to go.

Now say hello to a million and one photos that will probably be whacked in a family album pretty soon. Just to let everyone know that my outfit was normal looking when I put it on, it’s just I have little legs and it was too long for me. Playing the typical mother role, Mama Bridges held me down and tied them up for me. I then looked like Aladdin for the rest of the evening.

Miles of desert sand meant two things. 1. Photoshoot. 2. Playtime.

Once we’d finished playing in the sand, we were sat on a table in the middle of the dessert for dinner. I can try and be all cool and casual, like, you know, just another day in the life of me, but I’VE NEVER DONE ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE AND IT WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS EVER.

It was so peacefully quiet and beautiful. So so nice to not have our phones out, no business, no nothing, and just chat to this lot. I think we should have a rule to have a pot and put our phones away in them during dinner, because I can’t even describe how nice this was.

Champagne?

Nope, it was actually SPARKLING DATE JUICE. At first I was a bit like, wtf sparkling date juice? Where the hell was my champagne? But it was so, so good that if I had sipping champagne at that rate, it would have been very dangerous for little Eurasian.

I was ready for this ‘6 course meal’. Bring on the Middle Eastern food – our family’s favourite.

I’m not sure what the soup was – I want to say some sort of lentil soup? It was surprisingly really yummy, and I can’t even describe how good this light crisp bread was that came with it. It basically wasn’t even carbs it was so thin. Right? No?

The only problem with my family is the speed of which we eat. All conversation stops and we genuinely inhale our food. When we get invited to dinner parties, it’s always our family that finishes first and everyone else having barely touched their food. So when after 5 minutes we’d finished our food, we’d have to wait ages for our next course.

Alas, finally, the stars of the show had arrived. Come to mama.

There were a spread of all of our favourites. The joy in my eyes was indescribable as I piled the food onto my plate.

I had almost forgotten that the spread wasn’t the main show at all, it was still a starter. Licking my plate clean, we waited what felt like years (probably 40 minutes) for our next course to brighten up our lives. But when they brought it, boy did they bring it.

Meat platter, tick.

Hideously calorific carbs that I had to try since the rice was claimed to be cooked under the sun and topped with lamb? Tick.

Seafood platter and even more rice? Tick tick.

If you don’t eat fast, you don’t eat. Fortunately, there was more than enough to go round, and no way in hell we could finish it all. I wanted to pack up that sun-cooked rice with lamb and take it home with me and eat it for the rest of my meals in Dubai. And the meat platter. And the delicious fish. Not the fried rice though. Soz.

Once our mains had finished, we were invited down to a cosy area full of pillows and blankets to have shisha, henna and watch a belly-dancing performance. Best belly-dancer I’ve ever seen! She needs to teach me her moves so I can hit up London and make some shapes with those bad boys.

I was so sure that baklava and tea would be one of the courses, and waited patiently for my sweet tooth to be satisfied. Instead, we got plates of fruit, which was still very nice. “Baklava soon guys, hundred percent, don’t worry”.

We were then given a whole bowl of these little sweet fried dough balls, like soft baby doughnuts. As good as they were, I refrained from having more than 3 (still more than everyone else), to watch my calorific intake after my masssssive dinner. And to save space for the baklava.

We snuggled up under the stars together until we were nearly falling asleep, then were taken back to our hotel where I more or less passed out with a food baby that could only be described as 6 to 9 months down the line. Half-asleep in the car, we kept thanking Papa Bridges for the most amazing night. We genuinely have the best Papa Bear in the world!

Even though was no baklava.

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