Café Belge is located inside The Ritz-Carlton DIFC, and on their Tuesday ladies’ nights, just being a woman entitles you to 5 drinks and 2 oysters, so this was an obvious place to meet with new friends J and N.
Dubai is such a transient city and most people are only here for a few years, so if you do not make an effort to continuously make new acquaintances, you will see your social circles diminish over time as people move somewhere else. Only a few of our friends from when we first moved to Dubai are still here, and the majority of the people I hang with nowadays are people I have met within the last couple of years.
Now back to DIFC and Café Belge. For Marina dwellers like me, DIFC feels just as far away as Kota Kinabalu, and venturing north of Mall of the Emirates, away from my natural habitat, does not happen very often. The beach and the tourists give Dubai Marina a very laid-back vibe, and you do not really dress up to go out. I walk around in flats or flipflops and wear the same clothes whether I am meeting friends at a beach club or going grocery shopping in Waitrose. Though I have promised myself to be better at exploring other parts of the city, and the Downtown/DIFC/Business Bay areas are probably among the most vibrant and interesting areas in the city right now, especially for those of us with a soft spot for fine dining and cocktail bars. DIFC is the financial center in Dubai, and people hit the bars and the restaurants straight from work, so there are lots of suits and ties and cocktail dresses, and not so many flip flops.
For ladies’ night at Café Belge, a section of the bar was dedicated just to serving thirsty ladies, with lined-up bottles of Prosecco and rosé. This was a great idea as it reduced the waiting time for ordering and getting your drink, to almost nothing.
A guy was walking around with a big basket of oysters, which were shucked at the table. The oysters were nice and of a decent size, and not the cheap tiny ones you usually get at happy hour/ladies’ nights. Would have been nice with some mignonette, tabasco and lemon though.
I did not have dinner before going to Café Belge, so I ordered Moules Marinière, and they were delicious. I had been craving fries the whole day, and the fries that came with the mussels were just perfect. The mussels were also delicious, but for Moules Marinière, one of the things I love the most is to scoop up the broth that the mussels are cooked in with a piece of bread or a spoon. Both were missing, so I asked one of the waiters for a spoon, and it arrived immediately.
Later in the evening, a saxophonist showed up and mixed saxophone tunes with the music playing in the background. J and N said that for the Friday brunch there’s a full band playing, and J stated that the brunch at Café Belge was in fact her favorite brunch in the city right now. Should we go together someday?