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Food & Drink

Sugar, spice and all things nice: Dubai's best desserts

Mon, August 30, 2021

From ultra-indulgent sundaes to camel milk ice cream, don't miss Dubai's most irresistible desserts.

From ultra-indulgent sundaes to camel milk ice cream, don't miss Dubai's most irresistible desserts.

1

Monster shakes at Black Tap

Located inside the beachfront Jumeirah Al Naseem resort, this NYC-import specialises in stacked burgers and trending ‘crazy shakes'. These made-for-Instagram treats are nothing short of indulgent, and layered with sky-high toppings, from peanut butter cups to brownies. Our favourite is the strawberry-flavoured Cotton Candy, which comes loaded with a vanilla frosted rim, a sprinkling of blue, pink and pearl chocolates, pink lollipop, rock candy, whipped cream, and of course, cotton candy.

2

Tasty soft serves at Salt

Perhaps Dubai’s most famous icy treat, Salt's Lotus soft serve – or 'softies' on their menu – takes the addictive flavour of everyone's favourite spiced shortbread cookies, and puts them into a refreshing ice cream cone (or thick shake). Visit the food-truck-turned-cafe at Kite Beach – now a local institution – to find out what all the fuss is about. Don't worry, there's an 'original' flavour too, if Lotus isn't your jam.

3

Camel milk treats at Nouq

Tapping into the local Emirati culture, this premium ice cream and chocolate brand uses one of its staple ingredients, whole camel milk, to craft its products. Nouq has almost a dozen camel milk flavours to choose from, each with a regional twist, including caramel biscuit, honey saffron, pistachio, mint tea and Turkish coffee. Camel milk is typically known for its stronger taste, but Nouq's ice cream is pasteurised, allowing for a much more subtle flavour. You'll find it at supermarkets such as Spinney's and Waitrose, and even on the menus of leading restaurants such as Arabian Tea House at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.

4

Elegant plates at Brix

Dessert so good, they created a dedicated dessert concept for it. From the well-known stables of 3 Fils comes Brix, a ten-seater venue whose menu only offers sweet treats and beverages. If you're after an intimate vibe and have a bit of a sweet tooth, this is the place for you. The tiny venue, located right next to the mothership at the Jumeirah Fishing Harbour, showcases everything from desserts, home-made ice creams and truffles with a range of ingredients, from basil oil, thyme, cherry tomatoes, Earl Grey, Vimto and extra virgin olive oil.

5

Cookies and tarts at Mélange

Homegrown batch bakery Mélange has a range of sinfully delicious cookies, cakes and tarts that can brighten up your day. Whether you're after gourmet cookies that melt in your mouth or bespoke cakes that look too good to eat, you'll find it here. Our favourite is the 2Faced slab, which pairs rich chocolate with tahini for a happy marriage between savoury and salty. You'll find Mélange's desserts stocked across Dubai in places like Depachika at Nakheel Mall, High Joint in Al Manara or The Espresso Lab in Al Quoz. Mélange also has a permanent house at The Bayswater Tower in Business Bay for cake and cookie enthusiasts to drop in.

6

Pasteis de natas at Lana Lusa

Head to Lana Lusa, a chilled-out Portuguese spot, for its mind-blowing pasteis de nata. The moreish custard tarts are available to buy in a box to take away as well, if you'd like to keep snacking on the flaky pastries as you get on with your day. Other authentic desserts on the menu include the tarte de amendoa (an almond tart) and the bolo de bolacha (a no-bake cake). This cute neighbourhood-style restaurant is in the ever-growing Wasl 51 complex, and it offers a menu of traditional Portuguese dishes.

7

Arabian delights at Al Samadi Sweets

One of the best spots in the city to get your fix of Arabic desserts, Al Samadi Sweets has been a permanent fixture in Dubai since the 1970s. Pop over to the buzzing Al Muraqqabat Street in Deira and step into the bakery and cafe that serves up everything from maamoul (a spiced date cookie) to bukaj (the cashew nut-stuffed baklava pouch). It's also where you can experience one of the best halawet el-jibn (a semolina and cheese dough, filled with clotted cream and topped with syrup and rose petal jam) in town.

8

Delicious cakes at L'ETO

Living up to its international renown, L'ETO's cafes at City Walk and around Dubai are always buzzing. Visitors are greeted by a wall of flowers while the rustic decor sets an ideal backdrop to enjoy the stylish menu. The cafe doesn't skimp on desserts though and is best-known for its irresistible cakes. Those with a sweet tooth will want to try the Napoleon millefeuille, pistachio, rose and raspberry selection, or unique birdberry cake – a healthier but utterly delicious serving made with birdberry flour and layers of sour cream.

9

Banana pudding at Magnolia Bakery

Food trends and where to eat them

This New York City-based bakery's Dubai outpost in Bloomingdale's may be small, but it sure has a big fan following. No stranger to the sweets scene, Magnolia is frequented for its world-famous cupcakes but we reckon the banana pudding here steals the spotlight. The heavenly scoop – cool, sweet, creamy and moreish – is so popular that Magnolia regularly has campaigns around it to entice 'pudding heads' back to the shop's counters.

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