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Geese and guilt-free cookery...
By Rebecca Wicks

The other night I went to the launch of a bar that’s been open since before Christmas. I couldn’t really see the logic in it either but who am I to turn down free cocktails? So off I trudged with my visiting friend ‘T’ to Souk Al Bahar, where we found a host of girls in white dresses awaiting us at the entrance to Left Bank. It turned out that the launch was for a new range of Grey Goose flavours, as well as a fine opportunity to shout about the new(ish) drinking establishment. Suits me. I guess cutting corners and killing two birds� or geese� with one stone is the way of the world these days, isn’t it.

I’ve written before about my attitude towards Media Events. Mostly, they’re just not what they used to be. Maybe it’s me. I often think that maybe I’ve turned into a bit of a snob; that maybe I just don’t appreciate the glitz, glamour, fawning and faux niceties, business card bashing and air-kissing quite as much as I used to. Maybe I really would just like a night on the sofa, watching Nigella slicing and dicing that delicious invitation to voyeurism; a joyfully slow expansion of a woman’s bottom half in front of an entire nation. It makes me feel better about myself somehow, watching her spoon that ice-cream into her mouth at midnight, in the secrecy of her dimly lit pantry. I know that I should be out, dancing off my own bulk and bulges, but as long as she’s bigger than me and not afraid of growing, another night in with my feet up is acceptable. It’s a strange form of justification for my increasing Dubai-enhanced laziness, but it works.

I’ve digressed, haven’t I. It was actually with an open mind that we stepped into Left Bank, to find ourselves surrounded by afore-mentioned media luvvies and glorious Grey Goose cocktails. Aside from the few miserable looking individuals who obviously used to be “in the media” but now find themselves “not in the media”, (due to current unfortunate/economic circumstances), the mood was light and fun.

Turns out I know the Vodka Man, too � the guy who sells Grey Goose to bars. He’s a veritable fountain off the stuff, a man whose tear-ducts leak lemons and whose nostrils emit ice-cubes � a walking talking cocktail of suave sophistication and limitless free booze. Women swarm. It’s a pretty cool job in anyone’s eyes, and boy, does he know it. He recognized me, we exchanged a few words, did the obligatory air-kissing as he glided over to hand us both a nice watermelon concoction and promised to meet again soon, before he sidled off into the ether, oozing charm and smiles. I like him.

I remember when I used to do that. I never used to stand in one place for long, in a bar! I rather like the comfort of this place, though. I don’t mind standing still, watching the beautiful people squeeze by. It’s dark, almost moody and has a sort of lived in boudoir feel, like you’ve stepped back in time to prohibition and might have to dash underground at any second. Left Bank of course, mixes some of the best cocktails in town. And I’m pretty sure I should know, I’ve consumed enough of them. Better still, the barmen will try anything once. I even sniffily requested a Hot Toddy once when I was visiting with a cold. He never even asked me why I was in a bar when I clearly should have been home, watching Nigella with my feet up. He just boiled the kettle and whipped me up some steaming whisky with lemon.

This spot seems slightly classier than the one in the Madinat too, somehow. Perhaps because it’s nestled quietly in a souk that’s not as frequently visited as that place � it sort of feels like you’re in on a secret. I heard they’ve also put together a four-course, menu which offers up an entrée, a fish dish, a main course and dessert, plus a bottle of house wine for just 200 AED for two people. Crunch-tastic! The food is pretty damn good too, judging by the 93 canapes I stole from passing trays.

Combined with the incredible views from beneath the unfinished Burj Dubai, (once you’ve left the bar and stepped outside), this is bound to be one of the hottest spots in the city before too long. I dare say I’ll leave the sofa more often to mix with the media people, now. One good thing about Dubai getting quieter by the day, I guess, is that even if we spend three hours schmoozing, boozing and air-kissing, we can still cab it home in time to catch Nigella, disappearing into the pantry.

200 AED offer starts on 28th March 09 and is available on Saturday and Sunday evenings at Left Bank, Souk Al Bahar and Left Bank Between Two Bridges in Abu Dhabi. Call 04 368 4501 for Dubai reservations.

Posted: 26 March 2009

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