EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Chef Vladimir Mukhin (#15 in the World’s 50 Best)

What Mukhin calls a “concrete jungle” is now home to his newest creation and passion, Crab Market. Dubai has always been his dream city, and how better to treat your loved one that to give it everything you’ve got?

Dubbed “the vanguard of young Russian culinary talents”, Mukhin owns one of the best restaurants in the world, White Rabbit (#15 in the World’s 50 Best), and was most recently the subject of a one-hour episode of the 2017 series of Netflix’s Chef’s Table.

We had an exclusive sit down with the award-winning star.

Chef Vladimir Mukhin (White Rabbit & Crab Market)
Chef Vladimir Mukhin (White Rabbit & Crab Market)

A big fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, the Russian chef sure knows how to spoil his own taste buds as he finds comfort – and at times, inspiration – in shawarma, hummus, baba gannoush, and all sorts of mezze. “It’s holy,” he says. He speaks of traditional Levantine food as if they’re his own, firmly believing they should remain untouched, un-modernized.

He isn’t one to go all fancy, mixing foreign ingredients like truffle and Asian components just to look extravagant, as he says many other Middle Eastern restaurants are venturing into, to eventually fail.

© Crab Market DXB - 2018
© Crab Market – 2018
© Crab Market DXB - 2018
© Crab Market – 2018

He likes his ingredients local and fresh, and most importantly, homogeneously married together. After purchasing and running seven farms back in Russia, his home country, Mukhin advises all Dubai restaurateurs to “grow their own produce.”

And to keep it all fresh, he’s aiming at dubbing Crab Market a “seasonal” restaurant, with Russian Kamchatka Crab and sea urchins, amongst many others.

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© Crab Market – 2018

Not a first-time visitor to Dubai, Mukhin is proving his expertise in the local markets is quite brilliant. “You have to go at 5 A.M. [to local markets] before all the good things are sold,” he says as he explains how he got fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables just a couple of hours ago.

“I really like mezze as a style of dining,” he adds, while mentioning how hummus is “the closest food inspiration to Crab Market’s dishes.”

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© Crab Market – 2018

With a menu based on goods from the deep blue, you are sure to experience all sort of seafood dishes “just like you’re eating Middle Eastern mezze.” It’s that simple.

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20 of NYC’s Fast-Food Giants

In a nation where not all burgers are created equal, Espresso Patronum decided to find out where animal style continues to reign supreme, particularly in the big apple: NYC.

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In-N-Out Burger has once again topped Market Force’s annual customer survey of the nation’s top quick-service restaurants; a beloved California-based burger joint, earning a 76% rating in customer loyalty. That’s higher than any restaurant in any category, even though the chain is famously limited to only the West Coast.

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It’s a redemption of sorts for In-N-Out, which added its first new menu in 15 years earlier this year. While In-N-Out Burger won the Market Force survey last year, Five Guys bested it in a separate Harris Poll last year. Chick Fil-A came in second in the overall rankings, with 73% customer loyalty. Other big winners included Raising Cane’s, which specializes in fried chicken.

Missing from the customer loyalty survey were the biggest national chains: McDonald’s and Subway. The 2 chains were completely left behind in favor of regional favorites.

Consumer Reports asked its subscribers what fast-food restaurant had, in their opinion, the tastiest food. A trend soon emerged where the biggest fast-food restaurants ranked the lowest in customer preference. For example, KFC was voted last for chicken, Taco Bell was the least liked for burritos and, sorry Jared, but Subway’s sandwiches were only beat by Au Bon Pain as least favorite among the American public.

As for McDonald’s? Americans are seriously not “lovin’ it.” “McDonald’s own customers ranked its burgers significantly worse than those of 20 competitors, including Hardee’s, Shake Shack and Wendy’s. No other house specialty scored as low,” Consumer Reports noted, as reported by NBC.

Here are the winners in some of the top food categories, in alphabetical order:

  1. Burger King 1200x-11-e1466675698479.jpg
  2. Chick-Fil-A CFA-Sauce.jpg
  3. Chipotle Mexican Grill 48200183-15277840564061399_origin.jpg
  4. Cinnabon cinnabon1.jpg
  5. Cold Stone Creamery cold-stone-creamery.jpg
  6. Dunkin’ Donuts '.jpg
  7. Five Guys dedf512d1afb037fe1c816dea70b4841d69494950a87518b7726d79fddedaec9.jpg
  8. The Halal Guys 29571207_1877157452309109_4509108115938541807_n.0.jpg
  9. Hardee’s burger.jpg
  10. In-N-Out Burger
  11. Johnny Rockets johnnyrockets.jpg
  12. KFC kfc-now-has-a-food-truck-48139-2.jpg
  13. Krispy Kreme gettyimages-540031879-1.jpg
  14. McDonald’s fl-bz-mcdonalds-ubereats-40-piece-chicken-mcnuggets-super-bowl-deal-20170131.jpg
  15. Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers 9eb751def41dfbc0856f37c56a7f98d1.jpg
  16. Shake Shack Shake_Shack2.0.jpg
  17. Starbucks
  18. Subway11.jpeg
  19. Taco BellInternational-Hero.jpg
  20. Wendy’sFREEWENDYSNUGGEST0417_01.jpg

Although America may be dubbed the “Fast Food Nation,” recent reports show that New Yorkers are more concerned with the quality of food than the convenience of the location. Despite how the world views the U.S, Americans & New Yorkers in particular actually want to eat good quality food.

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#SLYTHERINPRIDE: The Magical Weight-Shredding Potion

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU?

Well, you could just start with this.

#SlytherinPride is my secret cleansing potion, to wash off all the holidays’ calorie excess… Wanna get on it? Check how you can do it below.

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This recipe was perfected with Bosch MES4000GB Juicer, now available during the Dubai Shopping Festival.

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GAUCHO: Steak-World Royalty

The Dubai branch of Argentinian steakhouse Gaucho is tucked away in DIFC in a beautiful unflustered spot. Inside, everything is pristine.

This prestigious UK brand serves an exceptional quality of beef, excels at infusing traditional Argentinian style with cutting edge South American influences, in a stunning atmosphere for an ideal timeout amidst the frenzy of city life.

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Swiftly after arriving and being seated, “Zola” (probably the finest and most attentive waiter I’ve met in Dubai) arrives with a wooden board topped with slabs of uncooked ‘display’ steak, and delivers a podcast-worthy description of the different Argentinian cuts on offer.

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The steaks were dazzling: The Ancho Ribeye was flavoursome, delicately marbled throughout for superb, full-bodied flavor with the meat juices flowing readily over the plate at the press of a fork. The Churrasco De Lomo, meanwhile, was enviably tender, heavenly slathered in quantities of garlic and olive oil.

22. Iftar menu - ancho steakchurrasco de chorizo(spiral cut of sirloin) a la carte

One of my favorite steak sides on that night had to be the Humita Sateña. Gaucho puts their own unique twist on this classic dish, serving it in a corn husk with sweetcorn and mozzarella.

HUMITA

Desserts, too, were outstanding; with the highlight being the Banana and Coconut Mess, garnished with a splodge of sticky meringues, was sweet and decadent.

With waiters like Zola frequently swooping in to top up wine and unmatched experience; Gaucho’s still and will forever be steak-world royalty.

To book your lunch, dinner or private function at Gaucho: +971 4 422 7898. Gate Village Building 5, Dubai International Financial Centre, Dubai, UAE.

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Will This Be Beirut’s First Michelin-Starred Restaurant?

Finding somewhere decent to eat in Beirut has always been a bit like figuring out what to wear on an English summer’s day: trickier than you might think.

Despite an abundance of posh hotel joints and big-name chain brands, there just aren’t that many unfailingly good restaurants in the Lebanese capital. Luckily, CLAP comes in as an exception. Sure, there are facets that feel customary, but Addmind Hospitality’s newest baby still blows most of the home-grown competition out of the water.

Japanese gastronomy is at the forefront of this concept. Branding was designed to complement, not compete, with the lush interiors, which are dominated by wood and stone, with a large Robata counter giving off smoke and clatter against a soundtrack of lounge-y beats.

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Food highlights include Wagyu Beef Tataki, the slivers of dazzlingly fresh fuchsia-pink meat, placed over a canvas of Tozasu dressing in caramel-colored tones. Another delight is the Sea Bass Hoba, a Josper-oven-grilled fish, garnished with a light mint salsa.

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Nothing here is too much trouble. Plates are carefully placed – and replaced – throughout the meal, the table is kept scrupulously clean at all time, and everything is done with a smile.

So will CLAP become Beirut’s first Michelin-starred restaurant? Either-way, if you’re in town for a show, this is the best place to go.

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CLAP Contemporary Japanese Restaurant and Lounge is located on the rooftop of one of the most iconic buildings in Beirut, the An-Nahar building, in Downtown Beirut.

Open every day, from 12pm till 4pm and 8pm till 3am | For reservations: +961 70 633888

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Gordon Ramsay’s Twitter Version of Hell’s Kitchen: Roasting Edition

Gordon Ramsay: famous for his Hell’s Kitchen TV show and fiery comebacks that could roast you well-done. This chef is as brilliant at cooking as he is at trolling.

People of the internet have taken a liking to Ramsay ever since he graced us with his existence, and are constantly interested in his opinion towards the meals they prepare.

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He’s been focused on his TV shows as of late, which means he’s taken a break from roasting anyone’s failed attempt at cooking; However, he infamously burnt anyone and everyone who would tag him in hideous photos of meals in the past.

And here is a list of some of the burns from which you could draw inspiration.

Well, he’s blunt about his opinion, that’s for sure!

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Could you blame him for this comment? Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.46.15 AM.png

We hope they got to the hospital on timeScreen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.46.49 AM.png

RUN! Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.47.17 AM.png

Not sure the cat would even get close to this plate Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.47.52 AM.png

Is that a lasagna you would eat? Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.48.19 AM.png

Right to the point “WTF is that?” Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.48.46 AM.png

Yum, looks like cholesterol Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.49.17 AM.png

Future husband? Get him a cooking book maybe Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.50.18 AM.png

Looking for ice to apply to this sick burn Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.50.46 AM.png

A one-word burn Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.51.45 AM.png

Poor mate Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.52.39 AM.png

“Second hand profiteroles” Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 11.53.07 AM.png

Maybe love is stronger than the stomach Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 1.14.13 PM.png

Stop torturing your pets! Screen Shot 2019-03-10 at 1.14.52 PM.png

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KYO: Where Subtle Japanese Food Wins Supreme

The days of suffering through boring, hearty and outdated rounds of maki are over, thanks to the recent influx of terrific Japanese creations, introduced by the country’s newly self-elected Karate kids, Dar Al Diyafah.

Their latest signature, KYO, has already elevated the luxurious Asian cuisine, bringing an A-game of stellar Japanese rolls and fresh raw fish delicacies to the UAE coasts (or actually just Palm Jumeirah’s).

At KYO, appetizers offer the complexity of entrees, namely warm Gyozas, fresh selections of finely sliced sashimi and one of the finest ceviches I’ve ever had.

Beyond the raw, the chef has skills on the grill, forging on with dishes like the Black Cod & fresh octopus and scallops.

The dessert assortments including the chocolate fondant, meringues and tropically infused ice creams also make an appearance, and they’re all robust and satisfying.

But ultimately this is a place where subtle food wins.

KYO | The Pointe, The Palm Jumeirah.

Reservations on: +971 (04) 557 5182

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The Best of Lebanon in 20 Pictures

In the midst of news about climate change destroying most of Lebanon’s biblical cedar trees, Lebanese firmly believe in showcasing their country’s beauty off, whenever opportunities allow them.

I’ve stumbled upon a great thread of pictures that does just that.

Here are Lebanon’s best aerial shots, as taken by Rami Rizk.

LEBANON0LEBANON1LEBANON3LEBANON2LEBANON4LEBANON5LEBANON6LEBANON7LEBANON19LEBANON18LEBANON17LEBANON16LEBANON15LEBANON14LEBANON13LEBANON12LEBANON11LEBANON10LEBANON9LEBANON8Follow me for more travel stories, food discoveries, Harry Potter updates & weird recipes: FbInstagramTwitter, or hit me up for topics preferences on serge@espressopatronum.net 

ZOMATO SCANDAL: A Lesson to Brands on How to Handle Crisis Management & Brand Sustainability

A couple days ago the world of Zomato (the food Empire) was shook by a video of a delivery executive in a Zomato t-shirt, carrying a Zomato delivery bag, eating food out of boxed orders and replacing each one after resealing them, back into the delivery bag. The video suggests that he consumed some of the food meant for delivery to users, on his way to the drop points.

The internet bombarded Zomato with furious comments after the video went viral in a few hours. An internet user wrote along with the video: ‘It’s really shocking how these reputed food delivery companies are functioning. People order food online expecting basic hygiene and this is how it is delivered? I am definitely not gonna encourage my kids to order food online, I suggest even you guys don’t!’

The uproar on social media led Zomato to release a statement, acknowledging the incident and calling it “a human error in judgment”.

Below is how the professionals at one of the world’s fastest-growing Delivery & Restaurant review app have responded:

“We want our users, restaurant partners and all stakeholders to know that –

1. We take these kinds of reports extremely seriously and upon thorough investigation, we’ve found that the video was shot in Madurai. The person in the video happened to be a delivery partner on our fleet. We have spoken to him at length – and while we understand that this was a human error in judgement, we have taken him off our platform.

2. We would like to iterate that given our multiple communication channels with users, who expect the highest standards from Zomato and highlight the smallest of deviations to us as soon as they receive their orders, this is highly unusual and a rare case.

3. Unfortunately, this also highlights a real possibility for tampering with the food on the way to delivery from a restaurant. We take this very seriously and will soon introduce tamper-proof tapes, and other precautionary measures to ensure we add an extra layer of safeguard against such behaviour. Additionally, we will educate our delivery fleet of over 1.5 lakh partners to highlight or escalate any such deviations to us, while also encouraging our users — the custodians of our platform — to highlight the smallest of anomalies to us.

4. And finally, our delivery partners are the face of our brand, and the heart of our success in growing to become the largest food delivery platform in the country. Our food delivery business has grown immensely over the last year on the back of our large delivery partner fleet that work very hard to ensure that Zomato translates to a high quality food experience. We thank them and the strong support and trust from our restaurant partners, consumers and investors.

Zomato maintains a zero tolerance policy for tampering of food. This particular incident, while unfortunate, only makes our commitment to fleet training, scheduling and process even stronger. We stand behind our extensive fleet who do the right thing across many hours of the day.

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3-Ingredient Cran-Brie Bites

Flaky puff pastry, creamy brie and tart cranberries—that’s all you need to pull together these fancy appetizers. We guarantee no one will believe you when you tell them how easy they are to make.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package (17 1/4 oz) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1/2 lb Brie cheese
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce (purchased or homemade)

Steps:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets into approximately 3 inch x 3 inch squares. Press each square into a muffin cavity.

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  • Cube the cheese – about a 3/4 inch cube for each (you may have a little cheese left over). Place a cube of brie in the center of each puff pastry square. Top the brie with a small dollop (about 2 tsp) of cranberry sauce.

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  • Bake about 10 minutes or until puff pastry corners are toasted lightly brown.

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  • Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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These yummy bites might look fancy, but don’t let that fool you. (Definitely let it fool your friends, though.) I fell in love with these little Cranberry Brie Bites appetizers this fall when a friend brought them to our bi-monthly gourmet club. And when I said that I swooned, I meant that I tucked into more than my fair share. In fact, I can’t be sure anyone else actually had any. Melty cheese makes me a bit weak in the knees – the addition of a little fruit, the puff pastry and that’s about all I need. (Dinner, schminner! Where’s the Sauvignon Blanc!) Once I learned how easy Cranberry Brie Bites were to make, I wanted to share them with you! I was a bit intimidated by the puff pastry, having never worked with it before. This recipe requires no additional rolling (I don’t know about you, but the rolling pin is my nemesis . . .). Just thaw the frozen puff pastry, and cut with a pizza cutter. Easy! Allow these golden bites of brie cool for a few minutes before serving and devour!

 

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This recipe was first featured on Tablespoon.

 

 

AFFORDABLE LUXURY: DUBAI’S POCKET-FRIENDLY MICHELIN-STARRED DINNER

Dubaians, take a moment to thank the Italian cuisine & wines world summit, for introducing us and the team at MATTO Dubai to Italian Michelin Chef Vincenzo Guarino, #43rd Best Chef in the world & risotto expert.

Born in Vico Equense (Naples) in Italy on the 4th of April 1977, Vincenzo fell in love with the culinary art at the tender age of 14 and the idea of becoming a chef began to mature within him.

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After embarking on a path of specific studies at the State Professional Institute for hotel services and catering of Roccaraso (Aquila) in Italy, from where he has received his diploma in 1998, he began his journey of unpaid internships in some of the world’s most popular locations such as Lausanne, Zurich, Naples and Milan prestigious starred Chefs of national and International fame, such as Fredy Girardet, André Jaeger and Davide Oldani.

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This specialized savvy in confectionery (Low- calories desserts, Panettone, Pandoro and liqueur Chocolates) as well as preparation of risottos and Finger food, is now taking full control of the kitchen down at MATTO, The Oberoi Hotel on the 21st, 22nd & 23rd of November.

Enjoy the four-course menu below, and the chance to meet a world-renowned Michelin Starred chef for AED 325 per person at MATTO Dubai. Book your affordable Michelin-starred dinner on: +971 4 444 1335

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“When food brings glorious sparks to reality, that’s the MATTO side of art”

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PREVIEW: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald

“I want to know who I am,” Credence Barebone says in the newest trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of GrindelwaldIt’s a question fans have been asking themselves for over a year now: what is Credence’s connection to Grindelwald?

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Film fans are returning to the world of Harry Potter once again this November 15, with the arrival of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in worldwide theaters.

The highly-anticipated follow-up to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them promises to be one of the biggest family films arriving over the festive period.

Eddie Redmayne’s magizoologist Newt Scamander is returning to the fold, along with his creature companions and a few familiar faces from the Potter universe.

If you can’t wait until the film is out to get your next Potter fix, and you’re not invited to the fan premiere such as myself (shoutout to the Warner Bros/Shooting Stars teams for this), here’s where you can find a preview of the magic.

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