Australia Day in Dubai

Yesterday, Sunday 26 January 2020, was Australia Day, the official national day of Australia. It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of English ships at Port Jackson NSW: unofficially, it has also been variously named “Anniversary Day”, “Foundation Day”,  “Invasion Day” and “National Day of Mourning”. It was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories adopted use of the term “Australia Day” to mark the date, and in 1994 that the date was consistently marked by a public holiday on that day by all states and territories.

In Dubai, UAE, Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa, led by  its General Manager, Jean-François Laurent – a one-time chef in his home city of Lyon, France – made the most of Australia Day.  He personally hosted a dinner in the 239-room hotel’s  80-seat Bushman’s Restaurant. The spacious restaurant includes a private Penfold’s dining room, and a casual Ossie-type bar. Even without the special occasion of Australia Day, Bushman’s will do 140 covers most evenings.

Wood tables set with fine table top, and soft music helped an already-jovial atmosphere. Menu items included, as always, emu and kangaroo and, of course, an array of Australian beef and lamb (why else have a Josper Grill?)  One of the best meals last night, with lots of toasts in Penfolds Bin 28 Kalima Shiraz, was emu wraps with home-made jam and carrot julienne, followed by Australian wagyu ribeye with lightly grilled asparagus and eat-with-your-fingers sweet potato fries. The knives, big enough for Crocodile Dundee, were Sambonet. The smiles of the servers made the evening complete.

And what is more,  Laurent has contributed heavily, on behalf of the hotel, to Australia’s bushfires disaster charity.

Laurent has joined the hotel’s Executive Chef, Maurice Fitzgerald, in producing a really gorgeous, and useful, cookbook, A Culinary Journey, publisher NPI Media FZ, Dubai. Among the dozens of gloriously-illustrated suggestions, with clear recipes, is one for an Australian Tim Tan tart. This chocolate, honeycomb and raspberry dessert is named for Arnott’s chocolate cracker honouring Timothy Tamworth Fleming, who died shortly after entering an Arnott’s ‘create a biccy’ competition in 1930.

Anantara Dubai Palm Jumeirah Resort & Spa is part of the DISCOVERY loyalty programme of Global Hotel Alliance GHA.  Choose a Beach Villa, with totally private outside pool.

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