Well hello good people.
Soooo I know it's been awhile and you missed me as much as I missed you (or did you). But I'm back and I wanted to keep it a bit light for now.
For those who are familiar with me- then you know I love food as much as I love fashion and if you give me both, then I'm one happy gal. And as time as moved on, I have began to have a bit of love for fitness (well it actually depends on the day).
That being said, as I gear up for my birthday this month it has become tradition for me over the last few years to go on a 28 day detox from the following: dairy, meat (I only eat fish), gluten, refined sugar and alcohol, as a means to cleanse my body and increase my energy and I always love how I feel after it's complete.
Now during is a different story. So turning 36 this year is no different and I am now on day 7 of my cleanse. I feel great, my energy is good which has led to me getting so many things accomplished, my skin texture is changing and my cravings for the usual "bad" things have definitely decreased. Which brings me to why we are here.
So living in the UAE, I have come to love mocktails, which is a cocktail sans alcohol (sans means free from for my people in the back) and there is no place in the world to me that makes a mean mocktail like the eateries and hoteliers around this hot desert. Therefore in keeping with my cleanse, I decided to pay a visit to the all new conceptual "cocktail" bar known as TVM or the The Virgin Mary, located right in our backyard at Galleria Mall.
To set the scene, I had just left from a work meeting and decided to drop by Galleria to do a bit of personal shopping for client, when I thought why not kill two birds with one stone and grab dinner for Carlos as well at the local Waitrose. It was when I looked up from the first floor and this gleaming flash of green caught my eye and I realized it was TVM.
Now keep in mind, I had previously read about this non-alcoholic bar opening months ago on island and thought to myself what a unique concept as well as how on brand for such a religious based region, but never really got around to giving it a try.
However, when I tell you all I did and I was sooooooo thoroughly pleased and surprised. As I approached the restaurant it immediately gave me swanky bar vibes.
I mean from the rich jewel tones of the seating areas to the quilted high chairs and all the ornate bottles of non-alcoholic booze aligned across the top of the bar. It looked so well put- together like an upscale Irish pub should. This of course made all the green make sense being that it was based from Dublin.
I was quickly seated by the waitress and opted for the table facing towards the facade of the luxury side of the Galleria, a perfect place to people watch in my opinion (don't act like I'm the only one).
Anyhow, once I was seated in their cozy but cute sofa chairs, I immediately took note of the gilded gold flatware, the perfectly folded napkins and the gorgeous peacock napkin ring that added such a regal touch (I will always be a sucker for magic with merchandising).
I then scanned the QR code and began to read the menu. And as we all know I am also a sucker for wording, so the whimsical way they described their variety of "cocktails" really caught my attention.
I mean they put true thought into making these mocktails appear as close to the classic libations we know and love as possible. They all sounded utterly divine and so I called the maitre d' over to help me decide which one to try. I had finally narrowed down this difficult yet delicious decision to my top three.
The Pink Myst, because there is nothing better than anything with fresh watermelon flavor when you're wailing in this desert heat
The Elderflower Spritz, because I love elderflower and have quite the obsession with St. Germain- a premium French elderflower liquor
And the Old Flame which was their take on the Old Fashioned, one of Carlos' favorite cocktail.
So when asking the waiter which he would recommend, he immediately replied- the Old Flame. I quickly agreed as I was curious to see what kind of concoction they could create from grapefruit and oak smoke.
(All photos above of menu courtesy of The Virgin Mary website)
But I also have to admit that I was hungry. I mean considering this cleanse had me surviving on apple, ginger and celery juice for the day, I decided to indulge a bit. So in keeping with my meal plan, I opted for the salmon tacos and I won't lie- I was prepared for them to be a tiny tapas portion.
However, I was pleasantly surprised when they arrived, that the salmon was plentiful as well as the flavor. It included a lightly spiced slaw and avocado ceviche and the shell had the perfect crunch like a corn taco should. While the aioli and mayo were off my cleanse- again it was a small indulgence and well worth the calories.
And what was so clever was how they nestled the tacos between lemon wedges to keep them from leaning over and spilling salmon everywhere.
And then my Old Flame mocktail arrived shortly after. When I tell you the presentation was spot on. I mean like a doppel ganger of the dapper drink we have all come to know as the "Old Fashioned". Now if you are unfamiliar with an Old Fashioned it consists of
- 1 sugar cube
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 orange peel, plus more for garnish (optional)
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
But this mocktail had all the makings of this craft cocktail and was still jam packed with flavor and even had a hint of the fire that comes from whiskey all while still being alcohol free.
The piercing pink hue paired with the hints of vanilla were very sleek. There was the enticing edible garnish that reminded me of a childhood favorite- Fruit by the Foot. I mean it was tart and sweet and then dissolved on the tongue into the intensity of the grapefruit flavor with such grace and style.
I was reminded about one of my favorite cooking shows- Top Chef in which Tom Colicchio often says "don't put anything on my plate that isn't edible even a garnish" and they definitely got it right. The presentation even resembled the fires of a flame- hence the name.
As I sipped, I didn't want it to end and what made it so awesome was that I was able to enjoy every bit of my meal without all the guilt. All I can say is job well done.
I asked for the bill and was greeted by Yash another server who proceeded to ask me if I wanted dessert but I was proud of my discipline thus far, as their caramel lotus biscotti churros which he recommended almost cost me all of my progress.
I politely declined and he informed me of all the happenings to come like their business lunch and even afternoon tea that will have unlimited tea and coffee along with signature mocktail offerings. He also mentioned that they would be welcoming a selection of non-alcoholic wines as well in the near future in an effort to get people to "drink different" (the brand motto). What I truly appreciated was his enthusiasm as well as knowledge paired with the service which could easily make TVM my new go to spot- detox or not.
I was even happy to learn that they use a bottled "spirit" called Borrago in some of their recipes and that I already had it present at my home bar (I bought it last year during Ramadan). This definitely gave me inspiration to give my non-alcoholic Paloma cocktail another go.
If you're looking for something fresh and cool that isn't lacking in flavor or fun, then I definitely suggest taking a spin at TVM.
Drink responsibly (which shouldn't be difficult here at all)
P.S. Did it really happen if there was no selfie? ( but I looked cute though in my Devereaux)