Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY
If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!"
--French scholar Romaine Rolland
India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grand mother of tradition. Our most valuable and most astrictive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only!" --Mark Twain
So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked."
She (India) has left indelible imprints on one fourth of the human race in the course of a long succession of centuries. She has the right to reclaim ... her place amongst the great nations summarizing and symbolizing the spirit of humanity. From Persia to the Chinese sea, from the icy regions of Siberia to Islands of Java and Borneo, India has propagated her beliefs, her tales, and her civilization! "
-- Sylvia Levi
Thursday, July 26, 2007
First Time In Dubai's Ice Cafe
Deep-freeze dining debuts in Dubai.
Temperature at Dubai's Times Square mall will crash to
sub-arctic levels as the Middle East 's first ice lounge, Chillout, opens
Frost things first
Almost everything at the restaurant is sculpted out of ice.
Diners will sit on ice benches or chairs, eat at ice tables, out of ice
plates, drink from ice glasses served from a bar made of ice.
" We want Chillout to be part of people's lifestyle and not just
a unique experience that will fade away with time. Spokesman, Sharaf
It even has an ice gallery showcasing Dubai 's landmarks.
Complimenting that is an ice portrait of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad
Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and
Ruler of Dubai. Freezing at minus 6 degrees Celsius the dining area is,
well, biting cold.
A whopping Dh9 million investment, the restaurant is Dubai-based
Sharaf Group's enterprise while technical inputs came from Canada-based
Iceculture Inc, who are credited with building ice lounges around the
world, informed a spokesperson for Sharaf Group.
"We want Chillout to be part of people's lifestyle and not just
a unique experience that will fade away with time," he said.
"It was a special operation which took a year and a half to
The 2,400 sqft restaurant has three areas. The lobby and the
lounge areas are separated by what is called the Buffer Zone. Once in
the lobby, visitors will be given thermal gear to protect themselves
from the chilly conditions. It comprises a hooded parka (a heavy
jacket), disposable woollen gloves and a pair of shoes.
Visitors are = advised to first spend a few minutes in the Buffer
Zone to get acclimatised. The temperature in the buffer zone is set at 5
degrees Celsius which gives the body time to adjust to the sharp drop in
temperature in the dining area.
Cold and beautiful
Once inside, the first thing I learnt was that, contrary to my
fear, nothing was wet or dripping. I touched the walls, the sculptures,
the tables and chairs to see if they were wet. They were all made of ice
all right, but wet they were not.
"It is a popular misconception that furniture at an ice
restaurant is wet. It is the moisture on the surface of ice that gives
it the wet feel. There cannot be any moisture at minus 6 degrees. Every
bit of it turns to ice," explained the spokesperson.
The restaurant, which will serve cold cuts, cheese, juices, ice
creams and mocktails, can accommodate 40 guests, including relatively
intimate table-for-two arrangements for couples.
Seats are cushioned and acrylic-topped tables are adorned with
decorative pieces sculpted from crystal clear ice. Vapour-mouthed
visitors can feel secure in the knowledge that there are sheepskin
throws for the asking should things get too nippy for their comfort.
A looming chandelier in the middle of the lounge is made out of
ice blocks strung together by cables, as are ice-beaded curtains in the
In addition to the fact that this is a non-alcoholic restaurant,
what makes Chillout different is that the lighting here is amazing. "It
almost makes the ice a secondary feature," said Julian Bayley of
And it shows. The diffused lighting is constantly changing
colours as it filters through clean blocks of ice, filling them with
low-lux hues of varying patterns.
"As far as the ice component is concerned, there are several
features that are exclusive to Iceculture Inc. Also, the ability to
produce portraits in ice with nothing more than food colouring and snow
is something I don't think has been done before, to my knowledge," added
First-timers must be cautioned that the only thing hot in this
restaurant is the samples of spices framed with ice blocks and embedded
into the wall - of course, made of ice - providing a curious backdrop to
the juice bar.
Coming as it does in the hottest part of the year the timing of
the coolest place in Dubai couldn't have been better.
The ideal time to spend inside an ice restaurant is 30-40
minutes. While in other countries people are asked to leave after that
period, Chillout will not follow that policy.
There are no toilets inside the restaurant.
The workforce comprises people from cold countries such as
Romania and Russia to ensure they can withstand sub-zero conditions.
Workers at the restaurant are instructed to step out to normal
temperature at regular intervals.
Special lights called LEDs have been used. They do not emit heat
hence do not cause the ice to melt.
All the ice work was done by Iceculture Inc in Canada and was
shipped to Dubai in temperature-controlled reefer containers.
The flooring of the restaurant is made of special anti-skid
Chillout is claimed to be the only ice restaurant in the world
to serve food round the year.
Other countries that have ice bars and restaurants include the
UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Location: Times Square mall, between the 3rd and 4th
interchange on Shaikh Zayed Road
Opens: Thursday, June 21
Timings: 2pm to 10pm (Saturday to Wednesday and 2pm to midnight
on Thursday and Friday)
Tel: 04-341 8121
Cover charge: Dh60, includes thermal gear and a free mocktail
Cold cuts: From seating to glassware to cutlery and crockery,
everything is cut in ice
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