Dubai’s casual Peruvian outpost wants you to feel your food this Ramadan

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LIMA Dubai is located in City Walk. (Instagram)
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LIMA Dubai is offering set iftar menus at $54 per person during Ramadan. (Supplied))
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Lamb Rump Seco. (Supplied)
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San Martin Chocolate. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2019
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Dubai’s casual Peruvian outpost wants you to feel your food this Ramadan

  • LIMA Dubai is offering set iftar menus at $54 per person during Ramadan
  • It is located at Dubai's City Walk

DUBAI: LIMA Dubai, a casual dining outpost of Peruvian cuisine in Dubai, is offering up a four-course iftar menu throughout the Holy Month featuring gems from the Latin American country.

To begin, we were offered a hearty Peruvian Aguadito Soup, with a chicken breast and potatoes steeped in a creamy blend of coriander and corn. Although the potatoes were rather underdone, the soup was flavorful, yet gentle — the perfect opener.

Next up was a pair of refreshing appetizers — a Salmon Tiradito and a Solterito Salad. The ceviche-style salmon with tiger’s milk was a tad bland, with the usually tangy Peruvian dressing failing to hit the right note. The salad, however, was a different story. Crunchy, deep-fried strips of beetroot were sprinkled over a springy, fresh mix of rocket leaves and olives, all dressed in a tantalizingly tangy Japanese mayonnaise dressing. Tiny pops of sweetcorn and soft chips of halloumi cheese offered up a mixture of textures in one of my favorite dishes of the night.

And on that note, the mains were served up and I discovered another gem — the Lamb Seco.

Unbelievably tender, the lamb slices were served atop a thick coriander-based sauce, with a pumpkin puree on the side, and were topped with crunchy swirls of slivered, fried pumpkin.

The Baby Chicken was served grilled after being marinated in a glaze of panka chili, which was also offered on the side as a pouring sauce. The fragrant chicken, which was slightly salty for my taste, was dished up on a bed of herbs in a clay case alongside a slightly-too-gloopy cassava puree with hunks of chorizo buried within.

Our colorful table was completed with a side dish of Tacu Tacu Lentils, a puree of pulses, rice and chilies topped with sharp, pickled red onions.

Textures played a big role in the carefully thought out menu and the dessert carried on with that theme.

A rich dark chocolate mousse with white chocolate ice cream and gritty, delicious chocolate soil  was one of the stars of the meal. For a quirky edge, discs of dark chocolate jelly adorned the plate to provide yet another textural element. The decision to pare down the competing flavors offered us the chance to feel the food and appreciate the crunch of the dark crumbs against a creamy, cold lick of ice cream.

LIMA Dubai is offering set iftar menus at $54 per person during Ramadan.


Mindfulness profits as meditation apps mature

Updated 17 June 2019
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Mindfulness profits as meditation apps mature

  • According to figures from Marketdata, the US mindfulness market as a whole including the dozens of apps on offer topped $1 billion in 2017, and should double that by 2022

PARIS: From the Zen capital of LA to the Champs Elysees comes the calming voice of a British Buddhist monk-turned entrepreneur, introducing American-style online mindfulness to the stressed-out French.

“Relax your muscles, breathe,” Andy Puddicombe, the bronzed co-founder of the app Headspace, intones by videoconference to a roomful of participants gathered on Paris’s chic shopping artery.

The Englishman and his French team are hoping to replicate the US success of Headspace with a French-language version, in a market where New Age philosophies from the “Anglo-Saxon” world are often viewed askance.

Its path has been helped by the success of French mindfulness app Petit Bambou, which launched in 2015 — five years after Headspace — and claims more than three million users in France for its free and paid platforms.

Both apps use guided meditations for an array of situations — from coping with bereavement to just getting through a difficult day at work — with support from online counsellors, funky animations and videos.

In France, as in the US, Britain and elsewhere, companies have been signing up to subscriptions for their employees.

“Meditation is not a miracle tool, rather a mental hygiene: what’s essential is regular practice.”

Benjamin Blasco, co-founder of Petit Bambou

Petit Bambou says it has secured “hundreds of licenses” from companies such as Deloitte and railways group SNCF, and that it has nothing to fear from Headspace, which along with rival Calm dominates the US market.

In a Paris studio, working on voice recordings for the app, Petit Bambou co-founder Benjamin Blasco said his company was in any case aiming for the long haul.

“We broke even three years ago. We will not sacrifice anything on the altar of marketing,” Blasco told AFP.

“We do not try at all costs to keep people in the app,” he said, but to solicit a two-way exchange and tailor therapy to the user’s needs.

“Meditation is not a miracle tool, rather a mental hygiene: what’s essential is regular practice,” Blasco said.

Investors are certainly buying in to the concept. Calm — which like Headspace was co-founded by a British emigre to California, Michael Acton Smith — raised $88 million from a fundraising round in February.

That gave it a valuation of $1bn, which Smith noted made Calm the first “mental health unicorn”.

“Unicorns” are start-up companies with a billion-plus valuation.

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The US mindfulness market is estimated to be worth $1 billion, and is expected to double that by 2022.

But like Headspace, Calm has its sights set further afield. In Britain it has enlisted actor and TV presenter Stephen Fry to record bedtime stories for use on a popular feature that helps users get to sleep.

“America is only 4.5 percent of the total global population, so there are a lot of other people that can enjoy the product and help the company grow,” Smith told CNBC after the investment round.

According to figures from Marketdata, the US mindfulness market as a whole including the dozens of apps on offer topped $1 billion in 2017, and should double that by 2022.

Helped by the growth in apps, a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics found 14 percent of Americans had meditated in 2017, a threefold increase in five years.

Headspace alone says it has 50 million users worldwide, and has raised $75 million from investors in total, despite marketing a product that preaches “digital detox”.

The paradox is not lost on Richard Pierson, the company’s other British co-founder.

“Although there is the irony that the phone is probably causing us a lot of our stress, our hope is that by using Headspace, you’ll be able to teach yourself the techniques that you need to learn in order to be able to use your phone in a more mindful way,” he said at the Paris launch.

Many of the techniques in mindfulness apps are rooted in Buddhism and have long been familiar to practitioners in Asia. But what, if any, science underpins the apps?

Boosters got new backing with a US scientific study released in late April that looked at the effects of an experimental mindfulness app aimed at smokers.

The app helped many participants cut their smoking or give up altogether, by helping to rewire impulses in the brain linked to addiction.

The world of mindfulness “has become a business, but there is an ethical dimension,” commented Dominique Steiler, a professor at the Grenoble Ecole de Management who specialises in the “well-being” economy.

Apps “are a good way to get started”, but users should be encouraged ultimately to sever the smartphone cord and meditate alone, he said.