Something borrowed: Online boutique for pre-worn wedding gowns launches in Dubai

New e-marketplace dresscometrue.com allows brides in the Middle East to sell their pre-loved gowns. (Supplied)
Updated 10 June 2019

Something borrowed: Online boutique for pre-worn wedding gowns launches in Dubai

  • Some of the dresses are almost 70% cheaper than their original price
  • Sellers can choose to list their dress under three different options of service

DUBAI: Brides-to-be in the Gulf often spend the lead up to their big day frantically searching for the perfect wedding dress. It’s no secret that options in the region are far from plentiful and it isn’t unheard of for brides to head abroad in the hunt for the ultimate bridal gown.

After struggling to find her own wedding dress, Dubai-based entrepreneur Eva Hachem joined forces with her husband Andy Werner to launch Dress Come True, a new platform that allows brides to shop for pre-loved wedding gowns online, with as much as 70 percent off the original retail price.

“I got married in Dubai and… I struggled to find my dream dress. I found that the prices were unreasonable and I either had to compromise on the selection or on the price,” Hachem told Arab News.

“After the wedding, I wanted to sell the dress so I picked up the phone and called boutiques and I said ‘okay, all the brides who buy from you, where do they re-sell their dress?’ They said, ‘We wish (we knew), all the brides ask us.”

The exchange sparked an idea that quickly snowballed into the new platform, one where brides can sell the “one dress you will never wear again,” while making sure it goes to someone who will cherish the gown.  

Loved-up newlyweds can list their gowns on the website for a one-time fee, with three options available. The basic package costs $22 and requires the seller to organize the delivery, while the second option allows the seller to fall back on the Dress Come True team to organize the delivery for a one-time fee of $35. Finally, for $41, sellers can avail the so-called concierge service, where the company handles all aspects of the sale.

But can brides bear to part with such an important item of clothing?

“Yesterday we talked to a bride who said something very interesting,” Hachem told Arab News. “She said, ‘I have had my dress for two years and I cherish it, but I don’t want to keep it. I never had the heart to list it next to any other item… So, when I saw the (website) and how the dresses are valued, it felt like the right place to list my dress. It has sentimental value, but you are not going to wear it again.’”


Tonda delivers authentic Italian flavors at the double

The Italian establishment’s first GCC branch is a welcome addition to the Dubai scene. (Supplied)
Updated 19 August 2019

Tonda delivers authentic Italian flavors at the double

DUBAI: With organic ingredients and an eye-popping variety of authentic Italian dishes, the Dubai-based Tonda Pizza is a perfect choice for fast-casual dining.

The roots of the business lie as far back as 1948. The Italian founders apparently used to sell pizza to holidaymakers on the beach in Pescara, by the Adriatic Sea. The small-pan pizzas were ideal for people who wanted to grab a snack on the go.

Tonda Pizza has multiple branches around the world and is planning to bring its concept to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but its first regional outlet opened recently in Index Tower, in Dubai International Financial Center.

At the doorstep of the restaurant, you will be welcomed by the friendly staff who are enthusiastic and happy to serve you. Some of the Italian words may be hard to understand, but the waiters will be able to answer any questions.

The interior is cosy and just as welcoming as the staff. The atmosphere is classy, relaxed, and quiet. For the many employees in the area, this is a great spot to take your mind of work for a while.

The restaurant serves a seemingly endless variety of pasta and pizza made with organic flour, olive oil, and tomatoes imported from Italian farms. It also offers a range of special homemade starters and desserts.

Tonda, meaning ‘round,’ offers “guilt-free” pizzas. The thin crispy slices are full of authentic Italian flavor, but the dough does not contain animal fats, and it’s gluten-free.

It always fun to watch your food being cooked right in front of you, and Tonda’s open kitchen means you can do just that. The service is impressively fast, too.  The meal is best accompanied by one of Tonda’s traditional Italian drink offerings, which include Chinotto, Gassosa, Limonata, and Spuma. 

The tasty burrata salad was a more-than-generous and delicious starter. Fresh balls of cheese decorated the bowl, which was overloaded with mixed tomatoes and fresh basil.

Next up was a delightful range of pizza. Thick mozzarella cheese (10 out of 10 on the cheese-pull test), shreds of well-cooked beef, and a sprinkling of rocca leaves coated each slice of the thin-crust bresaola, while the tartufo boasted a delicious truffle spread and mushroom topping.

The undeniable highlight of the meal, however, was the salamino pizza. Its spiciness might make your eyes water as well as your mouth, but it was well worth it. The salamino was topped with organic peeled tomatoes, spicy beef salami, extra virgin olive oil, and decorated with oregano leaves.

The pasta that accompanied the bolognaise gave a good firm bite — perfect for those who like their Italian cooked al dente. The portion was ideal for one person. 

 

Once you are done with the main course, the restaurant offers a tasty selection of desserts too. We’d recommend its unique Nutella pizza topped with sliced bananas as a must-try.   

Tonda may be a little on the expensive side for what is, essentially, fast food (albeit high-quality fast food) — an appetizer, main course and beverage could cost up to $21 — but we’d say it’s worth the price for some tasty, healthy fresh Italian fare.