Dinner and a show? Dubai’s Billionaire’s got you covered

Dinner and a show? Dubai’s Billionaire’s got you covered
Flavio Briatore is the flamboyant Italian restaurateur and businessman behind Billionaire Dubai. (Supplied)
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Updated 10 December 2020

Dinner and a show? Dubai’s Billionaire’s got you covered

Dinner and a show? Dubai’s Billionaire’s got you covered
  • Flavio Briatore has remade his popular nightclub into a cabaret/fine-dining venue, with spectacular results

DUBAI: For Flavio Briatore, the flamboyant Italian restaurateur and businessman behind Billionaire Dubai, the global pandemic has changed our notion of nightlife indefinitely. Gone are the days of heaving dance floors and crowded venues. In, for Briatore at least, is the pairing of cabaret-style entertainment with fine dining. Hence the arrival of Billionaire Dubai. 

When the pandemic forced Billionaire Mansion, which had been a staple of the city’s nightlife for the past five years, to close its doors at the Taj Dubai earlier this year, Briatore set about reinventing the venue with the help of Montse Moré, a former employee of Cirque Du Soleil and Billionaire’s new artistic production director. Out went all the trappings of a traditional nightclub, in came a renewed focus on food and a cast of singers, dancers and acrobats.

“We had to think about what was acceptable for the future,” says Briatore. “COVID still exists and it’s not going anywhere soon. We knew it was impossible to operate like before, so I wanted to create the best entertainment. I wanted to entertain people with the best performers in the world. This is what we have brought to Dubai. Excellence in food, entertainment and  price.”




The menu combines a mouthwatering selection of both new Asian and traditional Italian cuisine. (Supplied)

Moré, who was previously artistic production director at Pacha in Ibiza, took that new ethos and ran with it. In doing so, she has assembled a stellar line-up of performers from around the world, including the singers Luciano Bassi and Geniris, dancers such as Pamela Pucheta, Iryna Hentosh and Gina Llebaria, and the acrobats Gonçalo and Kinga. The latter are perhaps best known as “Poland’s Got Talent” winners Duo Destiny.

The end result is surprisingly enjoyable. Tables are socially distanced, the music is tastefully volumed, and even the dancers wear masks. Attempt to banish, if you can, any negative connotations associated with the word ‘billionaire’ and go along for the ride. After all, it’s hard not to enjoy yourself when the performances are so good, the food is exquisite, and your waiter (ours was Santo) is as much a part of the experience as everything else. 

The first act, Geniris, takes to a small, circular podium to the left of the main stage at roughly 9.45pm and delivers a powerful rendition of Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It.” With the podium set back amidst a packed house of seated diners, it’s an intimate performance that sets both the tone and the format for the evening — fine dining interspersed with solo acts or ensemble performances on the main stage. 




Chef Batuhan Piatti Zeyneloglu, a former judge on “MasterChef Turkey,” has crafted Billionaire Dubai’s menu. (Supplied)

Such a format not only allows diners to converse freely, but to make the most of chef Batuhan Piatti Zeyneloglu’s wonderfully curated à la carte menu. A former judge on “MasterChef Turkey,” Zeyneloglu has crafted a menu that combines a mouthwatering selection of both new Asian and traditional Italian cuisine. That means dishes such as miso marinated Alaskan black cod, spinach and ricotta ravioli with butter and sage sauce, and maki rolls with wagyu beef, asparagus, mushrooms and creamy truffle sauce. It’s a testament to Zeyneloglu’s and the kitchen’s success that Billionaire Dubai is far more than just a show with dinner tagged on.

Great emphasis has been placed on experience. The salt-crust baked wild sea bass is set alight just prior to serving; the spicy guacamole accompanying the wagyu beef tacos is freshly prepared at your table; and there’s an air of entertainment to even the most trivial of tasks. The predominantly Italian waiters sing and dance throughout the evening, encouraging you to clap and shimmy to Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” or to twirl your napkin in the air during a rendition of the Gipsy Kings’ “Volare.” It might not be for everyone, but it’s fun. 




Out went all the trappings of a traditional nightclub, in came a renewed focus on food and a cast of singers, dancers and acrobats. (Supplied)

Even the decor is extravagant. Red velvet curtains line the hallway to the venue, stunning chandeliers grace the high ceilings, and subtle nautical references have been woven into the architectural detailing. If you hadn’t guessed already, everything is inspired by the brand’s birthplace of Porto Cervo in Sardinia, with gold, white, navy blue and bold red accents combining with a striking use of geometric fabrics to create a sumptuous interior.  

Whatever you do, don’t go expecting a quick bite and an early exit. This is a full evening of food and entertainment, with the final act not taking to the stage until around midnight. Luciano in particular is a standout performer, but there’s not a single moment of mediocrity. Even the music in between acts is finely curated, ranging from the Senior Citizens remix of Billy Stewart’s “Fly Me To The Moon” to Eagles & Butterflies’ “Can’t Stop” featuring Coloray.   

And for those in Saudi Arabia keen to experience Briatore’s new vision, you won’t have to wait long. Billionaire Riyadh is set to open before the end of the year. 


Six DIY resistance exercises to build muscle at home

Six DIY resistance exercises to build muscle at home
Updated 45 min 39 sec ago

Six DIY resistance exercises to build muscle at home

Six DIY resistance exercises to build muscle at home

DUBAI: Nora Hameidani, founder of Dubai’s Barre Effect fitness studio, shows you how to build and maintain strength in or out of the gym. Try these simple yet effective barre moves to help you build lean muscle in the comfort of your own home.

Pushups

Start with hands slightly wider than shoulders, fingers pointing forward. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Arms/chest/shoulders

Start with 10 reps, build up to 3 sets of 10

Start with hands slightly wider than shoulders, fingers pointing forward.  Place knees slightly behind your hips, tuck hips under.  Bend your elbows wide and slightly downwards, hips lower with chest, keeping abdominals engaged, then press arms to straight.  For a challenge, legs can lengthen.

Tricep Dips

Bend and straighten your elbows, lifting and lowering your hips, keeping your elbows pointing backwards and your chest proud. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Triceps/shoulders

Start with 15 reps, build up to 3 sets of 15

While sitting tall with your legs bent in front, place hands under shoulders, with fingers pointing towards your hips.  Bend and straighten your elbows, lifting and lowering your hips, keeping your elbows pointing backwards and your chest proud.

Forearm Plank

Keep your legs straight and a hips distance apart, keep hips in line with shoulders or slightly above shoulder height. (Shutterstock)

Targets: core/arms/shoulders

Holding still for 30 sec, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec

Lying on your front, place your elbows under shoulders, pointing your fingers forward and keeping your forearms parallel.  Keep your legs straight and a hips distance apart, keep hips in line with shoulders or slightly above shoulder height. 

Bicycle Crunches

Start lengthening one leg at a time to the high diagonal, simultaneously rotating your chest, shoulders and arms towards the opposite, bent leg. (Shutterstock)

Targets: abdominals/obliques

Alternating sides for 30 sec, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec

Lying on your back, bring your legs to a tabletop position with your knees bent 90 degrees on top of your hips.  With your hands behind your head, elbows wide, engage your abdominals to lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor.  Start lengthening one leg at a time to the high diagonal, simultaneously rotating your chest, shoulders and arms towards the opposite, bent leg.

Wide 2nd Pulses

Pulse hips at knee height, in small, controlled movements for only about an inch. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Inner and outer thighs/glutes

Pulsing for 30 seconds, build up to 3 sets of 30 sec

Place your feet out wide, bending your knees so they stack on top of your heels. Externally rotate your feet so that your knees track through the middle of your foot. Pulse hips at knee height, in small, controlled movements for only about an inch.

Lunges

Keeping front leg still and stable, pulse back knee in small, controlled movements, only about an inch, toward the floor. (Shutterstock)

Targets: Thighs/hamstring/glutes

Pulsing 1 set of 30 seconds on each leg, build up to 3 sets of 30 seconds per leg

With your feet parallel, hips distance apart, bend both knees and step right leg directly back.  Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle, front knee on top of heel, back right knee bending slightly behind the torso. Keeping front leg still and stable, pulse back knee in small, controlled movements, only about an inch, toward the floor.


From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans

From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans
Updated 19 October 2021

From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans

From Beyonce to singer Tinashe, Arab label Marzook snaps up celebrity fans

DUBAI: Kuwaiti label Marzook is continuing to snap up celebrity fans, with US singer Tinashe and superstar Beyonce spotted sporting its curved creations in recent days.

Tinashe, famous for her hit song “2 On,” showed off a pill-shaped bag by the brand during a photoshoot for A Book Of digital and print magazine this month.

The singer was photographed in a retro look, complete with a white hairband, larger-than-life hair and a sleek cat eye. Styled by Wilford Lenov, the ensemble featured a glittering Marzook bag called the Pill Dusty Pink.

Meanwhile, Beyonce was photographed with the Kuwaiti arm candy in Italy over the weekend.

The world-famous singer was photographed outside Alexandre Arnault’s wedding to Geraldine Guyot in Venice, Italy, on Saturday. Guyot is the founder of the French brand D’Estrëe, while Arnault is the son of one of the world’s richest men, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, and the executive vice president of product and communications at Tiffany & Co.

The singer showed off a bag by Marzook during a recent photoshoot for A Book Of magazine. (Instagram)

For the occasion, Beyoncé opted for a Tiffany-blue silk gown and heels with a Dolce & Gabbana double-breasted wool coat. She accessorized the look with a Marzook crystal orb purse and Lorraine Schwartz diamond jewelry.

Helmed by Kuwaiti siblings Fahad and Shouq Al-Marzooq, the Beirut-based accessories brand was established in 2014. The brother sister duo started off in the fashion industry by designing pieces for their family and friends and quickly went on to garner worldwide attention and sign celebrity collaboration deals.

In 2019, US influencer and model Sofia Richie, singer Lionel Richie’s daughter, collaborated on a new line of handbags with the label.  

 “When you’re one of social media’s most popular style stars, your style influence is extremely crucial.  Sofia’s style is very much aligned with the Marzook girl, who rather than follows trends, creates trends,” the fashion label wrote on its website at the time.

The collaboration featured Marzook’s perennial favorite, the spherical Lucid Classic bag, in a new set of neon shades — “Powerful Pink, Neon- Z Green and Traffic Cone Orange.”

And those are not the only celebrities who have shown love for the Arab brand.

Kylie Jenner showed off a crystal-covered orb bag by the label on her birthday in 2018, triggering many a newspaper headline.

The accessories house’s bags have been sported by the likes of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, actress Lupita Nyong’o and model Cara Delevingne.

The label’s line of accessories consists of exotic leather and skins, precious metals and resins in pill or spherical shapes.


Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere

Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere
Updated 19 October 2021

Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere

Angelina Jolie’s iconic Elie Saab gown nabs spotlight at ‘Eternals’ premiere

LOS ANGELES: Actors Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek brought Hollywood glamor to the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ latest comic book adaptation, “Eternals,” this week.

Jolie attended the red carpet with her four children, who she shares with her ex-husband Brad Pitt.

For the ocassion,  46-year-old actress lent her daughter Zahara her sequined Elie Saab gown that she wore to the Oscars in 2014, sparking many an international headline.

It’s not often mother-to-daughter hand-me-downs include iconic dresses by a Lebanese designer.

“My kids are all mixed with vintage, and in my old Oscars dress,” she said. “We did all vintage and upcycled my old stuff,” Jolie told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet.

Angelina Jolie at the 2014 Academy Awards. (AFP)

Directed by Chloe Zhao, who won best director and best picture for the film “Nomadland” at the Oscars earlier this year, “Eternals” boasts one of the most diverse casts of any Marvel movie.

Actress Salma Hayek arrives for the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Eternals” at the Dolby theatre in Los Angeles. (AFP)

“I hope it just starts to normalize what should have been there in the first place,” Jolie told Reuters. “I hope people watch these films in years to come and we don’t even think about it as being diverse.” 

The film stars Syrian refugee-turned-actor Zain Al-Rafeea as part of the star-studded cast, who plays the role of a villager who comes across the Eternals when they arrive on Earth.

Delayed a year due to the pandemic, “Eternals” will finally hit cinemas on Nov. 5 in the Middle East. 


What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy
Updated 18 October 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

What We Are Reading Today: The Mechanization of the Mind by Jean-Pierre Dupuy

In March 1946, some of the greatest minds of the 20th century — among them John von Neumann, Norbert Wiener, Warren McCulloch, and Walter Pitts — gathered at the Beekman Hotel in New York City with the aim of constructing a science of mental behavior that would resolve at last the ancient philosophical problem of mind and matter. The legacy of their collaboration is known today as cognitive science.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy, one of the principal architects of cognitive science in France, reconstructs the early days of the field here in a provocative and engaging combination of philosophy, science, and historical detective work.
He shows us how the ambitious and innovative ideas developed in the wake of that New York meeting prefigured some of the most important developments of late-20th-century thought. Many scholars, however, shunned the ideas as crude and resented them for being overpromoted.
This rejection, Dupuy reveals, was a tragic mistake and a lost opportunity.


More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models
Updated 19 October 2021

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models

More Middle East personalities could be next Madame Tussauds Dubai wax models
  • The museum opened its 25th branch in Dubai last week

DUBAI: Additional Middle East personalities could join the list of famous Arab figures on display at Madame Tussauds Dubai.

“We listen to our customers; we listen to their feedback. So, we will always be updating the figures and enhancing the products,” Sanaz Kollsrud, general manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai, told Arab News.

The museum opened its 25th wax attraction in the city on Oct.14, making it the brand’s first branch in the Middle East. 

Maya Diab at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

The famous attraction has a total of 16 figures from the Middle East region. These include talents from the music industry — such as Lebanese singers Nancy Ajram and Maya Diab — and athletes that were made exclusively for the branch in Dubai.

“At the moment, Madame Tussauds has 25 wax attractions around the world, including the US, Europe, and Asia. I’m sure that the brand will look at opportunities to expand at a later stage,” Kollsrud said.

Dubai has been a perfect choice for the Middle East branch, as it is a global tourist destination. The general manager said the museum is also located near a major attraction in the city, Ain Dubai, and is surrounded by a variety of retail and dining options.

Donald and Melania Trump at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

When asked how the museum chooses the figures it wants to display, Kollsrud said there is a lot of research behind figure selection, including customer research.

“It took about 18 months to put together a figure list, during which we looked at the popularity of the celebrities regionally and globally, especially within the UAE,” she said.

To keep the figures clean and protected, a team of artists works daily to make sure the statues are in perfect shape, the general manager said.

Lewis Hamilton at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)

She added that a team of 20 artists completes one wax figure within four to seven months. 

They even insert real hair strands, which can cost $190,605.

"There is a sitting involved with the talent, where they come and we do around 500 measurements, including head to toe," Kollsrud said.

The tourist destination consists of seven themed rooms and includes over 60 lifelike wax figures.

Chinese President Xi Jinping at Madame Tussauds Dubai. (AN_Photo)