Mcdonald’s UAE, Coca Cola, Ford, Sony & Rainbow Milk Engage In A Throwback Chat On Twitter!

It’s #ThrowBack Thursday time, the day gets flooded with photos of old memories and it appears that the McDonald’s UAE, Coca Cola, Ford, Sony and Rainbow Milk have decided to join the fun.

Celebrating the launch of their nostalgic “1955 Burger”, McDonald’s UAE tweeted this:


Shortly after Coca-Cola replied:


And the ball kept rolling with Ford: 


Then Sony added their 1955 Radio with some Rock & Roll music:


And finally Rainbow Milk wanted to celebrate their 60th birthday!


Staged or not, seeing 5 giant brands engaging this way on social media was pure awesomeness!

Pantry Cafe Opens In Business Bay

The home-grown gourmet cafe and delicatessen opens second branch in Bay Square.

Pantry Cafe, the local gourmet cafe and delicatessen, today announced the opening of its second venue. The new Pantry Cafe is located in Bay Square, Business Bay and will be open from 8am to 5pm serving guests breakfast, and lunch, 7 days a week. Providing customers with the familiar Pantry Cafe mix of local and international cuisine, the new venue occupies a space of over 5,500 square feet.

Pantry Cafe’s neighbourhood cafe style is reflected in the open kitchen and on-site bakery where fresh bread is baked on a daily basis. The delicatessen sells exceptional deli products including oils, jams, sauces and speciality breads. Pantry Café also stocks RAW Coffee and offers a range of beverages including smoothies, milkshakes, cordials and wellness drinks. Food items available at Pantry Café include:

  • The Pantry Breakfast Burger - The ultimate breakfast sandwich – brioche bread with fried egg, beef tomato, turkey ham, aged cheddar, avocado & spiced mayo. Served with a side salad
  • Fig & Goat’s Cheese Salad - A luxurious salad featuring fresh figs, chevre, mixed lettuce, pears, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano & truffle balsamic.
  • Shakshouka - The middle-eastern delight & our house specialty! Two eggs cooked in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, red peppers, onions & spices, topped with crumbled feta & served with toasted pita bread.


“The new Pantry Cafe is now open in Bay Square, Business Bay and we are delighted to offer our guests our delicious range of international and local cuisine. Most of our vegetables are locally sourced and organic which is a big priority for us. We also use free range, organic eggs.

The quality of our ingredients is what makes our food taste so good, and we are dedicated to providing all Pantry Cafe guests with the gourmet cafe experience.” Said Co-Founder, Pantry Café, Yana Kalwani.

Pantry Cafe’s first venue is located in Al Wasl Square and was created in 2012. The popular eatery is a firm favourite with UAE residents and provides the perfect venue for a culinary, leisurely and social get together.

Landmark Real Estate Regulatory Changes Including The UAE-Wide Federal Mortgage Cap And Dubai’s Doubling Of Property Registration Fees Last Year

Landmark real estate regulatory changes including the UAE-wide Federal Mortgage Cap and Dubai’s doubling of Property Registration Fees last year, which was aimed at curbing speculative activity, have together gradually and successfully contained a market that was in danger of overheating with the level of transactional activity now dramatically reduced, according to latest research released by international real estate consultancy Cluttons.

Cluttons Spring 2015 Dubai Residential Market Outlook report, highlights that, the upward creep of project completions, coupled with the slow motion impact of new real estate regulations and the general dent to sentiment as a result of the slowing rate of house price growth, in a sentiment-driven market has weighed heavily on the emirates residential market, with the 2015 outlook remaining somewhat mute, with villas expected to bear the brunt of price declines. The first quarter of the year saw overall home values edge downward by a further -0.8%, leaving average prices -0.5% down on this time last year and 19.4% below the Q3 2008 historic peak.

Steve Morgan, Chief Executive at Cluttons Middle East commented: “The Federal Mortgage Caps have been in place for over a year now and the impact on the villa market has been particularly pronounced. The anniversary of the game changing Federal Law has passed relatively unnoticed, however this has had a positive, but powerful influence on the level of transactions. During 2014, just under 1,300 villas changed hands, down 52% on 2013. The number of transactions during Q1 2015 was down 36% on the same quarter last year.”

Cluttons’ report highlights, that the total amount of upfront equity required for the purchase of an AED 5.5 million villa has gone up from 20% to 42% with the introduction of the mortgage caps, which means that households aspiring to purchase have to make a substantial increase in provisions to make the transition from rented accommodation.

“The sustained growth in rents over the past 18 months has exacerbated the challenges of amassing a deposit, while the cost of living has continued to rise. There may be some respite on the horizon as the dirham continues to strengthen, driving down inflation,” Morgan added.

Cluttons’ international research and business development manager, Faisal Durrani explained, “Reflecting on the performance of the market over the past 18 months, it’s clear we have rushed through Dubai’s second property cycle and are now in a place where the market as a whole is rapidly searching for a new floor. The regulations have been instrumental in reigning in the market and the slow motion impact has been gradually amplified over the past 12 months. The result has been a much more subdued market, with the risk of another rapid correction being carefully managed away, leaving the market about a fifth below the last peak in 2008 and much more stable than in 2008/09. There of course remain pockets of outperformance, where prices are holding steady such as on the Palm Jumeirah or Dubai Marina, for instance.”


With villa vendors on the back foot and properties showing signs of “sticking”, a substantive price decline by a handful of distressed sellers has been recorded by Cluttons, but these remain rare. Elsewhere, without downward adjustments, vendors are only able to drum up limited interest. A new ‘sweet spot’ appears to be emerging around the AED 3-3.25 million mark, where transactions are still taking place.

Benefits of affordable housing

According to Cluttons’, the proposal by Dubai Municipality to introduce mandatory affordable housing quotas for all new residential developments in Dubai is long overdue and is expected to bring a wide range of benefits to the emirate, while driving further maturity in the market.

Morgan commented: “The issue of affordability has been one that has been quietly bubbling away in the background for some time. With the introduction of the Federal Mortgage caps and the doubling of property registration fees, we saw genuine end users in the market forced into a holding pattern as they attempted to make the transition from rented accommodation to owner occupation. The surging rents, driven by the exceptionally strong underlying demand, which was linked to the robust economic growth, meant that household finances were coming under tremendous pressure on several fronts.”

A new proposal by Dubai Municipality is aimed at those on monthly incomes of between AED 4,000 and AED 12,000, says Cluttons. With these households being placed in a better position to control their rental outgoings, the speed at which deposits can be amassed will no doubt rise, therefore aiding property ownership aspirations.

“The introduction of this asset class in Dubai is likely to bring a surge in institutional investor interest, especially if the affordable quotas are reasonably high. The creation of this new residential investment class should then pave the way for partnerships between local developers and large multinational finds, effectively catapulting the emirates real estate market to the next stage of its evolution,” said Morgan.

According to the report, despite this sluggish outlook, demand is expected to remain very stable in the medium to long term, particularly as the government continues to drive economic diversification, which will fuel job creation levels.

Currency fluctuation threat

Durrani commented: “On a more macro level, the strong dollar (and therefore dirham) environment is a double edged sword, which must not be under estimated. While lower inflation from falling import costs will benefit the domestic market, sterling, Indian/Pakistani rupee and Euro continue to lose ground to the dollar, making a Dubai based investment significantly more expensive than this time last year; which is particularly important given that a large proportion of residential investment originates from Indian, Pakistani and UK nationals.

However with the IMF still warning of a low period of global growth and the Greek financial woes yet to play out, things may change rapidly on this front in the second half of the year, so this remains a downside risk high on our watch list”.

Rental market softens further

Away from the sales market, residential rents have also continued to slowly soften. During Q4 2014, rents dipped by -1.9%, leaving the total rental value growth last year at a marginal 0.4%.

“With the RERA Rent Index system yet to evolve into a complex rental matrix that factors variables such as views, size of units, age of the building, etc., it will continue to lag reality, leaving tenants somewhat constrained by a rental index that does not fully reflect market conditions”, said Durrani.

Cluttons’ report highlights that with supply levels continuing to edge up, landlords are growing wary of the threat of longer void periods due to the fear of an increased level of choice for tenants. This may trigger a period of “off-grid” deals, where landlords and tenants agree to rents that are not in sync with RERA’s recommendations.

Durrani however pointed out: “We’re expecting just over 12,600 units to come to market by the end of next year and a further 15,800 completions are scheduled between 2017 and 2018. At this stage, the risk of an oversupply appears to be minimal, given the expected growth in population of just under 400,000 over this period. The expected economic growth and rate of job creation should mean that supply and demand remain fairly well matched, at least in the short term, barring any surprise external economic shocks.”

Morgan concluded: “It is worth noting that 4,000 of the units expected in 2017/18 will be in the form of affordable homes on the former Dubai Waterfront site, as announced by Nakheel. What the additional supply does mean however is that the supply-demand equilibrium is likely to be maintained as the population grows in tandem with the rising number of completions, suggesting that any strong turn around in rental value growth is unlikely, given the current projections”.

With the sources of current and pipeline tenant demand remaining robust and underpinned by the growth in the new jobs, linked to both economic growth and diversification, and the reverse migration from Sharjah, Cluttons expects the current stabilisation in rents to persist.

Al Tayer Motors Stages Unique Exhibition Featuring Art Works Made By Technicians

Al Tayer Motors, one of the UAE’s premier automobile dealerships, is staging a unique exhibit of some truly stunning works of art made from automotive used parts and scrap material, at its Sheikh Zayed Road showroom in Dubai from May 20.

Titled ‘Creativity Recycled’, the display is the result of a competition organised for technicians of Al Tayer Motors and Premier Motors. Nearly 400 technicians from 11 locations across the UAE participated in a two month long contest designed to showcase their artistic abilities, by creating 98 art objects.

Working during their spare time, the teams of technicians fashioned some spectacular creations such as a pair of swans created from a radiator, a bumper lower finisher, headlight lenses, door handle, mirror covers and parking sensors; a Burj Khalifa replica made from black sealant, valves, radiator core, shims and a drive belt; and a butterfly made using a radiator grill, stop lamps, roof rail cable, air bag rod and a cam shaft, to name just a few examples.

al tayer

Other designs include replicas of the Burj Al Arab, vehicles, insects, flowers, birds, and musical instruments, robots and more.

“The objects created have exceeded our wildest expectations in terms of engagement, enthusiasm among the teams, and has served to strengthen the spirit of teamwork,” said Boulos Massoud, General Manager, Aftersales, Al Tayer Motors. “Embodying Diversity and Quality, two of the our core values, the competition has served to unleash the creativity hidden within our talented technicians, who have made these magnificent pieces of art that serve as a fantastic showcase of their talent, imagination and craftsmanship.”

The artistic creations, with their names and a list of the parts they were made from, will be on display at the Al Tayer Motors showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai until 1st June. Visitors to the showroom will be able to vote for their favourite five from the entire collection. The creators of the top three works of art from the five finalists, chosen by an internal panel of judges, will be rewarded by the dealership.


The Lalezar Experience Launched At Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, the Ottoman inspired luxury resort located on Palm Jumeirah, has launched a new menu at Lalezar, the first Turkish restaurant on the Palm.

The ‘Lalezar Experience’ offers an authentic set tasting menu and invites guests to enjoy a range of specials priced exclusively at AED 325 per person.

Fernando Gibaja, General Manager of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, said: “Every detail, from the firewood furnace to the stained-glass chandelier, evokes the spirit of the majestic Ottoman era and authentic Turkey yet with a contemporary feel. We know our new and exciting offering will enhance the dining experience further and we encourage those to come and enjoy.”

The experience includes signature favourites such as kunefe, Iskender Kebab and hot and cold sharing mezzes. Innovative and unique additions include Levrek Fileto (fillet of sea bass) and Etli Manti (Turkish pasta with minced beef). Guests can enjoy the new experience accompanied by the delights of carefully selected beverages, authentic Samovar-brewed Turkish tea and Turkish coffee.

Lalezar, which takes its inspiration from the Topkap Palace in Istanbul, has enhanced its offering with a new à la carte menu, unique Anatolian style crockery and a new Chef de Cuisine. The restaurant will showcase weekly traditional entertainment after the summer, promising a spectacular experience for all.

Dubai’s first Anatolian restaurant is a popular spot for residents of the UAE and famously provided the backdrop for a scene in Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible 4 movie ‘Ghost Protocol.’ It took 18 Turkish artists to hand paint the interiors; and the restaurant terrace offers stunning views of Palm Jumeirah and the hotel’s landscaped gardens.