We, at Bayut, have the chance to explore and review many districts of Dubai, none of which have left a lasting impression on us as much as the restaurant ‘The Farm Dubai’ and the entire Al Barari community. Last week, we took a trip there getting off the E311 across the motorway from Global Village.
WATCH OUR VIDEO TOUR OF THE FARM DUBAI AND AL BARARI:
AL BARARI FARM LOCATION
Driving past the main gate alone was a peculiar experience with tall trees on both sides of the road that look like they belong on top of a mountain. ‘Are we in Switzerland?’ we joked looking up through the windshield, our mouths agape.
The deeper we got into the Al Barari Farm, the more puzzling it got. Gardens, freshwater streams, cascades, waterways and beautiful Al Barari villas for sale – in the middle of mainland Dubai?
It reminded us of the famous line uttered by Alice in Wonderland: ‘Curiouser and curiouser.” And just like Alice, we went deeper into the rabbit hole.
As our host, Marketing Manager Nicolas Trabucco explained to us – it all started back in 2005 when a local man by the name of Zaal Mohamed Zaal had a vision. The Cambridge-educated Emirati dreamed up a botanical haven in a city whose nature is one of sand and swelter. That is how pure-hearted and simple was the seed of what has grown into the most verdant area of Dubai – Al Barari Farm.
The word Al Barari literally means ‘wilderness’ in Arabic. Driven by Zaal Mohamed Zaal’s visionary spirit and entrepreneurial skills, the lush landscape took shape slowly, one shrub at a time.
Now, over five hundred plant species grow in the Green Works plant nursery and the Al Barari gardens. There are seven of them – each one more difficult to fathom than the next in the city we often call ‘the sandpit’.
DINING AT THE FARM DUBAI
However, while the impressive trees and foliage make up most of Al Barari’s body (60% of the total surface area), it is The Farm Dubai restaurant that is its heart and soul. As soon as we stepped foot there, it was immediately apparent how such a secluded venue could be attracting hordes of locals and expats since first opening its doors in 2012.
The Farm Dubai is an intrinsically photogenic destination. A combination of indoor and outdoor sections with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the ‘Water Garden’, it’s a real oasis of calm in our fast-paced emirate.
The ‘Water Garden’ itself is a wonder of landscaping with fountains, elevated decks and numerous birds flying in and out of the foliage. Dotted alongside the lake are multiple seating areas that take Dubai al fresco dining to a whole new level.
We found the staff to be attentive yet relaxed, in tune with the concept of wholesome food in an all-natural setting. Since we arrived early in the morning, we ordered Eggs Florentine and a good-old-fashioned English Breakfast, both of which were as pleasant to our taste buds as the choir of birds was to our ears.
WORLD-CLASS FACILITIES AT THE al barari farm
Healthy, organic, continental gourmet, authentic Thai, soups, smoothies, high tea – the Farm Dubai’s menu would leave any restaurant’s guest spoilt for choice. We were surprised to see the food photographed and listed on handy iPads in place of standard paper menus. It is this juxtaposition of the natural with the modern that makes the whole development come together. The Farm-adjacent health club, Body Language, offers a temperature-controlled edge-infinity swimming pool, tennis courts and a state-of-the-art gym.
Our host then invited us to join in on a relaxing Yoga class inside Body Language studio. The session took place in a bright, airy room with beautiful wooden floors and floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the lush greenery. As beginners, we practised the fundamental positions of the Vinyasa Yoga that nonetheless left our spines feeling a little suppler. The health club offers a broad range of other sessions too, like spin classes, Pilates, cardio tennis, karate, and much more.
We then went to the Heart & Soul spa and wellness centre.
This section of Al Barari provides visitors with more modern facilities, including an infrared sauna, a steam room and hammam (both Turkish and Moroccan). However, we chose a traditional massage indoors, followed by a plunge in the outdoor pool.
It is there that we met a few regulars, Steven and Anna from the UK. Chatting to the charming couple, we realised that all the joggers we’d seen, the tennis players and so forth, were also returning visitors. Al Barari is more than a property development and dining destination. It’s a community and a gathering place for nature lovers, health food enthusiasts and wellness aficionados – Dubai’s one-of-a-kind social hub.
AL BARARI VILLAS
Of course, the facilities are also frequented by Emiratis, as well as the British, Indian, Russian and other expats who live in the Al Barari residential area. The original properties of Al Barari Dubai are called The Residences and The Reserve. The former consists of 189 stunning villas, while the latter comprises 27 villas only, all of which are bespoke luxury properties.
Walking along the lovely footpaths of The Residences, we learned that the houses are divided into four sections – Acacia, Bromellia, Camellia and Dahlia.
The villas themselves feature a mix of Islamic and modern architecture while being surrounded by trees and plants that require the daily attention of 175 trained gardeners.
Al Barari is currently finalising new residential developments namely Ashjar and Seventh Heaven apartments along with The Nest – a collection of ready to move in 4-bedroom villas. Our guide also revealed that future additions to the compound include a hotel, a school, as well as medical and retail facilities. We realised then that the magical story of Al Barari is far from finished.
Although ours was. Before we knew it, it was lunchtime and were to rush back to our office in Media City.
In the car, we made a comment that was almost diametrically opposite to Alice’s: ‘No wonder’. ‘No wonder Al Barari is slowly coming to the fore of Dubai developments’.
In April this year, Mr Zaal Mohamed Zaal and his team won Best Real Estate Project at the 2017 Gulf’s Premier Real Estate Awards, while Heart & Soul just won Best Spa & Wellness Centre at the Middle East Hospitality Awards 2017.
A premier lifestyle destination and a beacon of sustainable living for the UAE, the Al Barari community is one area of Dubai that ought to be visited over and over. Also, The Farm Dubai should definitely be on your list of restaurants to try out in the city.
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