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The PISA success and Nomi Ansari’s win as Best Bridal Couture Designer of 2020 had put us all in a really good mood. As juror I had the numbers (it was a popular category) and Nomi’s were head and shoulders above the other nominees. Goes to show his popularity in Pakistan and Dubai.


We wanted to celebrate, that too in style, and dress up for the occasion. You actually can’t go anywhere with Nomi without dressing up. Tossing up a couple of choices, because Dubai does offer countless choices, we settled on Nusr-Et Steakhouse at the Four Seasons, primarily because I had never been. As you all probably know by now, I was supposed to treat Hassan at Nusr-Et too but he dropped out for reasons well-intended.


Is your cardiologist on speed-dial?


Nomi and a group of very adventurous boys had spent the day at Atlantis (those stories kept us entertained throughout dinner) so they were running late. Sadiq (Saleem, my Dubai go-to) and I waited inside over a glass of chilled Nusr-Et special, which was a cocktail of fresh orange, pomegranate and passionfruit juice. And we spent a good half hour observing the various and very creative ways ice was cubed, shaved, crushed, blended and blistered for different drinks. Our heroes don’t have as many ways to serve their looks as these bartenders had to serve ice!


The boys finally arrived; Nomi in good spirits as always and Hasnain Lehri looking effortlessly Nusr-Et appropriate in a burnt butter toned jumpsuit, sunglasses and just the right amount of bling in his accessories. If there’s one thing I learnt on this trip, it’s how meticulous Hasnain is about his appearance and it didn’t seem vain, just very impressive since he’s a fashion model. I’ve never understood stars who’re seen in hotel lounges in their bathroom slippers and dripping wet hair. Unless that’s your look (and it should never be), don’t do it. Another person who’s always dressed event-appropriate is Frieha Altaf. You can expect to find her, at the breakfast buffet, in a kaftan and oversized sunnies. And the right shade of lipstick. No one should ever leave their hotel room without lipstick, balm or even gloss. I think I need to do a story on celebrities and their hotel looks.



For the vegetarian within us: potatoes, mushrooms and butter in all forms. No one said anything about healthy! Oh, and there’s the Tuna Tartar up there too.


Back to Nusr-Et, it was all about the beef and we shared. We also over-ordered. We ordered a Smoked Beef Rib Eye and a Tuna Tartar for starters, which in hindsight could have been avoided. It was good, but not good enough to justify the space it took in our stomachs. From the mains we ordered three different selections of beef, including an Istanbul Striploin (which was sliced dramatically for us at the table), a Saslik, Marinated Tenderloin and Beef Skewers (my favourite) with side orders of Triple Fried Chips, Three-Way Mushrooms and the most divine and sinful jacket potato. Between all this food and the endless supply of Diet Coke, we overate and even ended up wasting (we calculated) around DHS300 worth of beef. We also ordered the Nusr-Et special Baklava (which also came with drama) and I couldn’t eat more than a spoonful. I regret it to date. Anyone who knows me, knows my love for dessert. This was unacceptable.


The sinful baklava comes with theatrics



It was a really fun evening though, as Tabesh Hashmi also joined and narrated how he had led Friday prayers for Nomi and Hasnain earlier that day, since they were a minute late and refused entry to the mosque. The food was exceptionally good too though I don’t think I could justify paying the kind of price Nomi had to. Even without alcohol on our bill, it was a neat PKR 30,000 per head, and there would need to be good reason not random occurrence, to pay that kind of price. An award or a birthday, perhaps…I would have happily treated Hassan and I think he would have enjoyed it too!


This was our last night in Dubai, and the end of an eventful, action-packed trip that was successful in terms of the show that went well and the bonding that so many people managed to refresh on just by being in the same hotel. Travel for work used to be a thing before Covid hit the world and this came as a happy return to normalcy. Here’s to an even better 2022 up ahead!


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