Taj Spices Indian, Chinese and Arabic Restaurant, Al Foah, Al Ain

Rob Preston, the Retail Operations Manager at Lulu Hypermarkets in Al Ain, told me that there’s a new restaurant in town which he highly recommends.

It’s called Taj Spices, and it recently opened in the Al Foah Mall as you drive out of Al Ain to Dubai. (When you reach the coffee pot roundabout, turn left, and the Al Foah Mall is on the right.

He took some photos on his beloved Blackberry and emailed them to me…

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You can see in this next photo the great view of the Al Foah area, looking towards the south. I’ll bet you’ll see some terrific sunsets from here!…

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Many tables can be curtained off for privacy…

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Do give this restaurant a try, and let me know what you think! :)

Steak and Grill at the Palm Golf Club in Al Ain

The Steak and Grill is a very popular restaurant in Al Ain. It’s located at the Golf Club at the Palm Resort at the far west side of Al Ain.

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It is known for giving you very hot slates so you can lay on raw steaks, chicken, shrimps or fish and cook it as you please. They will supply you with new hot slates if you ask.

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On Saturday night they offer a buffet for 150 dirhams a head, including wine.

On the lawn outside is a large trampoline with walled netting, so your children can go off and play after their meal.

Grand Cinemas at Bawadi Mall, Al Ain

At the south end of the upper floor at the Bawadi Mall in Al Ain is Grand Cinemas with 8 screens. It’s 30 AED for a ticket, and 35 AED for a seat in the VIP section which takes up the back 3 rows.

Grand Cinemas Al Ain

One challenge: when our sons were aged 10 and 7, we took them to see the remake of The Karate Kid at the Bawadi Mall Cinemas. Before the film started we were treated to several trailers as per usual… including for a pretty graphic 18-rated horror film featuring zombies and a few sudden, very brief scary bits. The boys didn’t say anything at the time, so I said nothing, but 6 months later my youngest son mentioned that trailer in passing.

In the spring of 2012 we 4 were again in Bawadi Mall Cinemas, and again our children saw the gruesome trailer for an upcoming horror movie.

So be aware that, very occasionally, you may be in the cinema with young children and see a trailer which isn’t really suitable.

You can only pay for tickets in cash. The staff, like in a number of outlets in Al Ain who only take cash, can be reluctant to give change, and do occasionally seem to be low on change, so it’s best to have the right change with you when you visit

Lastly, you cannot find out what films are showing here by looking online. You could find details online until around May 2010, but since then, and as of the time of writing, April 2012, there have been no listings on the Grand Cinemas website.

You can pick up a colour brochure showing current and upcoming films and showtimes, but the staff have told me that there are occasional errors in the showtimes printed.

So if you want to find out what’s on, you’ll have to call them on 03 784 0300.

The staff’s accent is often so thick that it’s very difficult to work out a movie title. So when I rang the other day, I was told about one new movie that sounded like Threat of the Takehouse. I tried to get the guy to say the words more slowly but this was the best I could do. I checked online for movies showing at the Rotana, and found a movie there called Wrath Of The Titans! That was what he was trying to convey to me! :)

Apart from these minor issues, this is a superb cinema.

Al Ain Mall cinemas

Al Ain Mall has a cinema on the top level which has 4 screens.

You can go to the Grand Cinemas website to see what is showing. As of the time of writing this short article, this website does not have a separate listing for the Al Ain Mall Cinema. Al Ain Mall Cinema staff told me today that if you go to this site and look at the listing for the Rotana Grand Cinemas, then the Al Ain Mall Cinema shows the same films at the same times.

(I would recommend you ring to confirm a film time just in came!)

Call them on 03 751 1228.

Ticket price: 30 aed

Other cinemas…

Bawadi Mall

Rotana Grand Cinemas

Al Foah Cinemas (5 screens; opened in January 2012)

Alliance Francaise

Classical music concerts held in Al Ain

Here are details of 2 classical music events which took place in Al Ain in 2011 so you have an idea what may happen in 2012 and beyond…

Symphonic Masterworks – Classical hits

Location: Al Jahili Fort

Orchestra: Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI

Juraj Valcuha, conductor

Evgeni Bozhanov, piano

What they played…

  • Dmitri Shostakovich, Festive Overture
  • Sergei Rachmaninov, Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Alexander Borodin, Polovtsian Dances
  • N. Rimsky-Korsakov, Sheherazade, excerpts
  • Peter Tchaikovsky, Overture 1812 with Fireworks

Yo-Yo Ma Cello Recital

Location: Al Jahili Fort

Tickets for these 2 events were available online and at the House of Arts.

This website has more info: www.abudhabiclassics.com.

There is a free shuttle service from Al Ain to the many concerts in Abu Dhabi.

 

WOMAD Festival, Al Ain

Early in 2010 and 2011, the WOMAD (World Of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival came to Al Ain – and took place inside this magnificent fort, on the road heading south from the Rotana Hotel…

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The events were free, and suitable for children, so all 4 of us went along for one of the 2 nights the festival were on. There were about 300-400 people there, and the music was wonderful.

Grand Cinemas Rotana, Al Ain

I think that the Grand Cinemas is one of the first movie theatres in Al Ain, if not the very first. It’s situated below ground, next to the Rotana Hotel…

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They have 4 screens there. One of the smaller screens had a rip about a foot long (30 cms) in the centre right of the screen when I went with a mate to see a non-blockbuster movie in early 2011. I thought it might spoil our viewing but we didn’t notice it during the film.

You’ll find a list of what they’re showing online at the Grand Cinemas website.

If you look at the site on a Wednesday, you’ll only see information on films which open the next evening, so if you want to find out what’s on that night, you’ll have to call, and talk with someone whose English isn’t great. As films sometimes have unusual titles, this can be a challenging process!!

Also, if you see a time listed for a film that you want to see, and you have a spare moment, take the time to ring the cinema to confirm the time. Why? Because the staff here do say whenever I ring to always check the times by phone as the website isn’t always accurate. (The staff at the Bawadi Mall Grand Cinemas say the same thing.)

Phone the Rotana Grand Cinemas on 03 754 4447.

Other cinemas in Al Ain…

Al Ain Mall (4 screens too)

Alliance Francaise

Al Foah Mall (5 screens; opened January 2012)

Bawadi Mall Grand Cinemas

See a good movie for free at the Alliance Francaise, Al Ain

Every second Thursday you can go to the Alliance Francaise in Al Ain, located near the airport, and watch a popular French film which is subtitled in English. There’s no charge.

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I went to see a film there earlier in 2010 with a friend of mine. The film is projected onto a large white screen in the middle of the upstairs library of 3,000 French books, with a bank of maybe 40-ish seats set out. About 12 of us watched the film. One of the staff offered us snacks to buy: chocolate, soft drinks, etc. The film was great.

(If I remember right, the film actually started at 7.30pm.)

If you sign up for the Al Ain Expats group, you’ll get a regular email announcing the next film.

For more information, go to the Alliance Francaise website.

From their website, “Located next to the desert, in a beautiful villa shared with the French School Theodore Monod, the Alliance Française aims to be a meeting point for the various nationalities living in Al Ain, along with an area of friendliness and discovery of the French speaking and Arabic cultures.”

The map on the right is pretty clear: by “jimi” they mean the Al Jimi Mall, which has a French Carrefour supermarket in it, which is located to the north of Al Ain.

Although it looks as though you are travelling north you’re not: the top of the map is west of Al Jimi Mall.

Al Ain Choral Society

Al Ain Choral Society is a mixed adult choir.  Each year the choir normally does a Christmas concert in December and a less formal musical event in the late spring. The members rehearse on Sunday evenings from 7.30 to 9pm in the Music Room at Al Ain English Speaking School. New members are always welcome: adult and young adult, male and female.

The repertoire is varied: from traditional to modern, classical to popular.

Says contact Geraldine Kershaw, “Some of the songs we sing are in harmony but others will be unison, and we include a wide range of pieces from traditional to classical to modern. If you like singing why not come along? We look forward to welcoming some new singers this year!”

For further information or for directions to the school, contact Geraldine at gkershaw [at] emirates.net.ae, or telephone her on 050 563 9719.