Despite the proliferation of haute dining destinations in the region, some of the Arabian Gulf’s most memorable culinary experiences have long taken place within the intimacy of private homes. This is a fact not lost on Buthaina Al Mazrui and Alamira Noor Bani Hashim, who discreetly launched The Dinner Club by No. 57 last November. The UAE’s first underground supper club, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as each of the ten guests can only attend one of the talented duo’s monthly by-invitation dinners.
For Noor, an urban planner with degrees from Berkeley and Harvard, and Buthaina, an investment analyst who majored in economics at the University of London, the supper club is where they combine their passion for food and design. Each exquisite dinner boasts a unique theme and location that has included unlikely settings such as a partially constructed villa, an empty swimming pool, and an old bus—all transformed by Noor’s detailed eye for stunning venues. Unique touches include whimsical table settings complete with artfully layered fine china, silverware, embroidered linens, and plump hydrangeas arranged in crystal vases. Each plate comes adorned with a signature
hand-painted miniature animal—a keepsake for dinner guests at the end of the evening.
A carefully vetted list ensures a diverse and cosmopolitan mix of individuals as well as spirited conversation at the dinner table. One event included a filmmaker, a fashion editor, an influential businesswoman, and shoe designer Christian Louboutin, who dined on Buthaina’s delicious three-course dinner made from seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Her variations on traditional Emirati cuisine include a mouthwatering miniature date cake topped with melted toffee.
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Photos: Courtesy of Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz