A Spanish Love Affair

Yes, we do exist – the love NOT shopping kind of women! For me, big malls and noisy food courts in particular. During my years in Dubai I’ve excelled at procrastinating before venturing out on a much-needed shopping expedition at the big malls in Dubai – a shoppers Mecca!

I’ve finally found a great incentive to make shopping at Mall of the Emirates a more pleasurable necessity. On the ground floor, between The Cheesecake Factory and Virgin Records, you’ll find the oh so glitzy entrance to Kempinski Hotel. Go towards the hotel’s main entrance, but instead of exiting – turn left. Tucked away at the end you’ll find my Spanish love affair, the very charming Salero Tapas & Bodega – one of my new favourite eateries in Dubai. A great place to relax and enjoy some delicious food after an exhausting morning or afternoon at the mall!

Arriving on a Wednesday night without a booking was perhaps not the smartest thing to do. The only available seating was at the bar overlooking the open kitchen. A bit sceptical at first, but watching the Spanish female cook/chef – calm and totally stress free – preparing delicious tapas and paella turned out to be quite entertaining.

After ordering, our friendly Spanish waiter quickly returned with drinks and complimentary slices of Cecina de León (cured beef) followed by complimentary “pan con tomate” (toasted bread, tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil and a bit of salt). Very tasty, but remember to leave room for dishes to come! My favourite was Gambas al ajillo (sauteed shrimps with garlic and chilli). Yummy!

Salero Tapas & Bodega offers a taste of Spain, serving traditional Spanish delicacies in a venue that hit all the right spots for me. Love the decor with colourful bottles lining the shelves and wall murals resembling Spanish artefacts. Even the restroom door is a talking point! But the real WOW factor for me is hanging from the ceiling. Living in Dubai it’s easy to become a bit blasé…but when entering Salero I was totally mesmerised by the over-sized baskets hanging from the ceiling – illuminating the room. A great idea!

Salero (meaning salt in Spanish) is a welcoming and friendly restaurant with excellent service from charming and easy-going Spanish waiters; able to explain in-depth any food queries you might have. In a city where size matters, it’s also a plus for me that the restaurant “only” seat 90 guests. Salero does not offer an extensive menu, but the dishes are very delectable – and not too expensive! Just look twice before ordering beverages, especially the bubbly kind.

Salero Tapas & Bodega is one of few restaurants in Dubai where smoking is still allowed. This could of course be off-putting to some, but the restaurant has an excellent ventilation system – and as a non-smoker I can honestly say that I didn’t notice any smell or smoke in the smoking section…or elsewhere in the restaurant.

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In February 2016 I moved back to my native Norway after 13 years in Dubai, preceeded by two years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Before becoming a full time expat in 2001, I had a carrer as a travel consultant in Norway. My expat portfolio also includes six of my teenage years in Bahrain many moons ago and two years in Southport, Connecticut, USA.

5 thoughts on “A Spanish Love Affair

  1. I’ve been meaning to visit here for ages. I’ve heard really good reports. I’m one of those ‘strange’ women who avoids malls at all costs too.

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