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FOOD & DRINK

Our new favourite drinks spot has arrived in Emirates Hills

Words by Rob Chilton

Superb food, artisanal cocktails and sophisticated interior design

A cool hotel like the Vida Emirates Hills needs a cool bar - thankfully, the property has struck gold with Junipers. Here's what you need to know.

Using my tiny amount of knowledge of botany, I’m guessing a bar called Junipers has something to do with gin?
Spot on. Head bartender Vadim Coval from Moldova has infused gins with things like basil, strawberry, mango, lemongrass and pineapple to create new flavours. The guy’s an alchemist.

Cocktails with those ingredients sound expensive...
Actually, no. Prices range from AED 45 to 60, which is pretty good for crafted cocktails in a posh bar in Dubai – especially one that looks this cool.

Pull up a stool

What’s the design theme?
Let’s call it eclectic. There’s furniture from the 1960s and 1970s; mis-match photo frames of people, animals and plants; shelves of vinyl records and books (some real, some fake); plants, watercolour tapestries, dog statues and geometric fabrics.

I’m getting a migraine just thinking about it.
I know. It does sound weird, but it works. There are big windows letting in loads of daylight. And the glasses are super heavy and chunky.

Okay, that’s more like it. What sort of music do they play?
Everybody and anybody. It’s as if someone very cool has pushed ‘shuffle’ on their iPod.

Mate, I don’t think iPods exist anymore.
Really? Okay, someone with an iPod Touch, then. Anyway, we’re talking David Bowie, Kelis, Amy Winehouse, Al Green, Aretha Franklin and Bob Marley.

Relaxed and easygoing seating

Sweet. Right, let’s talk food. What are we eating?
The menu is organic and interesting. Grilled calamari with dates and baby spinach, onion bhaji sliders, mushroom and parmesan cigars and my favourite: lamb ribs with harissa.

No chicken wings?
Yes, but these aren’t your typical sports bar wings smothered in a radioactive orange fiery sauce. The wings at Junipers come with a soy glaze.

Lamb ribs with harissa

Sounds fancy. I’m guessing there aren’t any jumbo screens showing sport here, then?
Correct. This is not the place to wear a lime green polyester football shirt and watch a match. Come here for the views of the course at Emirates Golf Club and a witty conversation about contemporary literature, the latest Netflix drama and the Cats trailer.

Seriously, why are people so upset about Cats?
No idea. I think it actually looks quite fun – apart from James Corden. I mean, who doesn’t want to cuddle a furry Judi Dench?

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