Chennai Biriyani, Deira, Dubai – 04 239 4884, 050 678 7170

During a visit to a relative’s house in Sharjah, was treated to Chennai Biriyani. Being a flavoured rice lover, my taste buds loved it! Learnt that Chennai Biriyani had a restaurant in Dubai…so googled them and found their menu cards featured on…cool! has implemented a scanned restaurant menu cards database on a large scale, what I similarly had tried on a small scale in 2006 on, and recently here on (screen shot from their website).

Do visit them to access a comprehensive database of scanned restaurant menus in Dubai.



Wilbur Sargunaraj – YouTube star films in Dubai, thanks to army of fans


 Wilbur Sargunaraj, India's biggest Youtube Star.

Wilbur Sargunaraj, India’s biggest Youtube Star.

May 5, 2012

DUBAI // A man hailed as India’s first YouTube star has spent the past week in Dubai filming an extended scene for a semi-autobiographical feature film.

Wilbur Sargunaraj, whose online hits include Love Marriage and Chicken 65, spent three days filming a sequence for his comedy-musical in the emirate.

The film is called Simple Superstar and has been made on a shoestring budget.

Shooting took place at sites including the desert village of Lehbab to an apartment in the Burj Khalifa. He also spent an afternoon singing to labourers in Al Quoz.

“Basically the premise is, what is the meaning of life or the definition of success,” he said.

“For so many people, especially in South Asian countries, for them it might be coming to a fine country like Dubai [sic].”

Sargunaraj, who is from rural Madurai in Tamil Nadu, has also made dozens of how-to videos including one in which he demonstrates how to use an “eastern latrine”. A third of the 1 million viewers of the video are UAE residents.

Sargunaraj distanced himself from the video last year, saying he was “not just a random person sitting on a toilet, there is some substance to this”.

Laetitia de Pelichy found Sargunaraj on YouTube and became friends with him on Facebook. She took three days off work to help with the Dubai leg of the filming by driving him and his crew to different locations.

Ms de Pelichy said he lived up to his eccentric YouTube persona.

“He’s hilarious; I loved him,” she said. “I think he’s like a Mr Bean. He’s very innocent and a little naive. He sees things in a very simple, honest way and wants people to connect on that level.

“I think this movie’s going to be wonderful. I can’t wait.”

The film was made largely through contributions from fans.

Some have cashed in their frequent-flyer miles to provide transport for the filming crew, while others have lent Sargunaraj their cars – including, in one instance, a Rolls-Royce – to use in the filming. Actors in the film are also volunteers.

He has a huge grassroots fan base he has gathered under a “Wilbur World Wide” project to improve people’s “cultural intelligence”.

“Everyone is giving, this whole film is a big community project,” Sargunaraj said. “We don’t have a budget, we’re making it with whatever we get.

“Having people like that believing in you when no one else seems to know, it’s really wonderful.”

Sargunaraj flew to Chennai on Wednesday night to begin the next stage of filming. Post-production will take place in the late summer and the film will probably be ready by October.

Sargunaraj said he hoped the film would be shown at a film festival in the UAE next year.

The film, a road trip, will be a spin on the traditional Bollywood musical with his songs spread through the story.

In one scene he appears as a superhero, taking on bullies in the street with martial arts moves, while in another he consoles friends who have been drafted in by their parents to an arranged marriage.

Sargunaraj said that in the movie he wanted to live up to his motto of “making the common extraordinary”.

“No matter whether you live in the Burj Khalifa or you are a labourer, we are all human, and this film is a celebration of humanity,” he said.

Bheemas Restaurant, Karama, Dubai (Non-vegetarian) 04-3372733, 04-3375745

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Discovered Bheemas Restaurant’s new location by chance. They were previously located on Kuwait Street, Karama next to Snow White, when you go towards the Karama Post Office from Karama Centre. Then they vanished from my radar.

They are now located in a much smaller location but doing bigger business! They are located inside a shopping complex on the side of Karama Park, opposite Lulu Centre…the side near the roundabout, going towards Saravana Bhavan restaurant.

Aryaas Vegetarian Restaurant, Karama, Bur Dubai 04 3355776

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Aryaas Restaurant, I think first started out in Karama in 2006. A good place for vegetarian south Indian fare. In 2011, they have started a upmarket branch opposite Bur Juman mall in the Bank Street (Khalid Bin Waleed street). In this Bur Dubai branch, I love the Ragi Dosas and Wheat Dosas..healthy bites! In the Karama branch, they had bajra rotis…healthier options are now creeping into restaurant menus – a good sign!

I could only find their old menu…will put up a newer version if I get one.

Ponnusamy Restaurant, Al Qusais, Dubai 04 2619750

When Ponnusamy restaurant had a Karama branch, we had been there a few times. But in 2009, they had relocated to Qusais. Finally, dropped in there and had a taste of their spicy tamizh cuisine!

Their Nandu soup (crab soup) served piping hot was quite delicious and soothed my sore throat (there seems to be some kind of of a cold flu circulating – could be because of the transition to summer). Starters were “Chicken Lollipop” – kid’s favourite…can rate it as a good!

We had ordered Kal dosai (thick dosas), parathas and chapatis to go with the naatu kozhi kozhambu (country chicken curry) – excellent… and finished off with ‘naatu kozhi’  biryani…all were quite good!

Here is their home delivery menu (there are 6 page you can view as a slide show below it a larger version of the pages to browse through):

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Simran Aapa Kadai, Karama Dubai 04 3348030

Though not a completely Tamil restaurant I think, they manage to keep their chili levels lower and thus appeal to a cosmopolitan crowd. Their aapams are heavenly….and you will find that one is not enough! I heard that they have opened a branch in Chennai now.

Reproducing their latest menu below:

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Vasantam Hotel (Vasanta Bhavan) Bur Dubai 04 3934873 / 04 3938006

Vasantam Hotel has an attached vegetarian restaurant with staple Tamil / south Indian cuisine. Their hotel rooms are decently priced.

They seem to have started in Dubai in the year 2000, according to their About Us page on their website (

Reproducing their menu card below only for reference (it’s quite an old one that I found today while rummaging through some old papers). Click on the images to enlarge:

Vasantam Hotel (Vasanta Bhavan) Bur Dubai

Vasantam Hotel (Vasanta Bhavan) Bur Dubai

[UAE Tamil Achiever] Barista trainer is UAE barista champion!image/634546993.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_475/634546993.jpg

Wake up and smell the coffee. For Raja Muthusamy this could well be the mission statement of his life. From starting off washing dishes in a cafe to becoming the winner of the 2010 UAE Barista Championship, he has seen himself grow over the past seven years in Dubai. Muthusamy came to Dubai at the age of 19.

He was already a married man by then, although it was not a milestone he chose himself.

“I wanted to come to Dubai, earn some money first before I agreed to marriage but my wife’s parents thought otherwise. They believed that I would be too busy earning money to give marriage a thought.”

And so it was that he got married at 19 and ten months later landed in Dubai thanks to a visit visa organised by his uncle who has been here for many years.

In Dubai, Muthusamy initially worked at Cafe Breeze in 2003 as a washer up and worked his way up to become a head waiter. After the cafe’s operations were discontinued in 2006, the café’s managing director, Kim Thompson, set up a coffee espresso bar, the Raw Coffee Company, where Muthusamy joined as a barista and coffee roaster in 2007.

“I was amazed by all the designs that I saw people make on coffee,” he says.

It was not long before he took to his new role of a barista with an ease that surprised him. But there were some obstacles initially, such as language.

It was difficult for him to converse with his customers in English, armed as he was with only Tamil, his mother tongue. But he soon found himself at ease with them as they were all very friendly.

As for Thompson, “I like working with Kim. Now we are like family,” says Muthusamy, who as a result of his initial struggle with communication decided to earn himself a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English through a correspondence course.

He is about to complete his third year and plans to do his Masters in English as well.

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