Saturday, December 27, 2008

Taxed in tax free Dubai

The outdoor smoking cabin in my last post was next to the restaurant we stopped at for lunch, La Moda at Media City.

What a great setting it is too, in what was empty desert five or six years ago:

Quite amazing I think, and a great location for a leisurely al fresco lunch on a gorgeous winter day.


Inevitably it has the same problem that so many of Dubai's ethnic restaurants have. Apart from Lebanese and Indian that is.

I'm sure the problem is that whatever the cuisine offered the chef and kitchen staff are from the Philippines or India.

La Moda is an 'Italian' restaurant, the menu has Italian dishes but the flavour is anything but Italian.

We had two of our Italian favourites. A Pizza Margherita, the original pizza which is, or should be, basically Italian tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil to give the red, white and green of the Italian flag. It should also have some oregano, parsley, onion, garlic, seasoning. We also had Spaghetti Putanesca, one of the tastiest sauces in my opinion with Italian tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, capers, plus of course some olive oil, garlic, seasoning and red pepper flakes.

Incredibly, they'd managed to make both dishes tasteless. The pizza was undercooked while the spaghetti was overcooked and very, very oily. Tomatoes were orange instead of red and with the lack of taste you get with bog standard supermarket tomatoes. The cheese was of indeterminate type, the green ingredients were notable by their absence.

What a shame, it would be a great place to take visitors but I really wouldn't offer them food like that.

Then there was a surprise when the bill arrived. In tax free Dubai there was a 10% "DM Fee", which I assume means Dubai Municipality.


Anonymous said...

La Moda is actually part of Radisson SAS and I would assume they add taxes to their bills accordingly.
La Moda operates also at Radisson SAS in Deira, the only difference is, the food is much better and they offer alcohol there.

Seabee said...

True, they have the Radisson brand on various items in the restaurant.

He said...

Hi Seabee,

I read this article a couple of months ago.

Christopher Saul said...

This must be a new way to increase prices without looking like you are increasing prices. The usual way is to keep your menu the same, but add a service charge (which doesn't, of course, go to the staff). Adding on the DM fee, which is usually embedded in the 'list price' isn't something I've seen before, but now expect to see more often!

Seabee said...

Thanks for the link, I hadn't seen that. If the article is correct the 'service charge' is actually a municipality tax. I'd assumed it was simply a way for the price to be increased without it showing against the items, as it is in many other countries. La Moda was the first place I've eaten which show it as a tax.

If I give a tip it's always in cash to the person who earned it.

moryarti said...

LaModa blows ... Its only still in business because us DIC/DMC monekys don't have plenty of options on where/what to eat ...

Anonymous said...

Hi all,
At least this restaurant was honest, all restaurants, cafes and bars add 10% to your bill and they call it "service charge" but it is actually a municipality fee.
if u dont believe me, ask 'm.

ZeTallGerman said...

seabee, in most restaurants (in and outside of hotels, both licenceds&d unlicensed) I've seen stated at the bottom of the menu "prices subject to 10% Municipality Fee and 10% Service Charge." So you're paying 20% on top of your bill... and I've asasked & been told that this service charge doesn't usually reach the serving staff at all. It's a shame, but at those high prices I hardly tip waiters anymore; unless I'm extremely happy with the service. But to add a tip to already 20% "tax"... so I'd be paying between 30 and 30% more! No way.