The venue Another ambitious development from Meraas, the creator of Last Exit, City Walk and La Mer, The Yard is one of their more recent al fresco hangouts in Al Khawaneej. The 350,000-square-foot development features a lake with two pedestrian bridges, a 550-metre shaded walking trail, landscaped picnic areas, an 18-metre-tall windmill, and plenty of street art murals. Inspired by the agrarian surroundings of Al Khawaneej, known as Dubai’s agricultural heartland, a highlight of The Yard is the Homestead Restaurant & Bakery, which takes both its culinary and design cues from the local environment and cultures.

The design With its warm and relaxed vibe, Homestead aims to create a home-away-from-home experience. Its charming and creatively upcycled barn-like ambience seamlessly blends in with the surrounding rural hinterland. The restaurant’s al fresco design celebrates the use of natural light through its clear glass ceiling, and features both natural and faux foliage hanging in the dining area to create a breezy, earthy feel. The close to nature, inside-outside appeal is further enhanced by natural materials such as wooden floors, ceramic marble-style table tops with timber finishing, wicker pendant lighting and rope accents on pillars that roll out the rustic look. Earth tone leathers and natural fibres also lend to the pastoral charm. A combination of upholstered antiques and contemporary accessories give it a shabby-chic look with a modern twist. Warm hues of brown and green pervade the restaurant, while the bakery area introduces some funkier elements such as the MARHABA light bulb sign and white-washed wood for a lighter colour palette. 

The Experience This home-grown concept really does have an authentic feel. From the attentive service to the fresh, traditional cuisines to choose from, the setting serves as a cosy backdrop inviting you to get comfortable and stay a while. And with a range of dishes inspired by Emirati, Indian and Persian cuisine with a local twist, it’s an invitation that is very appealing. Portions are healthy and flavourful, and organic and sustainably-sourced ingredients are used where possible. The menu also includes detox options. So, after you savour the lamb machbous, kebab Emirati, butter chicken or double-baked goats cheese and walnut soufflé, followed by a labneh saffron cheesecake, you can wash it down with a mango cardamom lassi, vegan choco banana shake or celery pineapple chia smoothie. Homestead also sells organic honey, tea and freshly baked bread.

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