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DUBAI — Most commonly, we, Filipinos, in the United Arab Emirates are here to earn a living. While it is important to live just within our means, life doesn’t always have to be a cycle of work and home just because we are more concerned about how much we can save instead of rewarding ourselves for our hard work.

P1000209In case you share my view that going out in Dubai can be seen as costly, I can tell you now that there are still some hidden gems like Tambayan sa Kanto. It is the perfect combination of a fun night out and being within budget — not because we are stingy, but because we are wise spenders.

Tambayan sa Kanto, a resto bar, located inside the Majestic Hotel Tower along Mankhool Road in Bur Dubai (5-minute walk from Al Fahidi Metro Station), was a surprising discovery – good service with attentive and friendly staff, delicious traditional food, fun entertainment with a comedian and a band, and to top it all, very affordable.

When Kabayan Weekly was invited to hang out at Tamabayan sa Kanto last week, I was nervous with the idea that a stand-up comedian will be performing. Knowing how it is in the Philippines, I just wanted to sit somewhere far from his sight fearing that I could be the “subject” of his jokes.

Mixtrix Band members (L-R) Jane, Anj, Honey and Gilbert
Mixtrix Band members (L-R) Jane, Anj, Honey and Gilbert

Despite being a bit hesitant, we all agreed to sit in the middle of the room. It turned out that our table wasn’t so bad after all, and we actually had a lot of fun. My colleague was in the spotlight and became Elmo’s target (Tambayan sa Kanto’s resident comedian) while I took the opportunity to sing two songs on their karaoke, another interesting feature that makes the bar so special. For “talented” singers (and even frustrated ones) this is another way of making the show more interactive and fun.

Not only is Elmo a great singer, judging by his outstanding performance of Journey’s Faithfully, he is a hilarious comedian. He may make fun of guests, but he reads his audience and can understand how to use his humor skills.

So after laughing your heart out, you get transported by Mixtrix, a band composed of three talented female singers (Jane, Anj, and Annie), and a male vocalist (Gilbert) who also plays the organ. This group performed several songs such as Fatima Rainey’s Hey, Avril Lavigne’s When You’re Gone, and Meghan Trainor and John Legend’s Like I’m Gonna Lose You, among others, showcasing their vocal prowess.

Elmo
Elmo

“Homely” is the first word that came to Wayne Hessing, F&B manager of Majestic Hotel Tower, when asked what he feels about Tambayan Sa Kanto.

“Everybody here is very friendly and accommodating. We tried to recreate an environment in which you can easily interact with your friends while enjoying the show. And if you want to stand up and dance, the stage is all yours,” Hessing said. 

“Our team members know the guests by their names and vice versa,” he added.

This, again, makes the place feel cozy and intimate. 

This is not a place for Filipinos only, as many foreigners – in search of exoticism and Asian food – come and laugh at Elmo’s jokes, try their singing skills on the Karaoke set and enjoy the pleasant environment.

Food and services

Looking at the menu, there is a wide variety of comfort food to choose from, most of which are dishes that Filipinos crave for, such as Binagoongan at Pritong Talong, Daing na Bangus, Asian Crispy Stir Fried Seafood, Grilled Chicken-Bacolod Style Inasal na Manok, Pancit Bihon Guisado, Nilagang Bulalo, andPapaitan na Baka. Main courses starting at AED 35 onwards.

They also offer appetizers starting at AED 25 onwards, such as spring rolls, Siomai, Sizzling Sisig, among others, as well as cakes, brownies and salads.

009aNot only are the prices affordable, the portions are very generous and dishes can be put in the middle of the table for sharing.

Order the Fiesta sa Kanto and Paboritong Comidianteif you are with a big group of friends.

“Our prices are very reasonable with tastes and flavors that are very close to home,” Hessing said. And even if you don’t know what to order, the waiters will guide you through this culinary experience with specialties from all over the Philippines.

“Tambay” is after all something familiar to us Filipinos as it reflects what we enjoying doing: relaxing, laughing and being silly with friends and without having to spend too much.

Tambayan sa Kanto is open everyday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. (entertainment starts at 9 p.m.).

One more thing to add, there is no entrance fee.

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