Shikhar Dhawan talks about his latest culinary venture in Dubai

The Indian cricketer discusses the idea behind his newly-launched sports cafe in the city


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 6:04 PM

Shikhar Dhawan has undoubtedly impressed us with his out of the park strikes on many occasions as an opener for the Indian cricket team. But his aura isn't limited to his batting prowess as the cricketer, lovingly called ‘Gabbar’ by fans, is also incredible when it comes to fielding.

Remember his 'flying catch' against England in 2018? The cricketer, placed on the boundary, timed his jump perfectly to catch the ball, dismissing Eoin Morgan and saving India from conceding six runs.

That's not all; there's another instance when Shikhar sent back Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan after completing a catch with the ball getting stuck between his knees.

And Shikhar's ability with the ball has led him to name his latest venture in Dubai, the Flying Catch Sports Café, a new food joint in the city's Jumeirah area featuring healthy cuisine, snacks, and screens to watch all your favourite sports games.

"I feel very proud," he tells City Times during the recent launch of his food venture. "Thanks to the One above us, and the team that we're able to open a restaurant in an entirely different country, and in such a good location. I am very happy with the outcome and the process was very strong."

The cafe's name "resonates" with Shikhar's career, as he has taken lots of catches including him making that extra leap to achieve the impossible. "And at the same time, it is like catching the impossibilities," he says. "Having that creativity and thinking out of the box goes along with it because I also like taking smart risks."

Shikhar has his eyes on the community of sports fans in Dubai and aims to give them access to nutritious meals and snacks, and donate one per cent of revenue to local sports programmes in the UAE.

"People enjoy sports," Shikhar says. "They enjoy watching sports. We've got a big screen here, fans can come chill, relax, and watch the game as well."

"Cricket is growing a lot in the UAE, they've got their own league, and so many different leagues are forming. And there's a huge Indian community here in the country. So it is a mix of both, you can relax and enjoy the food as well as the games."

Some of the signature dishes, and Shikhar's personal favourites, at the new food joint are Tandoori Salmon Kesari and Shikhari Naan. "There are healthy options as well," Shikhar explains. "Healthy as well as delicious since it is a modern Indian cuisine with a touch of Arabic."

But growing up, Shikhar's favourite dish was and continues to be Aloo Ke Parathe. Shikhar, however, enjoys eating all sorts of cuisines. But what he enjoys the most are desserts. "But I want to keep myself healthy," he says. "So I put a good restriction on it." And the cricketer also wants to give off positive vibes to all visitors. "We (Asians) are known for our hospitality, and to bring the exact same thing to a restaurant, feels really good," he said. "That's what I have passed on to my team as well; to serve in a way that when diners come in, they feel peace along with good taste."

A day in the life of Shikhar Dhawan

“As a cricketer, I get up, take my time, and enjoy listening to spiritual talks. Then I have my breakfast, followed by a gym session. I love my fitness routines. Then it depends on whether I have cricket practices or not. Otherwise I have my business meetings as well as team meetings.”

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