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Thu 19 Jul 2007 12:00 AM

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Rising from the smog

Will the spectacular views offered from a kilometre high building be spoilt by a thickening veil of construction dust?

The restaurant scene in Dubai moves at breakneck speed, with each new opening designed to trump all that came before it.

As editorial director of ITP, which publishes Time Out Dubai, it is a perk of the job to visit many of these new establishments and sample their cuisine and atmosphere.

In spite of this, there are a few restaurants that I have been returning to for years and, in one case, for over a decade. The restaurant in question is Vivaldi at the Sheraton Dubai Creek.

Like the hotel's excellent Indian restaurant, Ashiana, Vivaldi is a venue with a loyal following that has not been lured away as Dubai has transformed around it.

Vivaldi's best feature for me has always been its outdoor terrace, which allows diners to enjoy silky carpaccio while gazing across the bustling waters of the creek to the soft lights of Deira and the gleaming towers of Sheikh Zayed Road.

Recently, however, the yellowy-grey fog that has descended on Dubai has marred the charm of eating by the creek. The summer heat has always made the city smog worse, but this year it has reached unprecedented levels.

From the Sheraton at lunchtime, it is now almost impossible to pick out the twin Emirates Towers amid the haze, only a couple of kilometres away.

The Burj Tower, only just the other side of Emirates Towers, could barely be seen.

Which makes me wonder what the view will be like from the top of the Burj Tower, once it is complete.

Emaar is still refusing to confirm how high the tower will be, but 808 metres is a number that is widely assumed to be the mark.

At that height, not much short of a kilometre, I wonder what the view of the ground will be.

It would be a great shame if Dubai created the highest viewing platform in the world, only to discover that the ground below is all but invisible through the dust created by its construction.

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