The Arabic Restaurant - Savour The Arabian Splendour

Straightforwardly and simply named
The Arabic Restaurant and essential to the dynamic cultural life in the UAE is its food and is central to the daily life, The Arabic Restaurant at The Chedi Al Bait, Sharjah had put on a selection of dishes with Arabic flare inspired by the culinary cultures from Asia and across the Middle East. mylifestylenews writes.

Centrally located at the heart of the Emirates of Sharjah where Islamic regal heritage meets an inspiring contemporary landscape, this GHM’s newest add-on has gained numerous recognitions since its opening for its luxury escape and unique staycation experience that is beyond compare. The Chedi’s food and beverage is ever ready to charm you by pleasing your palate for an understated elegance and intimate dining experience to remember.

While staying in house in such a jewel of the Emirates, if you chose to dine outside in the city it is totally a waste of time. Emirati elegance reigns in The Arabic Restaurant through the main courtyard set in beige earth tone colours and blends in to its environs with solid wooden chairs and sofas well aligned in the sunken ground level adorned with elegantly crafted geometric pattern lanterns around all corners, which is also the main part of the al fresco dining especially when the winter weather is balmy and pleasing, so there are mostly taken. Simply magical by night coexists with other dimmed lighting.

The indoor dining is through the main courtyard entrance, inside the heritage house also provides another secluded internal outdoor seating that is set in a modern ambience with clean and slick wooden furniture surrounding a small water feature together with glass lanterns and lamps outlined by the entire calm and peaceful contemporary Arabic setting.

The inside interior has a different aesthetic aspect, you could say the design and decor is elegant, with Arabic artifacts adorning some walls, but interestingly enough, it was not strong on Arabic touches, but more of an other worldly feel that seems drawn to an Oriental influence. High wood-beamed ceilings, heavy wooden leather upholstered chairs, furnished carpets and wall sconce lamps adding the contemporary full of details home-like mood.

A private dining room took ride of place in the adjacent room set up with large wing back red leather dining chairs and a long dining table, with a bold use of colors that stands out most and evokes a typical timeless Arabian-influenced décor.

Over looking at the internal courtyard are raised private booths set with earthy tones at one side and elevated sectional dining spaces for more exclusive dining experiences. Given that there was Arabic music gently playing in the background well connected to the ambience and the only true concession to the fact that this was an Arabic restaurant.

Open daily only for dinner from 6pm till 11pm, the menu serves an array of family-style classic local dishes with a combination of local spices that characterize the menu created and it truly goes to the heart of their culture.

Warm Arabic, Turkish and Moroccan bread is presented with olives, Za’atar (a blend of local spices, including hyssop, sumac, sesame and salt) and olive oil for the dipping, which is a nice way to whet the appetite, as the Za’atar really piques the taste buds. The bread trio is beautifully warm and delicious, with a different texture on each version, so it was difficult not to overdose before we had even started our first dish.

As Sharjah is a dry emirate, the beverage list has a large selection of non-alcoholic drinks and for our first pick we opted for a passionfruit and berries mocktails as well as ice mint tea which were quite thirst quenching and not too sweet except the ice mint tea which was a bit dominating with intense syrups, becoming one of the local favorites.

<Cold Platter>
This mezze platter came in an excellent presentation with hummus, stuffed vine leaves, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, labneh with garlic and muhammara (a spicy dip of walnuts, red peppers, pomegranate molasses and breadcrumbs). Each ‘dip’ had an outstanding flavour with a deft handling of spices to create individual voices on the palate, plus the tabouleh salad is a good palate cleanser of its citrusy flavour after the rich and spicy offerings. While the vine leaf was well done with a punchy kick on the tongue, the muhammara was also quite exotic and strong in taste, which we loved and all others hit their mark as well. Overall, we felt this to be an elevated approach on Arabic cuisine in terms of flavours and those freshly baked breads helped to clean up every morsel!

<Hot Platter>
One platter is never enough in order to just have a glimpse of dining in The Arabic Restaurant. This hot mezze plate was equally as delicious as the cold platter, with a good and colourful presentation. Four deep-fried items came in a set of two each - kibbeh (a Levantine dish of spiced ground meat, onions and grain), cheese roll, spinach fatayer (a type of stuffed pastry), lamb sambousek (another stuffed pastry) and falafel - you couldn’t have asked for a more classic selection and we enjoyed every taste on offer. Each highlight was equally appetizing and consistent, although we did find the spinach fatayer a little sour to our taste because of the lemon juice, but then again, a good counterpoint after the other three rich bites!

<Wagyu Beef Fatteh>
This high quality beef is braised, which makes it soooo tender and it is served on a bed of chickpeas with yoghurt and tahini melted and warmed through and some pita crisps for decoration. Fine ingredients used to produce such a rich flavour and elevated in the culinary preparation to get that perfect combination of flavours and it is such a hearty dish. Full marks to the chefs!

<Chicken Tagine>
While the Lamb Tagine was sold out as soon as we arrived, opting for the Chicken Tagine turned out to be not a bad idea. The server brings out the full tagine pot set, which weighs almost 3 kilos, well sealed and covered with the top lid refraining from the heat escaping. So the moment the conical shaped top is lifted, you are instantly taken by the aromas and the colour of the saffron used in cooking together with the sizzling bubbled sauced that was utterly delicious to enjoy with the generous portion of meat. The corn-fed baby chicken is served with well seasoned baby root vegetables and a saffron sauce, which is the first aroma to hit the senses on arrival at the table and what a wonderful smell and delightful color that is. The chicken was clearly of a good provenance and was so tender and juicy. What a triumph!

<Dark Emotion>
This dessert looks dainty, but with 70% dark chocolate and aromatic vanilla cream, this is a seriously decadent dessert with a very rich centre. Less is more and for such a delicate looking dessert, you were left with nothing wanting. It is so devilishly good that you will want more!

<Saffron & Dates Delight>
This moist date cake was another revelation. Yes, dates are very common in cooking and desserts, but the art of how you handle and elevate them is not for everyone and this was spot on. There was a rich taste of saffron truly harmonized with the light sponge cake at the perfectly portioned size. Delish!

Lastly, a pot of steamy hot and refreshing Moroccan mint tea was offered to aid the digestion and clear the palate of all the rich flavours. It was a fitting end to a lovely journey of Arabic spices and flavours that left us feeling replete and happy that we had an opportunity to dine here. The evening was with a slow start, only a few tables reserved and started to pick up at later hours as the locals tend to eat late.The service was perfunctory in our view. Our server was very polite, but didn’t take the time to explain each ingredient/dish, which would help if you are not familiar with Arabic food and the spices involved in creating the exotic flavours. The little touches were missing. Once we engaged a Manager, more explanations about the ingredients were forthcoming, but this should be from the Front of House team members that look after you from the get go. Nonetheless, it was still a success largely because of the stunning food over the captivating courtyard dining and to savor the Arabian splendour regal heritage.

Tried & Tested:
Location: 5/5
Design & Decor: 3.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Service: 3/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Experience: 4.5/5

Heart of Sharjah
79 Corniche Street,
Al Shiokh, Sharjah
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 6 502 5555

 Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated. 

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