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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Design & Decor: 3.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4.5/5
Value For Money: 4/5
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