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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt

After lunch at Mirdif City Center, we really felt like dessert. It is pretty hot so I wanted something to cool off. While walking around, we passed by Pinkberry. It was full. So we took another round to find a place to sit.

About 15 minutes later we found a few empty places, so we ordered! The staff were really polite and really friendly.

They have a few flavors of Frozen Yogurt, but most of them are seasonal. The Original and Chocolate are permanent, but their Strawberry, Mango, Peanut Butter and Watermelon are seasonal, they end at some point. The latest addition though was the watermelon. So that’s what we tried.

I ordered half Watermelon and half Original. It comes with 4 toppings. The lady at the counter offered a special Watermelon Puree which I could have instead of 1 of the 4 toppings. I was intrigued and as it turns out its a thick watermelon sauce that was ICE Cold, so after being poured it gets frozen around the Yogurt. I liked that, especially on the original flavor’d Yogurt.
For the rest of the sides I took some Strawberries (for 1 more topping) and Hazelnut (for 2 toppings).
So, how was the Watermelon Yogurt? Pretty good! If you like watermelon (or even if you do not actually) you will like it. It has a clear flavor of watermelon and yogurt. I liked it. I still prefer the Original to be honest, especially if you can get the watermelon puree. The Strawberries were fresh just like most of their fruits from the way they looked.

Verdict: A very nice, cool, freshening and different alternative for having something cold compared to Ice Cream. It is healthier too (if you stick to fruits and normal flavors). They have a nice variety of flavors which they will let you try as you wish. I really liked Pinkberry and watermelon is a nice addition to their flavors. If you want something to cool off, try Pinkberry. The small size is very sufficient for one person, only go for the large if you are two or more!

For 23 Dhs you get a small sized Yogurt (Which you can have as two flavors as above) with 4 toppings.

Rating: 7 / 10

I’d recommend Pinkberry for dessert.

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Dessert

 

Just Falafel for Lunch at Jumeirah lake Towers

I have been meaning to try Just Falafel for some time and today while thinking of what to eat, I saw it right in front of me!

The JLT branch is pretty small, it has 2 tables in the middle, bar stools and a counter around two sides of the wall. The Other end is where the action happens, a counter where they make the sandwiches.

The menu is on the board, and right under the glass panel is where they prepare the food. They have containers for all the kinds of salads and ingredients they use. It is done right in front of you, if you choose to watch.

I didn’t know what to expect or know what to order, so I went for something a little basic. I ordered “The Lebanese”.

It came with a canned drink and French Fries. The Fries were thin, well salted and tasted nice.

The Sandwich is double wrapped (one from the bottom and one from the top) pretty straight forward.

So the Sandwich itself! It has the following ingredients:

“Falafel, Cucumber Pickles, Turnips Pickles, Shredded Parsley, Shredded Mint, Tomato, Tahina Dressing”

The bread I chose was the Saj bread. For one, I thought it would taste better and two, the Pita bread is the small round bread. They prefer it as “Big” and “Small”. It was a little thick (Typical Saj) and I have tasted yummier Saj breads before.

How did it taste? I asked myself that question after a few bites.
It was good. I tasted the Falafels (They squish them in the bread. Helps them stay in place) but they were over powered by all the salad in it. If you check above, there isn’t a good balance between the Falafel and the salads. I should ask for a little less salad the next time. They essentially squish in about 4 Falafels.
I personally liked it. It tasted quite nice and is filling.

I wanted to actually get to taste their Falafels on their own, so the least I could get was a plate of 9 Pieces (This could be a meal with Fries and a Drink if you like)

Now I really got a first hand taste at their Falafels! They were very hot. Fresh out of the Fryer.
I dug right in and it was Crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. It was flavorful but could have used some dip. I did not get any, but I would really recommend the Tahina Sauce (A cup is for 2 Dhs) they also have Hommus if you like. Essentially, the Falafel were up to expectation. I shall be visiting, next time I want a quick bite.

The Service: There was not much interaction with the employees but they were polite. When I asked about the menu, they explained how the whole thing works, explained the sizes, breads, combo’s and sides. I did witness some arguments between the Cashier and the Delivery guys, which I do understand can happen but should not be in front of the customers. The food was brought to my table.

The Value: 1 “The Lebanese” Meal and plate of 9 Pieces of Falafel came to 22 Dhs (18 for the Meal, 4 for the 9 Pieces Plate). That’s very good value! Certainly less than most fast food and Definitely more filling than any fast food for the price.

Ratings:
The Place:   6 / 10
The Service: 6 / 10
The Food:    6 / 10

Overall: 6 / 10

I’d Recommend this place. Nice Fast Food that is Healthy, Vegetarian, Light yet Filling.

 
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Posted by on August 19, 2012 in Dine In

 

Charley’s Grilled Subs

I felt like Subway earlier today.. except, I didn’t want Subway.. Thankfully though, I got an alternative! Charley’s Grilled Subs. I have seen them a couple of times around malls and have tried their samples but don’t think I ate there more than once. So, I gave them a go!

I am an affiliate of 24h.ae (An online portal to order all your food delivery with absolute ease) and they offered me a all expense paid meal from Charley’s. Worth a try then! I passed by their website and ordered off their Sub’s menu.

There’s roughly 12 types of Subs, and side orders.

It didn’t take long to arrive and I was handed the bag of food! I was starving!

Nice simple white plastic bag, logo and a slogan. Pretty straight forward and seems promising! Lets hope it holds up..

Quickly unpacked everything for a portrait before I dug in

Thankfully, they had provided everything. Tissues, Forks, Straws, and Ketchup.

The food came in these white plastic packs. The only problem I ever had with these packs is they collect water on the top, and with experience, I get water drops everywhere… Yeah… same thing happened here!

I had ordered two Subs for this review, and the first one was their Philly Cheese Steak

While ordering, I did not know if I should go with the extra options, such as “Double Meat” and “Extra Cheese” or not. Naturally… I did.

The Philly Cheese was nice. The Double Meat was a little over in quantity. It tasted pretty nice, the Steak was cut up in little slices all stuck together with the melted Extra Cheese and the Vegetables tasted fresh. I mean its nice, but not special in terms of taste or anything. It did taste freshly made which was the whole point, so that was accomplished. Even the bread was soft, fresh seems to be an evident factor.

For the Second Sub, I wanted to try something different. I went with their Chicken Teriyaki, but instead of an ordinary 6 inch sub, I went with a wrap! This ought to be interesting I thought

I ordered this as a meal, so it came with Fries (more on that below) and a canned drink.

At first look, it didn’t look so appetizing, neither was managing it. Being that it was a wrap, it kind of seemed like it would fall apart at any moment.

Again, I went with Double Meat and Extra Cheese. This time though, it didn’t seem as useless as before! Same fresh vegetables, but the taste of the Chicken Teriyaki was awesome! The Double Meat really was A LOT of Chicken, I mean it was just munching on Chicken more than 5:1 of anything else. Flavor-wise though, it was lovely! The Chicken Teriyaki had nice flavor, and the Cheese kept things together as before. I really do need to say, that 1 Sub, specifically this one is more than filling enough (if got as a meal as well) for 1 person. The wrap was nice, the bread was a little thin and with the Sauce, a little soggy but it was overall pretty nice. I do expect that on a less perfect day, it might fall apart but for me, the Cheese held everything together. I certainly liked this a lot more than the Pilly Cheese Steak.

As for the Fries…

Here I fell for a little uninformed trap. While ordering the Chicken Teriyaki meal, it stated that it came with Fries. While going through the menu, I saw a side order called “Gourmet Fries” and I was intrigued.

Yeah… about that….

The Fries that came with the meal was the one pictured above. Would anyone like to take a guess what the “Gourmet Fries” looked like?

Any guesses?

Exactly the same.

A Meal actually comes with Gourmet Fries which is Salted French Fries with Cheese poured on top.

I would assume that fresh at the restaurant these might be awesome, but when delivered, was close to a disaster. The Fries were a little cold, and the Cheese had hardened up a bit which meant that some Fries were soggy, and there was water droplets around the packaging. The taste was not bad, but did not work with delivery.. Especially since I ended up with two of these packs.

The Value

Trying to decipher the bill was complicated, so all in all, all I ordered came to 73 Dhs including delivery (Fully paid for by 24h.ae). Gourmet Fries is 9 Dhs, The two Subs were 17 Dhs each and a plenty of extras here and there for my additional Meat and Cheese orders. I did order food enough for 2 hungry people, so I’d say the value is decent but certainly a little over costs of Fast Food, who these people actually compete with.

Ratings:
The Packaging: 6 / 10
The Food:         6 / 10

Overall: 6 / 10

I’d recommend this place as they are a good alternative to fast food and they do make good Subs, but worth experimenting with a few to pick a favorite!

You can now order from Charley’s Grilled Subs with a click of a button and save the hassle of telephone calls, wrong orders and wrong addresses while being able to go through the entire menu with ease.

This Meal was sponsored by:

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Delivery

 

Paul Cafe for Dinner at Deira City Center

The last two times I wanted to try Paul, it was at Mall of the Emirates and there was a waiting list. I am not a big fan of that, I mean, there are plenty of restaurants. While at Deira City Center, I found a table (One of 2 that were empty by the way). They really are busy in almost all their branches, I needed a piece of this!

Before I start anything, I like the french decor and all, but the thing I hate about most Paul Cafe’s, especially the ones in malls, is how close tables are to each other. I seriously dislike sitting at a table with people right beside me. I managed to find a table where there wasn’t anyone that close and it was pretty decent. They need to space it out a little. I like my conversation and food, as private as possible. Even with the setup I had done, there was someone right behind my right shoulder.

After we organized the table ourselves, the waiter came running greeted us and confirmed everything was alright. He handed us the menus.

The menu had quite a good selection of foods and most of the menu is pretty clear in the picture. The waiter had told us that there are two specials for today, the two with pictures on the right of the menu. Those are what we had.

But first, right after ordering the waiter set up the table.

It was a full setting of 2 Knives, 1 fork and 1 Spoon (for the Soups we ordered).
For the table, they brought a basket of assorted Bread, Butter and Oils. The Bread were flavorful but were neither warm or seemed that fresh. Later upon leaving we saw a rack full of Bread Baskets. They stay there for new tables rather than come from the Kitchen.

The first Soup was the Creamy Chicken Mushroom Soup

Brown was not the color I was expecting. The soup was watery, not thick. There were slices of Mushroom and small cubes of Chicken inside. The taste was quite alright and there were some flavors going on, but was not special in any way. It was ordinary Mushroom soup with Chicken.

What was a surprise though, was their Onion Soup.

The very first thought was… That does not look like what I ordered. but then, the top was lifted.

And the soup was inside! The Bread was the bowl holding the soup! Impressive touch! Second thought was, better finish the soup before it eats its way through the bread and have a huge mess!
It was really flavorful, it seemed more like a Sauce for a Dish, but no, it was a really nice soup. Eating the top with the Soup was really nice too. The Soup was thick, creamy, and had plenty of french onions in it with plenty of flavor. I really liked this soup. It was pretty filling as well!

The first Special was the “Duo De Cabillaud Et De Crevettes” In English that is essentially, Grilled Cod Fish Filet and Shrimps.

The first thing I noticed after seeing the dish, is something I usually never see anywhere.. It looks almost exactly like the dish in the picture! That never happens!
The description says:

“Grilled fresh cod fish filet and shrimps, roasted potatoes, sauteed leeks and carrorts, served with creamy sauce”

The serving delivered exactly that and was delicious! The Cod was perfectly grilled and was cooked throughout to the perfect temperature. It was warm and the meat softly pulls away. The skin was on the bottom holding the piece of fish together.
The sauce was fresh Creamy White Sauce with Leeks and Carrots. It complimented the fish perfectly.
On the side, there were 4 Roasted Potatoes. They were soft, yet not too soft. Flavored and seasoned well.

The second Special was the “Filet De Boeuf Grille” In English that is essentially, Grilled Tenderloin Steak.

This one did not look like the picture, and after a bite or two, I could not care. The Menu describes this dish as:

“Grilled USDA beef tenderloin served with pomme neufs, whole beans and carrots with your choice of pepper or mushroom sauce”

Straight to the point, it was delicious! The first thing I wondered was how was my Steak Levitating? It turned out to be a piece of bread underneath.
The Steak (Ordered well done) was perfectly cooked. I may say this often when something is cooked real well, but with steaks, I always have it cooked a little under or a little over. This time, it was spot on! The Steak was soft, juicy, really flavorful and the cut of steak was good too. I would have preferred if the Steak was a little warmer than it was. I haven’t had a good Steak like this in a very long time.
There were whole beans and baby carrots which were lightly seasoned and were fresh.
Instead of the “pomme neufs” french fries, I ordered the Mashed Potatoes. It was lightly seasoned but plain. With all the fancy good food going around, I would expect they could have cut up some greens or something in it. A little salt and it was alright.
The Sauce disappointed. I ordered the Mushroom Sauce (thought it should compliment the Mushroom Soup I had earlier). It was served in a little cup. The flavor was alright (nothing really special) but was stone cold. That Sauce, if warm, poured over the steak would have been great. I used a combination of HP Sauce with a touch of Tabasco and created a yummier sauce for the Steak.

The Service: It was pretty good. The place was open and anyone could enter from anywhere so there was no one to greet and offer a place to sit, so we sat ourselves but once the waiter had come to us, the good service began. The server was polite, always smiling, listened (Something very important) and responded to what I asked or inquired really well. Empty plates were removed quick and after the meal (around the time of the check) asked if we would like any dessert for here or take away. Upon leaving we were greeted and thanked.

The Value: 1 Onion Soup, 1 Chicken Mushroom Soup, 1 Grilled Cod, 1 Grilled Filet, 2 Pepsis and 1 Large Evian Water came to exactly 268 Dhs. I think it is alright in terms of value for the good quality of the food.

The Ratings:
The Place:   5 / 10
The Service: 7 / 10
The Food:    7 / 10

Overall: 6.3 / 10

I’d recommend this place. Just keep in mind that most branches are very busy, and seating is very tight. The food might be worth it though.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in Dine In

 

Chicken Tikka Inn

The last time I reviewed an Indian Restaurant it was a fine dining one. The thing with Indian food is that theres a broad spectrum of levels and classes of its food being served. I wanted to give Indian food a try but I didn’t want anything fancy. I wanted the basics. The only thing that rang a bell in my head was Chicken Tikka Inn!

I have had their food for years, across many of their branches and they have always maintained good standards, I believed. It was about time to give them a review!

Delivery does not take a lot of time, as long as the restaurant is close by. In my case it was, and it took about 30 minutes.

The food arrived in a White Plastic Bag

They have two bags by the way, One in white and one in yellow. No idea why, though. The bags have their logo, slogan and at the bottom pretty much all the contact information one would ever need. Based on previous review expectations, a well executed bag usually has good food. I hope it kept up to their older standards!

Quickly dug in and took everything out

Clearly, they are a big fan of Aluminium foil! They do cover everything in it. In an attempt to prevent anything getting spilled. I do think that it is a lot! Keeping in mind they are lowering their costs of packaging and all, I guess they would rather go this way than upgrade their Plates,Cups and containers.

Chicken Tikka inn always provides this plate as a side for almost all orders

If you have been following the reviews from a while back and have read Asha’s Dining Experience Review, they charged for this. With Chicken Tikka Inn, this is always free. Sometimes it includes Cucumbers but this time they didn’t. What more could I say about this… Plenty of Lime and Onions..

I had ordered 3 main dishes for this review and shall start with a Butter Chicken Curry

It came in a clear container and in the above picture I had poured it into a bowl. For starters, it is plenty! It would be eaten with Bread (more on that in a bit) and be enough for 2 people with ease!

So, how was the taste? Pretty good! There was plenty of sauce, which was delicious on its own. I mean, I would sometimes just take some bread with the sauce and enjoy that alone! It is a little thick, plenty of flavors to go around. It isn’t necessarily spicy per-se but there are Chili Peppers that do spice it along with the butter taste. Another important factor, some places make Butter Chicken more sweet tasting, and that isn’t always executed well. This though, is not sweet.
It’s called Butter Chicken, and so there is chicken in it. The thing I really appreciate is, unlike most places that would use any cuts of Chicken since it would be hidden in the sauce and would just slide, Chicken Tikka Inn really do use main cuts of Chicken Breast. Actually, in the picture you can see the little Cube on the bottom right and see for yourself, they do not cut short in their dishes.

As for the Bread, they have a selection of about 5 or so breads. This always confuses me because I do not know what to have! This time, I went with Puri Paratha

The thing I really like about this bread is, after unwrapping it, it slowly crisps up. I like it a bit crispy and it does have a good flavor. Major warning though; it is really oily! You really got to be fine with oil because it is a very oily bread. I usually would pull back but its really delicious! It works well with the Butter Chicken and even to just dip in the Tamarind Sauce (A sauce I will show and discuss below). I really do like this Bread. They serve it in Half’s as seen in the picture.

Along with the Butter Chicken I ordered Chicken Boti

It took me quite a while to even know it’s name, and I still have no idea what “Boti” really means but I do not even care! This, simply put, is the Sheesh Tawooq of the Indian/Pakistan cuisine. It is marinated Chicken cubes that are grilled on a skewer.

Delicious sounds like the most appropriate term to use. There is plenty as can be seen in the picture, 8 big cubes really marinated well and have very good flavor, but most importantly, perfectly grilled! The Chicken is cooked really well, tender and soft throughout!

Chicken Boti is served usually with Tamarind Sauce, and a Cucumber and Mint Raita

I can’t really explain either really well but I shall try..
The Tamarind Sauce: This is a weird mixture of… I dont know… Almost everything! It has Tamarind (it is apparently grown on trees) and all sorts other ingredients like Brown Sugar, Masalas, Ginger powder, Cumin and god only knows what else!

The result? A confusing but delicious sauce! I like to dip everything in it! Chicken Boti or just the Puri Paratha by itself. It is spicy in the sense of heat, and also spicy in the terms of having plenty of herbs. It even has a sweetness to it!

The Cucumber and Mint Raita: This is essentially a Yoghurt Mixture that has Cucumber and Mint and is very cooling! Being that most of the food is spicy, you might visit this often to cool things down in your mouth. Before you blow it up again!

Finally, I had ordered a Chicken Biryani

I mean come on.. How could you have an Indian/Pakistani cuisine review without one? (I actually didn’t before… but I’ll ignore this realization for now…)

Again, very nice. I personally am not a fan of picking things off my food, so picking out Herb Leaves and whole Black Peppers out of my plate is a bit annoying for me, but as far as flavor and taste goes.. It is quite worth having them in it!

The Biryani is is a bit spicy and has a lot of flavor! There are two big pieces of Chicken (Whole with bone) in the rice, cooked very well. The rice had different herbs and even colors, all coming together gave it a unique taste.

Biryani came with Yoghurt too!

No Cucumber and Mint here, but does have Onions cuts in it. This is really nice to have with the rice, really does taste well. Again, serves as a bit of a cooling factor.

The Value:

Really good value, sums it pretty well. I had ordered a really big amount of food. The Dishes ordered would serve 3 people with ease. The Chicken Biryani was 18 Dhs, the Chicken Boti was 24 Dhs, the Butter Chicken was 24 and the bread was 9 Dhs. Very well priced for quantity and taste. Makes me wonder if the difference of going fine dining Indian, worth it? That thought alone, really works in their favor!

Ratings:
The Packaging: 5 / 10
The Food:         7 / 10

Overall: 6 / 10

I’d recommend Chicken Tikka Inn, whether for Delivery or Dine in, they have very good food with good value.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Delivery

 

Nando’s – Portuguese Flame-Grilled Peri-Peri Chicken

Nando’s is a special restaurant that has been around for a long time, and recently in the news, speak of their expansion. In fact, there is a new Barsha Branch opening up right behind where I live. I usually eat at the restaurant (mostly at the Sheikh Zayed Road branch) but today, I decided to order in!

I rang them up and they got straight to the point. I mention this because before, they had to give a whole sentence of wishing a good day and asking how could they satisfy my cravings today. Too long for me, I just want to order! Thankfully now that’s gone and they get right to the point. I made my order and I was told delivery would take 45 minutes. The food had arrived after about 40 minutes. So their estimates are quite spot on.

The food arrived in two Big Brown Paper Bags

One bag would have been technically sufficient as the bags were mostly empty and even one of the bags just carried the Salad. One thing that disappoints is that there were No Utensils. They provided everything required except Utensils. This is something they have done many times before.

For Starters there was a Mediterranean Salad.

The Salad was nice. All fresh ingredients, everything was crunchy and clean. Onions, Lettuce, Green & Yellow Peppers, Baby Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Feta Cheese Cubes. There were also Two Packets of Salad Dressing (Traditional Vinaigrette with Olive Oil). It was good.

For the Main dish, I ordered the Chicken Espetada (Extra Hot Peri-Peri Flavor). Flavor is an important factor and one should really pay attention! They go:
Lemon & Herb (Near to no taste as they never have enough on)
Mild Peri-Peri (Starting to get some flavor, not enough at times)
Hot Peri-Peri (Where I recommend. It is noticeably spicy. Get some water around)
Extra-Hot Peri-Peri (You really need to have high tolerance! Stronger than Tabasco heat levels)

The Chicken Espetada comes with a Side of Chips or Vegetables but ordering Spicy Rice didn’t have any extra charge. The Meals came with plenty of Tissues and 6 Packets of Peri-Peri Sauce (It is Extra-Hot Peri-Peri) but dare not think of pouring them all as a sauce or anything.
The Rice is the Typical Spicy Rice of Nando’s it has plenty herbs, light vegetables and chili peppers in it. it is fairly Spicy. It tastes good. Nothing extra-ordinary but a good plate of Rice. I took 1 Packet of Peri-Peri sauce and used half of it for the whole rice plate to spice it up.
The Chicken is really good. It was about 5 Big Chunks of Chicken that were Perfectly Grilled. This is something I appreciate about Nando’s their Chicken is cooked to Perfection. I do admit, my ordering of Extra-Spicy Peri-Peri took a toll on my taste buds later on. There were some Big cuts of Yellow and Red Peppers that were Grilled on the Skewer along with the Chicken, for flavor.
The Chicken was hot when arrived and the Rice was warm, and both were hot enough throughout the meal. The plate was a similar Good Quality Plastic Plate like the one used for the Salad above, so no complaints there.

The second Dish was a Meal. A 1/2 Chicken Meal (Hot Peri-Peri Flavor).

The Meal consists of Half a Chicken (in 2 Pieces), a can of soft drink and two Side Orders. In this case, it was 2 Spicy Rice. The Spicy Rice Packs came in a Brown Paper Bag (Keeping Consistency with the Brown Bag usage)
The Chicken itself is put in another Brown Bag but it has a Plastic Lining inside. I find that really good, it does not let the paper bag soak in all the Oils, Sauce and eventually tear apart. (In the past I have popped this into the Microwave for a quick re-heat and that was perfect)
The Chicken, like the Espetada, was Grilled Perfectly. Plenty of Flavor, and due to the Plastic inside the Paper Bag there was a little sauce to dip in the Chicken (There was Peri-Peri Packets if needed)
The Chicken was warm, but not as warm to call perfect, a common issue with most cases of Delivery.

Value:

1 Salad and 2 Main Dishes came to a total of 135 Dhs. The Chicken from Nando’s is special and the Grilling always is, or nearly is, Perfect and that is important to consider! It is good value for 2 people, and is certainly filling while satisfies one’s cravings for spice!

Ratings:
The Packaging: 6 / 10
The Food:         7 / 10

Overall: 6.5 / 10

I’d recommend this place to deliver. Should not disappoint and if you want a bit more flare though, you should try the Chicken Espetada in the restaurant itself, it comes in a fancy hanging Skewer.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Delivery

 

Aroos Damascus for Dinner – Al Muraqabat Street

A new day.. A new quest to satisfy my urge to try something different.. I didn’t feel like sandwiches or any of the usual foods, and the conclusion was reached. Aroos Damascus.

Before anything, this is not any sort of fine dining. So the expectations of service and the place’s quality had to be lowered a lot. We walked in expecting good filling traditional Syrian food. Nothing else.

They have a big restaurant, literally taking almost the entire front of a very wide building. They have dedicated areas for families with seating out doors as well.

The dining area is very straight forward, ordinary tables, simple chairs. Nothing fancy, nothing special, just a place for people to sit, eat and leave, no admiring artwork or lounge comfort here..

So what food do they have?

Aside from plenty of Syrian Traditional dishes (I had one) they have a lot of food! The menu has almost all salads served in Lebanese and Syrian places, Shawermas, Roasted Chicken, all sorts of Grills, Pigeons, Sajs, and a lot more!

All tables are set up with the basics

Oils, Salt, Tissues and Toothpicks. Nothing fancy as I said before.

There was a Bread Basket but it was empty. The interesting thing about Aroos Damascus, regarding bread, is that you are not charged for bread. Once you order food, they come and fill the basket. Once its empty, they fill it again and so on..

The great thing is the bread is always fresh out of the oven! They give the table 4 or 5, and once its done it’s topped up with bread straight out of the oven. I love that! Especially since most of their salads and meals go really well with bread.

Also, once the order is placed they bring on platters of fresh Vegetables and Pickles.

It has a good selection of Vegetables. Their pickles are really nice, not too strong with good flavor.

We really didn’t feel much like salad so we at least had to have Hommus!

Delicious. Plain and simple. The flavor was really nice, it was soft, not grainy nor was it too seasoned. The thing that got to me was, the plate looks like it’s filled with Hommus, but in fact this is just pasted around the edges of the plate.There is about 1cm of Hommus spread around the plate. It was sufficient though, for 2 people.

For the main dish, I had the Syrian Fatteh with Chicken Shawerma

Many Arab countries have their own version of “Fatteh or Fatta”. The Syrian one is a dish that contains Chick Peas, Hommus, Yoghurt, Tahini, Garlic and Oil. It comes in various types, with oil, with Shawerma (like above), etc. But the base is the same for all.

It is usually had with bread or just with a spoon. It is very thick and filling so having this plate is pretty much all you would need to have. The taste was really good, I think the best I have had at a restaurant. The one with the Chicken Shawerma is the most favored since it has a good taste to it, and the Chicken just fits so well with the Fatteh. There is slight seasoning on top, but the dish itself does not need any additional seasoning.

On the side of the Fattehs we ordered, I wanted to try one of their grills, so I ordered a plate of Sheesh Tawooq

A sign of a good Arabic Restaurant is if they execute grills well. After the good Fatteh, I really wanted to see how their grill would be!

Was it any good?
It was. First of all, there was plenty of Chicken on the plate with a little fries on the side.
The Chicken was really good. The cubes were grilled on a skewer and were cooked well, not as tender as I have had in the past but not over cooked, just in the fine line before being a little dry. It was very good though, and it had a slight taste of the smokiness of the grill, just a slight bit always gives it a nice flavor.The Chicken cubes were delicious.
The Fries were ordinary fries, not crispy, just soft and needed some salt.

The Service: Here’s the thing, they do not have bad service, just not good or special service. For instance, when they came to serve Plates, Forks, Knives and Plastic Cups for the Water we ordered, they were on top of each other and the waiter just placed it on the table. We had to take and arrange them ourselves. Placing things on the table is done quick and where ever, its fine. That’s the thing here to keep in mind, they aren’t serving badly because if you want something they are around and quick to serve, polite and attentive! It’s just, they aren’t garnishing any service. They do one thing only, food. They do not focus on “Dining Experience”. Ironically exactly what I review…

The Value: 1 Fatteh with Chicken Shawerma, 1 Fatteh with Oil, 1 Sheesh Tawooq Plate, 1 Large Local Water (not like they have any sort of International or Sparkling Water) and unlimited bread came to a total of 83 Dhs. Really good value, as the food we ordered would feed 3 quite well!
I couldn’t do more than 80% of the plate, neither did my friend and almost half the Sheesh Tawooq was left as well.

Ratings:
The Place:    5   / 10
The Service:  5   / 10
The Food:    6.5 / 10

Overall: 5.5 / 10

I’d recommend this place. I do wish to note, even though the overall rating is low, the food is good and it is worth visiting.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Dine In

 

Pompeii Italian Restaurant & Cafe

I really like Italian Restaurants, something about their specific type of cuisine that is really delicious and when I hear of a restaurant that serves Italian food, I am always intrigued to try it out. In this case, I have been hearing about Pompeii having good food. I had to try it out..

I went through their menu on 24h.ae (An online portal to order all your food delivery with absolute ease) and went for two things that should be really good!

The food did take about 45 minutes to come from Jumeirah Lake Towers to Dubai Media City.

They had a nice looking bag. I like the little description on the bottom and all. Good first impression, just hoped the rest would hold up! I aint going to eat the bag, the food better be good!

First up, I ordered their Mushroom Risotto.

Before anything, I really love Risotto. Some people consider it as rice that’s cooked wrong, but that would mean they really do not get this dish. Also, a perfectly executed Risotto is a good sign they know what is doing because it is really simple (For a professional, of course) yet could easily go wrong.

Their packaging is pretty neat. I like the little ribbon sticker with their information. The problem here is, the Packaging is nice and it is sealed real well, so nothing is going to get out by accident but, the plastic has no tab! There is no way to open it with ease, you will need to get your finger to make a gap and move your finger along till it pops. Bad design for sure, no clue why it does not have a tab, I mean how hard could it be?

Of course with my finger run down the sides to open the lid, it got messy. I did not enjoy that. So, how was the Risotto?
It was alright. The Rice was cooked well, there was plenty of Mushrooms and the taste was fine, but it did not blow my mind and I would not consider it a dish I enjoyed having. I assume with a little more flavor, seasoning (which it lacked) and heat, it might have been much better. There was quite a bit of oil around the dish. I understand when it is on a plate and it is lightly on top, but having oil here wasn’t nice.

Along with the Risotto, we ordered a Pepperoni Pizza, which ought to be good!

Again, they really do well with packaging. Very consistent and good looking.

I expected a lot from the Pizza, and Once I opened it… well… I was let down a bit.

First of all, the side of the pizza that is upright because it was held against the side of the box. If the pizza can get hard like that just tells me it did not come out of the oven crispy as it should be.

I just had an amazing Pepperoni Pizza a few days ago at Oregano Restaurant, quite possibly the Best Pepperoni I have had, so Pompeii had a lot to make up for!

Yeah… they didn’t.

Bland pretty much sums it for me. I really can sense, that on a different day and Dining in, the experience might differ, maybe not a lot, but would certainly be much better than this! The Pizza had the sauce that’s seen around the edges before the crust, there was a little cheese only. I do not understand why they couldn’t cheese it some more, and the Pepperoni taste was hardly evident!
The worst part for me though, was the last few bites, around the crust where I just had bland dough in my mouth. Yeap.. I did not enjoy it so much. I wouldn’t say it is terrible or really bad, but it was below average for me.

The Value:
The bill was lost but the Mushroom Risotto was 40 Dhs, and a Large Pepperoni Pizza is 42 Dhs. Decent value for the quantity but I just wished the food was better, at least a little. It isn’t worth the food quality.

Ratings:
The Packaging: 6.5 / 10
The Food:          5   / 10

Overall: 5.75 / 10

I personally would recommend Pompeii as a Dine in, I would expect the food to be better. Certainly is not an excuse for their delivered food to get a 5 / 10 rating.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2012 in Delivery

 

Oregano for Dinner at Dubai Media City

Ever since I can remember, I would see Oregano, would want to try it out. Recently I have been hearing about it again and decided it was about time I actually got to do so!

I drove over and parked across (There isn’t parking in front of it) and walked in. They do have seating outdoors, but in this weather…. that is just ridiculous to try. Walking in, I was surprised the place was actually empty!

It was kind of expected in a way… The location is in Office Park, Dubai Media City. That area is mainly Offices and Universities at night, neither are open.

Anyways, Leaving the empty dining room aside, upon walking in we were greeted and welcomed into the place. There are two levels, but I did not take a look upstairs, I’d assume the warm decor was similar. We were free to sit where ever we wished, and as soon as we did the waiter brought on the Menus.

The Menu was actually quite interesting! There is a really big selection of food, but not just a long list of food, but very interestingly, there were sections such as Ravioli, Pasta, Gnocchi, Pizza, Calzone, Risotto, and even Chef’s Specials section! That is of course aside from the starters, salads, desserts and more! I got to admit, I love their Menu! I found a lot of things I wanted to try, especially this “Gnocchi”, I had no clue what it was, but it looked real good!

As soon as we placed the order, the waitress brought the Table Setting for us.

The place isn’t too bright in lighting. One thing I noticed that did make a good impression was the Tissue under the Knife and Fork. It was one of those Green/Eco/Recycled type of Tissues made from reused paper. I mean, It is not what I would really look for or care for, but when there, it is a nice touch!

Speaking of Tissues, the table had Salt and Pepper grinders and a bottle of water but no extra tissues.

A little bit after that, they brought on their Bread Basket

The bread was actually nice and soft! Except for the bread sticks which were a little hard, as they should be. Along with the Basket they brought Oils and Butter. Another point for a nice touch!

So time for the actual food, which did not take too long actually. The place was empty but throughout our meal, there was about 3 or 4 people that came in and made take-away orders.

To start with, I just had to try the Gnocchi! The picture in the menu looked like some kind of Curry/Sauce dish that you would have with Bread or Rice. When I asked the Waitress she said it usually is ordered alone. So I did.

I ordered the Gnocchi Siciliana

Before I get into how it was, the description might help everyone understand it a bit better.

“Potato Dumplings in a spicy sausage & mushroom sauce”

It was absolutely delicious. The sauce was lovely, thick but not too much, there was a lovely amount of ingredients and flavors! The only thing I did not fully understand was how the Potato Dumplings were spongy… It was like Potato Marshmallows.. in a good way! I really liked this dish!

About having Rice or Bread to eat it with, my judgement was right, it does need one of them. Thankfully, the Bread Basket was still around and it catered well enough.

For the second main dish, a Pizza was due! So we went with a Large Pepperoni Pizza

Before anything I got to admit, I absolutely love Pizza, so my expectations might be higher than usual.
Fortunately, it did not disappoint one bit! On the menu it was described as:

“Beef Pepperoni, Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce & Herbs”

The Pizza was thin, the crust was crispy but not too hard and the flavors were really there! I have to say that out of all the ingredients which were really good, the key factor that is lacking in most Pizza places is the “Herbs”. It really does have a strong effect on how the whole Pizza came together.
It had 8 slices and both dishes together, shared, was enough for two people. It was really hot and really delicious. The dough was soft beyond the crust, just right!

The Service: it was very good. The waitress greeted us when we entered, was polite, quick to respond, and was willing to serve. The serving was all spot on and straight forward. When asked a question about whether they had local water or how the Gnocchi was eaten, she seemed pleased to interact and explain. Upon leaving, we were thanked and welcomed again. Everything was smooth, nothing out of the ordinary or anything spectacular but plain good service.

The Value: 1 Large Pepperoni Pizza, 1 Gnocchi, and 1 Large Local water was 93 Dhs. I think this is good value for a place that is warm and comfortable as it was, has good service and most importantly really good food!

Ratings:
The Place:    7   / 10
The Service:  7   / 10
The Food:    7.5 / 10

Overall: 7.2 / 10

I really recommend Oregano. The Place, Service and Food really are up to expectations, and it is surprising that a place like this was there all along.

You can order Oregano Online through 24h.ae as well and save the hassle of telephone calls, wrong orders and wrong addresses while being able to go through the entire menu with ease.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Dine In

 

Chimes – Far Eastern Cuisine

What does one do when absolutely bored of all types of food? When Pasta, Pizza, Burgers, Grills and Sandwiches are not options? You either eat something you aren’t happy with or go down the risky path of trying something new!

Guess which one I went with? Yup.. The path of something new..

I am an affiliate of 24h.ae (An online portal to order all your food delivery with absolute ease) and they offered me a all expense paid meal from Chimes. Worth a try then! I opened their website and ordered a good selection of the online menu.

The food took about 40 minutes to arrive.

The food arrived in their branded bag with a huge logo of theirs. This should be a good start then!

Aside from the food, the bag had packed 3 pairs of Chop Sticks, and a variety of sides in cups. They were: A Sweet and Sour, A Vinegar with Red Chili Peppers, A pinch of Dried up Chili, and a sauce that was very Tangy and also a bit Vinegar like. I had no clue what that last one was, nor why it was in a bigger cup than the rest.

The thing missing though was traditional Utensils. I understand Asian places usually do not offer Utensils, but how about a spoon for the soup at least? Even if I could eat using Chop Sticks, how am I to Chop Stick my way around a soup?

Before I get to the soup, I have a slight warning for all the people that are reading this. You really must understand what you are going to receive ordering Far Eastern Cuisines. There are a lot of Vegetables (Not a bad thing), A lot of Fresh and Raw Ingredients (Also not a problem) and there are some dishes that have too much flavor strength (And this might be a problem for some people)

The Soup I ordered was their Hot & Sour Soup

Where do I start? It was nice, but the flavor was too strong! The menu describes this Soup as:

“(Chilli) Tangy savoury soup flavoured with mushrooms and Thai spices”

And no doubt, it was very Tangy and Spiced up! It does have a very evident Soy Sauce kind of Flavor and very Tangy attack on your taste buds! I could hardly identify what was in it.. Seeing a baby corn was like an “oh cool a corn”. I am sure people from this region would identify it all in an instant. It is nice, but be warned, it is very strong. If you like that kind of thing you will love it!

Along with the Soup, I went with their Fresh Vietnamese Prawn Spring Rolls

What more could be said about this dish over what is seen in the picture? The menu describes it as:

“Fresh prawn & vegetable spring rolls. Wrapped in rice paper served – with a tangy dipping sauce”

It actually was this white Rice Paper (Rather rubbery) layer that covers little raw Carrots, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Cooked Prawns and some stringy white things (I have no clue what so ever what these are!) and they had lemon on top. These tasted Fresh and Salad-like.

For the main dish, I had the Khaw Pad (In English that is Prawn Fried Rice)

I guess I enjoyed this the most. It was a little sticky (That is due to them cooked this way for Chop Stick use) and tasted nice, but my god! I have never seen so much Salad in Rice like this! I have seen places use a little bits and pieces, but the Khaw Pad essentially has big pieces of Lettuce, Tomato and Green Onions.

It tasted nice and it was a Thai dish. I am no expert to rate this based on what an Original Khaw Pad might be, but as far as I tasted, it was pretty good. The serving is enough for two people, and considering the portion, it is good for two people. What is odd is that I selected Medium size for these dishes (Soup, Rice and Chicken Sauce Below), so I could imagine Large would cater for 3 people or so.

I never order a Rice Dish without a Sauce, so I went with a little Chinese inspiration, Sweet & Sour Chicken

As far as the Chicken and Sauce went, it was typical Sweet & Sour chicken (with very little sauce) that could be found in most places, but again, with their own touch, there was a lot of Vegetables in it. I saw Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Yellow Peppers, Tomatoes, Onions and Marrow. The Chicken was tender and definitely Sweet & Sour. I would prefer it to be Crispy on the outside but it was just a soft coating.

The Flavor was nice and matched the rice very well.

The reason why I decided to give the little warning is because I would know of many people that would easily dismiss this food, or find it not delicious. I personally liked it, and I always try to look at things as objectively as possible without bias. The food was good, had plenty of flavor (some things too much flavor), and fresh ingredients were evident in most of the dishes. All aspects of the dishes and starters were cooked well (Except for raw Vegetables of course).

The Value
I was not given a bill, assumed because 24h.ae had sponsored my review and paid for my meal, but from the menu; The Medium Hot & Sour Soup was 24 Dhs, The Prawn Spring Rolls was 24 Dhs, The Medium Sweet & Sour Chicken was 25 Dhs and The Medium Khaw Pad (Prawn Fried Rice) was 33 Dhs. All this totals to 106 Dhs. Certainly enough food overall for 3 people, which makes it quite decent value. If ordering for a bigger group of people it would be more value as the difference between Medium and Large orders is very minimal.

Ratings:
The Packaging: 6 / 10
The Food:         6 / 10

Overall: 6 / 10

I’d recommend this place in the case of liking Far Eastern Cuisine and/or having bold and Courageous taste-buds.

You can now order from Chimes with a click of a button and save the hassle of telephone calls, wrong orders and wrong addresses while being able to go through the entire menu with ease.

This Meal was sponsored by:

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2012 in Delivery

 
 
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