After my first time to try out Mandi (I reviewed Bait El Mandi here) I was curious what are the better or best places to make it. I asked around and a few friends recommended Freej that is located in Jumeirah Beach Centre.
Went with a few friends to figure out how much better could it be.
First thing I found out was that there are two types of Mandi. Regular Mandi (where the Rice and Chicken are Cooked together in a specially designed buried oven) and Mazbi or Muzbi (where the it has the same Rice as Mandi but the Chicken is grilled rather than cooked in the oven)
I prefer my meats grilled so went ahead with the Muzbi.
As with the tradition of Mandi places, there is seating on tables and on the ground. The staff welcomed us at the door and offered any place we would like to sit. In order to keep things as original as possible we selected a place where we could sit on the ground. The decoration is fairly traditional and kept simple, there are TV screens around and all ground seating areas are fairly closed but not entirely private.
The seating areas are large enough to fit like 10 people each, with carpets all round and cushions. There is a table in each one that holds all the shakers, plastic sheets, menu and bottled sauces.
Soon after ordering, they set us up with the plastic and got us the essential starters
They placed the plastic, brought each one Spoons, Forks and Yoghurt. As for all of us, they served a plate with Cucumbers, Lettuce and a bowl of Tomato Sauce. Most people like to eat these foods with their hands but serving Spoons is good
To start things off, I ordered a Jarjeer Salad (Arugula Salad in English)
This was really good! It was very refreshing, with plenty of flavors from the Arugula, Tomatoes, Spices, lemon juice and onions, it was extremely fresh. The leaves were cut up small as well so going at it with a Fork was pretty easy. It seemed clean and prepared freshly which is exactly what is expected.
As for the main dish, the Muzbi had arrived!
The first thing on my mind was that it was huge! and it really was!
The Chicken served was half a chicken but it was a big half! I got to admit, it was grilled perfectly! One of the most perfectly grilled chickens I have ever had. It was super tender, soft, juicy and really delicious. At first I thought it might be a little dry but once I dug in, it was really tender!
As for the Rice, it was really good as well! It wasn’t dry and had nice flavor to it. Especially with the chicken, it was really good. The rice hardly even needed the Tomato Sauce, which was pretty straight forward as a typical Tomato Sauce with slight herbs. The thing is, with this quantity, there was no way I could finish it! There really was a lot of rice! I really did enjoy this dish!
The Service: It was very good. We were greeted at the door, welcomed to any seating area we required, our orders were taken quickly and with a smile at all times. The waiters were available going and coming all the time so making any orders was a breeze. They served the food quite professionally and were always happy to serve. Upon leaving again we were greeted and thanked, quite good service I must say.
The Value: 1 Jarjeer Salad (Arugula Salad) and 1 Muzbi totaled to a little less than 50 Dhs, which is fairly reasonable considering the huge portion and very good taste. I did not know how to properly judge the value based on my previous experience, but this certainly is on par and better since it was absolutely delicious to have. Good Value.
The Place: 6 / 10
The Service: 7 / 10
The Food: 7 / 10
Overall: 6.67 / 10
I’d recommend this place. Their Muzbi is certainly worth a try.