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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mezza House – Where better to get some Mezza?

Mezza House is one of the oldest restaurants in Downtown Dubai and are famous for their wide variety of Lebanese food and especially Mezzas.

That’s not all though, Mezza house has a beautiful interior, great food, shisha and even outdoor seating with a view of Burj Khalifa, when the weather is good.

When they invited me over, it was a great opportunity to see if Mezza House still has the flare it once did.

Mezza House - Interior - 5

The interior of Mezza House is a very special place, full of turquoise, golds and wood making it a very calming place to be. They have Arabic music playing and a lovely ambiance for lunch, dinner or just lounging.

Here are some more pictures of the interior:

Mezza House - Interior - 2 Mezza House - Interior - 3
Mezza House - Interior - 1 Mezza House - Interior - 4

The staff at Mezza house are a mixed bag, there are some members of the team who are super nice, some causal and some too busy to focus on anything other than what’s on their plate. Some servers were happy to serve, while others just did their job.

We were welcomed by the front desk and were offered any table we felt like. Once we picked a place they handed us their extensive menu.

Mezza House - Table Setting

Their table setting is pretty simple, a turquoise mat and some simple yet old fashioned cutlery. There is always plenty of copper and metal at Mezza House.

Mezza House - Menu

The menu at Mezza house is huge. The selection of Mezzas fill about 4 pages, with plenty of main courses, salads, grills, sea-food, traditional dishes and much more! I like concise menus as I feel the restaurant has a speciality, and the same happened here, I couldn’t tell what they specialize in due to the sheer size of this menu.

We started off with a few Mezzas to try out some classics.

Mezza House - Tabbouleh, Vine Leaves & Fatoush

We started off with these three, their Fattoush, Tabbouleh and Vine Leaves.

Their Fattoush (on the top right) was exceptional. Nice cuts of vegetables, topped with crisp bread rolls and tossed with pomegranate sauce and vinaigrette. Lovely flavors, crunch and crisp, all in one.

The Vine Leaves were delicious, although a little too creamy, it was served cold and had a lot of juiciness to it. They serve 5 pieces in there, topped with cream, pomegranate and pomegranate sauce.

Mezza House - Tabbouleh

The Tabbouleh was pretty standard, finely cut greens and tomatoes with lemon juice and olive oil – nice but ordinary.

We also selected another appetizer platter which they had recommended, the Kibbeh Platter. This is one of the times where we wished the service was just a little bit better. We wanted to know what each item was, but we had to figure it out ourselves.

Mezza House - Kebbeh Platter

The platter had 4 different types of Kibbeh:

  • Kibbeh Akrass – the conned out Kibbehs stuffed with mince meat and pine nuts. These are probably the most common type of Kibbeh with the coating a little harder than the soft insides. They were delicious and very well cooked.
  • Kibbeh Ruman – Circular Kibbeh with walnuts, onions and pomegranate seeds in the center. These were ordinary tasting, nothing too special. Would skip these as they had a little too much onion compared to the rest.
  • Kibbeh Sajiyeh – The ones on the bottom of the corner pieces. Like Akrass but are flat and fried – they were nice but a little dry. Good flavor though. I would have wished these were served with some Tahini sauce or so.
  • Kibbeh Mabroumeh – These are filled with minced meat, pistachios, onions and cinnamon. Good flavor but I preferred the Akrass overall.

While waiting for two main courses, we moved ahead with another starter/main dish.

Mezza House - Shrimp Platter

This is the Mezza House mixed shrimp platter, which includes three type of shrimp:

  • Battered fried shrimp – probably the nicest one of the three, which has nice flavor, not too much batter and lightly crispy
  • Breaded fried shrimp – very regular tasting shrimp, reminded me of fried shrimp found in most places – decent flavor but a bit bland
  • Pastry thread coated fried shrimp – these were a bit unique, very crispy with decent flavor, but i think the shrimp is a little too exposed while frying, so it was a little dry

Fries were really nice, slightly herbed and was crispy.

Moving on to one of their main traditional dishes, we had the classical Egyptian Vine Leaves with Lamb Chops

Mezza House - Mahshi with Lamb Chops

These are very typical Egyptian, and being half Egyptian, they had to nail this to get some plus points!

First of all, the Vine Leaves were alright. The stuffing (cooked rice, herbs and vegetables) was very little compared to the amount of Vine Leaves, and they were all unified, which means they used a rolling machine rather than done manually. I completely understand this is a restaurant and turn around time is important but maybe use less leaves in the roll.

The Chops were very well marinated in the cooking process but were dry.

The bonus that came along with the dish is two pieces of Marrow stuffed with the same Vine Leaves stuffing. I call it a bonus because aside from the Vine Leaves and Chops, the Marrow was the most delicious part of the dish! The Marrow was soft and juicy and the stuffing was soft and well prepared.

I would order a dish of the Marrow if it was an option the next time I eat at Mezza House!

And now for the main dish of the day, the classic Mezza House Mixed-Grill Platter

Mezza House - Mix Grill Platter

Lets talk about whats in it and then break it down, shall we? You get a skewer of beef cubes, chicken cubes, kebab, lamb chop and an arayes (a grilled sandwich of minced meat in bread)

This was actually the most phenomenal thing we have eaten at Mezza House! The beef cubes were extremely succulent, exploding with flavor, the chicken cubes were marinated from here to the moon and delicious beyond belief, the kebab were nice along with the lamb chops – typical grilled marinated meats, and the arayes was crispy, well marinated and yummy.

Definitely my Mezza House recommendation.

Overall, Mezza House offers a great Levant dining experience in the heart of Downtown Dubai, with a wide variety of lovely dishes, fantastic interiors and even nice music. The menu is huge so you’re spoilt for choice, which may not be a good thing, but they have key menu items that are certainly outstanding. I, without a doubt, would suggest sticking to core best sellers of salads, mezzas and grills for a dining experience you will not forget.

The service: This is one where I have my concerns, there are a lot of staff but they are always up to something or the other and are not freely available to serve. At the beginning we were served very quickly and then as the place got packed, they were all running around making things happen. We had to wait to be served a few times, regardless of the number of servers around. Once you get their attention, they do their best, but asking three times for once request was excessive.

The value: With a menu this size, you can go in have a few salads or a proper meal, and you’d be satisfied either way. Mezza House would have a check average of about AED130 per person if you’re to go for a mezza, starter, main course and drink.

Ratings:
The Place:   7 / 10
The Service: 5.5 / 10
The Food:    7 / 10

Overall: 6.3 / 10

A great place with lovely food with key exceptional dishes, lovely ambiance and dining space, just be patient with the service. I would definitely recommend Mezza House if you’re up for some Arabic food in Downtown Dubai

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Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Dine In

 

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Doner Deli – Another one?!

The popularity of Doner Kebab (Or shawerma where we are from) has undeniably grown over the past few years and has given us an alternative to our typical go-to easy and quick food.

I have tried several Doner places and to be absolutely honest, they have all been “ok”. Some too oily, bland, or cut costs by maintaining a salad to meat ratio of 80:20. I heard about Doner Deli and thought of giving it a shot.

Doner Deli - Main Entrance

They have a handful of locations around Dubai and the Al Barsha branch had just opened and was around the corner. Perfect The place is cool with simple decor, and a mix of dark and lightly colored areas. I am not a fan of the plastic colorful tables and chairs as they remind me of cafeterias, but for a quick bite they are alright.

Doner Deli - Sign Board

As we walked in the staff were super polite, greeted us and offered us any table we’d like with a lovely cheerful attitude. While at the counter, the kitchen is actually visible, so one can see the sandwiches being prepared.

Doner Deli - Menu

The menu couldn’t be more straight forward. They serve Doner sandwiches, Doner boxes and Doner salads, with the option to opt for meals. They also have a few kids meal options, side dishes, desserts and interesting beverages but as far as food goes, they do one thing, Doner.

It was time to see if this specialty came out of experience and good food, or just blabber. Lets go!

Doner Deli - Gourmet Doner Sandwich Mix

To start things off, the classic Doner had to be the one to go for. The Doner Sandwich above had vegetables and a mixture of veal and chicken kebab with a mixture of sauces served in an open German pita bread. This was their signature sandwich.

Verdict?

It was pretty good. I would be lying if I would say it was significantly better or different than other Doner places, but there was one thing we all said, at about the same time; Doner Deli seemed cleaner, and the sandwiches looked, felt and tasted like it had a lot less grease, fat and oil than its competitors. Great start!

As always, the sandwich is a little hard to maneuver but one gets the hang of it right away. I also tried their passion fruit smoothie, was was pretty decent although did not have a strong passion fruit taste. I think the ratio of ingredients overpowered the passion fruit.

Doner Deli - Gourmet Doner Sandwich Cover

This is a very similar Doner sandwich with just chicken. Similar flavor but actually turned out to be a little nicer to my liking. Again, that part is subjective to people liking one flavor over the other but the sandwich itself was juicy, crunchy, with a good balance of sauce, salad and meats. Yumm.

Doner Deli - Gourmet Doner Sandwich Flat Bread

The other type of sandwich is their flat bread, which is served in a roll. It does not look as visually appealing and appetizing as the original German pita bread. Ingredients remain the same, and was a little lighter on the bread.

The only issue I had was, it looked unappealing and it was served as lazy fast food. The sandwich was clearly wrapped and then sliced with the wrapper. Not to sure how I feel about that. Pita for me please.

Doner Deli - Doner Box Chicken With Sauces

Now that the sandwiches were out of the way, and we basically got a taste of the salad anyways in our sandwiches, it was time to try their Doner box. Offered in meat + fries or meat + rice (which is a different option in a Doner place) we opted to try the Chicken with Rice box. Sauces provided on the side but more on those soon.

Here, we really got to taste the raw side of the Doner Kebab. The chicken strips were popping with flavor and we got to experience the different sauces individually. Unfortunately the rice (it has peas in it too) made us wish we went with fries instead as it was extremely bland, like I literally wouldn’t know if it was rice without looking at it. I really hope they turn that around because Doner and Rice could be a great box!

Doner Deli - Herb Yoghurt, Spiced Tomato and Garlic Sauce

Alongside the Doner box, they served the three signature sauces, which were garlic, herb yoghurt and spiced tomato. All put together gives a Doner incredible flavor but even individually they are all very nice. The Garlic was light, not too overpowering and quite creamy, the herb yoghurt was typical as the name suggests but the spiced tomato was very nice. It actually was full of flavor, a little spice and just the right consistency.

Doner Deli - Caramel Apple TartDoner Deli - Cheese Cake

We also gave their dessert a try, but unfortunately they were mediocre. Could have passed as store bought, so not much to say there except they were nice but ordinary, supermarket slices nice.

Overall, definitely a mixed bag of feelings. The overall place is nice, the staff are polite and the menu is fairly simple. Their signature Doner sandwich is one of the best Doner sandwiches I have tried compared to rivals, but everything else on the menu had a small “but” to it.

I enjoyed the Doner sandwich but hard to say I enjoyed much else. I think they need to work on improving the small little things that affect the overall experience, and once they do that, they could easily be the best Doner place out there.

The service: Pretty straight forward quick restaurant style so there is not much interaction going on with the servers. When we reached the place was nearly empty so the service was quick, easy but I doubt the service can be of any lower standards as it is all about preparing and serving sandwiches. There were times where the server was not a 100% sure about a thing or two off the menu, she must have been new.

The value: Again, they are doing it right by setting their price point around or better than some of their competitors. I would say a full on meal, smoothie and a dessert would average around AED60, which is the general Doner average.

Ratings:
The Place:   6 / 10
The Service: 5.5 / 10
The Food:    5.5 / 10

Overall: 5.7 / 10

It is hard to place a conclusion for Doner Deli.. If you want to experience more than just a Doner sandwich and have dessert, I wouldn’t recommend them but if you are in a hurry or just want a Doner sandwich itself, you should give them a try.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Dine In

 

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