Tag Archives: Lebanese Cuisine

Reem Al Bawadi – Lebanese classics

Reem Al Bawadi is one of the oldest Lebanese restaurants in Dubai, and if you’ve lived here for a while, you would have at least seen it a few times moving around town.

Over the past few visits to various branches, I have had several different experiences, and this visit is an excellent opportunity to give Reem Al Bawadi a good memory-refresh. Let’s go!

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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Dine In


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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.

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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Zaroob – The hotspot of Lebanese cuisine

Zaroob has secured a spot in Dubai’s nightlife, and people flock over there after their parties and nights out but there has to be a reason, aside from them being simply open for business and I had to find out for myself!

Zaroob offer a wide variety of Lebanese and Arabic dishes with quite an interesting menu including breakfast, snacks, sandwiches, and more.

Upon arriving, they have a welcome stand outside where they welcomed and seated guests. The servers are mainly Arab, are polite and quite hip and happy!

Zaroob - Table Placement

They have quite an interesting theme, full of color, Arabic nostalgia and an industrial feel to things. They like a lot of wood and metal and have implemented this all over the restaurant.

We were brought to a table, outdoors (but shaded) as the weather was quite pleasant and were presented the menu. Their menu is unique as you simply tick on the items you want to order and give it to the server. Of course, he can come and do it for you, but its a Zaroob thing.

The menu revolves around the Lebanese cuisine with Sajs, Manakeeshes, Levant salads, Shawerma and even goes to Egypt by serving traditional Koshari. It was recommended to stay on the Lebanese path though.

After giving in our order, the server asked if we wanted some juice, and we thought that would be a great idea.

Zaroob - Fresh Orange Juice

Fresh orange juice was served in a few minutes and was quite refreshing and served in a very nice jar like mug. More of the Zaroob personality started to appear with every passing plate.

It was fairly early, so it was a good time to start off by some breakfast

Zaroob - Egg and Potato

One thing that caught our eye was the eggs with potato dish, which was conveniently served in the pan it was cooked with (we assume). Lovely flavors, fresh, and the potatoes were cooked just right, soft. There were some herbs on top but needed a little salt and pepper to bring it all out.

Zaroob - Bread Basket

They had brought on this.. a bag full of.. bread bags. A Bag of Bags.. Bag-ception if you will.

Typical Lebanese bread from the nearest bakery.

Moving on from breakfast, we wanted to start off with some appetizers and try out their little bites.

Zaroob - Halloumi Cheese and Falafel

We started things off with their 8-piece Falafel plate (served in a tiny metal bucket) and their Halloumi, which was a server recommendation. The Falafel were quite nice, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, not grainy or gooey as I have seen in some places. It was just right.

They did forget to bring the Tahina sauce with it but when we asked for it, they brought it right away and was quite delicious too. The Falafel were served with some yummy pickles.

The Halloumi was quite nice too, served with some fresh veggies, they were soft and with a slight crisp on the outside and was served quite warm.

Now the time for the main act! We had asked what were the two most popular menu items and they had told us the Garlic Chicken and the Turkey Ham Saj sandwiches. So it was!

Zaroob - Turkey Wrap and Garlic Chicken Wrap

They were both served with a side of french fries, which were actually very nice. lightly seasoned and had good flavor. Ordinary fries, but with a slight Zaroob touch of flavor.

Time for the wraps! They have two types of bread, one a Saj bread and one a Wrapped Manakeesh (thicker bread, used on their open Manakeesh)

Zaroob - Garlic Chicken Wrap

Starting off, we tried the Garlic Chicken, which is a favorite at Zaroob.

Within a few minutes, it made sense why it was a favorite! The wrap was a Saj bread, that was soft, thin, and inside it was quite a mouthful of chicken, lettuce, tomatoes and garlic sauce. Unlike I was expecting, the sauce was quite creamy rather than an over-powering paste. The chicken was cooked just right with good bite that wasn’t dry nor undercooked. It was just right. It was oozing the sauce so it did get a little bit messy, but aside from that, it was a very nice wrap. Definitely recommended for any Zaroob visit.

Zaroob - Turkey Wrap

Next, we went on to the Turkey Ham wrapped in Manakeesh bread.

The flavors were there and it was definitely fresh tasting but it was off-balance. The contents of the Garlic Chicken was quite a mouthful in its Saj bread, but here, there wasn’t enough on the inside to balance out the thicker wrap, so you do feel you have more bread than anything else in every bite.

That aside, the ingredients were all fresh, juicy and delicious. I only wished they had stuffed it a little more, just like the Garlic Chicken. The Bread was really nice too, with a little crunch on the outside and it flakes off as well as you can see in the image above.

We were really stuffed but there was one menu item (among a few) that I really wanted to try out, against all stomach-capacity-concerns.

Zaroob - Fatteh Hummus

This is their Fatteh, which is essentially a Levant dish made from yogurt and toasted bread, which then gets soaked and goes soft. This is served with a selection of ingredients; hummus, lahmeh (meat), or shawerma.

We tried the basic Hummus one to get a taste of it, and although the taste was nice, it had slightly excessive garlic flavor. I would say it was nice but not great. Perhaps the shawerma one would have given it more of a flavor balance since the yogurt, hummus and garlic had nothing to balance out the flavors. I could hardly taste the hummus.

Speaking of shawerma, we also tried their regular Lebanese bread chicken shawerma. Tasted quite nice, quite similar to the Garlic Chicken, but with more shawerma like flavors. I would still suggest their wraps over them.

We were stuffed, so we ordered some Moroccan tea to calm things down.

Zaroob - Moroccan Tea

It was nice, steaming hot and just delicious after such a meal, but it wasn’t over yet, the server insisted we have some dessert!

Zaroob - Nutella Saj with Banana

This is their Nutella Saj with fresh Bananas. It was actually quite nice because the Saj bread itself was quite thin, which meant the balance of Banana to Nutella to bread was just right. We had a few bites but couldn’t finish it. Yummy though.

Overall, it started to all make sense why Zaroob has turned into a hotspot. Yes, they are open till late at night but they also have a nice place to sit, a very rustic and industrial look and feel and they serve good food. The servers are all happy, hip and quite funny too!

The service: It was quite nice. By the time the main dishes arrived, the place was practically packed but there were a lot of servers going around and were all quite busy. We always were able to get the attention of someone or the other within a few minutes when we needed anything and they were always more than happy to assist with a smile. Good service.

The value: Zaroob surprisingly is quite decently priced. Their average wraps are around the mid-twenties and everything on their menu doesn’t fluctuate too much. Definitely an average check price of around 50-60 AED per person or so, which is quite reasonable.

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

Overall: 7.2 / 10

I would really recommend trying out Zaroob if you haven’t already. They have quite a large selection but as everyone keep saying, stick to the general core Zaroob elements, Salads and Wraps for the best experience.

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Posted by on February 20, 2016 in Dine In


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