Home Uncategorized FY Weekend: The Great Arabic Cuisine Binge!

FY Weekend: The Great Arabic Cuisine Binge!

March 5, 2015

I’ve always loved my Baba Ghanouj and my Sheesh Tauks with a passion, but since turning pescetarian (vegetarian with a sea food exception), I’ve been very worried about being able enjoy one of my favorite cuisines- Arabic food! What I just found out is that vegetarian and/or pescetarian Arabic food can be a real delight, while dining at Al Mashrbia, an authentic Arabic cuisine restaurant, at Millennium Plaza Hotel, Dubai.

Arabic cuisine at Al Mashrabia, Millenium Plaza Hotel, Dubai

Arabic cuisine at Al Mashrbia, Millenium Plaza Hotel, Dubai

The setting and ambiance is quiet and sophisticated, while the décor reflects a distinct Arabic influence – I particularly loved the welcome table with a traditional tea set-up for guests. I also liked the flower arrangement in the colors of the Emirati flag – very creative!

Appetizer round 1: Date dip and zaatar labneh at Al Mashrabia, Millenium Plaza, Dubai

Appetizer round 1: Date dip and zaatar labneh at Al Mashrbia, Millenium Plaza, Dubai

Although I’m quite familiar with Arabic food, having lived in Dubai for more than four years now, there was quite a few ‘firsts’ for me at Al Mashrbia. The date dip was a revelation of sorts, which came in as a side for the freshly baked local bread and the staple zaatar- labneh. The date dip was much like Nutella spread in consistency but while it was sweet, it had a very prominent taste of its own, with no added artificial flavoring or sugar! I made a mental note to always order the date dip on my next Arabic food binge.

Apprtizer round two has the usual suspects- Tabuleh, hummus and mutabbal: Al Mashrabia, Millenium Plaza, Dubai

Apprtizer round two has the usual suspects- Tabuleh, hummus and mutabbal: Al Mashrbia, Millenium Plaza, Dubai

The second round of appetizers included the crowd pleasers – Tabuleh, the zesty salad, Hummus and my personal favorite, Mutabbal (eggplant based cold appetizer). I must say, the later is exceptionally good at this restaurant and is highly recommended, coming from a person who orders Mutabbal almost everywhere in Dubai.

Prawn biryani at Al Mashrabia

Prawn biryani at Al Mashrbia

I was a bit spoilt for choice when it came to the main course and simply couldn’t decided between a grilled platter of sea food or a traditional prawn biryani made with traditional Arabic spices. The menu is quite extensive with a lot to offer, especially for non vegetarians but also for veggies and diet-watchers. I finally opted for the prawn biryani, which quite simply put, was nothing like anything I’ve tasted before. Unexpected, inventive and absolutely delicious- it would be a crime not to try it atleast once here.

Arabic dessert, Lougimat at Al Mashrabia

Arabic dessert, Lougimat at Al Mashrbia

Yet another first was a traditional Arabic dessert called Lougimat or Logimat which were these little doughballs, meant to be dipped into a sweet date syrup. Very sweet and super filling- just how I like my dessert!

Overall, Al- Mashrbia scores very high on quality of food and variety in Arabic cuisine. Best mutabbal till date and unbelievable Prawn biryani! At approximately AED 300- 350 for two people, I’d call it value for money. It does have a conservative ambience and no alcohol is served since it’s a traditional restaurant, but I’d most definitely recommend it for anyone who wants an authentic Arabic gourmet experience- ideal for bringing out-of towners and friends.


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