The award-win­ning Le­banese out­let opens in the UAE

What's On (Dubai) - - CONTENTS -

Ba­bel and Sea­grill Bistro are re­viewed, as is the brunch at Luchador

Le­banese fare is cer­tainly noth­ing new in Dubai, but Ba­bel, a fresh ven­ture in the UAE from an award-win­ning restau­rant chain, claims it’s of­fer­ing some­thing dif­fer­ent – a pro­gres­sive take on the cui­sine that mixes Le­banese dishes with un­ex­pected in­gre­di­ents.

Sit­u­ated in Jumeirah’s beach­front des­ti­na­tion La Mer, it’s the sev­enth out­let in the Mid­dle East (the group op­er­ates in Le­banon, Kuwait and Bahrain).

Ba­bel in Dubai boasts a stylish dé­cor spread over two floors, fea­tur­ing in­door seat­ing and a spa­cious out­door ter­race, cou­pled with a large seafood bar, shisha bar and li­censed bar.

The menu is di­vided into mezze, fish, soup, sal­ads and desserts but don’t come here ex­pect­ing to sam­ple the usual clas­sics like tab­bouleh (although these are of course on the menu, al­beit with a twist), as Ba­bel lives up to its ‘pro­gres­sive’ prom­ise.

By adding fish to the tra­di­tional Fat­tet recipe of hum­mus and pine nuts, the fat­tet shrimps (Dhs70) was given a very wel­come makeover. But it was the shrimp Beiruti (Dhs55) which came ac­com­pa­nied with a mor­eish sauce made from green, red and yel­low pep­pers, chilli paste and spicy olive oil that was de­mol­ished in mere min­utes.

For mains, the ex­pan­sive seafood bar of­fered an ar­ray of of­fer­ings so fresh, they still moved – so it’s prob­a­bly not wise to take your ve­gan date here.

The lob­ster (Dhs275) was the real high­light though – What’s On is plan­ning to re­visit for that dish alone. With a creamy sauce in­clud­ing onions and parme­san, it cer­tainly was an in­trigu­ing com­bi­na­tion that we’d never have put to­gether, but went down a real treat. The pre­sen­ta­tion of the Hal­wayo fish (Dhs195) was great – although it neeeded a sauce.

The only dish that dis­ap­pointed was the choco­late ganache (Dhs45) which had a slightly bit­ter af­ter­taste but a sec­ond dessert, a gha­zlieh (Dhs38), was a cheesy sweet with lo­tus and sugar strands not un­like can­dyfloss.

Ser­vice was top drawer – the mostly Le­banese staff were at­ten­tive (although they did have a ten­dency to oc­ca­sion­ally hover) and rec­om­mended what dishes com­ple­ment each other.

Head here be­fore word of mouth spreads but if you leave with­out try­ing the lob­ster, then you haven’t come for the right rea­sons.

aLa Mer, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, daily 12pm to 12am. Tel: (04) 4190220. Taxi: La Mer. lamer­­bel/

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