Before I get started on my revved-up review engine, I have to first mention the home of this new culinary marvel that I am about to share with you.
The Double Tree By Hilton graced our Dubai shores in June of this year and is the beautiful glass looking tower at the end of JBR. Even by the hottest month of August, the 85% occupancy told the hotel that they were in for successful years ahead. I would love to write a whole piece on the Double Tree because I really do think it’s that great! From the signature cookies on arrival, to their untouchable hospitality and devotion to families and comfort, they really have got it right. However, I am reviewing a small, but palatable part of their empire in this feature in the form of their signature Arabic restaurant that celebrated its opening last week.
Located on the lobby level floor of the hotel, Al Maeda restaurant greets you with a wash of soft beige and browns. It was very calming, relaxed and instantly welcoming. The staff could not do enough and once snapped by the magazines and introduced to the ever so hospitable Hilton management, we were escorted to the open-air terrace with views of the hotel’s infinity pool and white sandy beach.
After welcome drinks outside we were taken inside to begin the evening meal. This began with a welcoming speech by the hotel’s General Manger, Hassan El Wahidi thanking everyone involved for a great opening and prosperous year.
The food was delivered with smiles and obvious pride and the open kitchen gave you the chance to see how well prepared and professional the resident Head Chef, Maher Akwan and his team were. The attention to detail was superb and the place settings were laid out as if for royalty.
The menu was fantastic and was varied with baked cuisines, flavoursome soups and fabulously crafted grilled meat and fish dishes, all inspired by the fine taste of Levant and North Africa. Although we could clearly taste the freshness and good use of ingredients and spices, our table included a lovely Lebanese guest who gave all the dishes an experienced firm seal of approval.
My favourite dishes included the Lamb Tagine with Fig and Apricots and the fresh and the fabulous Arabic salads for appetisers. I have attempted many tagines over the years, especially since my visit to Morocco last year but after tasting this specific one I have decided to never attempt it again, in respect to the dish and inclusive of the fact that I would never be able to cook any tagine that good in my life… impossible for sure!
The desserts included an Arabic twist of the Crème Brulee, which I know my husband would add to his recorded list of the best Brulees he’s tasted (I’m not joking, he has one!).
Along with the after meal shisha on the terrace and an equally warm and friendly goodbye, our evening came to an end. If you want to taste the firm freshness of Levant in Dubai, you must visit this new exquisite restaurant, which is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday at the Double Tree By Hilton Dubai JBR.
Mashallah Al Maeda and thank you Aquarius!
Your Girl About Town