See See Saghi

Eccentric and mid-priced Persian restaurant on Jumeirah Beach Road

  • See See Saghi
There’s making an entrance, and then there’s taking out a precariously placed plantpot within seconds of walking into a restaurant. That was how I announced myself to See See Saghi on a deserted Sunday evening. ‘Careful, sir!’ hollered one of the three Filipino waitresses who crowded around me as I sent the plantpot flying. They all looked surprised, but more surprised to see anyone, frankly. Eccentricity is a mark of many a Persian restaurant here in Dubai, but See See Saghi definitely stands out as one of the most colourfully strange sights to behold.

Maybe you’ve spotted it before on Beach Road, it’s the one with ‘Welcome!’ written in several different languages on the outside – all it needs is a sign saying ‘Coach parties catered for’. Walking in, the place was like a Persian answer to The Godfather. There was a profusion of velvet, silver stallion figurines, a constant dribbling sound from the many water features and photographs of pehlvani wrestlers on the walls, where a smiling photo of Frank Sinatra would usually prevail.

The jovial but slightly intimidating manager, dressed in a black and white tracksuit, marched around the huge, restaurant. The menu was no less bizarre: with a curious mix of Iranian and American dishes to choose from. ‘What is your nationality, sir?’ asked the waitress as I sat down. On hearing I was European, she closed the menu and revealed the backpage – ‘This is what you need’, she said and pointed to a T-bone steak and fries.

Insisting that I wanted Persian food, I kicked things off with a salad shirazi, a bowl of cucumber mast (Iran’s cooling signature yoghurt) and ask for plenty of bread. A few requests were met with a chorus of ‘sorry, sir.’ The special kebabs weren’t happening (‘sorry, sir’), some of the limited range of starters weren’t happening (‘sorry, sir’) and the See See Saghi special juice was a no-no (‘Sorry, sir. No avocado.’). But with this aside, the yoghurt was fresh and had a pure, homemade taste to it, great for smothering on the crispy bread (also rather good) and landed on my table in record time.

That didn’t, however, make up for the greasy torpedo of meat that constituted a chelo soltani. Glistening meat isn’t appetising at the best of times, but this particular ground beef artery-assailer lacked even a definitive taste to it. It was lightly sweet perhaps, but that didn’t make up for the sheer greasiness of a kebab that should be light and full of bounce. The rice, with a surprisingly generous lacing of saffron, was good, but I can’t help feeling that See See Saghi needs to deliver the whole package. A price like this? Who are they kidding? If it were cheap and cheerful, I’d be back, but as it is, this idiosyncratic spot needs a boot up the rear and a slash of their prices to really get us interested. Godfather or no godfather.

The bill (for one)
1x Chelo Soltani Dhs 55
1x pineapple juice Dhs20
1x Salad Shirazi Dhs15
1x yoghurt (cucumber mast) Dhs6
1x water Dhs5
Total Dhs101 See See Saghi
5 1

By Daisy Carrington | 16 February 2009

Location: Jumeirah
Tel: 04 395 6300
Travel: Jumeirah Beach Road
Cuisine: American, Persian, Middle Eastern
Experiences: Outdoor seating, Smoking permitted
Times: Open daily noon-midnight
Price range: Dhs50-199
Credit Cards Accepted: Yes

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  • Celeste Dec 20, 2010 06:50 am
    Would you go back to this restaurant?
    Was brought here by a Persian colleague for a business lunch and loved the place. The owner is a Persian from the Los Angeles area, and the place was decorated lavishly. I was fully accomodated for, even on my strict vegan diet. Loved the food, service, and decor...will definitely return!!! (I'm an American)

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