At the edge of the table loomed an unfeasibly large platter of fresh vegetables, including a whole white cabbage and a boulder-sized raw potato 12 Reviews
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At the edge of the table loomed an unfeasibly large platter of fresh vegetables, including a whole white cabbage and a boulder-sized raw potato. So extensive was the selection we could have opened a small market stall – all that was missing was the set of scales and the saucy banter. Our attention was soon wrested from this hill of vegetation by a dizzying deluge of mezze, which arrived with all the commotion of a flash flood and covered every available square inch of space on the table. By now it had become abundantly clear that Al Qasr – Dubai Marine Beach Resort’s lively Lebanese restaurant – doesn’t do things by halves.
In fact, mezze at Al Qasr on a Thursday night – when the à la carte menu is replaced by a choice of two set menus – can only be described as a fully-fledged, in-your-face, no-holds-barred banquet. A verdant tabouleh combining chopped parsley with vibrant mint, sweet tomato and tangy onion seemed the perfect place to start, and was scooped up with bread inflated like whoopee cushions. The kibbe nayye – pulverised raw lamb mixed with ground bulgur wheat, garlic and spices –had the appearance of strawberry mousse, yet delivered a creamy, savoury hit.
Soon enough there was another storm of activity as a torrent of hot dishes rained down on our table. The supremely tasty kibbe was crammed with paunchy minced lamb and dotted with juicy vegetables. Also among the crowd were moist chicken livers, spicy chicken wings and lamb sausages, and sambousek filled with melted cheese. By the time we had aborted our lame attempt to make a dent in the excellent mixed grill, there was so much crockery on the table it was reminiscent of a lazy student’s kitchen sink. Yet it was soon cleared and a mountainous stack of ripe, fresh fruit appeared before us – all bulbous black grapes, juicy apple segments and saturated slabs of watermelon. We’d had a bellyful; then came the belly dancer…
After tackling such a walloping feast, the simple task of standing up seemed fanciful, let alone gyrating like a dim-witted penguin. So we politely declined the offer to waddle up to the stage area and join the dancer, leaving space for a group of agile men to put their arms around each other’s shoulders and whirl around to the swirling sounds. Instead we reclined with bubbling shisha pipes to enjoy the show and reflect on the evening – the maelstrom of mezze, the swift service and the vast variety of vegetables. We concluded that, in typical Al Qasr style, even the shishas were of epic proportions. And we liked it – a lot.
The bill (for two)
Mineral water Dhs17
Set menu mezze Dhs140
Set menu mezze and grill Dhs165
Grape shisha Dhs28
2x Almaza beer Dhs42
Total (including service) Dhs392
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