Café Arabesque

Baskets of fresh herbs, nuts and vegetables are a nice touch on arrival, as are the flatbreads, handmade by the chefs through the glass walls of the open kitchen Reviews

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From Time Out Dubai Eating Out 2007

You’ll struggle to find a more picturesque setting than Dubai Creek and strolling through a labyrinth of candlelight and marble isn’t bad either. The Park Hyatt’s Arabic eatery boasts both features and raises hopes from the outset. The restaurant is like stepping into Ancient Greece, with marble platforms surrounded by towering pillars. It’s pleasing, if slightly confusing considering the decor, to see the menu offering Syrian, Turkish and Jordanian mezze as alternatives to the inevitable Lebanese.

Baskets of fresh herbs, nuts and vegetables are a nice touch on arrival, as are the flatbreads, handmade by the chefs through the glass walls of the open kitchen. The cold mezze buffet initially doesn’t disappoint; standouts being chilli-infused aubergine, Syrian stuffed peppers and a range of sweet and light cheeses. Yet it’s tough to work out what the less obvious dishes are – lists on the menu or labels at the buffet would be welcome additions for those not familiar with Arabic food. The ras asfour – a generous portion of lamb fillet in lemon butter – makes sure the hot mezze holds its own. The succulence of the meat can’t be faulted. The yoghurt-marinated chicken shish taouk bil laban and the pine nut and minted lamb kibbeh are also worth a try, but tend to be swimming in so much oil that even the thick base can’t deal with the flood.

If there’s room for dessert, the juicy wedges of melon and creamy, crumbly cheesecake can help redeem any previous disappointments. It’s refreshing to find an Arabic restaurant that aims to offer authentic alternatives to Lebanese cuisine. But the service should be a lot better than it is.

On Time Out’s most recent visit, a waiter took a personal phone call on his mobile halfway through serving us our main courses. So for somewhere that promises so much at the start, it’s a shame that Arabesque’s hit-and-miss food and inattentive service struggles to provide the perfect ending.

By Time Out Dubai Staff

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 317 2222
  • Travel: Al Garhoud Road
  • Website | Send mail

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Café Arabesque On The Map

User reviews

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  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Family friendly

User reviews:

Posted by: Ahmed Barakat on 04 Sep ' 10 at 06:50
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  • Best for: Family friendly
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

I went to cafe rabesque for the iftar and i have to say it was the best one i have had in dubai . The service is quick the food is amazing. Overall great spot.

Posted by: OC on 08 Aug ' 10 at 07:25
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

First up, let me say that that this is a nice chilled out place to have dinner, and the staff were nice - if a little over the top. They were happy to take back a dish we complained about and not to charge for it, and even presented us with a new offering without being asked (even though that was awful too).

The problem was the food. The Shish Tawouk came out bland and chewy, and it felt a bit like they had cooked the chicken earlier and then given it a quick blast on the coals after I ordered it. It was pretty awful. I've had Shish Tawouk's all over Dubai and this was easily the worst, and also the most expensive... We got the garlic mushrooms and they had clearly come out of a can, they were horrible and we had to send them back. The grilled haloumi was nice, but hell, it's grilled haloumi. You'd have to be an idiot to mess that up.

The buffet was a bit rubbish, and to clear up the above review, it only covers starters (which were good) and a miserable array of 'deserts' which were either dry or greasy and generally inedible. You pay 129 dhs for that, and then have to buy your main course seperately - which is another 60 - 100 per person. It adds up.

Generally, I think you'd be silly to pay five times as much for the below average food in this restaurant than you would for, say, Al Hallab, just for some pretty lighting and a nice atmosphere. There are hundreds of good Arabic restaurants in this city, and I would not come back to this one.

Posted by: samia on 20 Jun ' 10 at 09:38
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a real arabic infusion as well as the good care

Posted by: Peter on 14 Jun ' 10 at 06:42
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Great spot. The restaurant is great and the service is exellent. The perfect place to enjoy good food.

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