From Time Out Dubai Eating Out 2011With its elegant decor and warm, moody lighting, Café Arabesque possesses an air of sophistication. Sadly though, the clean lines and minimalistic styling are interrupted by what must surely be the world’s largest buffet at the heart of the dining room. Members of staff help you to your seat, but are then conspicuous by their absence. When you’re finally instructed to help yourself, the selection of Arabic food is impressive. Traditional starters such as tabbouleh and houmous don’t suffer as a result, but when you move on to main courses, many of the chicken, fish and lamb dishes have sat under the lights for some time and are on the dry side, while the cheese and meat pastries are a little soggy.
Desserts fare better, with delicate pastries, fresh fruit and umm ali, each a pleasant way to end your meal. The food, for the most part, is flavoursome and well-cooked, but for a restaurant to market itself in such an elegant way – and charge these kinds of prices – something more than an upmarket buffet is required. During the winter months, Café Arabesque’s views across the Creek are wonderful, and go some way to making up for the setup. During the summer, you can get better for less elsewhere in the city.