Al Khayal

Time Out visits the Jumeirah Beach Hotel and tries a second helping at the Arabic restaurant Reviews

Meal Deal
Lebanese Journey

Select any main dish, mezzeh, deserts etc from the menu and if you like it, reorder it as many times as you like with no extra charge. Dhs215 per person Timings: 6.30pm-11.30pm (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday)

© ITP Images
View slideshow
  • Picture 1 of 2

As we stepped into Al Khayal, following the waiter to our table through the circular archways and around the pillars covered in lairy gold mosaic tiles, we thought we spotted – or rather heard – a little known English celebrity.

If anyone has seen Alan Patridge – and no, it wasn’t him – then they may remember the in-house musician that used to play a role in the character’s mock chat show from his early years, Glenn Ponder. Then man had ‘fingers like a centipede’ as Alan once described, moving with lightning speed up and down his Casio keyboard. The chat show never got a second series, but we think Glenn may be working in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

As we took our seats, the keyboard was flicked to the ‘wave’ sound effect (or is it ‘ghost’? That always confuses us), and we perused the menu. One of the problems with Lebanese restaurants is that there’s often so much to choose from, and such an array of key dishes that ought to be a part of every such meal, so where on earth do you begin? Luckily Al Khayal has a solution for this with a range of reasonably priced set menus that cover all of the basics, giving you a choice hot and cold mezze, mains and dessert. And the good news is, it’s all pretty good.

As the haunting sound of the Casio player was cranked up a notch and joined by a belly dancer, we munched on some excellent fattoush and tabbouleh, then sambusak or fatayer, scooping up dollops of creamy hummus with floppy Arabic bread. The grilled halloumi cheese, lightly browned, crunchy balls of falafel and potato harra were also worthy mentions, and the mixed grill with its tender combination of lamb, beef, kibba and chicken really hit the spot.

Portions are extremely generous, however, so we found the need to pace ourselves, but were aided somewhat by the service being a little distracted at times (surely they weren’t all backstage waiting for autographs?).

The climax of the meal was signaled by Arabic sweets, dates, and the biggest fruit bowl we had ever seen. As the keyboardist was joined by – we think – an Arabic karaoke singer, we decided to finish up and take our leave. Our requests to the keyboard player for an impromptu rendition of ‘Homeward Bound’ were sadly denied.

The bill (for two)
1x Fattoush Dhs35
1x Tabbouleh Dhs35
1x humous Dhs35
1x halloumi cheese Dhs40
1x falafel Dhs35
1x mixed grilled Dhs125
1x Arabic sweets Dhs50
1x fruit bowl Dhs75
1x water Dhs18
2x fresh fruit cocktails Dhs76
Total (not including service) Dhs524

By Jeremy Lawrence

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


  • Location: Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Umm Suqeim, Dubai
  • Tel: 04 406 8999
  • Travel: Jumeirah Road
  • Website | Send mail

Is this your establishment? Want to update any details? Please send your updates here.

Al Khayal On The Map

User reviews

  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Business lunch

User reviews:

Posted by: Mairam on 13 Sep ' 12 at 09:13

Hi!can i have a phone number and e-mail please,ths

Posted by: faroo mortada on 06 Jan ' 12 at 17:01
  • Best for: Business lunch
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

hi my name is farouk mortada..i am the owner of al khayal al kabeer hotel in lebanon...and i would like to know you more inorder to see if we would share our business phone number is 08901551 or 03094653.. thankyou very much..and its a pleasure to share our business with you

Add your review/feedback

Your Rating (Min. 1 star, zero stars will be treated as unrated)
Yes No

Subscribe to Restaurants newsletter

Prove you're not a robot:



Explore by

Our favourite features