Arabic treats with a twist at Festival City 4 Reviews
An al fresco event, with a selection of Mediterranean food served at the table. Includes live entertainment. Dhs165 (food only). Dhs250 (bubbly) Timings: 12.30pm-4pm (Friday, Saturday)
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In many ways, Zaytoun suffers from a bit of a psychological disorder. Basically, it’s a schizophrenic restaurant. On Fridays, it offers an Arabic feast that goes from noon until midnight, Wednesdays are Brazilian nights, while the rest of the week boasts both a buffet and an à la carte menu serving up international fare. This inability to focus on any given concept made me nervous going in.
Apparently I was alone in my misgivings, as the place was fairly full. My date and I sat outside, where we could view the skyline over the creek. It made for a lovely setting, at least until the mosquitoes got the better of us.
I decided to go à la carte while my date went for the buffet. He returned promptly with a limp fattoush sporting soggy bits of fried bread and a cold pasta salad. OK, so the cold buffet was a write-off, but he assured me he had some risotto coming. The restaurant redeemed itself with its arrival. The rice was an al dente, cheesy revelation. My crab cake starter proved equally satisfying, with a thin, crisp shell giving way to an interior as smooth as whipped cream.
My date’s main, salmon with honey glazed beetroot, was also ordered at one of the live cooking stations. The fish was juicy, but could have done with a bit more seasoning, while the honey glaze on the beetroot was barely detectable. I, meanwhile, went for the Crowne burger, which was the most intense sandwich I’d ever witnessed. Made up of ground wagyu and stacked with veal bacon, gruyere cheese and a fried egg, I imagined it possessed an unseemly decadence. It was a good burger, but it was so loaded up it failed to taste distinct. I could only detect hints of the gruyere or egg, and the fact it was wagyu was completely lost in the heap of ingredients. Still, I devoured it greedily, along with the crispy shoestring fries that came with it.
There was a limited selection of desserts, which, to be honest, was a relief. As we were both full up, we decided to split a New York-style cheesecake, which proved perfectly en pointe. The cake itself was light and creamy (sometimes cakes in Dubai can prove too dense and frigid). The meal as a whole was satisfying, if not overwhelming, but then again, the same could be said of the bill.
The bill (for two)
1x Large bottle of Evian Dhs28
1x Mango juice Dhs25
1x Crab cake Dhs50
1x Crowne burger Dhs55
1x Dinner buffet Dhs185
1x Cheesecake Dhs35
Total (including service) Dhs378
Time Out Dubai,
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