Time Out Says
There are other things about this restaurant – recommended to me by several Arabic food enthusiasts – that are charmingly befuddling. The venue takes over almost an entire block in Deira, and sandwiches a third, seemingly unrelated restaurant in the middle of its bulk. Outside there are several hawkers whose job it is to pull in customers. There were quite a few tugging us in so many different directions that we weren’t sure where we were meant to go. Ultimately the staff shuffled us upstairs to an expansive, desolate room. Once there we looked enviously out the window at the cheery couples eating outside and opted to brave the heat for the sake of a dinner with a bit more atmosphere.
The menu boasted all the usual Middle Eastern suspects – houmous, shawarma, kebabs – and only a handful of items that set the place apart as uniquely Syrian. If this restaurant was anything to go by, the main difference between Syrian and Lebanese cuisine is the use of balsamic vinegar, a seasoning that the chefs clearly favoured. It was a bit difficult to feel the flavours in our order of baba ganoush because it came so drowned in the condiment, as did an otherwise airy spinach pastry. Thankfully the chefs gave the bottle a rest when preparing the fried kibbeh. These fried balls of minced lamb were perfectly acceptable, but I’ve certainly had variations that made a stronger impression. My date and I split a kebab khashkhash, a meaty tube made with minced lamb, onions and various spices, coated in a mildly spicy tomato sauce. Again, the dish was fine – just unmemorable.
I was disappointed by the meal, only because I had been led to believe by several that Aroos Damascus served some of the best Arabic food in the city. This is certainly not the case: it serves up good Arabic food, on a par with many other venues in and around town. Still, it’s not to be discounted. Like many of its brethren, it offers a decent Syrian meal at a great price. And, really, that in itself is plenty.
The bill (for two)
1x Baba ganoush Dhs10
1x Fried kibbeh Dhs15
1x Spinach pastry Dhs2
1x Kebab khashkash Dhs25
1x Vegetable salad Dhs10
Total (excluding service) Dhs62
By Daisy Carrington | 07 Sep 2009
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