Mandilicious

We say this hit-and-miss Arabian eatery is worth a whirl
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Time Out Says

Certainly a unique, and perhaps even pioneering concept, Mandilicious was founded by a Yemeni expat to serve a fast-food equivalent of his nation’s famous mandi chicken and rice dish. Since opening, branches have grown, with a larger plan for Dubai-wide expansion on the cards.

Visiting the original branch in Times Square Centre, we found a small kiosk within this shopping centre’s very modest food court, along with ordinary fast food-style seating, but in this instance with the diversion of the vertiginous adult jungle gym at Adventure HQ running along one wall.

Refreshingly for fast-food staff, the server behind the counter had an informative understanding of the dishes on offer, was very helpful and, for example, perfectly able to explain the difference between the mandi and kabsa rice. We opted for the chicken mandi combo meal, which came with a salad, vegetable tabeekh, meat soup and a drink and a single dish of the camel mugalgal.

In both cases, the portions that arrived were groaning under the weight of meat and rice and along with the numerous side dishes the chicken mandi combo did not look like a reasonable feat for one diner. The chicken mandi included a rather larger cross section of the bird (approximately half), which was enjoyable and fairly moist. The camel meat in the mugalgal, however, was a mixed experience. The outer surface had been nicely braised but the meat was grainy and chewy, yet still interwoven with huge globules of fat. The sauce on the side proved to be a very fresh, zingy, salsa-like chutney with coriander and a soft hint of chilli. Both dishes used the same variety of ‘mandi’ rice, which was buttery with a touch of cardamom, and a sprinkling of orange colour, but on the stodgy and heavy side.

As for the sides, I wasn’t keen on the vegetable tabeekh. This thick stew of soft vegetables such as aubergine and okra had a greasy, slimy tone to the sauce that made it taste unpleasant. Although a better bet, the ‘meat soup’ (which is in fact lamb) was made with a very fatty-tasting broth yet no discernible meat, although there was a nice minty herbal quality to it. The waitress had also added a dish of yoghurt with cucumber to the combo, which made for a pleasant break from the other dishes, as did the garden salad.

Mandilicious is a fast-food representation of a fairly humble and hearty desert dish. It is, as such, as unique in its concept as it is an acquired taste. Still for adventurous diners, who don’t fancy scaling the heights of the playground next door to get their kicks, it is well worth experimenting with a new experience.

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 27 Aug 2013

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Details

10:00 AM to 2:00 AM
Sunday: 10:00 AM to 2:00 AMMonday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PMTuesday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PMWednesday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PMSaturday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Show number 04 328 4810
Dubai, Al Quoz, Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
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