Times of Arabia

A second branch of this popular Lebanese chain in The Dubai Mall
$$$

Time Out Says

In addition to the original branch in Madinat Jumeirah, Times of Arabia has now opened a second outlet in The Dubai Mall. Located in the fittingly Arabian setting of the mall’s ‘Souk’ area, as we approached the restaurant we found a plush looking set-up of soft booths, frequented by a few local guests.

As we reached the reservation desk, we were met with a particularly happy-looking and welcoming waitress who ushered us into a dark, sultry and distinctly oriental interior. Circle upon circle of cosy looking booths, in rich velvet and jewel-like tones lined one wall, a private dining area was just visible at the back through the open screen doors, and the ceilings were painted with Middle Eastern frescos.

While the restaurant is in fact Lebanese in concept, it seemed there was something slightly Ottoman about the decor, even down to the floating silken uniforms worn by some of the female staff. And although undeniably opulent, there was something quite old-fashioned about the style in which this brand new decor had been created.

Noting a mixed crowd occupying the booths inside the private dining room, my friend and I also nestled ourselves into one of these corners. Menus arrived, drinks orders taken, and our initial impressions were that the staff members we encountered so far were all equally polite and slick in their skills. While my friend and I embarked on a quick catch-up session, none of the staff disturbed us, but once we’d signalled that we’d like to order, a waiter was swiftly on hand, and yet more pleasingly able to offer some explanations of the differences between several menu items, and recommendations as to which of the many hummus dishes to choose.

The menu appeared to be the same as the Madinat branch. We decided to stick to the mezze selection, although there was also a comprehensive range of mixed grills to choose from. We ordered the fattoush, Times of Arabia hummus, shanklish, falafel, sojouk, spicy potatoes and a plate of mixed pastries. The food arrived in good timing, in stages as it was prepared. When the shanklish arrived as an (attractive) but awkward looking plate of cheese, chopped parsley, onion and tomato separately displayed on the plate, I asked the waiter if we should mix it together, and was impressed when he immediately offered to take it back to the kitchen and reappeared with it as one dish. In the end, it was a fresh, balanced and enjoyable course, but it had a bit too much olive oil.

While fairly classic, I wasn’t fond of the fattoush, which was overly laden with pita crisps and also it tasted rather sour. The Times of Arabia hummus, topped with whole chickpeas and parsley was a very nice version, with a creamy consistency, and it had a lively spectrum of texture and flavour to distinguish it from the norm. The spicy potatoes were pleasantly buttery, but not crisp. As for the sujouk, although the sausages themselves were good, the dish was spoilt by a bitter pomegranate molasses sauce. The mixed pastries contained one each of kibbe, cheese roll, sambusek and fattayer and were classic and decent enough. The falafel was the best dish, served fresh and hot with a crisp yet soft texture.

Times of Arabia take two is certainly not a bad spot for Lebanese food in an eye-catching setting.

And while the decor isn’t to my taste, and the food is not the best Lebanese you’ll find, the service is certainly a positive side to the experience.

The bill (for two)
1x fattoush Dhs29
1x Times of Arabia hummus Dhs27
1x shanklish Dhs28
1x falafel Dhs30
1x sujouk Dhs29
1x spicy potato Dhs26
1x small mixed pastries Dhs27
2x lemon mint Dhs54
1x large water Dhs20
Total (excluding service) Dhs270

By Time Out Dubai staff  | 24 Sep 2013

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Details

FacilitiesDine In
Payment OptionsCash, Credit Card
Dress CodeCasuals
Show number +971 4 451 7500
Dubai, Burj Khalifa Area, Doha Street
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