In what was our first experience at the much-celebrated Emirati restaurant, Mezlai, at Emirates Palace, we experienced some local dishes, and some treats that are traditional to the Holy Month…

In a dining scene dominated by globally popular cuisines like Lebanese, Italian, Indian, Chinese and so on, it can be easy to overlook the fact that the Gulf has a distinct cuisine of its own. Mezlai, at Emirates Palace, offers traditional Emirati dishes prepared to the exceptional standards that you’d expect from this five-star, palace-turned-hotel, and some of the treats you’ll find there will be like nothing you’ve had before. We started with a couple of salads that are ideal for the summer months. Light, and fresh, they were the perfect choices for a light bite to break your fast, or to whet your appetite for a hearty meal. The first was the Rocha Salad, with olives, onion, tomato, mushroom and a nice refreshing citrus dressing. It’s a tasty and crisp salad ideal for the hot summer months. The next was the Mezlai Salad, which is shredded iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomato and pomegranate in a light and subtle dressing. Again, this is a nice light salad with the tart sweetness of the pomegranate adding a beautiful element to it.


Next up was two hot starters, or mezzeh style dishes. The first was the absolutely delicious Mughrabia Scallops with creamy parmesan. This is a dish made with an unusual rice that we haven’t had before, almost like an Emirati risotto, and it is rich, creamy, and extremely tasty. However, it is also quite heavy, and would serve as a main course for many people. Then came the Handmade Sambousa plate, which is a selection of tasty and crunchy sambousas, two of minced meat, two vegetable, and two with cheese (which were our favourites!).


Next in our experience were the two main dishes. First to come was the Hammour Makbous, a rice dish that is very popular regionally, and is similar to a biryani, only with local flavours. It is made with tomato, onion, garlic, turmeric, dried lemon and local spices, and results in a rich, fragrant and delicious rice recipe. The dish comes with a thick and creamy vegetable sauce to drizzle over the rice – exquisite! And our final dish was the Lamb Thareed, which is a very traditional local dish that is quite unlike anything you’ll have tried before if you’re not native to the region. It’s a lamb shank with delicious and falloff- the-bone tender meat, which is bakedin a pot layered with vegetables and rgag bread soaked in lamb stock. The flavour is gentle and not spicy at all, but very delicious.This dish is an absolute must for meat lovers! Mouthwatering food in a true Emirati culinary journey, Mezlai is an excellent Ramadan dining experience that we highly recommend.


GO: Call (0)2 690 7999 for reservations and more information.