An urban oasis suspended between two of the UAE’s most iconic towers offers a unique twist on Middle Eastern cuisine.
The term hidden gem is one that is regularly used when it comes to describing restaurants in Dubai, but upon visiting NINIVE, the phrase has never been more appropriate. Tucked away in an elevated position beneath Emirate Towers, NINIVE is a restaurant looking to disrupt our perceptions when it comes to Middle Eastern Cuisine.
Influenced by the cultural and culinary diversity of the Arab region and taking its name from one of the world’s seven wonders – the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, or Neneveh. NINIVE is a venue full of life, where guests can expect to be surrounded by palm trees, foliage and twinkling lights, for all the magical feels.
Beautifully designed the entrance to the restaurant is indicated via a neon sign that lights the way through verdant foliage and a passageway illuminated by Arabic lanterns strategically located along the walkway. Entering into the al fresco dining area, we feel as though a living room has been brought outside. Plush carpets, comfortable soft furnishings and vibrantly coloured textiles overwhelm in a courtyard setting that resembles a Moroccan riad. Tented canopies drape over low-level dining tables, and the venue comes alive with a timeless soundtrack of hypnotic Arabic beats. NINIVE is a venue to be admired and one that encourages long evenings and late nights to appreciate the true splendour of the experience.
A seasonal venue that embraces the cool Dubai winters, NINIVE provides diners with a magical dining experience under the stars, while providing remarkable views of the Dubai skyline. The service style is efficient and friendly, even on the busy weekend evening that we dine. Within moments of being seated, we find ourselves engulfed in the charms of a venue that works as a passionate ode to Middle Eastern Cuisine.
NINIVE’s menu encompasses Moroccan, Iranian, Iraqi and Turkish cuisines within one unique setting. While traditional dishes such as kibbeh and fattoush are present on the menu, albeit with a unique NINIVE twist, we would thoroughly recommend exploring the signature tuna bricks or lobster tagine while admiring those skyline views.
Strict attention to detail is apparent throughout the dining experience and its small touches such as the Moroccan furniture, opulent glassware and flavoursome dishes that make dining at NINIVE such a pleasure. We begin with a light spicy avocado with lemon confit that is the perfect complement for the warm pillow-like pockets of puffed up bread. Better yet is the tamarind chicken, a dish that slathers manageable chicken pieces in a gloriously sweet and addictive tamarind glaze and adorned with bejewelled pomegranate seeds.
Main courses include a selection of tagines, manti and grills such as Kobe beef, lamb chops and lobsters, but it’s the signatures to share that impress. The Couscous Royal is an impressive take on Moroccan couscous and features semolina, vegetables and tender pieces of lamb piled high in a glorious serving dish. The couscous works well with the Adana Kebab, a hand-minced lamb kebab that is mounted on an iron skewer and grilled bringing a charred flavour to the robust protein. Topped with pine seeds for texture and chopped dates for sweetness, it’s easy to see why this signature comes so highly recommended.
Desserts include Umm Ali and homemade Luqma, yet it was the Almond Kunafeh that captured our attention. At NINIVE the traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with shredded filo pastry is served with a subtle orange and almond sorbet that offsets the sweetness of the beloved dessert.
An evening as NINIVE offers not only a memorable dining experience but a venue in which guests are encouraged to linger and enjoy the evening. It’s a green, urban oasis, serving dishes that pay homage to the Arab kitchen with a fresh and hospitable approach. We don’t expect this one to stay a hidden gem for long and with limited seating, reservations are essential.