Zaroob, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

HONESTLY’S VERDICT
In a word:  Funky
Food:  Traditional wholesome Middle Eastern dishes served hot & fast!
Service:  Quick & knowledgable (helpful when you’re clueless!)
Presentation:  Quirky & fuss free
Ambience:  Chilled social hangout
Location: Sheikh Zayed Road just in front of the Ritz Carlton, perfect for the DIFC lunch time crowd when they’ve had enough of Zuma or Wheelers!
Value for money:  Mezze style dining means you can rack up a two person banquet for less than AED 100
Worth a visit?:  Definitely if you fancy a visual and gustatory feast for cheaps!

From the neon lights outside, the bucket sinks in the toilets, to the crazy colour scheme and almost kitsch décor throughout the interiors, Zaroob just screams fresh, funky and fun, something you don’t tend to find every day in Dubai.

Zaroob markets itself as a pushcart, street food-style eatery serving up modern takes on authentic Middle Eastern dishes from the Levant region.  I’m intrigued, I wonder if Zaroob can take up the challenge of our vegetarian request…

You can't fail to miss the infamous neon lights!

You can’t fail to miss the infamous neon lights!

I’ve not given myself much chance to explore Middle Eastern cuisine, apart from the odd plate of hummus (ok, we eat a lot of hummus), and this was great opportunity to be introduced to some of the more popular dishes from the Levant region.  For those of you, who like me, aren’t quite sure what or where the Levant is, Zaroob serves up traditional dishes from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, and Egypt.

Food:

Loving the simplicity of the tick box menu...if only we knew what the dishes were!

Loving the simplicity of the tick box menu…if only we knew what the dishes were!

With my limited knowledge of Levant cuisine and no idea what to order from the funky pink and green tick box menu (except for the hummus!), we enlisted a little bit of help to get the most out of our experience at Zaroob, and when I say ‘a little bit of help’ we had the supervisor, manager and chef ticking the boxes off for us!

Our banquet

Our banquet

We ended up with a table full of Zaroob’s finest…

The fresh & tasty Fattoush salad nestle between dishes

The fresh & tasty Fattoush salad nestle between dishes

Falafel, hommus and halloumi...mmm

Falafel, hommus and halloumi…mmm

The Fattoush Salad was a tasty mix of chunky salad veggies, with fried bread and a simple yet tasty dressing, it was one of my favourites from the evening.  We had the Falafel Plate presented as a little zinc bucket of eight crunchy little falafel served with a side of tahini.  We dipped our bite-sized falafel into the smooth Lebanese Hommous.  Another little zinc bucket contained skewers of huge chunks of fried halloumi and cherry tomatoes – so tasty – I just love the saltiness of halloumi and the burst of juiciness from the tomatoes.

Light, fluffy and clean tasting: the Labneh Man'oushe

Light, fluffy and clean tasting: the Labneh Man’oushe

The Flat Man’oushe with Labaneh was lovely – a light fluffy bread, spread with a generous layer of clean fresh tasting Labaneh and decorated with olives, tomato, red pepper, cucumber, a sprig of mint and generous drizzle of olive oil.  The traditional fava bean dish, Lebanese Foul, came served in a cute zinc serving jar that looked like a mini milk churn.  Next came Koshari, a traditional Egyptian dish, is a carb-heavy mix of rice, lentils, spaghetti and macaroni, topped with a tomato sauce and fried onion.  I loved the topping, but to be honest I was too aware of our table full of interesting dishes to fill up on this.

A wee pan of puffed eggs

A wee pan of puffed eggs

The layered Fattet Hommous

The layered Fattet Hommous

A cute little pan of puffed eggs landed on our table along with a Fattet Hommous a layered affair of fried flat bread, chickpeas, tahini sauce, and hommous decorated with pine nuts, cumin and parsley.

Our food was accompanied by juices from jars, I had the lemon mint which was the perfect zingy balance of zest without being too sweet.  My other half chose a mix of apple, carrot and guava juices.

The traditional Nutella Saj!

The traditional Nutella Saj!

Of course I felt the need to round off our meal by sampling a traditional Levant dessert; I put my request to the chef and he produce a Nutella Saj – flat bread spread with a thick layer of Nutella, that oh so traditionally Arabic ingredient, folded and toasted.  Traditional or not, it was the perfect end to a great meal.

I love the mezze-style of eating, I find it a really fun and social way of dining – I like a little bit of this mixed with a little of that.  With a bit of self control, you can select a healthy mix of beans and pulses, fresh salad veggies and breads to fill you up.  For me it’s a completely different eating experience in comparison to other international styles, for example Italian or Thai – where I’m hit by flavourful ingredients.  Don’t get me wrong I find Middle Eastern food tasty, I just don’t find it mind-blowingly full of flavour…maybe i’m not eating the right dishes, i’m more than happy to be proven wrong!

Presentation:

Casual & social is the name of the game at Zaroob

Casual & social is the name of the game at Zaroob

Loving the brights around the kitchen

Loving the brights around the kitchen

The visual feast of the upstairs eating area

The visual feast of the upstairs eating area

Zaroob is a relaxed and social space set over two stories, there’s a real comfy feel to the place, with loads to look at; acid bright colours, walls decorated with faux poster adverts, wood panels, TV with foreign kiddies cartoons playing, buckets for sinks in the bathroom, and borders on kitsch with the empty jars of Nutella and bottles of coke in the floor to ceiling shelves.

Rare find: an empty plate!

Rare find: an empty plate!

Loving the low maintenance streetcart-style dining!

Loving the low maintenance streetcart-style dining!

Food is served on wooden boards, cute zinc buckets, or funky patterned bowls and plates.  Cutlery and napkins are already on your table in little zinc holders along with a basket of flat bread.

Nutella mountain!

Nutella mountain!

Love the bucket for a sink and the funky tiles

Love the bucket for a sink and the funky tiles

Zaroob has the kind of interiors I’d expect from a whacky sushi bar, but it works and I really like it!  I really like their style, it’s not a new concept to decorate in such a cool and funky style, but I’ve not come across it before in Dubai and it makes the place standout from many other bland eateries.  Zaroob isn’t going to win any fine dining awards because that’s not what they’re about, they’re going for the street food style.

Service:

The service was knowledgeable and fast – our waiter, on my request, took the time to explain what each dish on the menu was, recommending as he went on.  Some of the staff knew we were reviewing Zaroob so we got an extra special serving of attention – the chef and manager were recommending dishes left, right and centre!

Value for money:

Zaroob is great value for money, the mezze-style of eating means you pick several dishes to make your way through, adding more as you feel the need, sharing if you like.  It’s an easy way to manage a small budget with dishes ranging from AED 8 to AED 25.

Big thank you to the lovely Leila at White Label Media for the invite to review Zaroob.

Contact:

Jumeirah Tower Building Sheik Zayed Road, Dubai

Slapbang in the middle of Financial Centre & Emirates Towers Metro Stations.

www.zaroob.net

Facebook

Tel: +971 (0)4 327 6060

Email: info@zaroob.net

Open 24 hours

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