|In a word: Shisalicious|
|Food: Fresh and tasty authentic Levantine dishes|
|Service: Could have done with a little more soul|
|Presentation: Loving the presentation of food on copper & wood, against the modern Arabic feel to the interiors|
|Ambience: Buzzing, social and smokey|
|Location: Dine in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa|
|Value for money: It’s reasonably priced|
|Worth a visit?: If you love shisha and Levantine cuisine, then this is the place for you.|
I was invited to Mezza House by White Label Media to test out their Iftar dishes prior to the start of Ramadan. This was another trip into the semi-known for me, I’ve done a few iftar feasts in my time in Dubai and tasted some Levantine cuisine curtsey of my trip to Zaroob. Mezza House promises a unique dinning concept with ‘Soulful Levantine Cuisine’; a taste of the best of traditional dishes from Syrian, Palestinian, Lebanese and Jordanian created by chef and owner, Nasser Zuhour.
What I didn’t realise was that Mezza House is a shisha lounge, so it’s smoking everywhere, which being a non-smoker was an immediate turn off. There was no way I could have sat inside and eaten whilst passively smoking shisha fumes. Luckily, the weather isn’t too unbearable just yet so we were able to choose a table outside, just next to the road…it sounds and feels a little bit like roughing it, but on the bright side, you do get to dine in the ‘fresh’ Dubai air under the shadow of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, the view accompanied by the Address Hotel Downtown, and palm trees lit with fairy lights.
I’m obviously the only person with a problem with the smoking thing as the place is buzzing; a real busy and social atmosphere, with shisha smokers puffing away, supping back coffees and nibbling on the best of the Levantine delights Mezza House has on offer.
We gave Mezza House a bit of a challenge by requesting vegetarian dishes and after much discussion with our host for the evening, the manager served us up some of the best veggie dishes from Mezza House’s Iftar selection and threw in a few non-veggie options for us to try. I’m not a strict vegetarian, and seeing as the review was by invitation to review the Iftar menu I felt obliged to try the meat dishes on offer.
I must say that I was super impressed with the selection that landed on our small table; we had a tray full of little copper bowls containing Fattoush salad, Tabbuleh, Hommos, Mohammara, Mottabel, and Baba Ganouj. As we were making our way through these, a mini bucket of Kibbeh, Sambousek, (the authentically named) cheese fingers and Fatayer arrived at our table along with Batata Hara (fried potato with cumin, garlic, and lemon), and Alayet Mezza (sautéed diced beef filet in butter with onion and mushroom).
My faves from our Mezza House selection were the creamy hommos and both the Mottabel and Baba Ganouj – I do love aubergine. The Mohammara, a ground walnut and pepper dish, gave a nice kick in contrast to the creamier flavours from the hommos and aubergine dishes. The Fattoush salad was fresh, clean and crispy with crunchy curls of fried bread, sesame seeds and juicy little pomegranate sparkles.
Next came the Mezza Mixed Grill Platter – a selection skewered meats; chicken tawouk, meat kebab and lamb kafta, lined up on flat bread with a few salad bits to garnish, grilled tomato and mushroom together with some rather delish crunchy ‘oriental’ fries (not quite sure how they became classified as oriental!). I had a bite of a skewered chuck of the chicken tawouk and was pleasantly surprised by the succulent texture and mild spiced flavour.
I was intrigued by what came next…a large round filled bread served with two little buckets of dip, that turned out to be Ouzi; minced lamb mixed with spiced rice and aleppian nuts baked in dough. Not quite to my tastes.
Our food was accompanied by traditional drinks; the Jallab – a super sweet concoction of grape molasses, date, rosewater and pinenuts. And then at the other end of the scale a salty mix decorated with mint leaves. I’m really not sure I liked it, I’ve no idea what it was made of (I think it might be Ayran – a cooling yoghurt-based drink from the region?) with the saltiness being the only memorable quality. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and drank half of it to see if I could get over the strange taste to find some joy in it…I failed!
Food-wise the presentation was great – everything was served in little copper buckets, bowels, trays or from wooden platters. Interiors-wise let’s say it’s Arabic luxe set against a white backdrop, with splashes of turquoise, marble and printed fabrics in funky contrasting colours.
Service was fast, but the wait staff could have been more friendly and a smile wouldn’t have gone amiss! The manager and reception staff were helpful and accommodating.
Value for money:
It’s pretty good value for money with freshly prepared and tasty mains dishes coming in at around AED 70 and mezze dishes at around AED 20 – 25 each.
Mezza House’s Iftar experience is AED 149 for all your can eat menu featuring the best from the Levant, traditional Ramadan drinks and shisha.
Emaar Boulevard, Downtown, Dubai.
Just across the road from The Address Downtown and The Palace Hotel
Tel: +971 (0)4 4205444
From 1pm to midnight everyday
During Ramadan, Mezza House is open from 7pm to 2am daily, with three seating times available.