Award-winning Beirut restaurant Babel recently set up shop at Dubai’s La Mer, bringing its own contemporary twists on Mediterranean classics and seafood delicacies.
The sophisticated yet cosy interiors of the restaurant is split into two levels, with the ground floor reserved for families and the top floor open to a choice of indoor and outdoor spaces. The walls engraved with subtle illustrations from Lebanon add to the authencity of the ambience.
As soon as we were seated, we were served the talame bread. Soft on the inside, it was complimented with olives, seaweed and a dip made of vegetables stirred in with chilli paste. We started with the fattoush salad and the pesto hummus from the cold mezza selection. The fattoush struck the perfect balance between the leafy veggies drenched in lime and the toasted crisps of Arabic bread. The hummus garnished with walnuts cooked in tomato paste was a match made in heaven.
My companion decided to give the lentil soup a try. She was amazed with the consistency and she slurped the entire bowl in utter silence.
The waiter then walked us down to the seafood display, where we decided to have the seabream and hammour grilled, accompanied by some tahina sauce and the spicy harra paste, which our server explained was prepared with vegetables cooked in Lebanese spices and pine seeds. Both the fishes were perfectly deboned when served to us.
For the drinks, we opted for the irresistibly rejuvenating wild passion mocktail. Presented with pieces of passion fruit floating with the ice cubes, this mocktail was an explosion of freshness after every other bite of the hammour.
For the main course, I decided to order the waiter’s recommendation, the barbecued grilled chicken breast platter. Marinated in garlic and lime garnished with thyme paste, the chicken breast was as tender to eat as it looked. The platter came with spicy potato wedges and cheese crisps. My friend ordered the grilled lamb chops platter, prepared with thyme and served with crisps garnished with meat and the same spicy wedges.
By the time our server came and asked us for dessert, we were too stuffed. But we couldn’t resist when the Ashta Bel Ashta was mentioned — a traditional Lebanese Ashta ice-cream served with fresh Ashta on top, tinselled with rose jam.
If you are looking for some undeniably flavourful Lebanese food, Babel is it. And with it’s sumptuous interiors, dynamic seating arrangements and faultless service, it’s much more than just a fine dining restaurant.
Where: Babel, La Mer Dubai, South Entrance.
Meal for two: Dh360
Credit Card: Yes
Opening hours: 12 noon to midnight.
— Pavneet Kaur is an intern at Gulf News