It can be quite tricky to find authentic Emirati fare in Dubai, so when Al Mashowa opened a little over a year back in the central location of City Walk, we collectively cheered.
This year’s iftar offering from the restaurant combines age-old recipes recreated by Head Chef Bilal with locally-sourced produce and spices. There’s customary soups on offer, lentil or chicken — the lentil as velvety as you’d expect, its soft lemony taste making for a great way to start a massive meal. Then there’s all the warm and cold mezze to make sure you’re spoilt for choice — hummus and moutabel for your warm puffy bread, fattoush and pakora and kibbeh, beetroot salad, sambousek, falafel… if you aren’t too careful it’s easy to fill up on just starters. There’s three drinks to choose from, Vimto, laban ayran and jallab.
The variety and enormous spread doesn’t stop at the starters though. The mains bring up harees, vegetable salona and marak khodar, thick perfectly spiced prawn curry that’s so moreish. Then there’s melt-in-the-mouth-sumptous ouzi, marak semach (fish stew), thick chicken steaks, lamb kofta and jojeh kebab, creamy chicken curry, all perfectly cooked, and spiced and seasoned as to satisfy but not overpower.
There’s four different menus, so you won’t get bored even if you iftar there repeatedly. Everything provides its own solid flavour punch.The authentic Emirati flavours come served in an equally authentic ambience. Mashowa refers to the boats used in olden days, and the nautical theme is carried throughout the restaurant.
Luckily dessert is not just an afterthought here, as with a lot of restaurants these days. There’s everything: milk cake, kalaj, katayef dumplings with nuts and cheese, khabees, firni, kunafa and of course, the highly addictive lgeimat. Most of these are crowd-pleasers, and all are definitely Insta-pleasers.
And while by now you’ll be full to the gills, it would be a sin to not end with the thick creamy karak chai. So many days later, we’re still hankering for a cup.
For a long time traditional Emirati food has been hard to unearth in Dubai by everyone except, well, Emiratis. Mashowa has changed that, and wonderfully so.
Details: Dh132 per person; Call 04 5905 455