Lunch Review: Leila, Downtown Dubai
Leila encompasses a homely, traditional Lebanese restaurant full of soul, located in the middle of the busy Downtown Boulevard.
All four Dubai outlets are named after a girl called Leila, who learned how to cook traditional Lebanese cuisine from her grandmother, before opening her own successful restaurant in Lebanon.
Ahlan! sits in the outdoor seating area ready to take on an absolute feast of hot and cold Lebanese classics to ensure we have it all covered, for our readers, of course!
After perusing the extensive menu, we opt for some well-known dishes to start with; such as kibbeh, spinach fatayer and arayess fafta – which are Lebanese meat-stuffed pitas. You can’t go to a Lebanese restaurant without ordering bread and hummus, but for a change we order hummus qawarma, which is hummus loaded with delicious mixed meats (a meal in itself).
Quinoa tabbouleh is a twist on the traditional Levantine parsley salad with the addition of quinoa, which is both tasty and healthy. It also goes brilliantly with the mixed grill, which comes in two sizes. We go for the smaller one so that we can fit in some garlic marinated shrimp and, of course, dessert.
The dessert we order is incredible. Named after the country’s capital, the ghazal Beirut ice cream cake has us sold with its description of ‘cotton candy, ice cream and pistachios’. When it arrives we think a Pomeranian puppy may have been plated up accidentally, but no, this is an edible ball of fluff. Ice cream scoops are covered in a mound of white cotton candy, drizzled with syrup and decorated with pistachios to add a crunch to the texture. Dessert isn’t something you usually think of at a Lebanese restaurant, but this is a must-try.
If you’re looking for somewhere to relax over hours of delicious food in a homely atmosphere, then Leila it is.
INFO: Various locations across Dubai, 04 4483384. For more info visit leilarestaurant.ae