Restaurant Review: Siraj, Souk Al Bahar, Dubai
The ultimate setting for Arabian nights
When it comes to breaking fast in the UAE, there are few more fitting settings than Siraj. This new Emirati-Syrian restaurant is a tribute to the UAE and its culture. The walls are adorned with lines of poetry by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. There are seven sculpted archways to represent the seven emirates and suspended bronze horses canter over the bar in a nod to the country’s equestrian heritage. Syrian limestone pillars divide the space decorated with traditional Syrian tiles. An operational open stove for brewing coffee and myriad lanterns provide added sparkle. The design tells a story of regional history with aplomb.
Meanwhile, the menu pushes well-known Levantine favourites forward with luxurious twists, such as a dollop of caviar with the labneh, or kebbeh made with lobster. Sadly, the kitchen had run out of camel tenderloin by the time we arrived, but the veal chops were plump, juicy and perfect with zaatar (thyme) potatoes.
Desserts were too tempting to pass on, from the classic deep-fried logaymat dough balls to the sticky date pudding, and while drinks menus can be a tad dull, in Siraj they take centre stage. Fancy breaking your fast with a Toffee Dates Delight – made with espresso, chocolate, dates and whipped cream, this is a potent pick-me-up. Or how about a Healthy Spinach Passion Mix, that blends Popeye’s favourite power supply with mango and lemon? The Sumac Passion Magarita looks like something shaken or stirred in Mad Men, but it’s a clean crisp concoction of passion fruit, lemon, chilli and sumac. And the rose mocha was dreamy.
If you’re looking for somewhere special to sample Arabian food, and have a shisha on the terrace afterwards, this should be your first stop. INFO: Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai, 04 513 6207/04 513 6205, sirajrestaurant.com