Dubai is home to more than 200 nationalities and imports 80 percent of its food. As such, much of the city’s cuisine is inspired by its neighbouring countries and the Middle East and Asia at large. But before we go home, the team went for a taste of local Emirati cuisine.
The Emirati, Arabian, and Moroccan dinner is prepared by new minted Michelin Bib Gourmand 2022 Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant. The cuisines reflect ethnicity, cultural heritage and opens doors to communicate with other cultures.
Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant was established in 2020. Set in the middle of the old-Dubai heritage area, it adds a lot of authenticity in terms of using an actual old Dubai house and converted it to be a restaurant. Lesser known Emirati dishes like dango (chickpea soup), machboos (rice), and luqaimat (filled pastry dessert) are served here and made with the freshest of ingredients.
- Fried Squid ﻧﻐﺮ ﻣﻘﻠﻲ
- Tabbouleh ﺗﺒﻮﻟﻪ
- Fattoush ﻓﺘﻮش
- Hummus ﺣﻤﺺ
- Mutabal ﻣﺘﺒﻞ
- Lamb Harees Soup ﺷﻮرﺑﺔ ﻫﺮﻳﺲ
- Mix Grill for Two People ﻣﺸﺎوي ﻣﺸﻜﻞ ﻟﺸﺨﺼﻴﻦ
- Al Khayma Mixed Seafood Platter for 4 ﺻﺤﻦ ﺑﺤﺮي ارﺑﻊ اﺷﺨﺎص
- Jumbo Prawns روﺑﻴﺎن ﺟﺎﻣﺒﻮ
- Sea Bream Sengari ﺳﻤﻚ دﻧﻴﺲ ﺳﻨﺠﺎري
- Al Khayma Lamb Madfoon ﻣﺪﻓﻮن اﻟﺨﻴﻤﻪ
- Um Ali أم ﻋﻠﻲ
- Ferni Emirati Rice Pudding ﻓﺮﻧﻲ
- Date Tart ﺗﺎرت اﻟﺘﻤﺮ
Fried Squid ﻧﻐﺮ ﻣﻘﻠﻲ
Fried squid with Tartar sauce
Chunks of tomato, cucumber, water grass, zaatar, green bell pepper, local lettuce, red radish & pomegranate molasses dressing
Tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli) is a super fresh herb and bulgur salad, with parsley being the number one ingredient. It’s dotted with diced cucumber and tomato, and dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice. It’s refreshing, light and packed with healthy ingredients.
Chunks of tomato, cucumber, water grass, zaatar, green bell pepper, local lettuce, red radish & pomegranate molasses dressing.
This authentic Lebanese Fattoush Salad is made with well-seasoned fried pita bread, seasonal vegetables and tossed in a zesty sumac Mediterranean dressing.In Arabic, the word “fattoush” is derived from “fatteh” which literally means “crumbs.” As you can imagine, this Fattoush Salad is basically a hodgepodge of pita bread that’s been seasoned then fried (or baked) in addition to other vegetables that are in season.
Boiled chickpeas, tahina, lemon salt, olive oil blended into a fine mash
Even veteran expatriates are guilty of enumerating hummus, tabbouleh and shawarma as Emirati staples when they are not. Hummus, one of the most loved dishes in the UAE, is, in fact, Levantine in its origin. And that’s okay because traditions and cuisines undergo many givings and takings as they evolve. But for now, we are wearing the hat of gastronomical puritans.
Grilled eggplant, tahina, garlic salt & lemon juice
Mutabal or Moutabel is a smoky Middle Eastern dip made with eggplant. This is a beautiful, creamy dip and is a wonderful way to use brinjal or eggplant, a vegetable that not many people like. It is slightly different from Baba Ganoush in the ingredients used to make these two. While Mutabal has only roasted eggplant, tahini, olive oil, and garlic, Baba Ganoush has chopped tomato, pomegranate molasses and herbs like mint and parsley added to it.
Lamb Harees Soup ﺷﻮرﺑﺔ ﻫﺮﻳﺲ
Lamb soup with harees (barley)
Harees reminds of a thick porridge. This traditional Arabic dish originated from Hadramout and is made from wheat starch and minced meat.
Mix Grill for Two People ﻣﺸﺎوي ﻣﺸﻜﻞ ﻟﺸﺨﺼﻴﻦ
- Grilled Lamb Chops ريش
- Al Khayma Bedouin Chicken Kebab ﻛﺒﺎب دﺟﺎج اﻟﺨﻴﻤﺔ اﻟﺒﺪوﻳﺔ
- Al Khayma Bedouin Lamb Kebab ﻛﺒﺎب ﻟﺤﻢ اﻟﺨﻴﻤﺔ اﻟﺒﺪوﻳ
- Al Khayma Bedouin Lamb Kofta ﻛﻔﺘﺔ اﻟﺨﻴﻤﺔ اﻟﺒﺪوﻳ
If you are like me, confused between kofta and kebab, here’s a simple explanation. Kofta can be served as meatballs or it can be formed onto skewers as kebabs and cooked over an open flame. Traditional kebabs are usually made with cubed meat. Kofta kebabs, on the other hand, are made with ground meat.
The mix grill is served with khobz. Khobz is an airy and hollow bread that has its origin from the Ottoman pita bread. They are cooked on a special bread maker or oven. The bread is first cooked on the oven’s cover for a minute before being transferred inside where it quickly rises and puffs up. When cooked, the bread’s hollow center can be filled with date paste or any other filling.
Al Khayma Mixed Seafood Platter for 4 ﺻﺤﻦ ﺑﺤﺮي ارﺑﻊ اﺷﺨﺎص
Mix seafood cooked with Emirati special spices served with rice
Perhaps the most popular of all Emirati meals is machboos or majbous — a group of rice dishes with a variety of meat or seafood, vegetables and spices arranged in layers and slow cooked to perfection in an oven or coal hole. A spicier version of biryani, this basmati rice-based dish is slow-cooked with onion, baharat (a Middle Eastern spice blend), loomi (dried lemon), and a protein of your choice. The taste of the loomi (which is like the Teochew preserved lime) was quite pronounced in the final dish in a delightful way and not too sour.
Jumbo Prawns روﺑﻴﺎن ﺟﺎﻣﺒﻮ
Marinated in Emirati spices, grilled on charcoal jumbo prawns served with white rice or tandoori bread
Sea Bream Sengari ﺳﻤﻚ دﻧﻴﺲ ﺳﻨﺠﺎري
Arabic style oven baked sea bream fish stuffed with tomato mixed peppers herb sauce served with white rice
Al Khayma Lamb Madfoon ﻣﺪﻓﻮن اﻟﺨﻴﻤﻪ
Whole lamb shoulder marinated with Al Khayma mix spices, cooked in madfoon oven for 4 hours served on basmati rice, topped with fried onions & nuts
Madfoon is one of numerous Arabian meals made with a combination of meat and rice. This signature dish is differentiated by a cooking technique in which the marinated meat is cooked in an underground hole where it is placed on the sand and surrounded by charcoal. After several hours of cooking, the meat is tender and moist, thoroughly infused with spices. The meat is served on top of saffron rice, and it is usually accompanied by yogurt and a spicy chili sauce.
Um Ali أم ﻋﻠﻲ
Arabian warm bread pudding
Umm Ali, literally the mother of Ali, is perhaps one of Egypt’s most favoured desserts. Easy-to-make and economical, Umm Ali dates back to the Ayyubid dynasty. This Egyptian dessert staple is made of phyllo pastry, milk, double cream, nuts and is sometimes topped with raisins, powdered sugar and coconut flakes.
Ferni Emirati Rice Pudding ﻓﺮﻧﻲ
Emirati Rice Pudding with Saffron and Nuts
Ferni is one of the most comforting and familiar dishes in Persian cuisine. Typically you would break the fast at sunset with a small bowl of Ferni, followed by other dishes, beverages, and desserts. This time at sunset when the meal is consumed after a day of fasting is referred to Iftar. I love the creamy texture, the gentle notes of rose, and the little crust that forms on top. It’s like a cream-top yogurt.
Date Tart ﺗﺎرت اﻟﺘﻤﺮ
Crispy tart stuffed with pastry & date paste
A staple among Middle Eastern desserts, dates are often eaten in Futur during Ramadan or Suhur. It is also eaten to break the fast of Muslims. Dates are religiously affiliated and are often eaten as a ‘sunnah’ to the Prophet Mohamed.
Traditional Emirati cuisine is exciting, intense, unique and most certainly worth exploring. Wonderful meal and helpful staff; English was widely spoken. Following the customs of the land, portions are generous too, making this an ideal spot for an indulgent dinner after a day spent exploring Old Dubai.
Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant مطعم الخيمة التراثي
Al Fahidi Historical District Building 54 & 55, Dubai 118131 United Arab Emirates
Tel : +971 55 180 2080
Visited Nov 2022
Michelin Dubai Guide 2023 (inaugural) Bib Gourmand
#MichelinBibGourmand @AlKhayma.AE #AlKhaymaHeritageRestaurant
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