Can this new restaurant at the Sofitel take Lebanese cuisine to the next level?
If you’ve been in Dubai for any amount of time, chances are you’ve had your fair share of Lebanese food. You probably have strong opinions on who sells the best falafel, and where to find the tastiest manakish in the early hours of the morning.
But Lebanese restaurant Lua attemps to elevate the casual mezze to fine-dining status. It certainly looks the part – think stylish muted tones and soft lighting. The breezy terrace overlooking The Palm is equally pretty and the outdoor shisha lounge is cosy and inviting.
The menu was full of the usual suspects, but the quality of the ingredients (and the cooking) was obvious: the hommous Beirouteh (Dhs35), packed with tangy fresh parsley, was velvety smooth, and the moutabel (roasted eggplant) was delightfully smoky and scattered with sweet pomegranate (Dhs35). We loved the tender, well-seasoned kebbeh nayeh (Dhs65) – raw beef purée with crushed walnuts and a just-spicy-enough garlic sauce.
The meat samboussek (Dhs40) is definitely worth a mention too – juicy minced lamb served with pine seeds in a tasty crust. For mains, the lua mix grill (Dhs320) is a carnivore’s dream. It’s an impressive platter for two stacked with juicy prawns, tender grilled lamb, beef and impeccably cooked salmon fillets in a smoky-sweet glaze.
For those with a sweet tooth – and we mean sweet – try the the delicious muhalabiyah (Dhs45), a creamy milk dessert subtly flavoured with orange blossom water and served with mixed fruit and nuts.
While the food is certainly up to scratch, Lua just slightly misses the mark on atmosphere. A busier restaurant always makes for a warmer vibe. Still, it’s a welcome addition to Dubai’s food scene as it stays true to authentic Lebanese cuisine. After all, why mess with a winning formula?
Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, East Crescent Road, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, daily noon until 3am. Tel: (04) 4556677. Taxi: Sofitel Palm Jumeirah. facebook.com/lualoungedubai
Price: Dhs250 to Dhs749 for two