Two new cuisines to try in JLT
Away from the hotels and celebrity chef-endorsed restaurants, JLT’s cool, independent restaurant scene has been quietly growing. Now it’s home to some stand out spots, serving unique cuisine. This time, Greece and Sri Lanka make their mark in Dubai’s surprising gastronomic community…
Lapped by the Mediterranean Sea and steeped in history, Greece is home to some of the finest ingredients in the world, so it’s surprising that it has taken so long for an independent restaurateur to take a stab at it in Dubai.
A cosy tavern with curved archways, whitewashed walls and a beautiful outdoor courtyard lined with olive trees effortlessly create a warm Santorini feel.
The tzatziki (Dhs20) was served in a shallow plate but was substantial in flavour. Creamy yoghurt was blended with dill, cucumber and a hefty dose of garlic, which worked beautifully with the homemade pita. The taste, however, was nothing compared to the keftedakia (Dhs37), a dainty bowl of smoky Greek-style beef meatballs, which were tender and juicy bite-size treats served with diced tomatoes and chopped red onions.
A neatly wrapped chicken gyros (Dh32) was a glamorous kebab, with tender chicken strips stuffed into a thick pita with onions and tomatoes, and tasted as good as it looked. Mythos cooks and bakes everything from scratch, and that home-cooked touch is present in every dish, none more so than the unusual rooster krasatos (Dhs78). This homely chicken stew is cooked in white wine, mushrooms and tomato cherries, and served with chewy, homemade xylopitesi pasta. Extra seasoning would have drawn out the flavours but it still warmed our bodies on a brisk Dubai evening.
We may have had to wait some time for an independent Greek restaurant, but fortunately it’s been well worth the wait.
Aramada Blue Bay Hotel, Cluster P, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, daily 12.30pm to 5pm, 6pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 3998166. Metro: Damac. mythoskouzina.com
Atmosphere: Romantic; Cosy
Price: Up to Dhs249 for two
One of our favourite things about living in Dubai is the fact that Sri Lanka is close enough to be a mini-break destination. We enjoy knowing that, should a long weekend appear on the horizon, we could be eating a thali with our toes in the sand after a mere four-and-a-half airborne hours.
Now we can get our Sri Lankan food fix closer to home. Ayubowan is a new opening serving the island nation’s favourite dishes. While there’s little to no sand in Cluster N, the menu took us right back to our last trip to Thalpe. Fish curry, sambol, dhal, roti – indeed all the staples are there.
A fried cauliflower appetiser (Dhs30) was the star of the show; piping hot, charred and crunchy, with a nice hit of chilli. Ayubowan has managed to give a vegetable the moreish quality of a packet of salty crisps. The eggplant fried in garlic (Dhs30) was less successful. It’s a vegetable that can veer towards slimy, and this was fried in too much oil to avoid the inevitable.
Curries are served sharing style, with ample portions of rice, dhosa or string hoppers to pass around. The mixed vegetable curry (Dhs30) was pleasingly coconutty, with a nice crunch from some cashew nuts. A bowl of yellow dhal (Dhs20) was tasty, but it could have benefitted from a thicker consistency.
This is no-frills fare with an emphasis on flavour over presentation, which only makes the food more authentic. It’s also reflected in the prices, which are closer to what you might find on the island than anything we’re used to here in Dubai.
Cluster N, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 11pm. Fri and Sat 10am to 11pm. Tel: (056) 2535455. Metro: Jumeirah Lakes Towers. ayubowan.ae
Price:Up to Dhs249 for two