The award-winning Lebanese outlet opens in the UAE…

Lebanese fare is certainly nothing new in Dubai, but Babel, a fresh venture in the UAE from an award-winning restaurant chain, claims it’s offering something different – a progressive take on the cuisine that mixes Lebanese dishes with unexpected ingredients.

Situated in Jumeirah’s beachfront destination La Mer, it’s the seventh outlet in the Middle East (the group operates in Lebanon, Kuwait and Bahrain).

Babel in Dubai boasts a stylish decor spread over two floors, featuring indoor seating and a spacious outdoor terrace, coupled with a large seafood bar, shisha bar and licensed bar.

The menu is divided into mezze, fish, soup, salads and desserts, but don’t come here expecting to sample the unusual classics like tabbouleh (although these are on the menu, albeit with a twist), as Babel lives up to its ‘progressive’ promise.

By adding fish to the traditional Fattet recipe of hummus and pine nuts, the fattet shrimps (Dhs70) was given a very welcome makeover. But it was the shrimp Beiruti (Dhs55) which came accompanied with a moreish sauce made from green, red and yellow peppers, chilli paste and spicy olive oil that was demolished in mere minutes.

For mains, the expansive seafood bar offered an array of offerings so fresh, they still moved – so it’s probably not wise to take your vegan date here.

The lobster (Dhs275) was the real highlight though – and we’re planning to revisit for that dish alone. With a creamy sauce including onions and parmesan, it certainly was an intriguing combination that we’d never have put together, but went down a real treat. The presentation of the Halwayo fish (Dhs195) was great – although it needed a sauce.

The only dish that disappointed was the chocolate ganache (Dhs45) which had a slightly bitter aftertaste but a second dessert a ghazlieh (Dhs38), was a cheesy sweet with lotus and sugar strands not unlike candyfloss.

Service was top drawer – the mostly Lebanese staff were attentive (although they did have a tendency to occasionally hover) and recommend what dishes complement each other.

Head here before word of mouth spreads, but if you leave without trying the lobster, then you haven’t come for the right reason.

Babel, La Mer, Jumeirah 1, Dubai, daily 12pm to 12am. Tel: (04) 419 0220. Taxi: La Mer.

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