Review: Bait Maryam
A home-grown, female-run, not-so-hidden gem…
Bait Maryam is the creation of Salam Dakkar, a Palestinain-Jordanian chef and restauranter who earlier this year was crowned MENA’s best chef by World’s 50 Best Group. It’s safe to say we were eager to try it, after hit reviews and the legion of fans it’s won since opening in JLT in 2017.
Known for its authentic flavours and home-style cooking, Bait Maryam was named after Dakkar’s mother, paying tribute to her through home-style cooking, curating Levantine delicacies which are inspired by authentic recipes that have been passed through family generations.
Upon entering the peaceful glass outdoor terrace, we instantly feel at home. The simplistic setting is made cosy and warm with potted plants and luscious creepers, matched with charming cast iron chairs and tables, decorated with blue and white hand-painted crockery. Most tables are perched by a window in the semi-open greenhouse structure, allowing diners to gaze across the JLT lakes and a breeze to flow through this small sanctuary.
Basking in the golden hour sunshine, we sip on our refreshing pomegranate juices (Dhs29) whilst diving into pipping hot pittas and velvety smooth hummus (Dhs26), drizzled with green chili and rich olive oil. Good bread and hummus is always hard to beat, and at Bait Maryam this was no exception, with this entree alone being enticing enough for us to come running back.
Following this, a flurry of mezze is scattered on our table in rustic brass dishes. The batara hara (Dhs29), was brimming with crispy fried garlic potatoes, bursting with a citrusy punch that was undeniably moreish. Next we sink into the crispy cauliflower (Dhs36), which was engulfed in rich nutty tahini sauce, leaving us licking our fingers in delight.
But the star of the hot mezze was firmly the fatet maryam mushkan (Dhs45), a dish comprising of a bed of garlic yoghurt topped with juicy sumac chicken, sprinkled with flakes of fried bread and toasted pine nuts. The symphony of flavours this dish exudes, with the fresh yet garlicky yoghurt fused with the fragrant tangy sumac and crunchy flakes of bread and nuts left us daydreaming.
While we mop up all the sauces from our plates with the endless stream of pitas on our table, the kebab hammodi (Dhs84) arrives. A sight for sore eyes, this masterpiece embodies patriotism, with bold green, red, and white colours depicting the dish’s heritage. A bed of fragrant red tomatoes, smokey moutabal, and freshly chopped parsley forms the plate, which is topped with perfect rolls of deeply spiced lamb wrapped in crispy golden pita. It’s a must-order.
As true fans of Levantine cuisine, we couldn’t leave without trying the crispy rolls of Knafeh with ashta (Dhs38). This dessert created the perfect bite of delicately spun pastry, oozing creamy ashta and dainty hints of rose.
Chef Salam Dakkar’s strong emphasis on distinctive spices, fused with her passion and love, is seen in every dish. This venue embodies Arab hospitality, acting as a place where individuals from all communities can come and experience family-style Levantine cuisine in a relaxed and cosy setting. Make sure to stop by this award-winning neighbourhood restaurant for a real taste and feel of the Levant.
Bait Maryam, Cluster D, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, 10 am to 10.30pm daily, Tel: (8)0 063 7926, @bait.maryam