Friday, December 7, 2007

The Times of Arabia

The Times of Arabia
Madinat Souk
Bookings: 04 366 8888

Amazingly this is the only Lebanese restaurant in the whole Madinat Jumeirah complex. There isn’t one in Al Qasr hotel nor in the Mina al Salam hotel. What is even more surprising is that the Jumeirah Group would allow the only Lebanese restaurant in their complex to be so unbelievably crap.

And what a shame that is. The setting is great, a lovely balcony overlooking the canal, tented gazebos to sit under and bringing out-of-towners here would be brilliant if (a) the food was any good and (b) if it didn’t cost so much. Apart from that ok really.

The menu is split into cold mezze, hot mezze, raw meat, grills and desserts. Last night we had three cold, three hot and a plate of mixed grill. I wasn’t allowed to order kebbeh nayyeh which I love so I was in a grump after that anyway. My mood was not improved by seeing that the little mezzes dishes were Dhs 38 each which seemed an extraordinary extravagance.
The food is okay, passable, nothing special and certainly nothing anywhere close to the realm of the prices that they charge. The fattoush had a very good, tart dressing but it was ladled on and absolutely smothered and drowned the salad.

The mixed grill arrived and for Dhs 155 I was expecting a carnivores platter to die for. Four, yes that’s right, FOUR little skewers turned up completely hidden by only four or five French fries.

To add insult to expensive injury throughout the evening not only was the service slapdash and disinterested, despite there being an army of waiters standing round doing nothing, but one chap in particular kept trying to remove only partially eaten dishes well before we had actually finished. They were clearly in a hurry for us to leave. He got the message though on his fifth or sixth attempt to remove something we had hardly touched when I ‘accidently’ stabbed him with my fork.

Between the starters and the mixed ‘nouvelle cuisine’ grill one of the waiters offered us a ‘special’ dish of grilled sardines. ‘Very nice’ he said. ‘Very fresh’. Well I love sardines and it sounded pretty good. To say that I was disappointed when the sardines turned up would be a gross understatement. First of all they weren’t sardines, secondly, they weren’t grilled and thirdly they weren’t fresh. We were served with a large plate of battered whitebait which had been sitting around far too long. They were dreadful.

Two turkish coffees took more than 30 minutes to arrive by which time I really was starting to fume. The restaurant was filled with staff and no one seemed to be doing anything, but boy oh boy when you asked for the bill the words had barely left your mouth when it was thrust into your hands. And what a bill. For very average food, small portions, appalling service they certainly know how to charge like wounded bulls.

An evening at Times of Arabia leaves you feeling rather like the Sabines did after the Romans had pulled into town.

Avoid this restaurant at all costs, there are far, far better Lebanese restaurants in Dubai serving good tasty food and charging a quarter of the amount.

1 comment:

Cobb said...

For me its pretty hard to go past Automatic. Their Friday brunch is the best value in town! Wafi Gourmet is fantastic, and, even if its a bit more expensive, the people watching opportunities more than make up for the price difference!