My Taste Club

A warm marhaba at Seven Sands’ suhoor

This week is your last chance this year to taste the wonderful suhoor at Seven Sands, JBR’s only Emirati restaurant.

We are greeted with a refreshing splash of rose water, and the staff are friendly and attentive from the outset. By the end of our meal, we are remarking that this is possibly the best service we’ve received in Dubai in ages.

Décor is a subtle homage to the UAE, beige like the desert, walls like fishing nets, and soft wall reliefs depicting old Dubai downstairs, and the 21st century city upstairs.

There’s a smoking lounge upstairs, so it’s no surprise that on this hot night there are more guests upstairs than down.

We are presented with suhoor specific set menus – although there’s nothing to stop you ordering a la carte. We opt for the elaborate multi-dish, three-course suhoor.

First up the drinks – named with a nod to Emirati geology and features. We took the ‘Jebel Hafeet’ and this cooling blend of cucumber, mint and basil would be perfect on the mountain top after which it’s named.

The manager introduced himself and carefully explained each dish, without being too intrusive. We already felt that nothing was too much trouble for him.

The first course was an enticing blend of all the classics, green (unripe) mango salad, lemon bazar salad with yact cheese, moutabel, hummous and even shark sambousek. While the bold yellow turmeric bread stole the bread basket show, the mango salad intrigued, and we loved the light creaminess of the yact cheese. We yearned for more, but knew there were more courses. The platter was more than enough for two.

A hearty bowl of lentil soup followed, served with lemon and Emirati “ragag croutons”. Delicious, and we are already feeling satisfied.

Main courses were four bowls of meat and fish, all traditional, and all apparently tasty, but we opted for a vegetarian main course, with no awkwardness on the part of the staff.

We were presented with a vegetable casserole, (thareed) served atop the ubiquitous ragag, which creates a wonderfully soggy, comforting base to the concoction. So traditional is this dish (often served with meat), it is even mentioned in a hadith of the Prophet Mohammed.

There’s potato, koosa, green pepper and carrot, with hints of onion, garlic, and of course, bezer spice mix  which includes cardamom, cinnamon, chili, cumin and fennel.

Judging by this dish, we missed out on the meat-based offerings – chicken and fish fouga, harees with wheat from Abu Dhabi, and aishu laham, rice and lamb flavoured with garlic, ginger, saffron and dried lime.

Next came a deeply satisfying dessert platter of lugaimat (deep fried dough balls covered in date and honey ), rich, decadent camel milk ice cream, Seven Sands’ signature date pudding, and aseeda bobar (pumpkin puree flavoured with cardamom, saffron, and fresh ghee). My favourite was the aseeda bobar, although the others were all divine, and it’s a real treat to try a generous mouthful of no less than four desserts!

We rounded off our late-night feast with ghawa and karak chai, a truly fitting end to a wonderful experience. If you want to try traditional local cuisine in a contemporary oceanside setting (with views of the Ain Dubai wheel), look no further!

Suhoor at Seven Sands JBR is priced at 147 dirhams each.

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