Full disclosure, before moving to Dubai I assumed I’d be eating falafel and hummus at least twice a week. But despite living here for over a year, I’m slightly mortified to admit that my first Middle Eastern meal only happened recently and my hummus consumption is mostly thanks to M&S.
Thankfully this was rectified when I was invited to try out Asil, a new Middle Eastern concept restaurant that fuses the best bites Lebanon, Turkey and Morocco have to offer. Located within Rixos Premium Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Asil was scheduled to open in March but Covid-19 restrictions postponed the restaurant’s opening. Since its launch in July, the restaurant has quickly adapted to the changing times and now features all the precautionary measures you now expect when dining out.
While the stunning interior is a veritable Aladdin’s cave decked out in rich jewel tones and Arabesque chandeliers, with temperatures dropping we decided to brave the admittedly balmy great outdoors and took a table on the terrace which overlooks the hotel pool, the Persian Gulf and the yet-to-be-completed Ferris wheel at Bluewater in the distance.
And so on to the food. One of the best things about Middle Eastern cuisine is mezze designed for sharing, and we were treated to the chef’s choice platter to start. This feast of hot and cold dishes included hummus, a spicy bean dip, fried garlicky aubergine in buffalo yogurt, vine leaves stuffed with rice and caramelised onions, warm breads, and cheese and pastrami filled filo pastry rolls. The gavurdagi salad featuring diced tomato, green pepper, walnuts, pomegranate and ezine cheese also went down a treat.
To be honest, we could have called it a night at this point as we were as stuffed as the vine leaves but we soldiered on, and for mains had delicately spiced sea bass served with a chopped spinach and cherry tomato salad along with a melt-in-your-mouth beef shashlik. Pistachio baklava served with maras ice cream and a Moroccan mint tea ceremoniously served in an ornate teapot and glass completed our meal. It might have taken me over a year to indulge in some regional cuisine but it was definitely worth waiting for.
Along with its business lunch and dinner offering, Asil is also launching its brand-new Friday brunch on16 October (Dhs275 for house beverages, Dhs375 for house beverages), which will feature resident DJ Mustech on the decks, a henna artist on-site and an after brunch hourly drinks upgrade costing Dhs100. It also has a weekly Golden Hour drinks promotion, running from 1-7pm, Sunday to Thursday, where selected drinks cost Dhs30.CALL NOW or BOOK HERE