On a casual gloomy afternoon during the weekend, we headed down to Grand Café located at Downtown Dubai. It is probably not evident by the name itself, but Grand Café is a restaurant that promotes itself for serving some of the most genuine and premium Lebanese cuisine. It is blessed with a prime location and a spacious set up, with an outdoor rooftop seating as well that overlooks the boulevard. Don’t be intimated by its fine dining set up and décor, for the rates at Grand Café are decently priced, with most dishes having beautiful presentations and generous portions. The hospitality too was commendable, with our server being more than attentive to our requirements and food preferences, all this with a constant smile on their faces.
The menu at Grand Café is vast, however categorized making it easier for us to make a decision on what we’d like to opt for.
We started off with a generous portion of Yellow Lentils soup served with toasted bread and lemon wedges. Presented in a small sauce pan, this soup is warm, comforting and deliciously simple. The texture of lentil soup is what makes it popular in the Middle Eastern region, and Grand Café executed it beautifully.
Next, we had one of the most well-known Middle Eastern salads known as Fattoush which comprises of seasonal vegetables mixed with watercress, baby lettuce, sumac and lemon dressing with crispy saj bread rolls. We loved how the crispy bread soaked the dressing of the salad beautifully and the vibrancy and color of the salad added to the aesthetic appeal.
Among the selection of Cold Mezze (small plates), we sampled a few popular and traditional Levantine dishes. We started off with Moussaka which is a cooked dish made primarily of eggplant and chickpeas roll, served in tomato sauce. This dish is neatly layered to give you a balanced flavor of each ingredient. We have never tried a moussaka cold before, however found it to be very pleasant.
We also tried the Hummus which is a dip with a thick paste-like consistency made from ground chickpeas, mashed with tahini, lemon juice and garlic, topped with olive oil, paprika, and mint. The hummus was incredibly tasty, smooth and of course, healthy. Best part is, it could be eaten as an appetizer, side dish or dip. Soo good!
Our final dish from the cold mezze was Moutabal which like hummus, is a very famous Middle Eastern dip. The dip comprises of grilled eggplant mixed with tahini and lemon juice and topped with olive oil. Another dip that is healthy but also packed with flavor. It also tastes best with warm pita bread.
We then moved on to sample some of the hot mezze dishes. Among them included the Cheese Burek which is a baked filled pastry made of thin flaky baklawa dough (tissue paper-thin like sheets of dough), topped with dried cranberries. The portion of cheese stuffing was generous and the texture of the dough was perfectly crisp. Not one of the healthiest dishes we’ve had, however it was a bit too bland in terms of flavor.
We also had the Kafta in Pomegranate Molasses. “Kafta” is beef meatballs sautéed with tomatoes and onions topped. The pomegranate molasses which is basically pomegranate juice that has been reduced down until it becomes thick, intensely flavored syrup, coats the meatballs perfectly well and adds a nice sweetness to the dish.
Among the main dishes, we were presented with a Platter of Mixed Grills and a Lamb Rack which was a whole rack flavored with cumin and olive oil. The chicken shish Taouk was definitely a favorite since we loved the way the chicken was grilled to tender perfection. We also enjoyed the Kebab Shekaf which is beef cubes marinated with black pepper, olive oil and thyme. For the meat lovers, this platter is definitely god sent!
Along with the meat, we would highly recommend a side of Spicy wedges which are sautéed with garlic, chilli and coriander. The wedges were addictively crispy, good enough to be savored on its own.
When it came to dessert (which was the best part) we had the Halawet El Jabn which means “sweetness of cheese” is dough made of cheese that is rolled out and filled with cream. This dessert is incredibly soft and sweet, served with crushed pistachio and chopped rose petals that add a beautiful aroma to the dessert.
We also had the Dates Osmalieh which is roasted vermicelli dough layered with pureed dates and topped with sugar syrup. Elegantly presented in a cute mason jar, this dessert has a innovative take on a classic however a bit too sweet for our liking.
For our final dish of the day, we had the Ashta and Rosewater Cigars. The cigars were generously coated with Ashta which is a thick clotted cream mixed with rose water. Another simple yet delicious dish that tastes extremely flavorful.
Yellow Lentils Soup – Dhs35
Fattoush – Dhs42
Moussaka – Dhs37
Cheese Burek – Dhs47
Moutable – Dhs36
Hommus – Dhs36
Kafta – Dhs42
Mixed Grill – Dhs95
Lamb Rack – Dhs87
Spicy Wedges – Dhs38
Halawet El Jabn – Dhs42
Dates Osmalieh – Dhs40
Ashta and Rosewater Cigars – Dhs40
Ambience – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Food – 4/5
Value – 3.5/5