Restaurant review: The mysteries of Persian cuisine unraveled at Enigma

1 / 8
Selection of mezze
2 / 8
Beetroot mouse
3 / 8
Chef's greeting
4 / 8
Cucu sbzi
5 / 8
Falude
6 / 8
Cotlette tehrani
7 / 8
Fruit platter
8 / 8
Watermelon and feta cheese
Updated 05 April 2018
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Restaurant review: The mysteries of Persian cuisine unraveled at Enigma

  • Since opening two years ago there have been many changes at Enigma, but it has retained its attention to detail
When Enigma first opened at the Palazzo Versace — one of Dubai’s most-opulent hotels (a serious feat in a city not exactly renowned for interior-design restraint) — it offered a revolutionary concept: International guest chefs on rotating short-term residencies.
Two years on, things have settled down a little. And the restaurant is now a la carte, as opposed to set-menu only. But Enigma has lost none of the attention to detail that made it a special culinary experience.
“A Taste of Persia” has been created under the stewardship of the hotels’ executive chef Mansour Memarian, whose Iranian heritage and experience in Michelin-starred restaurants combine to great effect in the menu.
The sumptuous interiors of the restaurant — gleaming marble mosaic floor tiles and Arabesque arches — lend themselves naturally to this ‘new chapter’ in the restaurant’s history. But it is the atmospheric terrace, overlooking the Dubai creek and the city skyline beyond, that proves popular during the cooler months.
Our meal starts with amuse-bouches — a mini-wrap of Obulato (paper-thin potato starch sheets) with herbs, followed by Sabzi khordan, a platter of fresh herbs and walnuts with a beautiful soft white cheese tempered with nigella seeds, roast-tomato-and-olive-oil dip, and freshly baked breads. It all tastes so good that we could happily fill ourselves with just this and go home happy.
But order we must, so we opt for the Kuku Sabzi Palazzo — a traditional compressed vegetable frittata served with barberries and walnuts, given the five-star touch with edible silver foil.
Another classic favorite that has been elevated here is the Nargesi, a humble dish of spinach, potatoes and eggs, artfully presented with fondant potatoes, and purple chips buried in the wilted greens providing unexpected textural relief.
But it is in the Masto Laboo — yoghurt and beetroot dip — where the culinary mastery really comes into play. The beetroot sits as a cloud atop the pink yoghurt, imparting subtle flavor and drama. We kept dipping into this throughout our meal.
The true test of any Persian restaurant is its kebabs, so we opt for the traditional Kubide (minced lamb) and Morgh (chicken cubes). They are served on embers in mini tabletop grills, alongside saffron-kissed rice; meltingly soft and sweet grilled tomatoes and onions; and best of all, a separate portion of tahdig – that utterly more-ish, crisp, crackling crust that comes from the bottom of the rice pan.
While the lamb was succulent and flavorsome, the chicken felt a bit dry; I’d steer away from it next time, as there is so much else to choose from, whether beef and other styles of lamb kebabs, or traditional meat stews.
There is more culinary theatre with dessert, if you order the faloodeh. The much-loved Iranian dessert is given a molecular makeover, with the vermicelli noodle and syrup mixture being insta-frozen tableside with some liquid nitrogen action, and served stylishly with a delectable saffron ice cream.
With both the concept and the pricing of the restaurant being pared down to make it more inclusive, the fact that Enigma does an excellent job of taking a popular cuisine and making it modern, without compromising its integrity, should no longer remain a mystery for foodies.


WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

The logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) is pictured on the facade of the WHO headquarters on October 24, 2017 in Geneva. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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WHO: Alcohol abuse kills 3 million a year, most of them men

  • Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence
  • An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day

GENEVA: More than 3 million people died in 2016 due to drinking too much alcohol, meaning one in 20 deaths worldwide was linked to harmful drinking, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
More than three quarters of these deaths were among men, the UN health agency said. Despite evidence of the health risks it carries, global consumption of alcohol is predicted to rise in the next 10 years.
“It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.
In its “Global status report on alcohol and health 2018,” the WHO said that globally, an estimated 237 million men and 46 million women are problem drinkers or alcohol abusers. The highest prevalence is in Europe and the Americas, and alcohol-use disorders are more common in wealthier countries.
Of all deaths attributable to alcohol, 28 percent were due to injuries, such as traffic accidents and interpersonal violence. Another 21 percent were due to digestive disorders, and 19 percent due to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
An estimated 2.3 billion people worldwide drink alcohol, with average daily consumption of people at 33 grams of pure alcohol a day. This is roughly equivalent to two 150 ml glasses of wine, a large (750 ml) bottle of beer or two 40 ml shots of spirits.
Europe has the highest per person alcohol consumption in the world, even though it has dropped by around 10 percent since 2010. Current trends point to a global rise in per capita consumption in the next 10 years, the report said, particularly in Southeast Asia, the Western Pacific and the Americas.
“All countries can do much more to reduce the health and social costs of the harmful use of alcohol,” said Vladimir Poznyak, of the WHO’s substance abuse unit. He said proven, cost-effective steps included raising alcohol taxes, restricting advertising and limiting easy access to alcohol.
Worldwide, 45 percent of total alcohol consumed is in the form of spirits. Beer is the second most popular, accounting for 34 percent of consumption, followed by wine at 12 percent.
The report found that almost all countries have alcohol excise taxes, but fewer than half of them use other pricing strategies such as banning below-cost sales or bulk buy discounts.