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
6 / 8
Cotlette tehrani
7 / 8
Fruit platter
8 / 8
Watermelon and feta cheese
Updated 05 April 2018

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.

5 reasons to add blueberries to your diet

Updated 31 May 2020

5 reasons to add blueberries to your diet

DUBAI: Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach at Fit Squad DXB, shares her expert advice on the superfoods that will help you lead a longer and healthier life.

It’s hard to believe that this unassuming little berry, easily available at most food stores, is one of the healthiest things you could possibly eat. Blueberries can be enjoyed on their own, in breakfast bowls, smoothies, muffins and even as garnish on your pancakes and waffles. Here are five ways they can improve your health.


DNA health

We need antioxidants to protect our cells from damage, and blueberries contain more antioxidants than almost any other food. The job of antioxidants is to combat free radicals in the body, which are increased by factors such as air pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol intake, poor diet, tissue damage, infections and excessive sunbathing. Too many free radicals can lead to damaged DNA, increasing the risk of many cancers and diseases.

Bone health

Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K, which works with calcium to build strong bones. A deficiency in the vitamin can often be a sign of osteoporosis. Vitamin K is also essential in the process of blood clotting and contributes to good heart health.


Blood pressure and heart disease

The antioxidants in blueberries can also help to lower bad cholesterol, in turn making the heart’s job a little easier and lowering blood pressure. Observational studies have shown that proper intake of anthocyanins (the main antioxidants in blueberries) could reduce the risk of heart attacks by 32 percent.

Mental ageing

The oxidative stress that free radicals cause can also affect the brain and accelerate its ageing process. Studies have shown that eating blueberries can help improve brain function in older individuals with mild cognitive impairments and can also delay mental ageing by over two years.

Weight loss

Blueberries have just 40 calories per half a cup. They are about 85 percent water and high in fiber and are thus great for keeping you full and staving off hunger. Studies have also shown that the anthocyanin antioxidants present in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese patients and can lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes.