DUBAI: Those of us who grew up eating Levantine cuisine will recall the warmth and flavor of many dishes, along with childhood memories of family gatherings and chitchat.
Levantine cookhouse Dayma offers a selection of classic dishes with a contemporary twist.
Starters include shatta prawn crescents — sourdough sambuseks stuffed with prawns, shatta (a Middle Eastern hot sauce), ginger, coriander and lime. The crispy dough encloses a zesty and slightly spicy filling.
Aubergine sfiha stars — sourdough shaped stars with smoked eggplant, pomegranate molasses and walnuts — are a smokier, vegetarian version of the Arabic meat pastry or sfiha.
Dayma also offers a selection of four starters in its “swingers special.” Try a range of pastries and decide which you would recommend.
From the dips, we would suggest the carrot mutabbal, a perfect marriage of tropical and Middle Eastern flavors. Unlike the original recipe based on smoked eggplant, this one uses whipped carrots and caraway, tahini, slivered dates and coconut shavings. The dip has a delicious sweet flavor with an interesting sour aftertaste.
Among the mains, if you are looking for a more traditional or mainstream example of Levantine cuisine, try Beik’s lamb chops. The meat is delightfully tender, with a sweet and smoky flavor.
Looking to try something old style cooked in a new style? The kebbeh mini-tray bake features burghul pie filled with a tasty stuffing of minced beef, caramelized onions, sour cherry and flaked almonds, generously spiced with cinnamon.
Another delicious main is the yellowtail faskar. Locally sourced sea bream fillet is marinated in ginger, tamarind and coriander and then barbecued, giving it a smoky flavor.
Dayma seals the deal with a card showing a cup of coffee and a translated Arabic proverb to honor the Middle Eastern tradition of serving guests coffee after a meal.
A great place to try traditional Arabic cuisine with a clever contemporary twist.