Cheese Dreams At Shami Gourmet

Do you crave middle eastern food when you travel outside the mid-east? I certainly get withdrawal symptoms and start frantic searches for places that serve my beloved manaoushe & falafel. The best of which you can find only in UAE. In UAE is the polar opposite as you will find every nook and corner restaurant serving felafels & Shawarma. Sorting out the best ones in my job.
I was invited to try out levantine vegetarian offerings at Shami Gourmet. They offer a wide range of dishes right from grills to gelatos. They do have decent vegetarian options for one to make a meal of. I tried,out the grilled halloumi, cold mezze platter, Arabic falafel, mix cheese manaoush and fatayer.
The food is excellent for the price they are offered on. Everything Is fairly reasonable and portions are good too! Open style kitchen gives you a glimpse of how you order is made. The staff at all times were wearing gloves and disposal head caps.
For desserts my guests and I opted for snickers gelato & berry cheesecake. The former was my favorite of the two as the gelato was creamy & absolutely on money. The generous staff let me try all the flavours they offer. Mango sorbet & ferrero rockers were my favorite of the lot. The cheesecake on the other hand was decent enough.
The day I visited they were facing some aircon issues. Despite that the staff were making a constant effort to keep all the customers satisfied. They are more popular for their deliveries as I sat there watching deliveries fly out constantly.
Overall, Shami Gourmet is a good option to try. Their prices are reasonable and the dishes are fresh & delicious! Special thanks to chef and team for taking care of all our requirements.
  • Breakfast
  • Home Delivery
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Kid Friendly
  • Wifi
  • Vegan/Vegetarian friendly
  • Wheelchair friendly

Shami Gourmet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Lunch Scenes At Marco’s Italian Kitchen

I love the diversity in Wafi restaurants. They have  Seville’s for Spanish to Asha’s for Indian. Adding to the list is the newest member, Marco’s Italian Kitchen.
Marco’s is named after the chef Marco Ghezzi who hails from Italy. With no fuss and frills the menu is kept simple and authentic. Ingredients are imported from Italy including vegetables.
For antipasti, we ordered burrata and zucchini chips. The burrata was fresh and the sourness of cherry tomatoes help in cutting through the rich and creamy taste of the cheese. The zucchini chips were simple and flavorful.
For Our mains, I opted for cannelloni stuffed with spinach and ricotta served in alfredo sauce. My guest opted for gnocchi. Both dishes are highly recommended for vegetarians. We also tried the pizza Napoli (vegetarian version) it was the best and most delicious pizza I have had!
Marco’s offers excellent wine selection both white and red. These are perfect to go with italian food. However I chose to try their signature cocktail, Amore Mio. This rum based drink was delicious and pink! My guest opted for the beer as he is not a wine person.
For desserts we tried the tiramisu which surprisingly was a larger portion but so light! Served with mixed berries on side. The other dessert was a chocolate torta ( Torta Barrozzi), basically a dense cake, brownie kinds that was served with berry compote and berries.
The food definitely does brighten up the day but more than that it’s the beautiful decor. Wooden tables, fresh basil and thymes pots on each table, soft lighting and the lovely view of the terrace. You can opt to dine at the terrace but since it was a windy day back then we were seated inside. The semi open kitchen looks beautiful. Suggesting this place for lunch dates as the ambiance is very relaxing and gorgeous.
  • Full Bar Available
  • Kid Friendly
  • Wifi
  • Valet Parking Available

Reservations are required. Contact 04 3244777 & 04 3244100

Visit Marco's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato for menu and more images from my tasting

A Cheesy Affair At Taste Of Italy

Taste of Italy is a casual dining restaurant by five Michelin star chef Heinz Beck. Burrata and friends, a perfect name of the event held at Taste of Italy. As the name of the event explains it all, there is a lot of cheese and fun with friends involved.
Burrata is made of fresh mozzarella and stracciatella . Always been curious to know how it’s made and I got a chance to view it live at this event. The talented chefs were applauded for their skills of making something so difficult look so effortless! There is a lot of technique involved in the making of this cheese, right from treatment of cheese through various temperatures to setting it.
Missed out on the dishes served at the beginning of the evening as I reached a bit late. However I did try some delicious hors d’ oeuvres that were served throughout the evening. Freshly baked foccacia sandwiches with burrata, tomato and basil, ricotta filled pastry puffs, Margarita pizza bites and many more. Same was with the drinks as we were served basil lime soda, ice tea mojito and carrot and ginger based shots all of which were refreshing and a perfect accompaniments with our dishes.
The live burrata station was my favorite! Fresh burrata served with accompaniments like the truffle sauce, pesto alla genovese, Antica Salsa Rassa, Pakino Cherry tomato pesto and Olive crema or paté as its known. The cherry tomato pesto was my favorite with sweet and subtle flavours complimenting the richness of burrata.
There was also a cheese tasting area which showcased the variety of cheeses made with cow’s milk like Taleggio, Cuor Di Noci, Fontina and then there were those made with sheep’s milk like moliterno, castagno. These were offered with interesting spreads like apricot jam and figs spread with chocolate.
Our entrees were Pacchero stuffed with Ricotta & Spinach, Rigatoni Pesto Burrata, Avacado & Rocket risotto. The common crunch element to Rigatoni and Risotto was the tomato and pesto bread crumbs and it worked perfectly well balancing the dishes and giving it that vibrant golden garnish. A special vegetarian version of risotto was served for us which was a very sweet gesture by the staff as the original dish was served with shrimps.
The desserts were Ricotta Cheese based Mousse with honey & cacao and Tiramisu. Besides this we also tried the Nutella Gelato and Tiramisu gelato, both were absolutely delicious!
The restaurant also retails Italian merchandise, fresh cheeses and ingredients so that you can make your own delicious versions with classic Italian flavors. TOI is casual dining restaurant with both outdoor and indoor seating options.
Overall, Burrata and Friends was a huge success and I have been informed that similar event will be taking place in New future. It’s a treat for burrata lovers like myself. The burrata was the star of the night and it remained throughout. I am super impressed with the dishes and will definitely be back to try their Ala carte menu soon.
Burrata and Friends event was priced at AED145 all inclusive.
Thanks TOI for the invite and our server, Mr O-jay for being so prompt and enthusiastic!
There are a lot more images loading all on Taste of Italy by Heinz Beck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato and tripadvisor
  • Wifi
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Kid Friendly
  • Reservations recommended
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Contact 04 3438292 for reservations 

Restaurant Review: Bringing Back the 60’s with Ayam Elezz

The cuisine at Ayam Elezz showcases the golden era of Lebanon which was the 60s. This era bought major changes to culture of the country and the cuisine. Freshest fruits, vegetables and nuts are used in preparation of dishes which are pleasing to the eye and palate. A treat for vegetarians await at Ayam Elezz, keep reading to find out more..


Located at The Mall Jumeirah, this restaurant has the quirkiest decors I have come across. Designed as if you are entering a Lebanese house in the 60’s. The wall outside the restaurant has become a favorite for everyone to pose on, while the suitcase that serves as the doorstop makes you chuckle. There are also items like the old TV cabinet, typewriter and wallpapers which again make you feel like you are invited to a Lebanese home.

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We were given an option to be seated outside which is again aircon area but for shisha smokers. We chose to sit inside as even the the view is fabulous as you can view the wild wadi and Burj Al Arab but we didn’t want to be in the shisha area.

Coming to the dishes, a wide spread was laid out in front of us and I was startled on where to begin. The complimentary lebneh and brioche bread were delicious and along with that some tabbouleh that was hand chopped and blended with sumac.

We were offered array of mezzes right from hummus to mhammara which were all delicious but the two must try dishes are the kibbeh lentil & Fattet Bateinjein. The kibbeh lentil is a vegetarian twist to the meat kibbeh. It’s a Gluten free and healthy option for those on diet. As far as the Fattet Bateinjein is concerned, it’s eggplant in yogurt and its delicious! Also you need to try the halloumi cheese that is prepared so deliciously, served with fresh pita bread and slices of tomato. Halloumi is pure heaven!

They do offer a wide range of grills as well, however since my guest and I are both vegetarians we opted for manakish to try instead. We tried the zaatar and cheese and Zaatar Jabali which were both hot and fresh!

For drinks we tried the Ayam Ellez cocktail that is a meal in itself, it is topped with fresh ashta cream and nuts. It’s basically a cocktail of the 60’s in Lebanon. We also tried the lemonade which is made by hand squeezed lemons and also the the pomegranate juice which was perfectly sweet and had no sugar added to it. I highly recommend these three drinks because they were very refreshing and all are squeezed by hand.

Our desserts were an absolute treat. We tried the kunefe and halwat al jibn. I wasn’t to happy with the kunefe served here as I like the vermicelli one more than the semolina topped one but it was cheesy goodness. The halwat al jibn was my favorite, stuffed with fresh cheese this milk pancakes are almost like the Indian Malai sandwich. Would recommend to cut down on the sugar syrup served alongside the desserts as it overpowers the dishes.

Overall,  the food is fresh, made with love and I adore the decor so much! It’s really not like a typical order and go mall restaurant but there is a lot if thought put into it. Besides that the prices are reasonable and the service is prompt. They have also introduced platters for lunch and breakfast which look so tempting and I will be back to try them soon.

Thanks to the manager, Ms Rana for the hospitality and invite.

Contact Ayam Elezz at 04 4376069

Ayam Elezz Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sicilia – Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai

Sicilia is what I would describe as a modern tavern with rustic charm. Dim lights, relaxed seating with wooden tables, wine bottles on the top of wooden barrels, all add to the ambiance.

Luckily this invite was on a weekend so I was completely relaxed and calm which is exactly what is needed for Italian food. The restaurant is easy to find, located on ground floor right beside Chor Bazaar at Movenpick Hotel Ibn Batutta. The hotel lobby has 88 arabic lanterns, its a breathtaking view!

Coming back to Sicilia, the menu is limited but consists choice of pastas, pizzas and desserts that can all be paired well. Before we place our order, our server brings a huge Margerita pizza. Perplexed as we hadnt ordered one, the server was quick to read my thoughts and explained that its from the chef and pointed at the kitchen window where Chef Marcello waved back at us. Isn’t that the sweetest gesture ever?


Munching on some delicious pizza and their complimentary brioche bread, we set to order our appetizers. I chose the Tropea Onion Confit with aged goat cheese, pear and pistachios while my guest chose to have Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato Salad served alongside taggiascho olives. The Confit onion that was topped with goat’s cheese which is an acquired taste but personally I love it! The Buffalo Mozzerella salad was fresh and brought out the flavors of Italian tomatoes.

For our mains we wanted to focus on Pastas so I opted for the Gnochetti Asparagus & Moliterno fondue and my guest wanted to try risotto which he is crazy about. However the menu doesn’t have any vegetarian risotto option. We highlighted this to our server, she swiftly consulted the chef and came back to us stating that it will be prepared as per our liking. Few minutes later our table was filled with waft of cheese, there was my Gnochetti and my guest’s option, Asparagus and mushroom risotto. The quantity for the prices is a bit less but there has absolutely been no compromise on the quality of ingredients. I preferred my guest’s risotto more than my gnochetti. Both dishes were creamy and cheesy and delicious!


Risotto with Mushroom & Asparagus


Gnochetti with Moliterno Fondue

Coming to the desserts, I was recommended the chef’s special Apple Rennete and my guest opted for Hot Gianduja Chocolate Cheesecake. Honestly I am not an apple fan but my dessert was spot on! The dessert contained trio of elements such as apple fritter, apple pie  ice cream which actually tasted like ice cream and apple gateaux, all tied with Calvados cream. The Hot Gianduja Chocolate Cheesecake was presented a very quirky manner, it was in a deep plate with meringue resembling a mushroom. It was delicious and rich of chocolate! Gianduja is a well known Italian chocolate brand and the cheesecake was a perfect rendition to it.


The Hot Gianduja Chocolate Cheesecake


Apple Rennette

Post our meal, the sous chef, Mr Marcello explained us how the menu has been created. The restaurant’s head chef , Chef Stephano wants to provide a unique dining experience to all. The food is comforting and the chefs are ready to accommodate diners who have specific dietary requirements such as vegan/vegetarian. Though he personally prefers diners to enjoy Chef Stephano’s creations as they are.

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I am surprised at how low the ratings are for Sicilia at Zomato. I really feel that this place is a hidden gem and a must try for those who crave authentic Italian food paired with some fantastic selection of wines. There is something beautiful about the rustic decor and dim lights that I loved a lot. Chef wanted to transport diners to Sicily in Italy and he was successful at it! The restaurant is always filled with tourists and those celebrating special occasions, therefore its recommended to book well in advance.

Contact them on 04 4445613 for bookings.

Sicilia - Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate Dubai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato




Add Colors to your table – Cheesy Beetroot Rice Recipe

This recipe is a twist to what my granny makes. Its very delicious, healthy and a great way to add some gorgeous color to your table.

What you need:

2 cups cooked Basmati rice

1 cup boiled and grated beetroot

1/2 cup finely diced shallots

1/4 cup finely chopped bell peppers

1/4 cup julienne carrots

1/2 teaspoon finely crushed black pepper

1 medium green chilly

2 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup clarified butter

1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese ( alternatively 1 vegan cheese slice)

1 tsp lemon juice

Salt to taste

2 clove buds

1 bay leaf

100grms cottage cheese cubes (Alteratively Boiled soya chunks for the vegans)

1 tsp salted butter

3-4 roughly torn lettuce leaves for garnish.


Using pestle and mortar, mince the green chilly and garlic.

In a pan heat 2 tsp clarified butter,clove buds, bay leaf, diced shallots and green chilly mixture. Saute the mix until the shallots go soft and translucent. Add the carrot and bell peppers too. Cover and let it cook for approx two minutes. The aim is not to loose the crunch but the vegetables have to be cooked perfectly.

Remove the pan lid and add the grated beetroot along with 1tsp lemon juice. We are adding the lemon juice to save the discoloration that happens to beetroot when cooked. Mix well, add the pepper powder, salt and cottage cheese cubes. Remove the mixture from heat, add in half of the cheddar cheese and let the warmth of the mix melt the delicious cheese. Let the mixture cool down and add the rice you had prepared earlier. Give a quick toss and you will see the colors of beetroot mixture quickly catching up to the rice as well.

Prior serving, add the lettuce leaves to a pan along with some butter and saute for a minute. Quickly add the remaining cheddar cheese and let it melt. Stir well and top this mixture over your cheesy beetroot rice.

The sharpness of cheddar and sweetness of beetroot just makes a lovely combination. Serve it warm and with love ❤


Note: Vegans can avoid the cheese or use the vegan cube cheese available in all leading supermarkets.

Recipe- Mad Cheesy Surprise (Vegetarian)

Calories don’t count when one is celebrating holidays. This dish is a bit rich but is great when you have vegetarians guests and want a different appetizer for them. On public demand..I bring you the Mad Cheesy Surprise which is very easy to make and delicious to have.

You need-

5-6 boiled small potatoes (not baby potatoes but at least size of your pinkie finger)

2 tsp chopped coriander leaves

1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp oregano

3 tsp crumbled cottage cheese (paneer)

1 tsp crushed black pepper

1 tsp butter

salt to taste


1) Cool the boiled potatoes and chop off from one end. With a spoon dig out the potatoes and make them hollow so that they act like a cup. Removed the scooped out potatoes and mash them.

2) Take the mashed mixture and add crumbled cottage cheese, coriander leaves, salt, pepper, oregano and chilli flakes. Mix well.

3) Take the hollow potatoes and add the cheddar cheese at the bottom of each potato. Top with the mashed potato mix and cheddar again.

4) Take a baking tray and line it with melted butter. Add the stuffed potatoes and bake for 20 minutes.

5) Remove from the oven when the cheddar goes all bubbly and gooooey. Serve hot with thai sweet chilli sauce.

stuffed potatoes

Looks tempting doesn’t it?