Food culture has changed rapidly within the UAE; the Iranians in the 1900’s, the Indians and the Pakistanis changed the food at a lower spectrum. The current trend of Europeans has brought about the concept of fine dining.
While the Emirati who are members of the Arab tribes have changed the face of Dubai, the food of Bedouins and the Bany Yas tribe Al Nahayan and Al Maktoum royal families has stayed on.
Promoting their new food philosophy of using local ingredients and seasonal produce, the Park Hyatt is making strides in giving diners a unique experience. A sample menu at the Hyatt Park hotel reflects
Arabic touches in the food an amazing spread of Arabic dishes. It’s wonderful to begin your day with Labneh (thick yoghurt cream cheese) with loads of fresh fruit like strawberries, apples, pears, grapes, fresh figs, dry fruits, custard or honey. The wide variety of dates served really drives home the point that one is in Arabia. With such a beginning, one can be forgiven for avoiding the eggs and heading straight for the platter of cold meats and pink salmon. There are also grilled lamb with muttabel and baba ghanoush. For lunch and dinner, the Café has on offer some exquisite cold and hot mezze platters along with a selection of the most succulent grilled kebabs made from lamb, chicken and fish. The café celebrates a cuisine from the Levant region and honours dishes from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Although I am not a fan of the buffet system myself, I did notice that the buffet section here has quite a varied and interesting spread. On the other hand, one also has a wonderful selection to choose from the a la carte menu. Sitting on the balcony with the setting sun and the lights reflecting off the water with delicious grills and kebabs being served, make for a wonderful dining experience.
Dining at The Terrace, their creek side restaurant, gives one a fine view of the Marina. The fresh salad of aragula leaves and lettuce, some white wine and platters of fresh oysters which come from the Arabian sea with a twist of lemon juice – the perfect setting for a romantic dinner date. But then came the crumb fried salmon and I became quite happy and content sitting there all alone. Fish is legendary in these parts for its delicate flavour and versatility with which it can be cooked using various cooking styles. Many hotels have stopped serving Hammour as it is now an endangered species.
In Dubai there is the famous Awtar restaurant, which not only serves up a delectable feast of Arabic food but comes with some lovely belly dancing and Arabic music and is only open for dinner. The hummous and pita bread and fattoush salad is not so enticing an option though tasting it in its home country is a different kind of experience. On the list of things not to be missed are the fried calamari and mix fried platter of kibbeh, cheese, meat. The mix fried platter is served in a unique way here, with the lamb (the main source of meat) given separately, while vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, baby spinach, lettuce are given whole, so that the guest cuts them according to his or her own liking. The side dishes that come along with it constitute the vegetarian element there is to the menu – the Arabian folk are clearly not big on vegetarian dishes. Breads coated with zatar which is a herb and spice mixture is really flavoursome.