Zaatar w Zeit Dubai feels like exactly like the ones in Lebanon, fresh green colors in a well lit space that inspires happiness and goodness. Behind the glass facade is an orange sign and traditional tiles remind you of the place's roots. Lebanese it is, and proud.
Zaatar w Zeit is an all day diner where a bakery and restaurant combine their efforts to offer traditional food revisited for the twenty first century. Green for healthiness, white for cleanliness and black for trendiness. The space is filled with light wood tables and some artistic add-ons left here and there.
It's the same menu, including teasers, salads, pizzas, platters, specialty wraps, lights ideas, breakfast, manakeesh, desserts and beverages.
The first impression:
- They don't have the sun-dried tomato dough in the UAE
- Plates look very different from the beautiful pictures displayed on the menu.
- The waiters are welcoming, but not too professional.
- Soft drinks are draft.
- I had the Laban Ayran and loved it.
I ordered one item from every section to have a complete idea of the menu:
- The Quinoa salad: Light and fresh, a mix of quinoa, tomatoes and green spring onions, shredded parsley and mint leaves. An intense lemon dressing adds the needed boost. There was a metallic flavor somewhere.
- Halloum and beef bacon: The dough is thicker than the one in Lebanon, adding an unneeded chewiness, the bacon was not too prominent inside, tender halloumi, mayonnaise and thin slices of tomatoes. More tomatoes are surely needed. Nothing like my all time favorite Lebanese sandwich.
- Light halloumi in a pan, served with vegetables on the side. As good as you would expect, melting and hot.
- Brown bread halloumi sandwich, a light version that has vegetables inside to make it juicy. That's my kind of sandwich, if only theirs was more juicy, I'd suggest olive tapenade.
- Frozen fries and cheese on top. More cheese is needed, because the first layer is not enough to make the plate enjoyable.
- Three eggs sunny side up: Three eggs with zero flavor, literally zero. No salt, no pepper, no oil. Maybe the eggs used have no flavor whatsoever. I expected better.
- Veggie pizza: A beautiful, round pizza covered with a cocktail of colors. Pesto sauce topped with fingers grilled zucchini, shredded white mozzarella, feta cheese cubes, black olives and hot green pepper. Cherry tomatoes cut in half, rocket leaves and fresh white onions topped with olive oil. Loved it, its dough and ingredients, look and combination. Perfect for people who are fasting.
- Nutella and banana wrap: The same issue with the halloum wrap. A white dough needs more cooking, too thick and chewy, spoiling the enjoyment. Too few bananas, but enough enjoyable Nutella. I expected better.
It seems the locals like it, it's as good you'd hope and reflects a Lebanese culture rich with a culinary know how. I personally believe taste is better in Lebanon.