Back in the UAE after our holiday in Russia it was only fitting that the first order of business was dinner at Arjwan in Sheraton Sharjah Beach Resort for a taste of authentic Arabic flavors with an Emirati flair. Before I start on the food, let me first voice my appreciation for the opulent interiors, from the embossed upholstered seating to the Arabic decor and accents on the wall. It made a good first impression and one to last. Doors are often portals to tasteful retreats, so if your tastebuds are tingling for something new, open the door and let your culinary exploration begin.
At 7 pm, we stepped into Arjwan, greeted by a sea of turquoise and Chef Mohamed who courteously voiced that he had been expecting us. We had booked an early dinner before the regular influx of guests, so we had the whole place to ourselves.
The love for Arabic food has always been ingrained in us, having lived here all our lives, so it was without a doubt an evening well spent. Sifting through the menu, we noticed a lot of our favorite local dishes and one could easily over-indulge, however we let Chef take the reins as he had specially prepared a surprise menu for us to relish.
We started off with a platter of hot and cold mezze, out of which my favorites were the cheese sambousek, lamb kibbeh and the hummus with a rich creamy texture that went palatably well with the freshly baked Arabic bread. On the side, we had Moroccan Lamb Harira, a succulent soup made of lamb, chickpeas, rice, black pepper and celery, which was decidedly a meal in itself if you were to have a full portion.
The main course consisted of traditional Emirati dishes with a modern twist. As with time there is always room for evolution and Chef did an outstanding job at sprucing up old recipes into new variations. You can’t have Arabic food without having Chicken Mandy so that was a given, and for those who don’t know what Chicken Mandy is, it is slow cooked chicken in a tandoor which makes the meat extremely tender, and spread over aromatic rice. To follow was the Lamb Harris. I obviously devoured the lamb chops, however I found the risotto a bit too strong for my taste.
And one cannot refuse dessert, especially when it comes on a slate in vibrant presentation quite like a treasure map, and I found my treasure in a cup. The Umm Ali made with camel milk, was everything I desired, and to top that was the baked yogurt which was a first for me and the strawberry cheesecake, my top three.