I have a penchant for restaurants with unique concepts. My foodie adventures lead me to interesting dine-out spots, but I often shy away from exotic delicacies. My husband, though a thrill-seeker, doesn't have a stomach for adventure eating as well. We never had an appetite for something strange! That's why I was really shocked when he told me he'd love to try a burger patty made of camel meat!
To feed his great curiosity, we dined at Local House; a traditional restaurant located at the historical Bastakiya. Local House Coffee Shop and Restaurant has been serving authentic Arabic cuisine for more than a decade. In 2010, Local House fascinated both residents and tourists when they introduced the first ever Camel Burger in the UAE.
I always love the serenity at Bastakiya. Even on a weekend night, Local House remains to be a calm dine-out spot. The restaurant has a traditional Arabic atmosphere drenched in mystery and nostalgia! A lovely outdoor seating at the courtyard is ideal for dinner dates on a winter evening. I wondered how it could be during hot summer nights, so I glanced around and found air-conditioned rooms. There's a small beautifully-decorated dining hall with only three tables; suitable for couples and families of 4. For a party of 8 to 40, there are Arabian majlis in private rooms.
|Local House Restaurant in Bastakiya|
|al fresco seating in a lovely courtyard|
|Arabian-style dining hall|
|Arabian majlis: great for a large group of diners|
Local House Restaurant's bestseller: The Camel Burger
There are three kinds of camel burgers; a simple cheese burger, a house burger with fried egg and tomato salsa add-ons, and a special house burger with mushrooms and caramelized onions. Ed wanted to have his first camel burger experience to be exceptional, hence he chose Local House Restaurant's Special Camel Burger.
I observed him as he excitedly inspect the burger patty. I wondered if I will see a squint or a pleasant smile after his first bite. His expression remained neutral though. He said it tastes just like the normal beef burger, only milder and surprisingly more tender. I forked out a little meat from the patty and I agreed. It doesn't have an overpowering taste like what I expected it to be. Actually, if I wasn't informed that it is made of camel meat, I wouldn't know!
|Local House restaurant's special Camel Burger|
|thumbs up for Camel Burger :)|
Traditional Arabian Cuisine
I, on the other hand, still preferred to be on my comfort zone. I ordered Chicken Mandi; a popular Arabic dish. It was beautifully and generously served. The dish has a half portion of marinated chicken that sits on a glorious bed of basmati rice, surrounded by cashew, almonds and vegetables. It looked spicy, but it's not. For me, it tasted quite bland. However, the nuts and the tomato dip on the side made the dish more enticing!
|Chicken Mandi: a popular Arabic dish|
|I was not ready for some exotic meal, so I chose chicken over camel! :)|
We also had Local House's salad on the side. It's basically a traditional Arabic salad known as Tabbouleh. It is made of finely chopped Arabic herbs with olive oil and lemon juice. It is a great appetizer; healthy and can really stimulate the taste buds!
|Tabbouleh: a traditional Arabic salad|
The camel burger is worth a try, yet not really something that we'd have on a regular basis. I think we would only go back if we have some visitors with adventurous appetites or simply just as curious as my husband.
Special Camel Burger: 55 AED
Chicken Mandi: 35 AED
Tabbouleh: 15 AED
Local House Coffee Shop and Restaurant