The bright neon signs, the strings of light bulbs and the bizarre pushcart have caught my attention several times while I'm in Sheikh Zayed Road. That spot is too quirky and it stood out from everything along the busy highway. It sure is an eye-magnet, but I never felt the need to check what it is. Neon lights are a bit odd for my liking!
Early this year, I saw a photo of a restaurant with hanging paper lanterns, pink handrails and graffiti walls. I swooned over the eccentric clutter, so I went searching and discovered that it is a Levant Street Eatery called Zaroob. I was taken aback when I learned that it has hot pink and lime green tube signs plastered on its facade. Yep, it's exactly the same neon signs that I found weird along E11 highway!
|Zaroob: Levant Street Eatery along Sheikh Zayed Road|
After several attempts to dine at Zaroob, I finally did last October! At nine in the evening, on a public holiday, the dining area was brimming with brilliant funkiness and overflowing with guests. Zaroob, which means "small alley", has a unique concept derived from the street food stalls in the Levant region. The restaurant gave the traditional Levantine dishes a modern twist, and serves them right under a crazy yet cozy street-style ambiance.
Zaroob is currently the coolest in Dubai's dining scene, but I never knew that it could be so busy during the night. It was too jam-packed that we had to wait 45 minutes to get a table for 7. The outdoor seating was half empty, but it was too humid for us to consider dining under the stars and the string of bulbs.
So, we waited... and waited... and ticked off cheese man'ouche on the menu which we equally divided to relieve the waves of throbbing hunger... and waited again.
|Zaroob's bright neon lights|
|Zaroob's funky menu of Levantine dishes|
After a little more than 45 minutes, we finally made our way to Zaroob's second level. It was almost 10 in the evening and the place was still hyped up! Guests simultaneously come and go, and I wondered if it will ever stop. Maybe in the wee hours? Or maybe not at all! Zaroob is open 24 hours by the way.
Although a busy night, a staff patiently assisted us as we went through the menu. For seven people, he advised us to take two salads and four mains. With his help, we decided to start our late dinner with Fattoush and Tabbouleh, and have two kinds of wrapped man'ouche and two servings of Koshari.
|the hot pink handrails tickled my fancy! :)|
|my view from our table at Zaroob's second level|
Zaroob's food presentation is as quirky as the atmosphere. The man'ouches were served in wooden boards, and in tin bowls are the Koshari and its extra sauce. The servings are huge and perfect for sharing!
Fattoush is my favorite Arabic salad, and Zaroob's version is by far the best I've ever had. It has fresh greens, red tomato slices, pink pomegranate seeds tossed in sweet-tangy dressing and topped with a generous serving of crispy pita bread pieces. Every bite started with a crunch and ended with a zest.
I like Tabbouleh too, but I hate the ability of the finely chopped vegetables to cling to my teeth. More clingy than me when the hormones are acting crazy. Heh! Anyhow, Zaroob's Tabbouleh is simple and hearty. It tasted really fresh with a little kick from the dressing. I love it, except for the "clingy" part.
|Zaroob's tabbouleh and fattoush|
Man'ouche, the traditional Lebanese street food leveled up at Zaroob! We ordered two wrapped varieties, Grilled Chicken and Steak & Mushroom, and had each serving sliced into 4. I only had 1/4 of the Steak & Mushroom, but it was already too filling for me. The soft Arabic bread baked in a traditional wood fire oven was loaded with cheese, mushroom slices and tender beef. However, Ed said the Grilled Chicken is tastier, so most likely, it's what I'll be having next time. :)
|Zaroob's Man'oushe and Arabic Salads|
The Koshari is the most unusual Levantine dish I've ever eaten. It's a classic Egyptian cuisine made of rice, macaroni, spaghetti noodles and lentils, covered with tomato sauce and garnished with crispy fried onions. The combination seemed weird at first, but I kinda got the hang of it after a spoonful. I'd say, it's a funkier and a crazier version of the pasta dish that we all know.
|That's Egypt's National Dish on our table!|
|the Koshari up close|
Along with the Levantine dishes, we had Zaroob's refreshing fruit juices. Ed had a glass of Lemon Mint, while I had the cocktail with the funniest name: The Screaming Banana! :) It's a blend of banana, milk and honey... and it's screaming with goodness.
|Feasted on Levantine Street Food after 45 minutes wait. Yes, it's worth it! :)|
Koshari: 22 AED
Fattoush: 16 AED
Tabouleh: 16 AED
Garlic Chicken Wrap: 24 AED
Steak and Mushroom: 24 AED
Lemon Mint: 23 AED
The Screaming Banana: 23 AED
The Screaming Banana: 23 AED
Jumeirah Tower Building
Sheikh Zayed Road
Contact # 04 4409302
Taking the Dubai Metro? Zaroob is somewhere in between
Financial Centre Station and Emirates Towers Station (Red Line)
*Read about Zaroob and 5 more interesting dine-out spots in Dubai at Kenneth's blog!