I used to hate it when Ed calls to tell me he must go to Computer Street in Bur Dubai after work. I'd be stuck at home while he's running errands or else I'd go with him while wishing he'd find the right techie stuff in an instant. But, recently, I found a reason to patiently tag along every single time.
It all happened when we took a wrong bus from Computer Street one night. We were supposed to go to an Italian fast food restaurant along Bank Street for dinner, but the bus took a left turn in Al Fahidi and halted at the bus stop near an unassuming Iranian restaurant I have heard so much about.
Too hungry to walk to our supposed dinner venue, we found ourselves entering Al Ustad Special Kabab, also known as Special Ostadi Restaurant, for the first time. And five days later, right after Ed bought another I-don't-know-what-it-is-called piece for a computer, we happily walked to Al Fahidi, to our newly discovered gem!
That's how good USK is, two visits in 5 days! :)
|Special Ostadi Restaurant in Al Fahidi|
Ostadi: A Family-owned Iranian Restaurant
Special Ostadi Restaurant is a family-owned Iranian restaurant that offers the best tasting kebabs since 1978! The dining hall looks fun and quirky. Walls are covered with photos of famous people who have been their guests. Tables are embellished with currencies of the world. I spotted a Philippine Peso bill! A collection of baseball caps and clocks showing different time zones enhance the eccentric ambiance.
Ostadi seems to be a very busy restaurant, with trays of aromatic kebabs (most likely for delivery) lined up on a table near the counter and tables almost occupied with diners of different nationalities. Time and again, laughter can be heard as the fun-loving restaurant owners interact with guests. A friend told me that one of the owners literally fed him with fries when he dined a few months back. :) We did not experience the fun that he had, but we simply love the helpful and fast service that we received.
|one of the owners gamely posed for a snap|
|Ostadi's photo wall|
|...and more photos!|
Our First Dinner at Ostadi
Ostadi's menu has a short list of Iranian Kebabs in different kinds of marination, most under the 30 AED mark. We asked for recommendations and our server said we can go for mix grill if we want a variety of meat or we can take two specialties from the "dinner" list. As we were a little scared that the taste of mutton can be too exotic for our palates, we settled with two kinds of chicken kebabs; Kabab Khas and Khorak Bahraini.
|an impressive yet affordable feast|
All meals at Ostadi start with a complimentary platter of vegetables and small bowls of yogurt with mint and cucumber. After minutes of nibbling cucumbers and tomatoes, our kebabs arrived with bread; both with an exotic aroma! It's definitely a feast for the senses.
Kabab Khas or the Special Kabab is indeed special. It was marinated in yogurt and perfectly barbecued. We were amazed at how the simple-looking chunks of chicken meat taste so good; juicy, savory and not spicy!
Khorak Bahraini is equally succulent and tasty. It was marinated in dry lemon; hence the juicy meat has a hint of tang. It made our taste buds long for rice, so we immediately asked for as serving. The white rice with saffron arrived as a platter for two, with butter and dried pomegranates on top.
|Kabab Khas and Khorak Bharaini|
|white rice with saffron and pomegranate|
|Me and the food that lingered in my mind for days! :)|
Five Days Later: Our Second Dinner at Ostadi
On our second visit, we finally opted for the mix grill. We were so hyped up to try something new at Ostadi that we had ourselves ready for a more exotic meal. Our server recommended Mix 4 which is a platter of Joujeh Kabab and Shish Mutton Kebab. We also added a serving of Kabab Koubideh, chicken soup and white rice.
Ostadi's chicken soup is not the chicken soup that we all know. It is as soulful yet too odd for me. It has lentils and herbs and small chunks of chicken. I kinda got the hang of it after a few spoons, but I never got to consume it even with Ed's helping.
|another Iranian feast at Ostadi|
Joujeh Kabab are cubes of chicken marinated in saffron. It tastes exquisite with the right amount of spices. The Shish Mutton Kebab is minced meat barbecued on a skewer. It is moist and nicely done. However, I'm more inclined to chicken meat; hence I only took a bite and Ed had the rest!
Kabab Koubideh looks similar to Shish Kebab. It is made of minced chicken with exotic spices. It is mouth-watering and tastes simple, not as bizarre as I thought it would be. But on my next visit, I'd rather choose Kabab Khas over it.
Ostadi's white rice is something special. It is delicately flavored with saffron and the dried pomegranates on top give the buttered rice a satisfying tang!
|Mix Grill #4: Joujeh Kebab and Shish Kebab|
The staff are more than happy to offer freebies. They invited us for mint tea and along with it is a plate of dates with sesame syrup. I love the dates! Its sticky saccharine flavor complements the creamy and buttery taste of sesame.
|dates with sesame syrup|
|little mugs of mint tea|
Special Ostadi Restaurant made a difference on that phone conversation that I used to hate. Now, I'm actually looking forward to Ed's Computer Street trips. I'd happily tag along without a doubt. If it won't come sooner, then we'd probably be in Bur Dubai just for USK or SOR or Ostadi or whatever you want to call it! :)
Special Ostadi Restaurant's menu as of March 2015:
Bill for Two: 65 AED (an extremely affordable price for an exquisite dinner)
Special Ostadi Restaurant
also known as Al Ustad Special Kabab
near Musallah Tower
nearest Metro Station: Al Fahidi (Green Line)