Located at: Financial Centre Road, Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Visited on: 24 Oct, 2017
My first encounter with Wafi Gourmet happened several years back while they had a branch at Dubai Festival City (DFC). And I immediately fell for their pita bread and hommos (quite often spelled hummus). Authentic Lebanese food is what they promised and seemingly delivered. After that closed up with mall renovations, we discovered this branch on the lower ground floor at The Dubai Mall and have frequented it since. The previous spot was more spacious and quieter, located beside DFC’s boardwalk. Personally, I feel that – being less busy there – more attention seemed to be given to the food. Not to say that Dubai Mall’s branch is anything close to below par, but it just felt less rushed and more enjoyable in terms of flavour at the former.
The pita bread is served and replenished as a complimentary side right through the meal. Which is great, because as it comes fresh and warm, it feels slightly crispy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the inside. (Again, I recall the pita looking and feeling nicer at DFC, but this one here is pretty good too, and still feels like home.) The fact that the bread is quite thin means that you can enjoy one or two without having to worry about filling yourself up too much before the main meal.
To go hand-in-hand with the pita, we ordered a portion of Hommos – with tahina (AED 32), which has always tasted great. They don’t do the chick peas-heavy, thicker hommos, but a smoother, texturally lighter version which goes down pretty easily. And they’ve maintained this consistency over time. Great starter combo to munch on till the mains arrive.
We also ordered some Mushroom soup (AED 33). Wafi Gourmet does one of the best mushroom soups I’ve come across. Not overwhelmingly thick and heavy, but just the right consistency to bathe your palate and give you a very content feeling when consumed warm. The chopped bits of mushroom distributed evenly across the fluid give the soup an added character and make it all the more enjoyable. I’ve tried their lentil soup on a previous occasion too (which was good as well), but always come back to the mushroom.
I opted for a Chicken Shawarma Sandwich (AED 33) for the mains. Nice and thin pita bread again (thumbs up), a generous amount of chicken filling, pickled gherkin and a touch of garlic mayo. I would, however, have liked the chicken to be a little juicier. It’s fine as you start eating, but as you work your way past the middle of the shawarma, the meat can begin to feel a bit on the dry side. Not in an over-cooked way – the chicken was far from roasted, but it could have used a little more moisture. And maybe a tad bit more flavour – in fact this might have made up for the need to be juicier. I do have a slight weakness for shawarma however, and so decided to overlook this and enjoy it nonetheless. They serve their shawarma with fries and pickled gherkin, which are nice to nibble on in between bites from the sandwich. Unlike most places, Wafi Gourmet does not include fries in the sandwich filling – I wouldn’t mind if they did though.
We also had a Chicken Shawarma Plate (AED 74) at the table, which is essentially an open version of the same elements that come in the chicken shawarma sandwich. A little bigger, portion-wise, but the same otherwise. The garlic mayo comes in the form of a separate dip, which compliments the fries well.
Wafi Gourmet does a wide range of home-made sweets and delicacies that include varieties of baklava, nougat and nut- and date-based sweets among others. They are displayed closer to the entrance in large quantities and are available for purchase by anyone, with cost mostly dependent on mass. So we decided to go and pick out some baklava for dessert. My personal favourites are the filo-pastry based ones, so I dove into those and enjoyed them thoroughly. They were just the right balance of sweet (not doused in sugar syrup) and moist (not flaky). Perfect. I definitely wouldn’t mind having a few of these again some time soon!
If you get there towards mid-evening and are lucky enough, you might be able to catch a table in their outdoor seating area (thankfully, they have a non-smoking al fresco section). This would mean sitting within eye-shot of the Burj Khalifa and would give you pretty decent seats to watch the Dubai Fountains as well. Performances occur every half hour from 6pm-11pm, so people tend to start occupying tables from before sunset. Google would give you more information on their repertoire of songs and other details; my personal opinion is that they seem best choreographed for the international ballads. Of course, al fresco dining is NOT recommended during the long Dubai summer! In other words, it would be best to plan ahead if you’d like to make the most of dining at Wafi Gourmet.
Yummy Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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