Tasha’s

Dubai Restaurants

Upon my long awaited return to the land of Dubai, three of my loyal minions took me out to lunch. The destination worthy of such a joyous occasion was Tasha’s on Al-Wasl road, or as Google maps cleverly refers to it “Al- double u, ay, es, el” road. Tasha’s do not take bookings and are almost always fully occupied, so we waited around 30 minutes. Tante doesn’t mind the wait, as it hightens the anticipation. We ordered a salmon tartare for sharing and Chicken Milanese for mains. The food was as flavorful as “min dayyeit el tante”. OneĀ item that was out of stock but is always great is the Tabbouleh. It tastes absolutely nothing like real Tabbouleh, as they play around with the ingredients, substituting burghul with Wheat and adding Halloumi. Whatever it is, it’s fantastic. Add to it some balsamic vinegar and you’re ready to go. For desserts, the Eton Mess is a great choice to mess around with your diet. As much as I enjoyed the company of the three peasants, the food was so good that I wouldn’t have minded dining alone there. (no need for sharing then)

PS: The hostess speaks Arabic so be careful making snarky remarks. If needed, pick another language.

Villa Clara

Beirut Restaurants

So I organized a little get together dinner at Villa Clara in Mar Mkhayel. Being the “sa7bit wejib” that Kawkab is, I decided to give them a call to share a heads up that we might be running a little late for our 8:00 pm reservation. Conversation flowed as follows:

“ayya se3a ya3ne?”

“ma ba3rif. yimkin 8:30. 7asab el 3aj2a”

“Bas PLEASE mish aktar min 8:30!!”

And so we rushed and made our way through the traffic to get to the reservation on time, fearing we will be shoved to the back of the queues, following that unnerving warning by the hostess, whom I suspect is the owner/ manager/ chef’s wife.

We arrived at 8:15 to a completely empty place. The valet guy wasn’t even outside. People started coming in an hour later, and it wasn’t even that full. To be honest, the food was not bad. We expected more of an experience, given the stiffness of the phone conversation, the prices and the fact that the menu is printed on a humble A4 paper given it is always subject to change. There was no visit by the chef nor were there any special recommendations by the distracted waiters. But the food was good. If you pop by Villa stuck up, order the desserts which we sadly skipped. They’re supposed to be good. And get any of the meat courses (tartare de boeuf if available or the fillet). Do not order the fish. I’m certain you already have a handful of things to clean up other than a pricy dead fish.

The bill is surely to keep a tante home eating 3arayis labneh k3azeel for a few days after. Bas yalla.. Bill hana will shifa. Nshalla Bill afra7