Mayrig: Make Yourself At Home
There’s no shortage of Lebanese and other Middle Eastern restaurants around Dubai to get your mezze fix. It’s a cuisine I enjoy quite a lot, but it involves few surprises. Aside from differences in quality, there’s generally nothing too different to expect in terms of food at any Lebanese restaurant. That’s where Mayrig surprises me.
Strictly speaking, Mayrig is an Armenian restaurant (founded in Lebanon by Armenian immigrants), and takes its name from the Armenian word for ‘mother’. While the food is very similar to Lebanese cuisine, there are a few touches that make it stand out. Located in the Downtown area, just around the corner from Souk Al Bahar’s entrance, Mayrig looks kind of like a small two story villa, and the interior feels more like a large dining room in a lavish country house than a restaurant.
The mezze selection includes a few salads that include lentil, eggplant and marinated olives. Armenian Tabbouleh, made of cracked wheat mixed with tomato sauce and topped with parsley, is very different from its Lebanese counterpart but no less delicious. There are also three varieties of vegetarian kibbeh. Two of them, made of boiled lentil and potato, are handmade dumplings served with caramelized onions. The third, a potato croquette stuffed with lentils, walnuts and spices, is a must-try. Hummus and spicy potatoes complete the mezze assortment.
Soubeureg, a layered pastry filled with three cheeses, is a gooey pleasure but my favorite is the Manteh, spinach dumplings with tomato sauce, chili powder and yogurt. The components are served separately so you can mix them to your preference (and opt to keep it vegan by not using the yogurt at all), and it works really well.
To finish, I have ma’amoul, a traditional shortbread pastry that’s usually filled with nuts. Mayrig’s version is stuffed with goat’s cheese instead, and served with cherry and rose syrup. I also try some of Mayrig’s feshly made rose ice cream studded with pieces of rose lokum. While the ma’amoul is good, it doesn’t quite feel like dessert, even with the syrup. The ice cream on the other hand, provides a sweet and floral end to the meal.
Mayrig proves to be one of Dubai’s hidden gems. It may look like just another restaurant amidst the packed culinary landscape of the Downtown area, but underneath that simple façade you’ll find some very flavorful food that’s not your ordinary mezze.
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: ✔
Pros: Great flavors, good service, homely environment
Cons: Dessert can be hit or miss
Price: $$ (50 - 200 AED)
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