Morah Than Meets The Eye
Growing up in Dubai, I’ve had my share of Mediterranean cuisine, primarily in the form of Lebanese food. In more recent years, Greek and Turkish restaurants have popped up and showcased their bold, fresh flavors. We might almost have reached a point where most Mediterranean food has a ‘been there, eaten that’ air to it. Morah, the newly opened F & B venture at the Marriott Marquis, promises a more contemporary take on coastal Mediterranean fare.
Owned by the same group behind The Weslodge Saloon, Morah sits a few floors above its older sibling, on the 71st and 72nd floors of the hotel. The restaurant is split into two levels. The top floor is more of a bar and lounge, while the main dining room is on the lower level. The circular dining room is colored in tones of slate blue, pale rose and gold, with cushioned benches at the outer perimeter and a stunning view of the city from its floor to ceiling windows.
The food at Morah has many familiar flavors, and a few new ones, presented in a brand new package. Roasted Red Beets on a bed of tangy labneh are a delicious (and pretty) take on the standard beetroot salad, while Vine Ripened Tomato chunks with olive oil, pesto and feta offers a nice alternative to the Italian Caprese. The Zucchini Flower Kibbeh catches my eye, in part because I’ve come to love that particular ingredient recently, and also because of the vegetarian twist on kibbeh. It’s crisp, smoky and intense, and guarantees that I’ll continue to order zucchini flower dishes whenever I come across them.
Then there’s the Figs and Greens, which sounds like a fairly standard salad with some fig pieces, but is transformed into something unique by a sweet and floral orange blossom vinaigrette dressing. I’ve had many braised and roasted artichoke dishes before, but nothing quite like the Crispy Artichokes, which are more like artichoke chips. They’re bitter and tart, yet somehow irresistible. It’s the high point of an already fantastic spread.
The Black Truffle Pide, or Turkish flatbread, is another highlight. Earthy tones of shaved truffle go hand in hand with rich mozzarella and halloumi, and are balanced out by a crispy base. The Manti Dumplings are the only vegetarian main course option, so I get some Persian Kale and Hand Rolled Couscous on the side. Filled with a spicy eggplant mixture and topped with sweet grape molasses, the dumplings are a great contrast in tastes. The kale, I discover, is actually a rice and lentil dish that has kale mixed into it, while the couscous is more like a crumbly pancake stuffed with mushrooms. It’s also the first time I’ve seen a main dish that’s almost half the size of the sides (namely the kale).
Usually, the ice cream section is the most forgettable part of a dessert menu, but Morah has an intriguing quarter of house ice creams. I go for the Bailey’s ice cream, which is encased in a chocolate and Turkish coffee shell. I also try the Orange Blossom Mousse (mainly because I loved the orange blossom vinaigrette so much). It’s artfully presented, almost like a cheesecake, topped with pashmak (candy floss) and surrounded by berries and cherry sorbet. I won’t go into how the dishes taste, but let me just say you should definitely leave room for dessert here.
Morah adds a little twist to the usual Middle Eastern and Mediterranean fare, making it a welcome addition to Dubai’s culinary lineup. And with a lively ambiance and the stunning panorama surrounding it, you’ll get Morah than you were expecting.
Veggie Friendly: ✔ Vegan Friendly: X
Pros: Great food, amazing view, great atmosphere
Cons: Nothing major comes to mind
Price: $$$ (200 - 500 AED)
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