What’s new in the UAE menu: Marjan, Shores Restaurant

Celebrity chef Joe Barza at Marjan

Something exotic
On the drive to Ras Al Khaimah, I passed by some camels and flippantly asked my companion what they tasted like. I had no idea that a few hours later I would have my answer.
We walked in to the elegantly designed Marjan not knowing what to expect except that Lebanese celebrity chef Joe Barza has introduced new items in the menu. The chic restaurant serves authentic Arabic and Middle Eastern cuisine and Barza’s latest culinary innovations were designed to tease modern and traditional tastes.
We tried various versions of hummus and ghanouj al baba (pureed eggplant with sesame cream), including one topped with sautéed, ground camel meat. The flavour of the meat was quite intense but it really meshed well with the light and creamy dip.
I especially liked the Moutabalat Al Marjan Carrot, Beetroot and Cauliflower (pureed carrot, beetroot and cauliflower with sesame cream, lemon juice and garlic), with dollops beautifully served in a rectangular wooden platter. The dip was deliciously light, smooth and creamy.
For mains, we had camel kebab with savoury rice. I would have to say I was starting to develop a taste for camel meat. It tastes almost like veal, only with a more intense flavour. We also had grilled lamb chops, beautifully cooked to the right amount of tender and very tasty. The perfectly cooked and seasoned pieces were served on pita bread and garnished with corn, eggplant and tomato. It was so good a second order was necessary.

Marjan, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah
Liked: Beautifully plated, delicious Arabic and Middle Eastern food
Disliked: Prices are a little upmarket but consider that you are also paying for the five-star setting and service
Contact: 07 2035555

Something unexpected
Amidst the construction chaos in Jumeirah Beach Residence I was surprised to find this unassuming restaurant tucked away inside Ramada Plaza JBR, which has just launched two new theme nights.
Since I arrived on a Wednesday evening, I was able to experience the Mediterranean theme night (Asian theme nights are held on Mondays) at Shores Restaurant.
The buffet featured a decent selection of desserts, breads and cheeses, roasted meat and cold cuts. The salad bar was well stocked with fresh greens and the live cooking station was manned by an attentive chef who could cook pasta any way I liked.
Since I’m a big seafood fan, I went straight for the paella valenciana, which was generously mixed with cooked mussels, salmon chunks, squid and shrimps. There were a few pot roasts, but the most memorable was the roast lamb leg. It was probably one of the best I have tasted—flavourful and tender without the pungent smell. The buffet costs Dh175 per person and includes soft drinks.