Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rated: Nay Restaurant & Lounge

I heard about Nay from a couple of friends and decided to try it out for a weekday dinner a little while ago. Positioned as a Lebanese restaurant, the menu has a tendency to twist the flavours and dishes of authentic Lebanese cuisine (such as a traditional Lebanese white cheese starter served with an oriental ratatouille sauce). It's always interesting to see modern chefs putting spins on traditional dishes.

Situated in DIFC, it's a perfect central spot for post-work dinner and sheesha. The venue itself is huge. and I mean huge! It hosts a lovely outdoor seating area (unfortunately the weather now is slowly eliminating that option) and the indoor seating has an Arabic singer at night. Since it was a huge space and it was still in it's opening month, when my friend and I arrived, the ratio of people to chairs was quite low (aka a little on the empty side). I feel like it can look like that anyways since the place is really big and can accommodate a large number of people.

Our server was very friendly and explained some popular items on the menu for us. He complimented us with a crispy strip of bread topped with olive oil, sesame seeds and zaatar with a garlic-flavoured dip. So so so good! Ordered for another round in seconds.

For starters, we chose one of their spins on hommos which was 'Hommos Green Rihan' (literally translates to Hommos Green Basil). This was delicious! Basil is also my favorite herb so maybe this could have been an easy win for me? I don't know. Balance of the added basil while maintaining authentic hommos flavor was ticked! My hopes were super high right now since bread and hommos were both spectacular.
'Hommos Green Rihan'

Our second starter was the "Nay Labneh" - again another twist. Although this sounded fabulous - labneh mixed with confit sun dried tomatoes, thin garlic crisps & fresh thyme - the taste did not live up to it. The issue was the oil from the sundried tomato which was a little too acidic overpowered the whole dish.

'Nay Labneh'

Our third starter was 'Hommos Sorra', roasted Arabic bread filled with beef, served with hommos and pine nuts. Unfortunately this was more about the presentation rather than the taste. The beef-stuffed bread or what I like to call them the Arabic-looking "money-balls" tasted old and very dry. This was not a winner.

'Hommos Sorra'

For mains, we ordered 'Shish Taouk' and 'Kebab Mushroom'. I know Shish Taouk can be a boring choice sometimes but most restaurants don't get it right. It usually comes too dry and tasteless. This one shamefully fell into that same category of restaurants. The chicken was way too dry - almost rock hard. The fries were very good as well as the vegetables. I really liked the presentation of the veggies on the metal skewer. Pickles & garlic sauce were delicious. Only downfall, well, the main thing: the chicken. As for the Kebab, not too sure why it was called 'Kebab Mushroom' since there was no taste of mushroom whatsoever. The kebab was alright but nothing special. Also the spicy tomato sauce on the side didn't add much to the dish as well.

We were too full to order dessert since portions were very generous. I would come back for good service, good portions and try our other main dishes. Also that basil hommos got me sucked in! Need to come back for more.

Total price breakdown below (for 2):
1 x 'Hommos Green Rihan' = 28
1 x 'Nay Labneh' = 28
1 x 'Hommos Sorra' = 36
1 x 'Shish Taouk' = 58
1 x 'Kebab Mushroom' = 58
1 x Large Lebanese Mineral Water = 20Total (AED) = 228

I've rated Nay 3 out of 5!

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