A lot of Emirati ventures have been coming up, and joining the scene is Aseelah. Located in Old Dubai, Radisson Blu Dubai Creek boasts an excellent view of the waters and a great location to head for a ride after your meal.
Upon entering, all guests are offered an amuse bouche of cheese and date fatayer and saffron infused water.
The menu is pretty basic but offers a variety of dishes divided into “traditional” and “dishes made with local ingredients”. From which we settled for a Fennel and Orange Salad (AED 45) with Spiced Parsnip and Almond Soup (AED 38) . The salad comes with roasted quail with fennel and bell peppers and orange vinaigrette. It was my first time trying quail and I was pretty impressed with the tenderness and how well the meat was seasoned.
The creamy parsnip almond soup was comparatively dull, but my guest preferred it more. (she isn’t really fond of quail) Both the starters topped with shredded veal bacon.
For the main course, we ordered a Fish Machboos (AED 70), Camel Stew (AED 165), Chicken Kebab (AED 60) and Grill Prawns (AED 110). Considering the full house show, the service was extremely slow. So much, that we were quite hungry by the time the mains arrived. The course fared slightly higher than average, with Chicken Kebab being the highlight.
Another first with the camel stew, we felt the consistency could be improved if not the softness of the meat. Aseelah is clearly not a sharing plates restaurant, but the single portions seem too big for one. You could say a lot remained after sharing four dishes between three people.
We finally arrived at the last course of the evening and opted for a Date Pudding (AED 35), Pumpkin Mille-Feuille (AED 35) and Luqaimat (AED 25). Aseelah offers quite a few fusion options, but it was the authentic dishes we fell for. Honey coated outside and soft within, the luqaimat stays true to its colors.
The date pudding showed off well too with a mango-passionfruit ice cream that complemented it well. Kudos to the Chef for the unusual combination!
While the table was undecided on who was the winner; Traditional or Fusion, there was one thing they agreed on; the Pumpkin Mille-Feuille. It isn’t that I’m not a fan of the fruit (pumpkin is surprisingly a fruit, just researched and discovered), but the combo of that and date syrup was not pleasing.
In short, Aseelah has everything going for it. The location is apt and the food promising. We also hear that the Chef has specially collected recipes from traditional homes. The service was a little off, but we’ll go easy since it’s still in the teething stage.
There is also an outdoor shisha area that wasn’t open when we visited, but should be completed by now. And, another section that includes a fully licensed bar. Separate menus for both these sections.
If I’m going back: The Fennel and Orange Salad and Chicken Kebab were my favorites. Other than that, the menu contains choices that are good enough to serve everyone’s palate. I’m eyeing the Camel Sliders for next time, they weren’t available when I visited. 😉
What is your favorite Emirati restaurant? Do you prefer casual or fine dining?
For more information, Aseelah can be reached at www.diningdubaicreek.com