Moonlight, an abra and Khaymat Al Bahar

It was after a particularly long and tiring week at work that I found myself thanking my stars I’d bought a Cobone deal for a three-course meal at Khaymat Al Bahar in Madinat Jumeirah. Not only am I a fan of Arabic cuisine, I was also enchanted by the idea of dining at the Madinat Jumeirah.

The only way to reach the restaurant is by abra, or walking through the Al Qasr hotel. Once you get there, you’re greeted by circular tent-like structures overlooking a deep blue pool (fitting since the name literally means “tent on the beach”). Surrounded by low lighting amidst the trees, it’s a very romantic and relaxing place to go to.

There are indoor and outdoor seating options – the insides lit up with gorgeous lanterns set on the floor, and opulent ceiling lights… and the outdoors shine with the reflection of the pool. In this weather though, outdoors all the way!

The deal was for: either two mezze or one mezze and one side item; one item from the main course or charcoal grilled section, and one dessert.

First up, moutabel, which was creamy and had a pleasant texture.

Then we ordered meat kebbeh…

…and lamb sambousk. Both arrived hot, and crispy. I loved biting into the shells to find the meaty insides. The quality of the meat was really good.

There was also chick pea balila, which the menu describes as cooked chick pea with cumin and tahina sauce (clearly no photograph, sorry!). I didn’t have much of this, and I don’t remember it either, so it didn’t make much of an impression.

For our main course, I went with the lamb arayes, which was cooked to perfection.

My companion went with chicken musahab, which was grilled boneless whole baby chicken with potato wedges and garlic sauce. I preferred the arayes over this one though. I think perhaps that’s a personal choice? I don’t know why but when it comes to Arabic/MENA cuisine, I prefer the lamb dishes over chicken, most of the time, if not all the time.

For dessert, I went with raspberry and rosewater cheesecake (what an unusual combination, I thought!) and was pleasantly surprised when it came with a raspberry sorbet, which I thoroughly enjoyed too. Crumbly cheesecake, with the slightest hint of rosewater, topped with two raspberries… it was nice.

My companion opted for umm ali, which, if you don’t know, is the Arabian version of a milk pudding. It was very sweet, and quite filling.

The whole experience was pleasant, and very civilised (not that my other restaurant outings are not!), and the staff at the restaurant were fantastic. They didn’t even bat an eyelid when we asked to pack some of the food – we couldn’t finish everything, and couldn’t bear the thought of some of it being thrown away.

The price of water was interesting though – we had two bottles of water throughout the meal, and that cost AED 60 if I remember correctly. I appreciate it being located in a luxury resort, but we were just amused at how much we had to pay for it. I also admit I rarely dine at five-star resorts, so perhaps this is normal? Would appreciate any comments from readers who do frequently dine at such places, on whether this is normal practice?

It was a lovely experience all-in-all, with the food quality a notch slightly above the more affordable restaurants you find elsewhere. I thought, and my companion agreed, the quality was as good as the lesser-priced Jedoudna (found on JBR Walk). I’m not sure if I will return unless I specifically want to immerse myself in the relaxing ambiance – because to me, the pricing was due to the location – but was glad I got a chance to check it out.

Practical tips: Park in the Madinat Jumeirah free parking and walk or take the abra to the restaurant – you will need reservations before you go there. It’s open between 7pm and 1am.

Check out the restaurant on its official website where you can also find the menu along with its prices.

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7 thoughts on “Moonlight, an abra and Khaymat Al Bahar

  1. The Abra experience must have been fantastic. I sometimes take my guest for an Abra ride in Madinat (only the ride!) and they absolutely love it! I like my lamb dishes over chicken in Arabic dishes as well… I always find the chicken a bit too hard. Love the Um ali.. was it nice and creamy? Many places serve Um Ali which is very ‘runny’!

    1. Oh yes the abra experience is lovely. And when the weather is as beautiful as it is now… perfect! It was quite runny actually. And as I said in the post, very very sweet. I imagine it caters to a palate used to a lot of sugar.

    2. Been given a foodie tip to tell you that “the best umm ali is at the Arjaan Rotana.” Apparently just the umm ali and not the rest of the food. Haha, try it and let me know?

  2. Lovely review and mouthwatering photographs! I also prefer lamb over chicken dishes when it comes to Arab cuisine; there’s just more flavor in lamb. AED 60 for two bottles of water is too pricey! We stayed at Qasr al Sarab in Abu dhabi and didn’t pay that much for water.

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