Dubai’s newest Arabic restaurant delivers exceptional food in a stellar outdoor setting, in the heart of the city.
Filling a big (Qbara shaped?) hole of Middle Eastern cuisine in Dubai’s dining scene, Ninive is the latest concept from the same people that brought us La Cantine du Fauborg – which means you can expect that understated sophistication they have perfected, here too, whether it’s in the pitch-perfect music (a custom playlist, no less) or the seamless service.
The name is inspired by the ancient Mesopotamian town where the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were likely to have actually been located, and it feels appropriate for the leafy garden-like setting of the alfresco restaurant that ‘hangs’ on a terrace between the Emirates Towers. Designed by James Michael Lees of London design studio Hopscotch, the space is evocative of a majlis featuring low seating with plump cushions in intimate alcoves, while contemporary lines make it of the moment. Earthy elements such as wood and foliage interplay with opulent materials – marble tables, crystal glasses, and brass lamps – and atmospheric lights create an ambience that is as upscale as it is inviting. The attention to detail is unstinting, whether it’s the hand-made pottery used for serve-ware, or designer uniforms for staff.
The star of the show is undoubtedly the food however, with a menu that takes you on a journey across Iran, Iraq, North Africa, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and beyond. An eclectic collection of traditional dishes plucks the best flavours from across the region – from Moroccan tagines; Lebanese fatayer (meat pie); and grilled meats and seafood (think succulent cornfed chicken with tahini, lemon, and spices), to lesser known dishes such as Taktouka (a Moroccan dip of grilled peppers); and Manti (a Turkic dish of meat dumplings in a sauce of yoghurt and spices). Even the desserts incporporate Arabian flavours in creations such as a delectable orange blossom panna cotta; and chocolate tart with baklava ice cream.
The flawlessly executed dishes are well complemented by a curated selection of cocktails that nod to the theme too (gin with arak and elderflower, or an Old Fashioned with figs, anyone?). A range of flavours of shisha is available.
Ninive is now open 4pm onwards, and they also offer an Afternoon Tea with sandwiches and sweets featuring Arabian flavours.
A stylish taste of Arabia