When you find a familiar name popping up all over town it is a good indication that the food, service and vibe is reliably good. Based on that, we hurried across to the newest branch of popular eatery Tamara that has just opened in Sheikh Zayed.
Type of Cuisine & Signature Dishes:
This typically Lebanese cuisine has everything from appetizers, salads, soups, grills and beverages to yummy desserts.
Signature dishes include Mashawi Tamara, a combination of grilled kebab, veal, fish, salmon and shrimps with a vinaigrette sauce; all shawerma items and savory pastries, manakish included. The Ghazal Beirut is rumoured to be excellent as well.
For us, the right way to start a good Lebanese meal is with traditional appetizers. That meant Moutabal Betenjan, the eggplant and tahina dip that just begged to be scooped up with hot bread straight from the oven, a tangy tabbouleh and muhammara. Everything was fresh and delivered great flavors. The muhammara offered a spicy kick that contrasted well with its rich red bell pepper and pomegranate molasses as we kept diving in for more. The main dishes appeared promptly, almost too promptly as we were still immersed in enjoying our starters.
We had been intrigued by the recommendation of kibbeh and whole chickpeas in a rich onion and pomegranate molasses sauce. The kibbeh was excellent and the almost nutty flavor of the chickpeas toned down the sharpness of the pomegranate. With sides of Batata Harra, with fresh coriander and a sprinkle of chili, and Orz Sharki bel Khalta wel Mekasarat, otherwise known as savory rice with nuts and sultanas, we were feeling well fed by the time or mixed grill arrived. We had elected to share, and the generous portion of shish taouk, chicken kofta, veal kofta and cubes of veal kebab was more than enough to keep us happy.
We had planned to finish off our freshly squeezed orange juice and lemon with mint before calling it a night, but the temptation of sharing dessert won us over. No regrets, the Outhmanliya was a creamy indulgence with feather light konafa, and the Halawet El Jibneh also lived up to expectations.
Other Menu Options that Appealed
The Maklouba Lahmeh bel Betenjan, upside-down rice, cauliflower, zucchini and fried eggplant with tomato sauce would be a good vegetarian option, and as the shawerma is highly recommended we would like to try that as well.
Beverage Options Available
There is a comprehensive beverage menu, with plenty of hot and cold traditional drinks available. Add on fresh juices, smoothies and mocktails and you have something for everyone.
Décor & Ambience
Tamara décor is always a delight. The fresh, vibrant take on Oriental design is reflected in its spectacular focal point of hand-blown glass hanging lights in jewel colors and the dainty white lattice work panels that surround the indoor dining area. It will be a perfect setting for Ramadan iftar. Seating is both indoor and outdoor, so as the warmer evenings set in it should become a popular spot for whiling away the time.
Ambience is bright and breezy, the atmosphere is more conducive to groups of friends and families than intimate date nights. The music on our visit was upbeat Oriental, fitting in with the general style.
Clientele Mix & Price Range
It is obviously a popular venue for families, at least in the early part of the evening, but we think it would be ideal for groups of friends who enjoy sharing dishes as well. Price range is reasonable.
Opening hours: 9 am to 12 am. Breakfast is served.
Address: Capital Business Park, Sheikh Zayed
Tel: 16885 (also for delivery and takeaway).
Facebook / Instagram: TamaraBistro