It was a warm Dubai evening. My friend and I took a short stroll along Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard from the parking in P1 to arrive at Mayrig restaurant. Mayrig claims to be the only Armenian restaurant in Dubai but who am I to disagree?
Boasting a fantastic al fresco dining area in the heart of the Downtown Dubai, the location is second to none. We were greeted by Aline, the owner of the restaurant. Aline’s energy and passion is almost infectious. Aline is proud of her Armenian background which is rich is culture, history and not to mention food.Mayrig, meaning mother is shown true through the recipes have been handed down from generation to generation with Aline’s grandma’s photograph even being featured on the menu and recipes.Our rather large table is a mix of cultures, with everyone here being invited to both dine and cook with Aline herself. We were handed 4 recipes cards and then we got to select which one we’d like to learn to cook then we were allowed to enter the kitchen (hair nets and all) to experience first hand Aline’s cooking demonstration.Our group learnt how to make the fishnah kebab (below). A mix of ground beef & lamb which is grilled and topped with a sour wild cherry compote which is slow cooked on fire with sugar and cinnamon. Once we were finished with the cooking class we returned to the table which had a spread of appetizers already waiting for us. Whats great at Mayrig is the selection of products they sell like the orange blossom and rose waters which are home made but also used to create some of their dishes.
I’ve only recently started eating olives and my favorite are the green ones so I was happy to see the Zeitoun salad as a starter. It’s a mix of green olives, walnuts and olive oil all tossed together as a salad with chopped tomatoes and herbs creating various textures.
Also included in the starters with the hommos soujouk which is topped with Armenian smoked beef.
Itch is an Armenian styled tabbouleh which has a tomato paste as a base along with bulgar wheat, onions, peppers, parsley and scallions. A refreshing take on the norm.
The Mayrig selection was so impressive, served on a large plate with each kebbe vibrant on it’s own and also accompanied by it’s own sauce or topping if you wish. There were a few of the non vegetarians who were hesitant to taste the raw meat kebbe. Not me, I was keen as mustard. There’s a method to the madness with each piece of kebbe squished on your plate with your fork before adding the coinciding topping. I picked up some bread, grabbed the meat and sauce combo between my fingers and down it went. It was a smooth and spicy filling and actually quite enjoyable. The others don’t know what they’re missing out on.
The mante I was super keen to try as I’ve heard this is their most popular dish. It’s basically hand made mini minced meat dumplings served with a tomato sauce and yoghurt which is poured over them to enjoy. They also serve them in spinach too should anyone be vegetarian in your group. The spicy potatoes were also a favorite among the veg & non-veg diners.
Before we even had enough time to digest the mains the desserts started to arrive. A cheesey maamoul…Sare Bourma, an Armenian style pakhlava. (A bit hard on the old teeth)And last but not least a selection of ice cream and the the dish everyone wooed over Moussa Ler. The fluffy cotton candy topped ashta ice cream with a sprinkling of crushed pistachios. It was every bit delicious as it looks.Having never tried Armenian food before I was so impressed by the flavors and dishes. There is a strong Middle Eastern influence that is seen through the menu and I actually struggled to find things I didn’t like. Which is this case means I’ll be back again soon and this time with friends in tow.
Location: Opposite Al Manzil Hotel, Mohamad Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai
Phone: 04 4539945