It happens when you try a new cuisine for the first time… the first restaurant where you have it becomes the benchmark for all your future tryst with that cuisine. So, every time I have a shawerma, it is “Hmmm, more tahina needed”, a burrito “Beans could have been softer”. What we don’t realize is that we aren’t comparing it to the best shawerma or burrito we had but the First one that we had.
So, 6 years back when I went to Aroos Damascus for the first time & bit in to the first falafel (Or the Best), it set ball rolling & set the bar for my journey in this region with Arabic cuisine. Even after travelling through the Middle East, I am yet to come across a restaurant that will leave me as satisfied as Aroos Damascus. Maybe, it’s the food, maybe it’s the outdoor setting in winters, maybe it’s the Falafel, maybe it’s the lightning quick service or the great value for money or Maybe It is all of the above combined.
I am just writing in about my experience last week, but I guess the write up wont change for any of my experiences before.
Ambiance: During summers, without a doubt head inside for the air conditioned cool interiors. But, the real fun of visiting Aroos Damascus is in the Dubai winters where you accommodate yourself in a huge outdoor seating area which resembles the community eating format. It is all so crowded yet so peaceful at the same time. You can watch the chicken being grilled, the shawermas rolled up & the bread puffing up in the oven.
Service: Repeating what my cousin had to say, ” A Hot dog vendor would take more time to serve a hot dog than what the servers here take to serve the entire array of food”. It even beats the phrase lightning quick for me. The food is served at the right temperature & fresh which means the back end staff is doing a fantastic job at managing the supply chain of orders. Servers are helpful for Arabic food newbies & they make sure you have a great start to finish experience.
Even before your food arrives, a plate of green veggies & pickles arrive. Make your own salad.
Mezze: Hummus, Babaganoush, Moutabbal & Tabouleh are top notch.
The pomegranate dressing in the Fattoush can be increased to make it little more lively.
Falafel: Hot, crispy & most importantly so light that you will crave for another plate. Honestly, I haven’t found a plate of falafel that can beat this one. Challenge is On!
Garlic cream & Chilli Paste: Order this irrespective of whether u love spice or garlic. This adds additional flavour to your mezze platter.
The Bread keep on coming, Hot, fluffed up & soft on 1 side, crispy on the other.
Hot Potato: Hot in the overall meal spice level reference but soft potato with a slightly crisped up skin.
Cheese & Za’tar Manakeesh: Could have done with some more cheese, the za’tar part was perfect.
Chicken Mexican Shawerma: Ticks all the boxes for a Good shawerma, wonderful filling, little tahina, right bread. Yet, it doesn’t beat my favorite mexican shawerma of Dubai, the spice kick in the meat is missing.
Grilled chicken: it is a delight to see the rows of chicken being grilled on the flame in the machine. The crisp delightful skin covering the softest chicken. Don’t dare give this a miss!
The Shish Tawook was nice and moderately spiced, the red chilly smeared bread on the side was kickass.
Kebab Tomato: The Minced chicken was cooked with tomato juices & a drizzle of olive oil covered by a pie crust.
Watermelon juice was fresh & with no added sugar.
Sulemani chai is the best way to wash off the meal. It was on our table without us asking for it. All you need after that is a nice cozy bed to sleep off.
Kunafa: Avoid the Kunafa here if you want zero bad memories of this place. Doesn’t look the best, the cheese is a little stodgy & the syrup that is supposed to elevate the kunafa is missing.
Pricing: Food for 7 at 350 Dhs. Super value for money.
Final word: Go to Aroos Damascus for great food without the fanfare of other arabic restaurants. Walk out full, satisfied & without your wallet getting much lighter.