Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates recently opened up Olea, serving up Levantine cuisine. The marbly interiors and futuristic patterning compliment the orange, green and brown color theme. The open kitchen with the traditional ovens and steel surfaces are a sight to see – the waiters shout out your order while the smiling chefs scurry to their positions.
Mocktails are a must! Passion of the spice (passion fruit puree, honey, lime juice, mint leaves, chili tincture, tonka bean) and levant & company (strawberry, cinnamon, lemon juice, cracked black pepper).
Trio of labneh (garlic, walnut and chili paste) creamy and light with a base of olive oil and a range of accompaniments.
The fattoush (one of my favorite salads) topped with micro greens and crisp croutons was a fast favorite.
The charcoal roasted halloumi was a little salty on it’s own but tasted great with the blanched cherry tomatoes and coriander it was served with.
Yalangi (vine leaves) have slowly won me over this year and these were nothing less than special here, vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs and doused with a zesty vinaigrette.
The classic batata harra, soft fried whole baby potatoes swimming in a creamy gravy with a hint of spice – well executed.
Can’t leave without some el homos, with 3 different types served: Beiruti (spicy), Musahaba and homos all 3 were delicious as homos should be!
I loved the crusty zaatar manakeesh, simplistic yet flavorful.
Palestinian musakhan – chicken, sumac, olive oil, caramelized onions, pine nuts atop a sodden down flatbread. The thick pieces of chicken and browned pine nuts make for a fantastic combination.
Hamour in a claypot, not the prettiest dish but boy was it good – succulent hamour fillets submerged in a tomato gravy.
Dessert doesn’t disappoint with soft kunafa made Palestinian style, I normally don’t like semolina based kunafa’s but this one won me over.
Halawet eljibin is a dessert topped with cotton candy which melts when syrup is poured, left with cheesy dumplings drenched in rose syrup nuts and rose petals – a perfect finish to the meal.