Monday, April 23, 2018

Al Nadeg - Eat like a Shiekh!

I work in a multi-national/cultural office and building rapport with my peers allowed me to execute my plan.

To eat with someone from a different country on their preferred restaurant eating their traditional dish.

I was speaking with Hessa, a colleague from Yemen, about how I like eating traditional food and she recommended to me a restaurant called Al Nadeg that is owned by her friend. Thinking I might get a discount or even have the meal for free I grabbed the opportunity to try it and asked for the directions and where it is so I can go as soon as I can. Find out more after the break.

I cycled from Sharjah and followed the GPS pointing to the location around Hor Al Anz, Dubai. Al Nadeg immediately stood out because of how fancy it looks from the outside and inside, the place is well-lit, the decorations invoke of traditional Arabic designs and shimmers because of all the gold paint, thankfully there's a menu outside because once you see the price it's not as intimidating anymore.

Before going in I called Hessa and told her I'm at the place and will have a meal. She called her friend and I was greeted with a big smile and to my surprise did the traditional Arabic handshake-kiss thingy. I guess I'm getting the whole experience.

I was seated and host recommended for me to try one of the house-specialty which is a lamb shoulder and ribs meal called Haneed Dhulu.  I said yes, and at this point was crossing my fingers because it costs 60 AED (16 USD) which is a week's worth of food for me.

For Arabic meals like this, you are served first with a salad, soup, and the tomato sauce. It didn't take long for the order to arrive, it was covered before serving and once the server opened the lid, I was genuinely surprised at how huge the serving is and that I'm alone tackling this by myself.

The lamb shoulder-ribs on top of a mountain of rice looks really appetizing, used a fork and poked it and you immediately know how tender the meat is, lifted one of the ribs without using any force and the meat just fell off. Lamb has this gamey pungent taste to it if not cooked or spiced properly that ruins the flavor but this one has none of that, this meat is perfectly spiced. When you eat the meat as viand and chase it with the rice, it's just the perfect harmony of meat and carbs in your mouth. And to add more flavor to it, you lather the meat with the tomato sauce on every bite and it just elevates it to another level.

The meal was amazing, the portion size was humongous, the flavor was exquisite but that being said, it was too much for a mere mortal like me. As much as I wanted to finish the meal down to the last bone and piece of rice, I couldn't. The food I ate feels it's all the way up in my throat so I had a bit of left-over and vowed to myself that the next time I come here I'll knock this out of the park.

I asked for my bill and again, to my surprise (a lot of surprises in this restaurant) I was served a dessert, I was reluctant at first because I didn't order one but then thought it might be on the house because of Hessa's call. I ate and without thinking about it finished it in no time. That's the thing about me, I have 2 stomachs, one for the main course and the other for the dessert so no matter how full I am, I always a space for sweets.

Now to the most important part of the meal, the payment. I asked how much and in my head I was like "please be free" "please be free" but alas, it wasn't but I got the next best thing. I got a 20% discount and only paid 50 AED (13.5 USD), took my free tea to wash down the huge meal and once the food settled in my stomach I cycled away back home.

I never had a meal of such proportion in my life, the biggest meat and rice serving I took on alone. One of the tastiest lamb meat I had where it wasn't being masked by a million spices, you can taste the lamb through and through. So without any doubt, I recommend this to any meat lovers out there or people who like amazing tasting food because this is one of the best you can have and at 60 AED that can feed 3 grown people, it's definitely a must try and worth it.

Al Nadeg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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