The Medfoun was exquisite; the meat was so beautifully soft that it
melted in the mouth. We both found it a real pleasure to explore these
new flavours and we would highly recommend that visitors to the UAE
sample the hearty and historical local food that you can find at Mezlai.
To round off the meal we tried some traditional sweets. I thoroughly
enjoyed the Bethitha, which was made of layers of special dough made
of dates, flour, saffron and cardamom that is filled with fresh cream.
This was traditionally the food of the pearl divers that used to live in
the region. It was eaten in winter to warm the body and was basically
like an old Arabic energy bar. For Arnie it was Sago, made from sago
pearls that are simmered in sugar and served with saffron and
cardamom for that distinct Arabic flavour.
Finally we both had a nightcap of herbs and ginger Ayurveda, basically
a wellness tea. This was a soothing beverage that combined a lot of
ingredients. There is ginger root, lemon grass, liquorice, verbena, sweet
wood, camomile, black pepper, rose petals and cinnamon. All these
flavours mingled together to make a delicious drink before we retired
for an evening walk around the wondrous hotel grounds.
We loved our experience of Emirati food and although it can be
compared to the cuisine of Lebanon, Iran and India, it nevertheless had
its own identity and uniqueness. Mezlai means ‘the old lock of the door’
and in a way it is a perfect metaphor as the restaurant opens a door to
the ancient cuisine of the region.