Review: Hearty, if inconsistent, levant dishes served with charm
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Time Out Says

Jordanian export Azkadenya has reached Abu Dhabi after much persuasion from the capital’s residents who used to frequent its outlets in Dubai, we hear.

The restaurant’s brand-new, brightly-lit dining space in Marina Mall is splashed in a palette of yellows, oranges and reds. The retro stylings and pop art murals lend it a kitsch feel.

If our first visit is anything to go by, Azkadenya hasn’t taken too long to settle in. It’s a week night and busy. Staff are cool, calm and collected, though, and find a table for us straight away.

The food spans the Levant region. So, sitting alongside popular dishes such as foul, falafel and shawarma are more traditional eats like fattat (chickpeas and yoghurt), fakharat (dishes baked in clay pots) and sawani (stewed chicken). And then there are the chef’s creations like the falafel sliders and pink hummus (made with pomegranate seeds and pictured above). You should try it.

The hot platter is a good place to start, and includes meat and cheese sambousek, spinach fatayer and kibbeh. It may be a safe starter, but the components are all very good.

The musakhan roll comes in a portion of three with chunky chips. These are deep-fried rather than baked, and while we don’t mind the odd twist on a classic, we suspect the cooking method is what has rendered the filling mushy. Still, the chips are good.

The freekeh and meatballs both come in individual fakharat pots.

The grains aren’t evenly cooked, with some crispier than others, but all is forgiven once we spoon the moreish, chunky tomato sauce from the meatballs on top.

The meatballs themselves are tender and juicy. And, of course, the freekeh is a superfood, so we’re winners on that front, too.

Not everything is perfect, but it’s all served with a lot of charm and is decent value.

The bill (for two)

1x large water Dhs15
1x hot appetizer sampler Dhs55
1x freekeh meatballs Dhs55
1x pink hummus Dhs22
1x musakhan roll Dhs33
Total (excluding tax) Dhs180

The bottom line

A good value burst of colour and flavour.

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 06 Sep 2017

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Abu Dhabi, Marina Village, Al Marina - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

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