Nar and Hail

Nar and Hail isn’t the kind of name that rolls off the tip of the tongue. It’s Arabic, or part Arabic, anyway. We’re not quite sure why they put the ‘and’ part in English, or why they chose an Arabic name for a menu with offerings that span the globe. Regardless of what the ‘hail’ refers to in Arabic, it was an inappropriate title in English, as hailing a waiter at the Tamani Hotel’s new venue was a near impossibility. When my date and I pulled up to the nearly empty restaurant, we expected that since we had the place to ourselves, we’d at least be guaranteed attentive service. Instead, we were immediately forgotten about. We were given a whole 30 minutes to peruse the menu, which, although a reasonably long list of international dishes with an Arabic flair, was hardly a tome. The food came out quickly, so we know the problem was not in the kitchen; it was just the waiting staff who seemed unable to grasp the concept that people come to a restaurant to eat. It’s a shame as Nar and Hail could have otherwise been a good spot to have a reasonably priced meal before heading to the Westin or Mina Seyahi across the road for a drink (the restaurant didn’t serve alcohol, it made a mean fruit shake), and, aesthetically, the place excelled. A large, open stainless steel kitchen dominated the space, while exposed pipes and stone floors gave it a modern feel. The cushioned sofas, tastefully mismatched chairs, well-spaced tables and colourful wall hangings made it feel cosy and intimate. The good presentation extended to the dishes, too. An Arabic mezze starter arrived fresh and tasty in small white dishes and with a basket of (unfortunately not warm) bread. The king prawns with cous cous came lined up like warriors ready to fight and, once we cracked through their armour, the large meaty beasts were tasty. The veal escalope came with colourful veg, and ‘roti potato’ – known to me and you as a hash brown. It looked good but, unfortunately, the film of grease it left on my lips didn’t make me feel good. I fancied the offering of ice cream and sherbets to refresh my palate, and help clean out the previous dish’s oily residue. However, I settled on a chewing gum as the waiter had, yet again, pulled off a vanishing act. As we left, the only farewell was a half-hearted wave from a waiter who was chatting on the phone at the other side of the restaurant. But we wouldn’t have expected much more. The bill (for two) 1x Al Ain Water Dhs10 1x Banana milkshake Dhs25 1x Tropical Breeze smoothie Dhs25 1x Cold mezze starter Dhs70 1x Pan fried escalope Dhs110 1x King prawn with cous cous Dhs140 Total (including service) Dhs380

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