Baladna

When confronted with a decor scheme more avocado-heavy than a ’70s bathroom, my reaction would usually be to scream and run in the opposite direction. But the fact that I’d had a hard day at work, and my date and I felt a hunger so pronounced our stomachs seemed to be conversing through growls, led me to take a deep breath and march through the door. Surveying the sea of empty tables, my friend and I opted for a secluded spot in a recessed alcove, trying in vain to stifle the fit of giggles that was washing over us due to the weirdness of the waiting staff, who were at once charming and terrifying. After requesting a bottle of Lebanese wine from one waiter, another came over and tried to take our drinks order again. On explaining that we’d already ordered, he growled, ‘No, you give me your drink order.’ Quaking in my flip-flops, I again asked for the bottle of wine. Looking shocked, he turned to my companion and said, ‘And for you?’ After clarifying that, actually, we’d quite like to share the vino, we hastily moved onto food. As the waiter ceremoniously presented a silver platter heaving with whole green peppers, cucumbers and a hedgehog-inspired lettuce resplendent with carrot stick prickles, my date’s eyes widened in awe. ‘What are you meant to do with it all?’ she asked curiously. Preparing to launch into an explanation, I realised that, actually, I had no idea. Luckily, I was saved from having to confess ignorance by the arrival of several other, more modest dishes. Not much is smokier than Eva Mendes’ eye makeup on a saucy photo shoot, and yet the moutabbal managed to trump her hands down (the halloumi was a close runner up). Along with a ferociously garlicky hommos Beiruty, it complimented the piping hot bread and piquant, crispy fattoush salad perfectly. The highlight of the mixed grill, meanwhile, was undoubtedly the tender, juicy chicken – the chop was too fatty, the kebab uninspiring and the chips, well, cold. All in all, though, we were pretty impressed with the food, and I’m reluctant to complain too much about the service as I’m fairly sure our waiter meant well (the emptiness of the place indicated he might not have had much practice at dealing with customers). There’s definitely something odd about Baladna, but in a city full of identikit chain restaurants, maybe that’s no bad thing. The bill (for two) 1x Large mineral water Dhs22 1x Bottle of house wine Dhs250 1x Fattoush Dhs24 1x Halloumi cheese Dhs24 1x Hommos Beyrouty Dhs26 1x Moutabbal Dhs24 1x Mixed grill Dhs65 Total (including service) Dhs435

Places Near Baladna

Burger Rebels
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Elements Café Restaurant
Elements Café Restaurant

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Seville’s
Seville’s

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The Noodle Factory
The Noodle Factory

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The W Grill
The W Grill

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Wafi Gourmet
Wafi Gourmet

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Salam Studio
Salam Studio

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Wafi
Wafi

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Cleopatra's Spa
Cleopatra's Spa

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Asha’s
Asha’s

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Medzo
Medzo

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Wafi City Dubai
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Qbara
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Thai Chi
Thai Chi

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