Milas

It’s a delight, and frankly even a surprise, when there is a new Emirati eatery in Dubai, and ever more so when it turns out to be like Milas. Located within the Mercato-style outdoor, indoor village of Dubai Mall’s ‘denim district’, we visited Milas on an Eid evening, when the mall was rammed. Despite being hidden away and high-profile, Milas had mopped up its fair share of this trade and both the ‘outdoor’ and indoor area were quite busy. Good use had been made of the space in this small restaurant and it was stylishly designed in black with neon touches of violet and highly polished, vast wooden tables. The waiter brought us the menu and also produced an iPad version, with images of more notable dishes. The selection was to Emirati eating what most modern British menus are to the rest of Europe – a proud display of tradition teamed with lessons learnt from surrounding countries. As such, the selection ranged from falafel and fattoush to harees and salouna. The waiter displayed a good understanding of what he was serving and was obliging and helpful. With his guidance we ordered a selection to share: nakhi with meat (an Emirati version of hummus, we were told), falafel bites (mini falafel sandwiches), and ‘Emirati-pizza’ (flatbreads topped with Arabic and Western ingredients). Refreshingly, there was not a hammour in sight, and the grilled samach (fish) was sustainable sharry. We ordered the grilled sharry as well as the Milas deyay shish (yoghurt and saffron marinated chicken kebab with saffron rice) as main courses. First came a complimentary dish of warm, stewed chickpeas, and a dipping oil infused with sesame, and a basket of beautifully hot, fluffy bread. Once the starters arrived, we found them to be very good, especially the creamy yet crunchy falafel teamed with a bright mix of fresh parsley, tomato and onion. The saffron chicken kebab was also worth ordering, intensely fragranced with saffron and meat that was so moist it was an unaccustomed experience. Sadly, the grilled sharry let the side down, since the flesh was mushy and watery. We also tried two good desserts: a rose water-dosed cold custard called muhalabiya and Milas’ own version of kunafa, which looked like the elegant red velvet cousin of this Levantine classic. The final course was a selection of perfume for us to douse ourselves with. A touch of modern dining theatre with an Emirati edge. I can’t recommend Milas highly enough. The setting is pleasant, the service is top notch and the food highly enjoyable. More than that, it’s a modernised vision of Emirati food that marks a new era for this cuisine. The bill (for two) 1x falafel bites Dhs23 1x nakhi with meat Dhs37 1x Emirati pizza Dhs37 1x deyay shish Dhs49 1x grilled fish Dhs80 1x muhalabiya Dhs25 1x kunafa Dhs27 1x large water Dhs11 2x coffee Dhs32 Total (excluding service) Dhs321

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