Friday, October 1, 2010
In a nutshell: Original African concept restaurant with great food and friendly staff
Mall of the Emirates recently opened its new extension, in the place where the jumping fountains used to be - Prada, Chanel and other designer labels are clearly better money spinners than a fancy fountain especially after the Dubai Fountain opened at Dubai Mall. In addition to a slew of shops that I will never be able to buy anything from, there are a slew of new restaurants, some of which are refreshingly new concepts. Old names include Biella (although my last experience of Biella Times Square was a disaster) and More Cafe, with new names including a French bistro with Dhs 30 coffees (!!!), a Chinese restaurant which is where I'll try next and Tribes which is where I ate lunch.
Tribes is an African restaurant and the African theme encompasses the interiors with sheepskin-covered chairs, drums and shields on the walls; the staff who are all from various African countries and are dressed in ethnic uniforms with facial designs painted on; and the menu which offers lots of grills with African-inspired marinades and sauces. In some restaurants it can be hard to choose because nothing really takes your fancy, here it was hard to choose because it all sounded so interesting. There are numerous salads, sandwiches and burgers as well as grilled meats and fish plus desserts of course. Our waitress greeted us in her language of Shona, from Zimbabwe, and offered to take us through anything on the menu. Halfway through our meal a group of staff gathered at the entrance to the restaurant to sing and play the drums - great atmosphere!
Whilst my Dad went for the burger, I opted for grilled red snapper with spicy tomato and courgette and my Mum ordered the watermelon, parmesan and rocket salad. Side orders included sweet potato fries, since sweet potato is meant to be better for you than regular potato as it's full of antioxidants (although the deep frying part may negate all that), I ordered a side of those. At a nearby table I saw sandwiches being delivered which were grilled panini-style and the chips served were tiny julienne'd potatoes that reminded me of these fabulous salt & vinegar crisps you used to be able to get that looked similar - not Chipsticks which are big and made of corn, these were tiny slithers of potato, does anyone know the name and if they still make them?? Hmmm.
My snapper was perfectly grilled so that it retained its moisture but was also firm and the accompanying spicy tomato and courgette was delicious. Fish can be a bit bland sometimes, but this sauce had the perfect level of piquant to give it a great taste without burning your tastebuds off. The sweet potato fries were also excellent, although because sweet potato goes so soft when it's cooked they had been very very lightly battered to keep them together. I liked them, but will order those tiny little potato chips next time. The watermelon salad was saved from potentially being a bit tasteless by the deep fried parmesan cigars that came with it and the burger was juicy and fulfilling. Prices are similar to other mall restaurants although some of the grills were well over Dhs 100 which is quite a lot to pay when you can't have a glass of wine with your meal. Tribes is the only African restaurant that I know of and I will certainly go back: a great new restaurant concept that breaks from the usual mould.
Labels: Dubai restaurant reviews - 4/5