That sham of a Persian restaurant, the Urban Midnight Café and Restaurant in the Zen Cluster of Discovery Gardens, has sold out. It is now the Metis Café. Everything, from the sour smell of stale shisha smoke to the tacky furniture, remains the same. So far only the signboard outside has changed. Oh, and the place of the stage has been moved, although no live music is available for the time being.
I don’t know what made me think that a change in ownership (and management) would improve things at this establishment. Nothing has. If anything, things have actually gotten worse – certainly where the food and service are concerned.
The morning drizzle meant I just had to start our meal with a bowl of Āsh-e Reshteh, a hearty herb and noodle soup.
I followed it with a mixed Masti, with an extra skewer of Koobideh on the side, and finally a Khoresh-e Gheimeh Bâdenjân.
Masti is a kabab indigenous to the south of Iran, but the other three are hugely popular throughout Iran, and a good representation of ‘Persian’ cuisine…which is what I was here to sample.
I must start with the Āsh which, along with the Koobideh, were possibly the worst I have had in Dubai. The ‘tough-as-leather’ Masti Meat was not far off either, requiring vigorous knife strokes to cut through. A single dried lime (Limoo Amâni) livened up our otherwise over-thick Khoresh (stew), giving it a vague taste of authenticity. What saved this new restaurant some grace was the Masti Chicken which, although not nearly in the same league has Ostadi, Al-Fareej or even Caspian, wasn’t entirely bad either. And mercifully, it was much easier to cut through.
Service, or should I say the lack of it, was a similarly nightmarish affair; distracted, rushed, inattentive, and agonisingly slow. But I have only told half the story, the restaurant side. Look at Metis as the shisha café it actually is, and things change dramatically. There are many who will walk in (at 10:00 in the morning), take a deep whiff of that clingy tobacco stink and say, yeah baby! I want some of this. In fact, the shisha side of the café was pretty busy throughout the lunch hour I was there, with lots of huffing and puffing mixing it with tea and coffee and fruit juice, etc.
So, as a shisha joint (which I am not rating nor am I an advocate of), Metis Café seems to have gotten off to a good start. But if you’re looking for good Persian-Iranian food, drive a little further down the road to the Zaferan Iranian Restaurant (opposite Zaroob) at Ibn Battuta Mall where you will be served some excellent Persian-Iranian food by friendly, happy, attentive people.
Waste NOT. Want NOT.