I ordered a home delivery from Ijaza Express Café in Arabian Ranches to see if their famous toasted shawarma, known as ‘Hassan Mathar’, is as good without the nostalgia, hype, celebrity and fancy cars which made the original branch in Jumeirah such a Dubai phenomenon. The answer is…well, you didn’t really think I’d give you the answer right at the beginning, did you?
Located behind the ENOC Petrol Station on Emirates Road past The Villas, before Arabian Ranches this incarnation of the much-loved Jumeirah eatery is all fast food, having none of the quaintness of the original. I ordered through Zomato (an absolute doddle) and received my order within an hour. Everything was very well packed, still nice and hot, and none of the wraps has gone soggy.
Their signature Hassan Mathar, which is basically a toasted shawarma with mayo, chili sauce, lettuce and cheese, is the same as at their Jumeirah branch BUT (and I never thought I’d be saying this) it tastes better in Jumeirah. Maybe it’s the fumes from those exotic cars OR flashbacks of the Dubai-made film City of Lights in which the restaurant features OR thoughts of H. H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, eating there regularly which adds the extra flavour. I don’t know. But I do know that the only other thing I would order from Ijaza is their chunky-pieced falafel, everything else is very ordinary.
Special thanks to my dear Londoner food buddies, brothers James and Mark who introduced me to Ijaza in the first place.
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Xerxes physically visits (and dines at) each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat and drink. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews. What you have read was not influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org