This new branch at the entrance of the China Court at Ibn Battuta Mall is probably Al Mallah’s fifth or sixth. It’s similar in look and size to the Taqato Mexican outlet opposite and houses up to ten tables, the outer three which rub shoulders with the entrance of Shakespeare’s. Cinema goers will find it impossible to miss Al Mallah as they enter. We couldn’t; its green sign drew us in like a Star Trek tractor beam.
I don’t know if it was the newness of this latest outlet, but the food was not nearly as good as I remember it at my go-to branch on Dhiyafa Road (now 2nd of December). My friend and I ordered some of our favourites for a quick lunch before our movie – Meat Shawarma (with a side of hummus), Chicken Shawarma Saj and a portion of Falafel – these are some of the dishes which made Al Mallah famous yet the meat shawarma was dry and their falafel frizzy in texture and overpoweringly garlicy in taste. My shawarma saj was really good though.
Service was friendly but slow, our order taking a good fifteen minutes to fulfil – not good when you have a movie to catch. But I put this down to start-up teething. That said, there are some culinary brands which simply taste better on the street (where they started), and Al Mallah feels very much like that. I’m sure this incarnation of a Dubai street food classic will work extremely well irrespective of my views BUT on the strength of the disappointing meal we had, I don’t think I will be going back.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on email@example.com.