Samavar is a newly opened Iranian restaurant and shisha café in Business Bay. It is also without doubt the worst of the three new Iranian restaurants I have visited in as many weeks. Located on the waterfront side of DAMAC’s Bays Edge Tower, its interior is modern; you can tell money has been spent in an attempt to create a high-end environment, but it’s hardly what I’d call elegant. I found nothing wrong with the fact that the staff were all non-Iranian, except that they were so comically unfamiliar with the food and menu that they could not even pronounce the names of the dishes, leave alone advise us on what order. I don’t believe in bad staff – only bad management. Get the hint, Samavar?
In order to sample a cross-section of their menu, my food brah Sam and I ordered a Mirza Ghasemi to start and their Mixed Grill and Khoresh Ghormeh Sabzi as mains. We would have liked to have tried their Mast Mousir but were told they were out – hmm. As is typical with Iranian restaurants, complementary greens, fresh flat bread and soup were served as a preamble to the meal. The soup and bread were brilliant, the greens not. The Mirza Ghasemi should have been called Mirza Omelette – it was clearly not something the chef knew how to make. Nor was the poor excuse for Ghormeh Sabzi – possibly the worst either of us have ever had.
The Mixed Grill drew equally mixed reactions, firstly because what we got was NOT what was on the menu / what we ordered. And secondly because no one was prepared to acknowledge this – why? Because no one knew the difference between one kabab from the other. That said, the Koobideh wasn’t bad at all. The Barg was good too, tender if a little over cooked. The Jujeh was right on the edge; I thought it was okay whereas Sam thought it wasn’t. Where we were in total agreement though, was that the lamb chops should have stayed in the kitchen with the Ghormeh Sabzi because, in addition to being grossly overcooked, they looked like someone had already tried to eat them. Damn!
The Uzbek restaurant manager (or supervisor) fretted over our obvious dissatisfaction but did little other than offer us a consolidatory plate of fruit with our meal ending tea. At the least, I would have taken the offensive Ghormeh Sabzi off the bill.
At the beginning of this review I mentioned that this was one of three new Iranian restaurants I have visited in as many weeks; it is worth nothing that this is the ONLY one which was going through these teething problems, if that’s what we want to call them. Personally, I wouldn’t waste my time and money at this place; the next time I am in the area and crave Iranian food, I’ll head straight over to Iran Zamin on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd…
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.