Let me make it easy for those of you who don’t enjoy reading reviews – my experience at Sib (pronounced seeb) was…disappointing. Not the service, which was actually quite impressive for their first day, or the general ambiance of the restaurant, which, although it reminded Luna of a canteen, wasn’t bad at all – I refer only to the food, which wasn’t anywhere near what is being promised in the social media blitzkrieg the restaurant has unleashed on Dubai.
Before I continue, allow me to point out that I visited Sib on its very first day of operation so this is a first impression rather than a proper review, which I’ll write when I visit them a second time in a couple of weeks.
Luna, my favourite vegetarian food adventurer, was with me so I ordered accordingly, or tried to at least. The Kashk-e Bademjan was good, the Mirza Ghassemi very. But then the bottom fell out of the starters.
The Soup-e Jo (barley soup), usually vegetarian, surprised us by containing shredded chicken. I tried some before sending it back. It had the consistency of baby gruel, only didn’t taste nearly as good. The restaurant replaced it with an Aash Reshteh which had so much nanna-dagh, it tasted more like mouthwash than Aash – poor Luna. The Shirazi Salad wasn’t much better, underseasoned, forgettable – ugh! If I hadn’t already ordered mains, I would have cut my losses and left.
The mains were entirely non-veg:
• Chelo Kabab Soltani which typically comes with a skewer each of Barg (thinly cut and skewered strips of tenderloin), Koobideh and buttered white rice,
• Baghali Polo ba Mahiche and
• Khoresh Gheymeh Bademjan
All hugely popular throughout Iran.
The Soltani split me, the Koobideh surprisingly good but the Barg, as dry as tree bark.
The Baghali Polo was the star of the mains, its braised lamb shank (Mahiche) was tender and flavoursome. That said, it was not in the same league as my favourite shank at Cando.
The other disappointment was the Khoresh Gheymeh Bademjan, usually a deliciously rustic lamb and split peas stew in a rich tomato gravy infused with tangy-earthy dried limes (limoo amani or loomi) and topped with strips (or discs) of fried aubergines. This was an epic fail, overpowered by the taste of cheap tomato puree and overloaded with overcooked split peas.
I liked the way all the rice dishes were served in little moulds of their own Tahdig – like at Baran in Deira. Pity they didn’t copy Baran’s khoresh recipe – it’s insane. Speaking of copying, I got the feeling everything at Sib was modelled on Rivas; the menu, the plating, even the place mats… everything except the quality of the food which was nowhere near Rivas, or Sofreh, or Farsi, or Iranzamin, or even Abshar…but let’s not forget I was there on their first day. Let’s give them a little time to settle before passing judgement. In the meantime, I recommend you consider the many other (much, much better) options available…some of which I have listed above.