When you meet Suzanne Husseini, she is warm, friendly, and inviting. She is the type of person you feel immediately at ease with. We had the pleasure of meeting her at sneak preview of the brunch that will be featuring her dishes at Market Kitchen on from April 24th until the end of May. You, too, have the chance to meet Suzanne during brunch at Market Kitchen on the 24th (this Friday).
She hosts the popular television cook show Sohbe Taibe and has two successful cookbooks under her belt, When Suzanne Cooks and most recently Modern Flavors of Arabia. Suzanne explains that there is so much more to Arabic food than what most people are familiar with: hummus, moutabel, tabbouleh, fattoush, and shwarma. She gets creative taking the classic dishes and gives it modern twist.
What sort of Arabic dishes can you expect at the brunch? First I want to mention that brunch at Market Kitchen is one of where the servers will bring the food to you. No overstuffed buffets, no food sitting under heat lamps. The food is prepared fresh and delivered directly to your table. Here is a sneak peak of what the menu looks like:
Even if you don’t really know arabic food, you will see names of dishes that are sort of familiar. There may be some dishes you have never heard of. It doesn’t matter much because it is all so flavourful. The only difficulty will be leaving enough room in your stomach to make it to the end of the meal.
To start with was what Suzanne calls the Mezmezas – These are all are jazzed up versions of traditional mezzes. Most notably the fresh tuna kibbeh (which is usually made with beef or lamb). This raw tuna version was seasoned with spices giving it an arabic taste. The scallops in crispy knafe pastry was a table favourite. I particularly enjoyed the fresh hummus with slow cooked spiced beef rib (which could have been a dish in itself). Crispy halloumi with pomegranate salsa complements all the other mezze dishes and no mezmeza would be complete without freshly made labneh covered in fresh herbs and crushed nuts.
As we moved on to the second course, there are some dishes that were new to me – hot yogurt soup with siliq shish barak dumplings. We were told that normally the dumplings are cooked in the soup, however, Suzanne’s version cooks the soup and dumplings separately so that the dumpling does not get mushy or too soft. The soup was light and creamy with the right mixture of spices and a taste of garlic that was not overpowering. Delicious. Another new dish to me was M’sakhan Tart – made with caramelised onion and roasted chicken. M’shakhan Tart is a traditional Palestinian dish but Suzanne uses pastry instead bread.
The main course includes Sea Bream with date rice pilaf. It is accompanied by a spicy dakoos sauce and tahini sauce. My favourite element was the dakoos sauce. For those that don’t know, dakoos is a spicy tomato based sauce that is tangy and spicy hot. Herb crusted rack of Lamb was cooked perfectly. I did not know but traditionally arabic dishes call for lamb to be cooked well done. This lamb was cooked through but maintained a very tender texture. My new dish was Orange Honey Glazed Quail with Freekah. Freekah is an oat so when it is cooked it looks like an oatmeal pilaf. It has a smokey taste which goes well with the sweet glaze of the quail.
Last, but not least, the desserts. You know that feeling when you think you have no room for dessert, then the desserts arrive and there is no way you can resist. Yep. That is what happened to us. Halawa Ice cream – yes, please. If you don’t know Halawa is a tahini based sweet confectionary that is sort of pasty. Having it as an ice cream was exciting. I was not disappointed. The desserts also include a knafe nabulusieh (aka pastry with cheese), chocolate date fondant (heavenly rich) and an exotic fruit salad (light and refeshing). Somehow we found room to enjoy all of these desserts!
Don’t take our word for it. As mentioned before, you have the unique opportunity to attend the brunch this Friday (April 24th) where Suzanne Husseini, herself, will be available to discuss her dishes. If you miss brunch this Friday with Suzanne, her menu for Market Kitchen will run alongside regular brunch until the end of May. So expand your Arabic food palate and give the brunch a try.
To make a booking please contact Market Kitchen by calling 02 695 0300.
AED 199 + taxes including mocktails
AED 299 + taxes including cocktails and wine
AED 399 + taxes with Champagne
Have a look at the gallery below. We know our pictures do not do the food justice. The food was delicious and you really must give it a try. Trust us – it is pretty amazing and you won’t be disappointed.
Let us know what you think!