What’s it like:This new Lebanese eatery is a hidden gem tucked away in the Emirates Financial Towers building in DIFC. When I visited the glamorous, yet relaxed, restaurant on a weekday evening, it was quite crowded even though it was just 7:30pm – clearly the place had something special to offer! Nay is a refined version of a regular Arabic restaurant, and also offers shisha and live entertainment.As soon as you enter the restaurant, you will feel as though you are in an Arabian-style lounge, thanks to the purple lighting scheme, crystal lanterns hanging from the ceiling, and maroon drapes with pistachio green curtains. Take a seat at one of the couches or dining tables and dive straight into the menu, that has a contemporary twist, while tucking into the warm Arabic bread with an olive dip. For mezze, my top recommendations are Nay Labneh (generous dollops of labneh on a bed of chilli oil with confit sundried tomatoes and fresh thyme on top), Basterma cheese rolls (crispy on the outside but warm and gooey on the inside with sliced basterma pieces) – our favourite – and grilled chicken wings marinated in lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. The grilled wings were a refreshing take to the usual fried wings most Arabic restaurants serve. For mains, my dining partner chose the mixed grills platter of kebab, lamb cubes, shish taouk – all done perfectly – accompanied by grilled peppers and onions that added a hint of sweetness to the dish and a divine kofta arrayes (Arabic flatbread stuffed with meat and spices). I chose the grilled salmon pave, a moist, flavoured salmon steak on a bed of sautéed, slightly crunchy artichokes and saffron rice. The salmon was doused in a beautiful lemon butter sauce that made every morsel juicy. To finish, we devoured the Kashta ice cream for dessert, a traditional sticky, stretchy ice cream with crushed cinnamon biscuits and sweet raspberry jam.
If you want to go: Around Dhs300 for dinner for two, without drinks. Call 04-3516660.
Best for: A relaxed meal with friends
– Nicola Monteath