Last week I got invited to the media launch of Atlantis The Palm’s newest addition, a Lebanese fine-dining restaurant called Ayamna. Keeping up with the classy decorum of Atlantis, the interiors of Ayamna reflect on the intriguing romance of a bygone era. Walking down the winding, majestic staircase, the restaurant resembles an enchanted mansion where the hospitality of the glorious Lebanese past has been magically brought to life. ‘Ayamna’ translates to ‘Our Time’, a forgotten time of solace and merriment, of good company and great food.
We started off our Ayamna experience in the open courtyard of the restaurant. Set with wicker chairs and cushioned patios, the area was lit with festive lanterns and tunes of an oud strummed into the night.
We were served dainty little appetizers; clever little mouthfuls condensed with flavors of the Levant. One of my favorites was their cutesy cherry tomatoes stuffed with Arabic lentils, a real pop of authentic flavors!
The interiors of Ayamna feature mirrored walls and marble arches. This regal ambiance was further enhanced with the performance of a stunning young lady who swayed between tables with her seductive moves.
We were lead to our table, and just look at how loaded it is! And this is just a table for two… and it is only the first round of appetizers!
One of my favorite cold appetizers from the night was Ayamna’s Shanklish. This is a traditional Lebanese treat created by mixing together a variety of soft cheeses and herbs. It is then mashed up and used as a dip, or scooped up with khubz (Arabic pita bread).
The Hummus at Ayamna deserves special mention. Hummus, the humble Arabic chickpea dip, is no stranger to a Middle Eastern dweller like me, but never have I enjoyed it quite as much as I did at Ayamna. The Hummus here is on a different league altogether, and to me it almost has a buttery after-taste. Simply magical!
The khubz served at Ayamna is fresh out of the oven, puffy and soft.
Another spread I enjoyed with the khubz was Ayamna’s Muhammara. Their version has fish added to the mix. This spread owes its lovely pale red colour to the addition of roasted red peppers, and has a distinctively delicious smokey after-taste.
And here are some more clicks of the decadent Lebanese treats we enjoyed at Ayamna (sorry the photos are rather dark, the restaurant was dimly lit):
We got introduced to a fruity, full-bodied white sparkling wine from Lebanon called Messaya. It was the perfect accompaniment to our elaborate Lebanese feast.
The star dish of the night was the mixed grill, served on a sizzling hot plate of glowing charcoal.
The desserts round was just as elaborate! We had a whole table full of decadent desserts at our disposal.
Above is Ayamna’s Muhallabia (an Arabic milk pudding) served with a tangy-sweet apricot puree.
By far, my favorite dessert for the night was Ayamna’s Sticky Date Pudding. This dense, moreish, sticky-sweet mess served with a colling scoop of vanilla ice-cream is pure comfort food at its best!
The mastermind behind all the delicious creations at Ayamna at Atlantis The Palm is Chef Ali Elbourji, a well-respected connoisseur of Lebanese fine-dining.
Most of the staff who served us on the night were of Lebanese origin as well, and therefore very well-versed with the menu options. We found the service to be immaculate, and felt very pampered and taken care of.
If you are planning on a special dinner date out and love Lebanese cuisine, Ayamna is the place to be. Ayamna is located on the Ground Level of Atlantis The Palm. Table reservations are highly recommended, call 04 4262626 for details.