Our staycation at Hilton Al Ain involved a great deal of snoozing, floating about the poolside and having an idle lunch at Flavours restaurant. Our dinner reservation was made at Makani Cafe, Hilton Al Ain’s open-aired restaurant specializing in Arabic grills and shisha.
‘Makani’ translates to ‘my place’ from Arabic, and the beautifully serene ambiance spread across an expanse of lush greenery, complete with a makeshift stage at the front with live entertainment, is sure to make anyone feel right at home.
The night was pleasantly breezy, and we sat under a star-lit sky, sniffing whiffs of aromatic grills mingled with shisha puffs. The atmosphere was one of merriment, and the tables were all booked out.
The gorgeous Cuban duo from Flavours was back here, mesmerizing us with more numbers. They even attempted a few Arabic favorites, and won appreciative hoots from the crowd.
We started off with Makani Cafe’s fresh juices. Hubby had a glass of fresh watermelon juice, and I opted for carrot.
Hubby and I shared a watermelon-flavored shisha. Its been a while since my last shisha puff, but I took to it like a duck to water, and before long I was letting out steam through my nostrils 😀
We were served a variety of 6 mezzes (starters). These included Hummus (Arabic chickpea dip), Moutabbel (Arabic eggplant dip), an Arabic feta cheese dip, Kebbeh (an Arabic pastry made of bulghar and stuffed with meat and pine nuts), Falafel (deep-fried Arabic lentil patties), and pastry rolls stuffed with salty Arabic cheese.
We ordered the Makani Cafe mixed grill. It took a while to get to our table, but it sure came with a good deal of sizzling drama! The mixed grill is served on flaming hot coal, and includes delectable pieces of shish tawook (chicken and lamb pieces marinated in traditional Arabic spices, and flame-grilled), lamb chops, lamb kebabs, koftas and spicy Arabic sausages.
Its hard to choose a favorite from this grill. All the pieces were beautifully moist and tender, and brimming with individually good flavors.
We ended our meal at Makani Cafe with a bowl of Umm Ali (a rich Arabic variation of bread pudding). The pudding was sinfully rich and sweet, and we struggled to do justice to this very generously large helping.
Overall, we had a lovely laid-back evening at Makani Cafe. The outdoor setting under the stars coupled with the beautifully pleasant weather kept us seated there for longer than we had planned. The menu is not very extensive, but each dish was created with real attention to detail. If you are planning a staycation at Hilton Al Ain, an evening at Makani Cafe is a must.
Makani Cafe is located near the pool area of Hilton Al Ain. Table reservations are highly recommended. Call 03 7686666 for details.