Siraj: Emirati Cuisine with a Contemporary Twist

Siraj, the authentically Emirati restaurant with a contemporary twist, is the latest addition to the list of dining places at Souk Al Bahar (Downtown Dubai). I’ve passed its premises on a number of occasions, and the stunning interiors make me take a second peek every time.

Siraj 1

The restaurant interiors pay tribute to the UAE, with seven distinct arches representing each Emirate. A flock of golden horses are suspended in mid-air, and the artistic vibes of Siraj is all at once Arabesque yet stylishly new-age. The most striking feature of the restaurant is the cursive calligraphy, flowing across the walls and the bar-stools. These are stanzas of poetry that were composed by the ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed himself.

“Embodying the concept of ‘old meets new,’ the seven arches in the restaurant represent the seven Emirates, and the golden horses signify the unbreakable elements of Emirati culture. Arabic calligraphy and poems by HH Sheikh Mohammed adorn the walls, defining the overall mood and feel of the restaurant. The central dome covered with glass signifies a protective shield that preserves Arabic heritage, wherein the yellow stone represents Levantine culture, and the sand stone represents Emirati culture.” – Heba Rumhein, Founding Partner and Spokesperson at Siraj.

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The restaurant also has an outdoor seating area facing the Dubai Fountains, and it is currently being renovated for the summer month.

I had the pleasure of being invited for a tasting session along with a table of fellow bloggers courtesy The Qode, and had a lovely evening trying out an array of delightfully authentic, beautifully presented dishes.

Here is a lineup of my favorites from the night:

Warm Dates and Kale Salad
Warm Dates & Kale Salad: beautifully presented, complete with edible flowers and the crunch of walnuts, the highlight of this salad was the stringy Haloumi cheese which not only added a depth of saltiness to the dish, but also stamped it as a Mediterranean treat.
Siraj's Signature Halawa Salad
Siraj’s Signature Halawa Salad: A delightful toss-up of salad greens, the crunch of walnuts and pine nuts, and slivers of tangy-sweet strawberries smothered in a dressing made from the very popular sesame seed based dessert, Halawa. An unexpected twist of traditional flavours in a refreshingly new avatar.
Sumac Passion Margarita: A refreshing mocktail with a tangy, sweet passion-fruit base accentuated with sprinkles of sumac.
Labneh with Smoked Salmon: I am a die-hard fan of smoked salmon, and love labneh but I have to admit I’ve never had the two together. At Siraj, this sinfully rich, creamy labneh has been whipped with a delectable preserved lemon and zaater pesto lending it a zesty, nutty aftertaste that goes beautifully well with the salmon. An absolutely delightful appetizer.
Siraj's Special Chicken Biryani
Siraj Special Biryani: Isn’t the presentation of this dish absolutely delightful?! I’ve never cut into biryani before! The pilaf itself is loaded with Arabesque spices, soft succulent pieces of chicken, cashew nuts and the characteristic aroma of deep fried onion. A moreish morsel that goes beautifully well with the whipped yogurt that comes on the side.
Grilled Saffron Lobster
Grilled Saffron Lobster: Hands down the best main-course to hit the table, this has to be one of the best takes on lobster I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating! The meat is moist and tender, and the delicate flavor of saffron has seeped right through the very last nibble. An absolute must-try.
samosa recipe
Luquaimat: The ever-popular deep-fried Emirati dumplings, is presented here with a decadently rich date sauce, and topped with roasted sesame.
Sticky Dates Pudding: Warm pieces of date cake, tossed with walnuts, and topped with a decadently rich, sticky caramel sauce. An absolute delight for those with a sweet-tooth. I had two helpings!
23 Karat Gold Saffron Mouhalabia
23 Karat Gold Saffron Mouhalabia: Mouhalabia, the ever-popular creamy, mik based dessert from the Levant, gets a regal makeover with the addition of saffron. The dessert is topped with cotton candy for aesthetic appeal, and is further enhanced with drizzles of honey that has the sparkle of 23 karat pure edible gold. This dessert is delightfully rich and full of creamy, comforting goodness. You won’t want to share it at all!

I absolutely love how the dishes at Siraj manage to stay true to their traditional roots, yet play with contemporary tastes. Executive Chef Ahmad Al Fakir took 6 long months to create this unique set of signature dishes, and it will be interesting to see what he has in stock for the near future.

The service at Siraj is immaculate. Our table was well serviced at all times, plates were changed between courses, and our dishes were served in very little waiting time. With an ambiance that transports the mind to another era and dishes that keep the diner marveled by the sheer brilliance of Arabesque fusion, Siraj is a restaurant I would highly recommend.

Siraj is located on the Ground Floor of Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (facing Dubai Mall). The restaurant is open 7 days a week, and operates from 12 noon to 1 am. For reservations, call 04 457 4063 or drop them an email:

For more details on Siraj, visit their website and follow them on Instagram @sirajrestaurant

Siraj - Golden Horses


Siraj Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

*Images that do not have The Tezzy Files logo are courtesy Siraj restaurant.