Located in the ground floor of trendy new Park Regis Boutique Hotel on bustling Jumeirah Beach Road – Dubai, 21 Grams was my very first introduction to the authentic cuisine of the Balkans.
We had the pleasure of having breakfast here during our stay at the hotel, and I was rather pleased to see this wasn’t yet another expansive buffet where so much food and drink go to waste. Instead, you get to choose a main dish that comes with freshly brewed coffee and squeezed orange juice.
I ordered the Polenta, sprinkled with beef bacon, goat’s cheese and black truffle. It humored me to see how surprised the staff were to know I was already familiar with polenta. This rather bland cornmeal porridge is brought to life here with the salty creaminess of goat’s cheese, the aroma of truffle, and the leathery chewiness of beef bacon. What an exotic yet healthful start to the day!
My husband had the Poached Eggs in Pindjur, a Balkan version of the ever-popular Shakshuka. Pindjur is cooked a little longer to give it a drier, more intense tomato base which is accentuated with a hit of pepper spiciness.
My daughter ordered the Wild Mushroom Omelette. This may not sound as exotic as the other two dishes, but the deep-rooted hit of mushroom makes it a real winner and it is topped with a delicate feta cheese mousse.
And why are they called 21 Grams? Is it the discreet quantity of salt that gets sprinkled on a dish, or a measure of sweetness in a cup of coffee? The meaning turns out to be far deeper than that. According to a published study by Massachusetts physician Duncan MacDougall in 1907, the human soul weighs exactly 21 grams. Read more about it by clicking here.
This bizarrely eerie reference somehow works as an intriguing name for an intriguingly unknown cuisine.
With very contemporary cafe-style interiors flooded with natural light, and super friendly staff who are more than willing to give you a quick rundown on the Balkan way of life, 21 Grams is a soulful introduction to a cuisine yet to gain popularity in our city.
I loved the breakfast so much that it deserved a blog post of its own. I am planning to go back for lunch (and/or dinner) sometime soon.