Em Sherif harks back to old Beirut glory
Lebanese restaurateur Mireille Hayek, better known as ‘Em Sherif’ is the owner and founder of her eponymous eatery.
Em Sherif is the tucked away restaurant nestled inside the Address Hotel Downtown Dubai on the “shores” of the Dubai Fountain. It is possibly only its location, though, that we could label ‘understated.’ Step inside and you are instantly transported back to a time when a dining experience in Beirut was a mixture of French sophistication and Arabesque hospitality. For that is what Em Sherif offers Dubai – a chance to enjoy classic Lebanese cuisine in extremely grand surroundings.
Lebanese restaurateur Mireille Hayek, better known as ‘Em Sherif’ is the owner and founder of her eponymous eatery. Renowned for her lunches and dinners in Beirut comprising fine cuisine and quirky décors, she was inspired to open Em Sherif after success with several other restaurant ventures. The restaurant was conceptualised and designed to resemble an antique Lebanese mansion and that is obvious upon sitting down on the fine upholstery. The serving staff are also dressed in black tie and the food arrives with a trademark flourish.
The dishes are what you’d expect. Traditional Lebanese staples such as tabouleh, hummus, cheese sambousek, fries and garlic sauce are well prepared and plentiful. Signature dishes include fattoush with aubergine, Bourghol Banadoura and Moudardara. The fattoush deserves a mention. The desserts such as the Meghle with sweet coconut and cinnamon or Mouhallabiyye, a pudding with hints of vanilla and pistachio, are also not to be missed. Traditional cooking methods are also employed such as the use of a Manakish wood-burning oven, which really brings the oldy-worldy feel to the fore.
The service is spectacular and the classical/old-time jazzy music (sometimes live) evokes the atmosphere the restaurant is going for. Outside on the terrace shisha is available all night, but, if you do go for that, make sure to at least poke your head inside to witness the palatial interior. It really isn’t to be missed. If and when we return to Em Sherif it will be with friends or family from out of town. There has been more than one occasion when we have been at a loss for an upmarket place to dine that gives a good representation of Arabic food to show visitors and for that criteria, Em Sherif is perfect.
Call: 04 424 3000