let’s start the new year in style!
situated in a villa. in the more posh part that is jumeirah. chandelier with elaborate design hanging from the beautiful plaster ceiling. lush carpet. dark marble floor. a valet greets you even before you get out of the car. a plate of mandi rice costs more than we ever paid for.
this is by far the most classy mandi rice restaurant i’ve ever been to. it used to have a branch near dubai-sharjah border, but have since closed. we’ve been there a few times, but it wasn’t as poshly decorated like this.
click here for our previous experience eating at the old marhabani branch.
yes, it’s in jumeirah, the bangsar of dubai. straight from dubai marina, watch out for it on your right. if you’ve passed mercato mall, you’ve gone too far.
the blue neon signage is clear-cut if you notice it, but to mr. khairul, they should’ve placed the signage higher up, especially for those not familiar with the neighbourhood.
the front door itself can prepare you for the posh-ness inside the restaurant. dark oak-like wooden door, expensive-looking ceiling-lamp and yang paling posh konon, there’s a valet with speaker phone on his ear welcoming you as you come out.
you’d feel like a VIP for that split second! hihi.
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just look at the chandelier!
as in any mandi restaurant, there’s the table-chair seating area, and there’s the majlis; the sitting-down area with arabic pillows in tents.
the tent was very comfortable and spacious. the carpets seemed brand new, and the pillows were so inviting (to sleep! haha). however, the walls of the tent don’t go straight up to the ceiling, so there was less noise-privacy. you can hear spoons banging on glass bowls, and people coughing. you’d think that a place as posh as this could afford having actual ‘rooms’ as tents to provide maximum privacy!
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the veggie plate comes with fresh crispy salad, slices of sweet-sour tomatoes, half an onion, sticks of carrots, few green chillies and slices of lemon to taste. overall a nice change from the cucumber plus ulam from tawasol.
marhabani lose a little when it comes to their chili-tomato ‘sambal’. it’s more watery and less spicy. still a good appetizer, but could be better.
in tawasol, you get lentil soup for free – here in marhabani, you have to pay, a LOT! but the money is worth it, especially if you appreciate good, thick lentil soup. their lentil soup is certainly thicker, thus provide more satisfaction!
chicken mandi is chicken mandi, and all the chicken mandi is as good as the next plate, this mandi-freak would say. what else to add? delicious!
ah, now THIS is new. shrimp mandi! this is the first time we tried shrimp mandi, after a recommendation. mr. khairul thinks there’s nothing special about it - “macam udang goreng tepung je” – but that’s exactly what i really like about it! just the right amount of saltiness, along with the crispiness of the fried shrimp – new, and tasty!
(after a second confirmation, turns out that the recommended dish was supposed to be ‘shrimp bukhari’, not shrimp mandi! next time, ya honey!)
most of the time, we’d settle for a big bottle of mineral water, but in marhabani, there’s ample choice of juice for your picking. mr. khairul ordered this banana milkshake. it’s like drinking mashed banana!
because as always, when you order ‘juice’ in dubai, you will get pure crushed fruits – no additional sugar, no added water – just pure, thick natural fruit juices. i always feel like putting more water to dilute it, or more ice-cubes to make it cooler!
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kahfi, khaleef and kazim. ample space to golek-golek. enough pillows to build a fort. comfy carpet to fall asleep on. of course, the boys enjoyed the tent!
managed to capture these shots as we left. beautiful, eh?
if you’re thinking of bringing visitors (or when you come and cuti-cuti dubai) to experience mandi rice in a traditional yet posh setting – marhabani, jumeirah is the place to be. it’s pricey, but if you appreciate good food that accompanies great ambiance, pick marhabani.