Jumeriah Zabeel Saray is home to several award-winning restaurants, and amongst them one that stands out is Lalezar. The name literally means ‘Field of Tulips’ in Turkish, and it serves it right I couldn’t agree more. The bright yellow Tulips are placed elegantly on every table around the courtyard within the restaurant and add a contemporary feel to the Ottoman inspired restaurant.
The restaurants interiors are stunning; they are the first that meets your eye. They seemed to have transported me back to the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. A place that is very close to my heart. After all I’ve spent my last birthday, which was pretty memorable in Istanbul. The décor is chic with hand painted floral tiles; unique floral paintings around the restaurant, a pretty fire place, a centrally located fountain and a magnificent chandelier.
We came in a little earlier than expected and met the Turkish restaurant manager who was very hospitable and polite. He seated us upon request at a pretty table beside the fountain and thus we began exploring the best of Turkish cuisine.
Having travelled and tasted diverse flavours in the last couple of years, I wanted to be surprised by what ‘Lalezar’ had in store. Nonetheless my co-reviewer and I couldn’t decide on our mains so we took up the suggestion of our server and decided to sample the ‘Lalezar Signature sharing platter’. And as you would expect the sharing platter comes with a basket of edible hot and cold goodies to choose from. I have to admit we were amazed when we saw the offerings. A good mix of healthy and the usual starters were on offer. I particularly enjoyed the salads, Turkish sausages and warm bread. While my co-reviewer was rather hungry he loved the Kalamar Tava (crispy baby squid with Tarator Sauce) and he finished them all diligently.
Our server was back to get our order and we hurriedly flipped through the menu once again to choose our mains. “Nothing beats Turkish Grilled Kebabs”, is what I told the server and my co-reviewer. I decided right away to go with the Beyti Kebab and my friend opted for the Izgara Yarim Pilic (Char grilled chicken with Bulgur Rice, grilled vegetables and yogurt on the sides). It took time for the mains to come and I was certain they would, as they required a little tossing and turning on the grill.
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It was a good time to take our eyes off the food and experience the grandiose surrounding around us. It’s been years since the restaurant has been around, and it still has this charming air about itself. We kept seeing diners walking in to the restaurant, queuing up and waiting patiently to be seated.
Within a couple of minutes our mains arrived, my friend and I sampled each other’s mains just to ensure we didn’t miss out on any authentic flavours. I do not eat lamb ordinarily, but my Beytai Kebab was better than expected and crisp as it could be, however the char grilled chicken was a hit amongst us. And we finished every bit of it.
Kunefe is my all time favourite Turkish dessert, which sometimes is served in other Arabic restaurants around the city too. But I’m certain that it originated in Anatolia at a time prior to the arrival of the Ottoman dynasty. And it has some Levantine significance too. Well that’s all the information I shared with my co-reviewer, and he was sold over. He readily agreed to sample the Kunefe with additional Pistachio ice cream on the top. Sheer brilliance!
We treated ourselves, as Sultans would do if they were living at the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul now. We loved the contemporary approach with the usual Turkish flavours and an outstanding ambience. It’s one of those fine dining Turkish restaurants that one should absolutely visit on special occasions and weekends. Just like us, we were invited on Eid to celebrate the special day at one of Jumeriah Zabeel Saray’s amazing restaurants.
Do share your thoughts or food explorations with me on the comments section below.
Disclaimer: My friend and I were invited to dine at the restaurant. Lalezar at Jumeriah Zabeel Saray did not advise us about anything. Pictures were shot on my iPhone 6, Fujifilm AX-1 & shared by Jumeriah Zabeel Saray, Dubai.
Do credit the writer/ photographer should you want to share the images.