x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Cheap as chips: Sarai, Jumeirah Beach Residence

Sarai is not solely a Lebanese restaurant, though you could be forgiven for assuming that after a glance at the menu.

Sarai is not solely a Lebanese restaurant, though you could be forgiven for assuming that after a glance at the menu. Look a little closer and you will notice rarer, more interesting options from the region - mohammara, for example, a cold, blood-red paste akin to pesto, made from red peppers, breadcrumbs and pomegranate molasses.

It hails from Syria. Eat it with your fingers with the warm discs of bread that arrive at your table blown up like puffer fish and sprinkled with sesame seeds. There are brains, too, should you feel so inclined: deep-fried, breaded lamb brains, delicately crisp on the outside and slimy on the inside.

Above all, Sarai is about kebabs - 14 types, which arrive at your table on a tray warmed by tealights. Concentrate your efforts on the kebab sarai, which comes in tender strips of lamb mixed with nuggets of pistachio and kashkaval cheese. Kebab bel karaz is made from balls of minced lamb with cherry sauce, roasted pine nuts and cinnamon. Almost best of all, however, are the fez-wearing staff who are more than delighted to talk you through the menu.

They also understand the knack of remaining within arm's reach to meet demands for extra bread without hovering too close. The bill they will seamlessly hand you should stand at Dh150-200 for two.

Jumeirah Beach Residence, The Walk, Dubai, 04 438 0640