“Salam o Alaikum!” That’s how we were greeted as we stepped into this well-lit, jam-packed establish on this sunny Friday afternoon.
The best Islamic attitude is to love one another and greet one another, and this is achieved by words and deeds.
“What is meant by salaam is the greeting between people, which sows seeds of love and friendship in their hearts, as does giving food. There may be some weakness in the heart of one of them, which is dispelled when he is greeted, or there may be some hostility, which is turned to friendship by the greeting.” Al-Qaadi said in Ikmaal al-Mu’allim (1:276)
M was extremely pleased already, and we hadn’t even been seated yet, lol. Small details go a long way, and a warm welcome is always a great start. The warmth was palpable even in the overall ambiance of the restaurant, with wooden beams on the floor and ceiling, typical Emirati doors, palm leaf patterns and lanterns for decor. Their signature camel has been incorporated into the decor and branding as much as possible, without looking tacky at all. The simple but vibrant placemats and logo are quite uplifting for one’s mood, and a keen eye can assess that the branding team knows their stuff.
As soon as we picked a table to be seated on, we ordered our drinks: a chilled Atlantis and a Passion of Arabia. M liked both of them, but I preferred the former over the latter, as I found the latter to be too sweet for my liking. While we were sipping on our refreshing drinks, the Saudi kid in M instantly noticed that even the hot sauce on the tables was Fair Co., rather than Tobasco. The Fair Co. hot sauces a.k.a Shattah in Arabic, are very, very popular amongst locals in the Gulf and when you read “spicy” next to a Khaleeji dish, you can almost always expect it to have some of this “Shattah” in it. Attention. To Details. (Y)
We were then warmly welcomed by the manager, Elias, who explained where the word “Logma” comes from. Khaleeji foods are mainly eaten by hand. That scoop of the hand which is as big of a bite as you desire, is called “Logma” in Arabic. Beautiful.
Having the option to choose as we please, we chose to leave it up to them to surprise us with the menu selection. Without having to wait for long, the food arrived and boy oh boy- did it arrive! Since we had requested for all the savory items to be brought together, we were overwhelmed by the plethora of colors and fragrances that had us spoilt for choice! One eats with their eyes first, and our eyes were eating their hearts out!
First off, we attacked those irresistibly fragrant Logma Fries which were the most colorful and visually appealing fries I’ve ever seen. Soft on the inside and fried to a crisp – just the way I like my fries – these fries were tossed in a house seasoning, mint, and fresh Parsley. Wow. Served with a yogurt and cucumber dip, these fries are bound to satisfy even the pickiest French Fries’ connoisseur.
Next up we sank our teeth into a crispy Sambousah that were stuffed with cream cheese that had been mushed up with thick crispy Omani chips. Need I even say more, really? These chips are brought in from Oman and these sambousahs are signature staples in Oman, and now I know why.
We then proceeded to the Regag with Egg and Cheese. This. This is what I want for breakfast everyday. A warm, paper-thin, and crispy crepe-like bread is layered with almost equally thin layers of egg and cream cheese. Although it was delicious, the Zaatar junkie in me would have been much, MUCH happier with a cheese and zaatar filling instead. This must be had right away, as it gets soft and chewy as it cools down.
We had two kinds of salads: a Pomegranate and Mozarella Salad, and a Quinoa Salad. Both had very interesting flavor profiles and were quite different from the usual salads. I’ll credit this to the unique dressings, as well as the creative combination of ingredients. The former, in which the fresh vegetables contrast beautifully with a distinct hint of carom seeds (which were in the dressing I presume), is a safer choice than the latter; which I feel is more of an acquired taste. Although I’m a huge advocate of mixing sweet and savory ingredients in my salads, (hello, watermelon-feta lover here), I felt that there were too many dates in the quinoa salad and hence my tastebuds felt a little confused. Yet, I found myself reaching for more and more. I then came to the conclusion that if they chopped the dates up into smaller pieces, so that I’d still get some sweetness in every bite, but less of it, I’d have liked it better. The pistachios also offered a a nice nuttiness and crunch though and this salad was a multi-textural treat.
By now M had gone through his drink and I wasn’t liking mine too much, so I requested an Iced Karak and M got a Desert Oasis. The Desert Oasis was as refreshing a drink as anyone cold hope for on a hot summer day. The Iced Karak though. Oh. My GOD. One big gulp and my eyes rolled to the back of my head. This. This is JUST what I need in my life. Ok let’s take this one step at a time. I LOVE all things tea. When it’s blazing hot though, I want something chilled. Even when I need my caffeine fix when I’m out and about, I always go for a frappe rather than a coffee. The fact that I can now get my Karak Chai fix in a chilled version made me one very happy duck. M tried it too, and let’s just say he wanted to swim in it for the rest of his life.
Gleefully sipping on our fresh round of drinks, we began sampling the entrees before us. First up, the Logma Chicken Rice. First off, let us remember that this is a Khaleeji restaurant. That said, let us understand that Khaleeji dishes are spiced and flavored with subtlety. Having understood that, let us establish that this entree too, was beautifully aromatic and delicious. The fact that I noticed this dish on the table of every Emirati dining there, bears testament to it’s popularity.
Finally, we had our Khameer Sandwiches; the first was Roasted Chicken and the second, Beef. The Khameer bread is a really great option for weight watchers and Carb counters, because it is quite thin, has a huge pocket that can hold a ton of filling, and is flat out delicious! We could taste the freshness of all the ingredients used, especially the superiority of the beef. These sandwiches were the perfect example of contemporary cooking. Logma has fused traditional Emirati bread with now popular flavors that have been been brought into the country by the many expats that inhibit it. This, to me, was more than a sandwich. This sandwich spoke volumes on how welcoming, accepting, and tolerant the UAE is, as a nation. Perfectly timed, I realized that the instrumental music playing on the speakers was actually that of an Oud strumming to the tune of Micheal Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. It just doesn’t get better than that.
But oh wait. It did though. Just when I thought this meal couldn’t get any better, dessert arrived. The dessert round just made me want to cry. Cry out of joy, of course. I tried their new ice-cream trio, which had brilliantly unique flavors like Karak Tea, Lemon Saffron, and Date. If I had to describe this trio in the words of Gordon Ramsay, I’d say Damn. Damndamndamndamndamn. Make no mistakes though, he says when utterly dismayed and disappointed. I say it when utterly pleased and impressed.
“Why did plain ol’ ice-cream impress you so much, H?”, you may ask. Here’s why: Ice cream is something every. single. freaking. person. makes. How many get it right though? Not many. I PRIDE myself in being an ice-cream connoisseur. My jaw full of metal, hours adding up to days spent getting Root Canals, and insanely high dental insurance premium bear testament to that! So trust me when I say I can tell the difference between ice-cream, frozen desserts, cream content, and emulsifier content after trying only a single spoonful. So, although this was just a bowlful of ice-cream, it was ice-cream done right, and that is something often taken for granted. It was rich, it was creamy, the sweetness was well-balanced and all the promised flavored were detectable and distinguishable in a subtle but pleasant way.
Meanwhile, M was busy digging into his Chebab Katayef. This crisp warm pancake, stuffed with soft mushy dates and creamy Marscapone cheese, was nestled atop a bed of fragrant cardamom and saffron syrup, alongside some vanilla ice-cream, and had M happily volunteering for diabetes. My Cafe-Bateel-loving-husband has now been turned and has found a new favorite date dessert. Ho boy. Sigh.
We washed these desserts down with the cutest little dallah of Saudi Arabic Coffee. Having had Saudi coffee his whole life, M declared that although this coffee was very good, it did not taste like Saudi coffee.
By the time we were done, M, who is quite hard to impress, wanted to lay down on the ground and make snow angels….or floor angels, haha.Thank you Samer for the invitation, Elias for the hospitality and entire wait staff, especially Rick, for the excellent service. This is just the kind of food I want to indulge in on the weekend and then blog about, after a long week at work. Logma will henceforth be our go-to place for contemporary Khaleeji comfort food. I can’t wait to spend many winter evenings here, enjoying the weather with M in their outdoor seating area, over Arabic coffee, Karak Tea, Logma fries, Chebab Katayef and ……who am I kidding, i’ll probably end up ordering everything!
Do give it a try ya all…..sa7tain!