If you’re a food blogger and/or eat out as much as I do, you will most probably find yourself in a predicament where so many restaurants are serving up food which isn’t flawed in any way, but there’s nothing worth coming back for either. Once in a blue moon, however, you will get lucky- very lucky- and land at a true exceptional place that just makes you go “WOW. This is good food; this is really, REALLY good food and I want to write about it in excruciating detail”. Seven Sands, was luckily a case of the latter; a deep, royal blue moon must have been that night.
I came to know of Seven Sands a couple of weeks ago as it was on the agenda for the Whats Cooking At The Beach Tour that I was invited to along with a group of other bloggers. It was our last stop for the night and although they had prepared a colossal feast for us, many of us were too stuffed to try everything laid out before us. The manager, Amina, was so well-versed about all the dishes and so enthusiastic and detailed in her descriptions of them, that I just had to go back for some good shots and tasting of these (to me) exotic dishes that I couldn’t wait to review!
As soon as you walk into Seven Sands, you’re offered a spray of rose water to freshen your hands and to really lay the groundwork for what great Emirati hospitality you can expect here. We were warmly welcomed and shown the detailing in the walls, which include all things Emirati: both traditional and modern. There is also a breathtaking glass floor under the staircase to the second floor, which tells the story behind the restaurant’s name: It encloses sand from the seven different Emirates in the UAE- can’t believe I didn’t figure it out earlier.
We chose a sun-kissed table close to the window, and started off with some Baby Shark sambousah and Kibbeh. Baby Shark, or Jisheed, is a big part of Emirati tradition; and for good reason too: it is delicious. As for the Kibbeh- I don’t generally like Kibbeh, never have, thought I never would. Kibbeh is not something I’d put on my plate by choice. M likes it though, so we ordered some, and this Kibbeh turned me. Having had dozens of Kibbeh in my life, I can safely say this was the BEST Kibbeh I’ve ever had. M, who has had hundreds in HIS life, firmly agrees. The lamb was so tender, so well seasoned, and simply delicious.
We then dug into a couple of salads. The one that really wowed us was the Seven Sands Signature Salad, with Rocket, beets, goats cheese and a perfectly balanced vinaigrette.
Our choice of drinks were the Jebel Hafeet, which was cucumber and basil based; and the Black Cinnamon Mojito. Both were great.
We also received a surprise Pomegranate sorbet which was absolutely stunning. The sweetness and tartness was perfectly balanced and it tasted like fresh pomegranate that I just cracked open, pureed, and froze!
For the main courses, we tried the Seven Sands Jisheed, which I just can’t seem to get enough of; and the Chicken Kebab with Saffron. Now here’s the thing about the Jisheed: it’s purchased from the local fish market everyday, and if it isn’t fresh, it’s not available. Also, they consume the whole shark, and not just the fin. That’s probably why it’s so darn delicious- because it’s so fresh. Long grains of basmati rice and Bezar-spiced baby shark….Oh Come on….. bad idea to be writing this review at 1AM. Major hunger pangs.
The Chicken Kebab with Saffron was laid atop a bed of fragrant and extremely flavorful Basmati rice in that had dill, board beans and dried pomegranate seeds. The chicken was buttery, delicious and served with yogurt and roasted veggies. I feel that the veggies could have used a little more char on them though.
We finished off with some Legemat from their ongoing Legemat festival that will last only through October (so try it out while you still can!). You get to pick two flavors for AED 30. We tried the Legemat with Nutella; the one with Nutmeg Honey; the kind with Saffron Orange and last but not the least, the inexplicable Charcoal Legemat.
While all of them were delicious and most of the flavors quite self-explanatory; the Charcoal flavor was quite mysterious and very unique. You’d expect it to taste smokey, but the “Charcoal” just signifies it’s color, which comes from- wait for it- Squid Ink. Slow clap for creativity. It has flavors of Salhab, rose water, vanilla and even a dusting of coconut.
We didn’t have tea or Shisha, but I’ll update my post when I go back for some, which will definitely be very soon!