I don’t know what 2016 has in mind, but so far, my workload at the office has quadrupled and time is just flying by- I can’t believe we’re in the second week of January already! M and I barely see each other, and so the weekend meals are something we really look forward to and cherish. It is therefore of utmost importance that said weekend meals do not disappoint. I try to choose very wisely where we’ll be eating over the weekend, especially if it’s going to be a tasting. It’s such a bummer to take a million pictures and to have to review a place that provides a mediocre experience – in terms of food and otherwise. Thankfully, accepting the invite to try out the Boulevard Kitchen at Manzil Downtown was far from regrettable.
M and I headed to Manzil after Friday prayer, and we were positively ready to have a relaxed afternoon. Jamil, the manager, welcomed us warmly and showed us to our table. On our way there, we passed by the open kitchen, in which I noticed the chef beautifully flame-grilling a fillet of salmon, which I later decided to order one of for myself too – daring for someone who’s on the fence when it comes to salmon, but the risk paid off.
The menu was succinct and while the choices were limited, whatever we tried was well-executed. It was refreshing to not have to skim through pages and pages before deciding what to order. We started off with a Kale salad that had spinach, avocado, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, grilled chicken and a parmesan herb dressing; and some Grilled Calamari that had a mouthwatering char to it and sat atop a roasted tomato and pepper salsa, with a chili dressing that cut through the richness of the calamari perfectly.
For the main course, M decided to have Beef Tenderloin done medium well, with a side of sautéed mushrooms, spinach and pomegranate salad, and potato. I was let down by the mushrooms as they were button mushrooms and tasted bland and unseasoned, but the salad was good and the tenderloin juicy and soft.
My choice of mains was the Grilled Salmon. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the best salmon I’ve had till date in Dubai. I’m NOT a fan of cooked salmon, as I find far too many places tend to overcook it, and it ends up tasting like canned tuna (I loathe canned tuna like it’s nobody’s business). That said, I’ve had a decent piece of salmon on several occassions (enter Na3na3, Fume, Kanpai, and a surely a couple of other places I can’t recall at the moment), but this was the first time that I’ve longed (and am still longing!) for more of the salmon even after leaving the restaurant. To be fair, the skin was not crispy (that’s how M likes it), but I never eat the skin anyway, so it didn’t matter to me. In addition to a perfectly cooked fillet of fish, the mashed potatoes and lentil du puy it was nestled on were sheer perfection. The shaved fennel on top and a squeeze of lime made this entree impossible to improve upon as far as I’m concerned and I cannot WAIT to go back for more.
We washed this all down with a Cinnacolada, which basically comprised of my favorite mocktail with my favorite spice added to it: cinnamon. We also tried a Thyme of Innocence, which was essentially pink lemonade and thyme syrup. The flavor of the thyme was very subtle, almost as if it was a last-minute mystery ingredient thrown in as a curveball.
For dessert we shared a Sticky Date Cake, and a Fig Tarte Tatin. While the Sticky cake was cubes of chewy, gooey dreams come true, the Fig Tatin was far too sweet to be palatable and we couldn’t have more than a couple bites of it. A dallah of Arabic gahwa was the perfect conclusion to our meal. The blend of coffee was very similar to Hijazi, and reminded us of home. M and I can chug this stuff by the mugful and still want more.
The food at The Boulevard Kitchen can be best described as sophisticated yet soulful. You can see that French techniques are being used across several dishes, but the cuisine clearly has an array of influences. Once again, M and I had a relaxed weekend afternoon, soaking in the sun, fresh air, great vibes and a great view in a great city. The most exciting news is that Boulevard Kitchen is starting Friday family brunches, how great is that? Here’s to many, many more great meals with my favorite company- and more of that salmon too! 🙂
Have you been to Boulevard Kitchen? What do you think of it?