It’s been only recently that I started to hear about Nurai and everyone I talked to had only good things to say about this chic, stylish restaurant and café situated on the Dubai Water Canal in Business Bay. So, when an opportunity to visit here presented itself, I jumped right in. I wanted to experience it for myself and know what the fuss was all about and why it has got such a high rating on Zomato. I must tell you I am absolutely under the “Nurai spell” now. Their hospitality, food, ambience, location and shisha – everything is awesome. Much care and thought has gone into creating this beautiful niche that is Nurai. Read on to know more about my experience here…. 😊
Nurai is located on the ground floor of West Wharf Tower on Abraj Street in Business Bay, facing the absolutely gorgeous Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Water Canal. They have an outdoor seating area, which gets jam-packed in the cooler season. Once inside, I was blown away by the interiors – the indoor area is divided into a smoking and non-smoking area and believe it or not, the smoking area is two floored. The ceiling is truly mesmerizing with its honeycomb-like structures and inter-play of dark and light colours and the hanging bulbs of greenery. The way the interior has been designed plays a key role in creating the right ambience and making diners feel like a sheikh!!
Nurai has an extensive menu. It is so much bigger and heavier than my chemistry textbook that I had in school (to watch a short video of the menu, check into my Instagram account).
To begin the Nurai food journey, we first ordered the drinks. I had one of their best-sellers, Aruba, a cocktail of pineapple, orange, passion fruit and grenadine syrup. It’s cool, refreshing and has a zing to it and the colour gradation in the glass was captivating too. No wonder it’s one of their best-sellers. My friends had Afropina (good for people who love coconut a lot and I mean, a lot) and Pacific Passion, which was not that great.
For appetizers, we had a variety of Cold and Hot Mezze. Cold Mezze included Fattoush, Moutabel, Hummus, Labneh with Garlic and the showstopper here, Dragon Salad. The Dragon Salad is not just leaves with some dressing, it has scrumptious pieces of chicken, avocado, lettuce and crispy tortilla with a generous amount of dressing. This dish was an absolute winner on the table. Also served, were hot soft Lebanese bread.
Hot Mezze included Mouajanet Mchakleh, Spicy Potato with coriander, Chicken Mousakhan Roll, Fiesta Fries and Veg. Spring Rolls. Mouajanet Mchakleh is a platter containing two pieces each of meat sambousek (small meat pie), cheese rolls and meat kebbe. I tried each of these and they were very tasty. Most kebbes I have tried are either too dry or too hard but this one was created accurately with the right flaours, hence a special mention for the kebbe. Chicken Mousakhan roll was a little too salty for my liking but I was told that that’s because of the way it is cooked. Fiesta Fries is a deadly concoction of fries, jalapenos, pepperoni, cheese and sauce. I couldn’t stop with only one bite.
For the mains, we had Fish & Chips (a new addition to their menu), Mixed Grill Platter, Grilled Chicken Platter, Grilled Beef Platter, Lamb Manakeesh and Beef Manakeesh. Fish & Chips is quite hearty as it comes with two pieces of breaded fish fillet, calamari rings, Caesar salad, fries and tartar sauce. The calamari and the fish were both cooked perfectly, not chewy nor rubbery, and I loved the grated cheese on top of the Caesar salad 😊. The Mixed Grill Platter had a variety of meaty, chunky grilled chicken, beef and kafta. The Grilled Chicken Platter is grilled chicken breasts served with grilled potatoes, salad and dressing. The Grilled Beef Platter consists of grilled beef fillet with grilled halloumi cheese, steamed veggies and dressing. All these grilled items were cooked to perfection and were very flavourful, very soft and juicy.
I am a fan of manakeesh, especially cheese and zaatar, but I’m always wary of trying meat manakeesh as they tend to have a ‘gamey’ smell and taste to it, which puts me off. But both these manakeesh, didn’t have any such smell and in fact, it was delish. The meat kinda tasted similar in both but it was fresh, juicy and tasty.
No meal is ever complete without dessert. And here, we were served not one, not two, but four different desserts. Kunafa, which is a traditional Arabic dessert, was nice but not outstanding. Then we had Profiterole with Ice-cream. This was so much better than the profiterole and sour cream which I had tried some time earlier at a café in Mall of the Emirates. Then we dived into Banana & Chocolate Pizza. Like kids, we all squeaked in delight and loved it, but the showstopper was Ice-cream Ghazal – white cotton candy and Lebanese ice-cream served with powdered pistachios in a cute round bottle. Prior to this, I had never heard nor tried this and now, I’m in love with it. Who knew that cotton candy and ice-cream would be a combination to die for!!!
Overall, stunning views, great interiors, amazing food, and the equally, if not more, outstanding service and hospitality makes Nurai a must visit ‘destination’ in Dubai…not just once but many times over. It’s such a great place to visit in summer or winter and the outdoor seating area makes it even more special, especially when the weather gets cooler.
P.S.: They have a full-fledged shisha area, so all you shisha lovers, you’ll be spoilt for choice. It’s not everyday that you come across a shisha lounge serving such a varied list of food and that too lip-smackingly delicious ones.