If you stroll into Al Ustad, a preferred kebab joint within the heritage neighbourhood of Bur Dubai, the very first thing that can catch your eye are the tons of of photographs that adorn its partitions.
On a more in-depth look, you may spot many a preferred face posing with the restaurant house owners, clearly comfortable after a satisfying gastronomical expertise. The boys widespread in all the images are Majeed Anssari and Shahabuddin Anssari, co-owners of the all the time crowded Iranian meals joint. And, these posing with them are the likes of Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, Arjun Rampal and Zareen Khan, to call a couple of. Not simply Indian stars — the patrons embrace royalty and celebrities from throughout West Asia, together with Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai.
What makes this Iranian kebab joint so fashionable? “The ambience and the taste we dish out,” says Majeed, who can simply converse in Indian languages like Hindi, Punjabi and Malayalam, aside from Arabic and English.
Mohammed Kazim, an Emirati businessman and a licensed tour information who dines right here regularly, agrees. “It’s a family-run restaurant and you get to interact with them, it’s very authentic and casual. It’s a place for everyone, which is exactly what Dubai represents. The food is also on another level: the taste is very pure to the culture they have lived in, and they use spices from the region,” says Kazim. The vibe can be a plus, with currencies from everywhere in the world on show, in addition to some classic gadgets.
Stars of the menu
Salman Khan and Zareen Khan have visited greater than as soon as. Majeed clearly remembers a go to by Shah Rukh Khan. “The star visited our restaurant with four of his friends and they ordered the mixed grill platter,” he remembers.
Requested about essentially the most sought-after dishes by Indians, Majeed factors to the kebabs. “Shish kebab and joojeh kebab are two dishes which can be ordered most regularly by Indian guests. The important thing components are lime, salt, black pepper, yoghurt and, in some circumstances, saffron,” he says.
Majeed additionally shares a secret behind the style — the meat is marinated for greater than 24 hours. In a majority of dishes, dried lime can be used as a spice. Conventional Iranian dishes embrace mutton and hen kebabs marinated in garlic yoghurt, in addition to aromatic rice served with saffron and sumac, with a facet of grilled tomatoes, onions and cucumbers. Recent lavash is served piping scorching, and for dessert, sticky dates are served with a scrumptious nutty sauce and mint tea.
Again for extra
The meals is reasonably priced in comparison with different kebab joints. The most affordable on the menu is hummus, which can price you seven UAE dirhams, whereas the most costly dish is the Sultani dinner at 47 dirhams.
The restaurant receives an important flux of individuals by way of the week. There is no such thing as a distinction whether or not it’s a weekday or weekend, say regulars. “It’s always full. There are no reservations, it’s first come, first served. We see about 400 walk-ins on normal days and around 500-600 people on weekends,” provides Majeed.
“I have sweet memories of this place. My father used to bring me here when I was a child. Old habits die hard and I’m a regular visitor,” says Kazim.
The restaurant was arrange by Mohammed Al Ansari, who left Gerash in southern Iran for Dubai in 1941. He first ran a grocery store and bakery in Bur Dubai earlier than organising the restaurant 41 years in the past, working there till he handed away in 2015 on the age of 83. His sons Majeed, Shahabuddin and Taleb now collectively run the restaurant.
And, what’s Majeed’s particular choose for a first-time Indian customer? “I would recommend the mixed grill for Indian tourists. It works well when you are with a group of people or your family. The platter can work for an individual and also extend to serve 7-10 people.”
And whether or not or not you’re pinned together with King Khan on this restaurant’s wall of fame, is as much as you.
On this column, we take a peek at a number of the most iconic eating places