Nowruz Buffet At Ezi Dzi | Celebrating Festivals in Dubai – Episode 1

As I look back, I realised that the last month was all about celebrating some festival or the other from some part of the world, including celebrating Poila Baishakh – the Bengali New year. How else would this humble foodie be celebrating? Quite obviously by eating all across the city, immersing herself in the many culinary novelty that each cuisine had to offer. Living in Dubai is a blessing – there are so many restaurants offering so many different cuisines, except a good Bengali restaurant. Instead of searching for my known Bangla Khabar in Dubai, I’ve begun to embrace all kinds of unknown food as my own. Smart act isn’t it?

This is the first of a series of posts on the different restaurants that I have visited over the month, participating in the celebration. All pictures are shot with my smartphone – giving my Nikon a rest (the truth of course is different – I think I’ve managed to tickle it up the wrong way in the fishermen’s village in Thailand). I have also realised that either you can ask for an ambiance or good pictures. You cannot demand both. That is, good pictures in dimly lit, beautiful surroundings. My Instagram pictures come to the rescue in such situations (above).

Nowruz celebration at Ezi Dzi

I heard that Ezi Dzi (pronounced ee-zee dee-zee), a new Persian restaurant in JLT, was celebrating Nowruz, the Iranian New Year with a traditional Iranian Buffet in an outdoor setting from fellow blogger Debbie who blogs at The Real Geordie Armani. It was a busy Wednesday and I called the restaurant thrice to inform that we were going to be delayed. At 10:30pm, when I was about to cancel my reservation(S said that he was so caught up that he wouldn’t make it before 11:30pm), Gelare, who c0-owns the restaurant, managed to convince me that people would still be coming in late and yes, food will still be there (in plenty, that is!) even if we reached around midnight. I’m glad that we did manage to visit Ezi Dizi – the entire place looked so festive and thronged with Iranians who had come to dine with their families and friends in order to usher in their Nowruz. The table settings were done up in the way it is done traditionally to celebrate Nowruz (above) – with the Haft Sîn or the seven ‘S’s – that is with the seven items starting with the letter ‘S’ or Sīn in the Persian alphabet. Books of Hafis, the 14th-century Persian mystic and poet lay on the table – creating a very elegant ambiance. {More on Nowruz…}

The Buffet had many traditional Iranian dishes. We tasted the Sabzi Polo Mahi – the special traditional dish that is cooked to celebrate NowruzSabzi Polo Mahi is Rice with green herbs and is served with fish. But the dish that absolutely mesmerized me was Dizi. Dizi or Abgoosht is a popular Iranian dish – often termed as a classic meal. Dizi refers to the small clay pot (above) in which the food is cooked and served. Lamb, potato, chickpeas, tomato and turmeric – everything is steamed in an oven on low heat for many hours. Dizi recipes seem to have been handed down from generation to generation over thousands of years and vary from family to family, town to town and district to district. The gravy or the juice is taken from the Lamb is taken out from the clay pot and then the potatoes and lamb is blended into the remaining gravy by stirring and mashing in with the rest of the ingredients. Freshly baked bread is broken into pieces and dipped into the gravy (which was initially taken out of the Dizi; image below) in a bowl. Into this gravy now goes the mashed paste of Lamb and Potatoes etc. My observation – If the Aloo or Potatoes from the Bengali Kasha Mangsho were mashed into it’s own gravy and then served with Iranian bread, it would probably turn into a Dizi. {While I do not have the recipe of Bengali Kasha Mangsho in my blog, I do have a ‘spirited’ variant – Mutton Kassa With Red Wine And Red Grapes}. There are many more traditional Iranian dishes like Dolmeh or stuffed vegetables, Koofte/Meat balls in the Ezi Dizi menu. Gelare insisted that we try the Iranian Faloodeh. I’ve never been been fond of Falooda that accompanies Kulfis, the sub continental version of Ice creams if I may describe them like that. The Iranian Faloodeh is definitely very different – this is a cold dessert and tasted more like a Sorbet. Traditionally, the Faloodeh consists of thin vermicelli noodles made from corn starch mixed in a semi-frozen syrup made from sugar and rose water. And yes, I loved my Iranian Faloodeh. {A cute recipe of Kulfis that we made at home… Colourful Kulfis | Celebrating The Colours Of Holi!}

Ezi Dzi – Persian; Casual dining; The Nowruz Buffet cost us Dhs 180/person, though an a-la carte is normally available.
Tel No: +971 4 4317070; Location: Cluster C,  Gold Crest Executive Tower, JLT
Opening hours: Mon – Sun: 11:30 am – 11:30 pm
For more info: Website, Facebook, Twitter


Though born into a Hindu family, my brother and I grew up in Kolkata celebrating all festivals from all religion. So Eid would mean that we would flock to the homes of our Muslim friends and pestering their Mums whom we would address as Mashi/Aunt to refill our bowls of Shimuyer Payesh or Semayia/Sevaiya Pudding and ransack their kitchens for home-made Biriyanis and Laccha Parathas, a type of Indian flat bread, triangular in shape with multiple layers lapped with Ghee/Indian clarified butter. Or Christmas would mean attending midnight mass at St Paul’s Cathedral with my Christian friends and rip open my small gifts of fruit cakes that my Christian Mashis/Aunties would have prepared for me. I’ve reminisced all this nostalgia in an earlier post – Living By The Water With Sunset As Prop – Kolkata & the Ganges. It talks about the multi-cultural upbringing of my childhood that has shaped my own philosophies in life. What about you? Have you embraced any other festival from any other country or religion, apart from your own?

Unblogging it all… Ishita

Disclaimer: The opinions stated here are my own and are absolutely independent. I hope you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals but please do not use any material from this post. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here. It does take lot of effort to capture a food experience in text and pictures. While it’s meant for you to enjoy them, I request you not to use them!


Posts on celebrations and festivals:

A Culinary Travel Blog by a Bong Gourmet. From Dubai, Kolkata & the world beyond, street food to fine dining, recipes to chef talks, it pens down experiences. With 2 kids in tow!


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