Eating Around The World in Mazina, The Address Marina | And A Blog Giveaway

This post is a continuation in the spate of my recent outings to taste food from different parts of the world, with a blog giveaway at the end as promised. While I had been bowled over by the Iraqi Masqouf in the Bait Al Baghdadi Restaurant in Deira, the Address Marina has been a bit of a revelation of sorts. A bit understated, it is a beautiful property in a beautiful location. I have been hopping into their signature restaurant Mazina, eating, sniffing (sorry to disappoint you as I kick away my elegant demeanor), clicking incessantly, stumbling across a few dishes for the first time or delighted to have discovered again, so close to home – alibi their themed nights. A good dining experience is a real pleasure – be it a roadside, a shack, a casual restaurant or a top of the line (read top of the hill) restaurant. If you’ve experienced one, it lingers on.

Eating through the Theme Nights
Mazina has a very casual elegance about it, with live cooking stations and lots of interaction with the staff and the chefs. You can hear the sizzling of pans amidst the hustle and the bustle. The dips, jams and sauces are mostly homemade (further below), and only sustainable fish is sourced. I am so happy to hear this as I feel if big hotels don’t lead in this issue and spread the awareness amongst diners, small eateries cannot be expected to follow suit (thus joining the league of places that I have visited who adhere to sustainable fishing – Desert Island Resorts in Bani Yas Island, Six Senses in Zighy Bay, Sense on the Edge in Zighy Bay, Islanda Krabi in Koh Klang). Coming back to Mazina, Chef Trevor who is at the helm of the kitchen, takes a lot of pride in the fact that the menu is created seasonally and changed very often, at the same time keeping in mind the basic theme of each night. A round up on a few fascinating dishes from around the world – Roast Nights on Sundays…  So, this is The Sunday roast! Traditionally, the main meal served on Sundays in Britain and Ireland consist of roasted meat, roasted potatos or mashed potato, with accompaniments such as Yorkshire Pudding, stuffing, roasted vegetables and thick gravies. I have always been fascinated with the Yorkshire Pudding. When I was a child, any pudding would form an image of a dessert in my mind. The Yorkshire Pudding broke that myth, though it could be served as a sweet. Also known as batter pudding, this dish (further below) is made from batter and usually served with roasted meat and gravy. There is a lot of legacy to this dish. The Yorkshire pudding is a staple of the British Sunday lunch and in some cases is eaten as a separate course prior to the main meat dish. This was the traditional method of eating the pudding and is still common in parts of Yorkshire today. Because the rich gravy from the roast meat drippings was used up with the first course, the main meat and vegetable course was often served with a parsley or white sauce. The history behind the Yorkshire Pudding goes thus… When wheat flour began to come into common use for making cakes and puddings, cooks in the North of England devised a means of making use of the fat that dropped into the dripping pan to cook a batter pudding while the meat roasted in the oven. In 1737 a recipe for ‘a dripping pudding’ was published in The Whole Duty of a Woman: Make a good batter as for pancakes; put in a hot toss-pan over the fire with a bit of butter to fry the bottom a little then put the pan and butter under a shoulder of mutton, instead of a dripping pan, keeping frequently shaking it by the handle and it will be light and savory, and fit to take up when your mutton is enough; then turn it in a dish and serve it hot. {More here}

Spice Route on Mondays… 

The Ouzi (above) holds a special position in Middle Eastern cuisine. Originating in the Mediterranean region, Ouzi is prepared in different ways across the Arabian Peninsula. Traditionally, these are flaky baked parcels made out of thinly rolled out puff pastry or a few layers of Phyllo, which, when burst open, contains spicy rice cooked with meat, assorted veggetables and slivered nuts. Though the Ouzis that I have come across in most Buffet spreads here in Dubai, haven’t been parcels but rice cooked and presented in a large platter with the roasted lamb placed on top – it is more like the one whose recipe that I once came across in The National. Aromatic and delicious, the grandeur and the exoticism of the Ouzi fascinates me a lot. Not an Ouzi, but I’ve tasted something similar when the celebrity chef Reza Mohammed cooked his Persian Pulao.

If any dish encompasses Philosophy, heritage and symbolizes any social significance, it must be the Indonesian Beef Rendang (above). Originating from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia, the Rendang is served at ceremonial and festive occasions and to honour guests. Now, it is very popular all across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the southern Philippines and southern Thailand. This is a spicy meat dish and takes hours to cook. The meat is slow cooked in coconut milk and spices, letting the gravy to reduce and thicken while absorbing all the spices and the condiments at the same time. Though the true Rendang would be the dry one, I prefer the wet Rendang, known as the Kalio. The cultural significance of Rendang goes thus – Rendang is revered in Minangkabau culture as an embodiment of the philosophy of musyawarah, discussion and consultation with elders. It has been claimed that the four main ingredients represent Minangkabau society as a whole:

  1. The meat (dagiang) symbolizes the Niniak Mamak, the traditional clan leaders, such as the datuk, the nobles, royalty and revered elders.
  2. The coconut milk (karambia) symbolizes the Cadiak Pandai, intellectuals, teachers, poets and writers.
  3. The chili (lado) symbolizes the Alim Ulama, clerics, ulama and religious leaders. The hotness of the chili symbolizes sharia.
  4. The spice mixture (pemasak) symbolizes the rest of Minangkabau society. {More here}

It shouldn’t come across as a surprise then, that an online poll by 35,000 people held by CNN International chose Rendang as the number one dish in the category of the ‘World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods (Readers’ Pick 2011)’ list!

The simple Anda Paratha (below) or the Egg Paratha that brought back all the home cooked warmth and nostalgia of Sunday breakfast mornings of my childhood. The other version of Paratha this Anda Paratha brought was the Mughlai Paratha which is a deep fried stuffed Paratha filled with egg and minced meat. The connection of Kolkata and Lucknowi or Awadhi cuisine has a lot of historical connotation and Mughlai food holds special importance in most Bengali foodies. The history behind this Mughlai fascination roots back to the princely Indian state of Awadh (Oudh) in the times of Nawab Mohammed Wajid Ali Shah Bahadur (1822 AD-1887 AD). Today this is modern day Lucknow. In 1857 AD, after the Awadh kingdom was annexed by the British, the Nawab was exiled to Calcutta (today’s Kolkata). His passion for gourmet food traveled from Lucknow to Calcutta and was nurtured and garnished and fuelled by his special Bawarchis or the Chefs of the Nawab. Awadhi cuisine has traveled far and wide. But it is believed that only a handful of chefs with royal khansama/lineage know the secret ingredients. There are in fact a string of Awadhi Restaurants in Kolkata, and only a few carries that legacy forward and they also embellished the Dum Pukht style of cooking with aromatic ingredients, dried fruits, and aphrodisiacs that delighted the insatiable Nawab. Seafood Nights on Tuesdays…

The love for Paella in my family is legendary. We’ve even visited the Spanish city of Valencia, where Paella has originated. My article on Valencia and Paella must have been, by this time, published in the Air Arabia inflight magazine and already boarded it’s  first flight. Here goes, the world’s shortest essay on Paella… Paella (pronounced “pah-eh-ya”– the ‘ll’ is pronounced as a ‘y’) is a matter of local pride and every Valencian mother claims to make the best Paella. I had always associated Paella with sea-food but only in Valencia did I come to know that the dish originated as a poor man’s dish or should I say poor men’s (collectively) dish, a labourer’s meal cooked together in a large quantity over an open fire in the fields and eaten directly from the pan with wooden spatulas. Chicken was added only on some special occasion. Rabbits, ducks or the cheapest meat like snail meat were often added to the dish. And sea-food was just a random experiment that must have turned viral! Making Paella was an elaborate process and it would be eaten over the next few days – an USP that some restaurants actually use. Please don’t get surprised to find a placard like this –  ‘Home-cooked Paella, made yesterday!’ You can actually find communal paella cooking and Paella cooking competitions in village festivals like Tomatina festival (an annual festival which takes place in Buñol, 38 km west of Valencia. Spaniards and tourists from all over the world gather in the town to throw 115,000 kilograms of tomatoes at each other). {My blog post on Valencia} Mongolian Nights on Wednesdays…Sushi and Steak Nights on Thursdays… The Friday brunch…The Friday Brunch… Huevos Rancheros (above) – the popular Mexican ‘farm’ breakfast consisting of fried eggs served upon lightly fried corn tortillas topped with a spicy tomato chilli salsa sauce. Just like the Middle Eastern Sashouka, this is a complete meal that’s very full filling. Non-Mexican additions such as cheese, sour cream, and lettuce also have become common in the recent times. An interesting version is also the Huevos divorciados or the divorced eggs, where two eggs are served in the usual fried style, but with a different sauce for each – a red and a green chilli. The green chilli sauce there? Yes, it is killing!

And of course, there is the sweet sign off – the elaborate dessert spread every night… cakes of different types – sponge cakes, carrot cakes, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and coffee cakes, assorted muffins, canolies, cranberry flapjacks, macarons, lollipops, lemon meringue tarts, caramel short breads, granola bars, fruit mousse, mocha mousse (a speciality here, I was told), mango pudding, panna cotta, berry truffles and more. Sugar laden sour punks, anyone? Or, my absolute favourite – the very traditional Umm Ali, served piping hot?

Roast Nights on Sundays
Roasts from a choice of Beef, shoulder of Lamb or Turkey, with Yorkshire Pudding on the side or classic accompaniments such as roast Potatoes, baked Root Vegetables, Cauliflower Provencal, Gratin Broccoli, sous vide Fennel with Olives, creamy Polenta and more – Sundays are nothing but Carvery Nights. The different sauces just make the roasts more irresistible. While I am familiar with the English, Dijon, Dill cream or the Horseradish cream sauce, I had never come across the Chocolate Barbecue Sauce before. (Dhs 220/person: 6:30pm -11:00pm)

Spice Route on Mondays
Different types of curries from the Asian subcontinent, spicy chutneys, tangy pickles, homemade Parathas, Malay breads – Mondays are absolute gastronomical roller-coaster rides. Starting with soups like the Malaysian Seafood Laksa or the Mulligatawny from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, there are various dishes from all over the world. From Asia – the Srilankan fish curry Ambul Thiyal, Indonesian Beef Rendang, Indian Shahi Murg, Thai Yellow Crab Curry, the Japanese Beef Shabu Shabu, Chinese vegetable hotpot, Baby Bokchoy in Xo sauce, assorted dimsums, Pecking Duck and crispy rice rolls; from the Arab world – Egyptian sausages or the Soujuk Makhanek, the Nile Perch Muttafay, Lamb Ouzi with oriental rice; from Africathe Jamaican Goat curry, Kuku Choma with Kachumbari roasted maize; from America and Europe – Louisiana Shrimp Gumbo, Mexican chili con carne with kidney beans, Beef flank with Chimichuri salsa, Chicken Jambalaya, Vadovan infused root vegetables, Patatas Bravas and many more. (Dhs 220/person; 6:30pm -11:00pm)

Seafood Nights on Tuesdays
If I’m told that I can serve myself to unlimited ocean-fresh flavours – I’m sold! Well, that is exactly what the Seafood Night has to offer at Mazina – Sushi, Maki, fresh Sashimi, Smoked salmon, Gravlax, Vietnamese Seafood Rolls, Creuse Oysters, Tuna Niçoise, Spanish Paella, Chilli Crab (was it Singaporean Chilli Crab?), Prawn Satays and more. But if there was one thing that really caught my attention, it was the beetroot cured salmon! Just back from a Fam trip in Thailand, I have been on a massive Thai food rampage lately and my only complaint here was the lack of Thai food choice apart from the traditional Papaya Salad – Thai Som Tam. But that’s the never-satisfied-greedy-me speaking, in spite of the menu serving chilled Atlantic Prawns, delicious Mussels, Norwegian King Crabs and soups like the Clam Chowder soup, Seafood Shabu Shabu or the Miso soup. Some other delicacies on the menu that I must highlight are Fishermen’s pie, Seafood Paella, Mussels Marinara, Seafood Quesadilla, traditional Asian dim-sums and a sizzling Mongolian Style Seafood Counter. (Dhs 285/person; 6:30pm -11:00pm)

Mongolian Night on Wednesdays
This is the Wok and the Grill night where one can customise their own sizzlers. Again, this is an unlimited Wok night, meaning – yes, one can experiment with as many sizzler as one wants. With an array of spices, sauces and dips to choose from like Coriander, Turmeric, Cumin, Chilli flakes, Chinese five spices, Soy sauce, Xo sauce, Oyster sauce, Chilli sauce, Hoisin sauce, Black Bean sauce – this can be really fun. A variety of rice, noodles (specially the Soba noodles), vegetables like Baby Bokchoi, Gailan or Shitake mushrooms can accompany the sizzler. Just choose your protein (slices of Beef, Chicken thigh, Duck breast, Nile perch, Lamb, Prawns, Mussels, soft Shell Crab etc), your choice of spices and sauces and let the Chef stir them up in the Wok in front of you. (Dhs 220/person; 6:30pm -11:00pm)

Sushi & Steak Night on Thursdays
The Sushi and Steak Night must have been designed for confused eaters like me! With ‘all you can eat Sushi’ and a choice of steak (Canadian Beef filet mignon, Canadian Beef rib eye steak, Canadian Beef sirloin and thankfully, not another all you can eat option!) with two side dishes and sauce by the side (Pepper cCorn sauce, Béarnaise sauce, Red Wine sauce, BBQ sauce and more) – this night is for me. Though I’ve had better Steaks elsewhere, the Sushi –  Nigiri, Maki rolls and the California rolls couldn’t have been better. Even the choice of Sashimi – Tuna, Salmon, Ebi, Tobiko, Crab stick, Mackerel, Eel Yellow tail, Egg, Salmon roe and the Hamachi (the Japanese Amberjack or Buri commonly used in sushi) was very good. And am I forgetting the Oysters jutting out from the crushed ice here like encrusted jewels? (Dhs 300/person; 6:30pm -11:00pm)

Brunch on Fridays
With a captivating Chocolate Fondue along with a few more dishes specially designed for the young diners (yes, not kids please!), the low lying special buffet counter had the thrilled Z-Sisters running up and down. Apart from the extensive buffet spread with glimpses of a few of the dishes that I had come across in the theme nights earlier, there were a whole lot of new entrants – I felt the brunch had the selected bests from each day. I assigned Big Z to write down the desserts and the list that I had mentioned earlier has been diligently compiled by her, after consultation with a lady Pastry Chef, it seems! Buzzing with diners – families, friends, young kids and some hip-shaking performance of LIVE Salsa thrown in between, the atmosphere in Mazina on a Friday was more casual than the theme nights, yet vibrant. (Dhs 280/person with soft beverages, Dhs 395/person with free flowing house beverages; 12pm to 3.30pm)

The Address Dubai Marina
Tel No: +971 4 4367777; Email:
For more info: Website; Facebook; Twitter


Before I sign off with the blog giveaway, a reminder that an extensive Iftar Buffet is available from sunset until 9pm during the entire holy month of Ramadan in the Constellation Ballroom of the hotel and an a-la-carte Suhour menu to be enjoyed in the Terrace Tent from 8pm onwards (I did have a preview of it). As you know, it’s been my blog dream to be able to organise giveaways so that the reader too, gets an opportunity to win a chance to visit the restaurant or the place where I have had a good ‘experience’. So here’s the giveaway…

Click here to enter the Giveaway!

Do leave your comment on the post as to which ‘Theme Night’ appeals to you the most and why (this is not a condition to win though!) and the winner can dine on his/her choice of Theme Night at Mazina after the Ramadan month is over. The contest will run throughout the month of Ramadan and close on the 9th of August, 2013. Please join me as I do daily posting of recipes (these are very special recipes that I have requested from some of the top hotels in Dubai as I know everybody may not want to go out Ramadan and prefer to cook at home) during the entire month of Ramadan. Do keep connected over Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram and enjoy the your summers, wherever you are!

Unblogging it all… IshitaDisclaimer: The opinions stated here are my own and are independent of the dinner giveaway, kind courtesy of The Address Marina. I hope you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals. Please do not use any material from this post. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here.


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