Hidden Gem: Majlis musings

PW Hidden GemsLocated next to Jumeirah Mosque, The Majlis Dubai is a good place to relax l Image Credit: Ishita B. Saha

Jumeirah Mosque is not quite a hidden gem. With a continuous outpouring of tourists, many with cameras dangling around their necks, this is one of the most touristy spots in Dubai. But there is indeed a hidden gem within the premises of the beautiful mosque — The Majlis Dubai, nestled under the comforting shades of old ghaf trees.

The moment you step inside, the place lulls you with the serenity of pristine white sofas, Arabic books lining the wooden shelves, sunrays filtering through the filigree grill and soothing silence.

The interior is plush, elegant and perfect for unwinding after a short tour of Jumeirah Mosque (conducted by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding). The café also has an outlet at the Dubai Mall and one located in the desert.

The Majlis Dubai claims to be the first and finest camel milk café in Dubai, although the city now boasts several cafés that serve camel milk. Guests can enjoy an all-day à la carte menu of finger food. All milk-based products at the eatery are made from camel milk.

Food choices

The fare includes sandwiches, sweets, cupcakes, flavoured shakes (date, saffron and almond), camel-chino, camel-latte, ice cream by Al Nassma, camel milk praline, white camel milk cheese and creams. It is here that the age-old Middle Eastern tradition of using camel milk and other popular local savoury dishes blends into the urban café culture. The café has its own coffee blend, which is freshly brewed with specially roasted Ethiopian coffee beans. But does camel milk taste good? It will depend on your food preferences and the dish you order.

“Camel milk turns salty when heated,” says the café’s chef, Aziz. “Hence, it requires a bit of knowledge about the properties and characteristics of camel milk to use it appropriately in different dishes.”

As such, there might not be much of a difference in taste between a camel milk shake and one made using cow’s milk, but a hot camel-chino should taste a bit saltier. Nonetheless, the fat content of camel milk is 50 per cent less than cow’s milk and it has much higher mineral, calcium and natural vitamin C content. Camel milk is also much easier to digest and it is not known to cause allergies.

The café also serves the more familiar Turkish coffee and traditional Arabic green coffee, which is served from a traditional dalla or Arabic coffee pot.

If you want something cooler, there are carbonated juices made from dry flowers such as the karkadeh. You can also immerse in the local culture by sipping teas with local flavours such as za’atar.

If you want to know more about the customs and tradition behind your food, there is a huge selection of books and publications about Emirati culture and history in the café’s library, giving you a glimpse of Dubai’s history and a bygone era when only a few wind towers defined the city’s skyline.

Cultural events

There are also cultural events and daily mosque tours (except Friday) from 10am conducted by the SMCCU. For Dh50, one can avail of the mosque tour and an Arabic breakfast consisting of Arabic bread, za’atar croissant, camel cheese, olives, vegetables and assorted Arabic sweets.

So the next time you want to unwind, book a tour at the Jumeirah Mosque and drop by The Majlis Dubai, where you can relax while listening to the sound of birds chirping and dried leaves being caressed by the gentle wind.

Source: Ishita B. Saha, Special to Property Weekly

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