Saturday, March 10, 2018

Aldeerah Saudi Cuisine - Restaurant Review

I review my experience of the newly famous Saudi restaurant in town!
The Aldeerah Restaurant, located in Virginia, boasts authentic Saudi cuisine. I'd been hearing about it a lot and seeing check-ins appear all over my Facebook feed and finally one day the family decided to dine there to celebrate my brother's birthday. We were there over the weekend with our hungry selves ready for some delicious Saudi food. It was a different experience eating Saudi food but was it good or bad? Here's my review!

The Ambience
Let me start with the decor at Aldeerah. My first impression of the restaurant was brilliant owing to its beautiful decor. The entire place is decorated so fine I took my time taking in everything. The tables and chairs we sat on set the mood for Suadi cuisine. They have these Salt and Pepper shakers which look like Saudi people dressed up in the local outfits. I thought that was a really fun touch. There's wall decor everywhere which includes really cute Chai kettles and what not. The restaurant also offers a sit-on-the-floor eating experience for typical Saudi feels. I'd been hearing a lot of hype about it before I visited Aldeerah myself. However, if you ask me the floor seating section of the restaurant isn't even half as pretty as the other side. The side with dining tables was lit much better and conveyed more Saudi feels than the floor seating did. Plus it felt much more posh too.

The cute kettle and the salt and pepper shakers!

The Food
Now lets talk about the most important part of a restaurant - the food. We ordered the Lentil Soup first which was delicious once I'd added salt to my bowl. It had that perfect creamy feel and tasted great. The Falafels came next which were very tasty too. They came with a yummy sauce which to me tasted like it had a yogurt base. I loved the Falafels a lot. For appetizers we also ordered the Beef Sambosas which tasted really good too. The appetizers did not disappoint. Then we moved on to the entrees. We tried ordering Shawarma, which was honestly the one dish I had been looking forward to the most, and even though they stated in their menu that it was a special feature for the day the server told us they didn't have any left. Err, we were there at seven for dinner. How soon does one have to be there to be able to eat the Shawarma? Honestly, I think they didn't run out, they never made any in the first place. Another special entree of the day was 'Harees' but when we placed the order the server shook his head once more and told us he didn't have any. So we ordered the Chicken Kabsa, the Lamb Mandi, and the Qursan with Vegetables. We also ordered extra chicken and extra lamb on the side.

Beef Sambosa and Chicken Kabsa

Qursan with Vegetables and Lamb Mandi

Extra Chicken and Lamb Sides

Once the entrees had arrived and we'd started eating that's where some ifs and buts came in. Aldeerah, though beautifully decorated, missed out on something essential: SALT! The Kabsa and Mandi were supposed to have different kinds of rice but with no salt I couldn't feel any difference. The meat which came in the sides was much better compared to the entrees. The bottom line was that the food had almost no salt. Maybe that's why they had such interesting salt and pepper shakers? *laughs* I know I have a Desi food palette which biases towards well spiced foods. However, in this case the food seriously did lack spices. It wasn't just me, it was the entire family. Dessert, at last, was delicious and a treat after the no-salt-added food. We ordered Basbosah and Muhalabiya. The Basbosah was this yummy semolina cake and the Muhalabiya (which was my favorite from the night) was a creamy pudding I loved. We also ordered the Karak Tea with milk and cardamom because we're serious chai lovers. Sadly, it was more cardamom than tea and really broke my heart.

Basbosah and Muhalabiya

My Word
Aldeerah Restaurant was a decent change of taste from our usual Desi/American eating habits however it seriously lacked on taste. The food almost had no salt at all and even after I'd added a tonne of salt to each dish it still lacked spices. I've experienced Saudi cuisine when I was visiting Saudi Arabia and even though I know they do keep spices low, especially compared to Desi cuisine, Aldeerah's lack of taste was still unjustifiable. I'd say I had a decent time eating there mainly because of the beautiful decor and the excitement of ordering dishes from a different cuisine. The appetizers and desserts were very delicious but the entrees, unfortunately, weren't. I went for the Shawarma and sadly that wasn't even available. I had a little heart break right there. As my final word I'd say it's a good change of scene but not too good on your taste buds; it did not wow me like I would have liked it to and I don't think I'd want to go there again!

Here's a little video compilation I made that night!
All pictures and videos are my own!

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