Named after a certain variety of dried apricots, Kishmish promises a burst of flavors in the most simplistic offerings.
Keeping the hefty political issues and the iconic Steve McCurry’s portrait of ‘The Afghan Girl’ aside, have you ever wondered what genuine Afghan food tastes like? We are all pretty familiar with the kebabs and the naans served in most Muslim countries, but have you ever dug deep into the traditional cuisine of old Asian Muslim countries? Luckily, you won’t have to go to Afghanistan for that as Kishmish offers just that particular authenticity with a modern touch of a gourmet styled setting hidden as a lost gem inside the Dar Al Wasl mall of Jumeirah.
The recently opened venue offers a decent variety of meals with a goal to offer more dishes as soon as the demand increases. The venue was first popularized by well known UAE businesswoman and beauty blogger Huda Kattan, after which many locals have found a great interest with Afghani food, a good start for the new restaurant.
The founders, Homeira, Iman and Fatima pursued a common dream to open the first Afghan gourmet that tells the tale of nostalgia, love of food and home, and most importantly, to share the riches and history of Afghan food with the world.
The trio who share a common national identity want to bring the authentic flavours of Kabul street to Dubai to enhance the culinary education of the locals on what Afgan food is all about.
According to Fatima, the goal of this business is to show the world that Afghanistan is not just its political turmoil and CNN tabloids, but also a culture that sets itself apart from many other cultures and has a unique identity of its own.
Set within the walls of Jumeirah’s newly opened Dar Al Wasl mall, the venue spotlights one of Rumi’s famous quotes, “The heart is cooking a pot of food for you, be patient until it is cooked.” Upon entering furthermore, there are canopy stands with traditional handmade cutleries from Afghanistan and classic Ethan Allan inspired tables and chairs. There is a counter where live cooking takes place and the owners promise fresh food at all times. A simple venue with a gourmet feel, it is unlike any place we have seen.
We were served delicious fried okra in a round china bowl along with Naans for starters. The naans tasted nothing like the other Muslim restaurants in Dubai and has a great essence of Sesame and fresh flour. The okras were the stars of the starters as they reminded us of vegetarian Indian food yet at the same time had flavours reminiscent of the heavy Indian spices with a touch of freshly cut tomatoes.
The starter that really got us hooked on its historical evidence was Mantu; steamed lamb dumplings served with lentils, yoghurt and tomato puree dashed in vegetables. This particular meal originates from the Mongolian conquest of Afghanistan where identities of the two cultures were shared in trade and economics.
Speaking of history, we were served a Mixed platter of skewers of lamb, chicken and kofta for the main course, a dish heavily inspired by the kebab of the Persian and Mughal empire. Each meat served on the platter was warm and tender and had simple spices and yet tasted very wholesome served with a naan.
The next dish was ‘Kitchree Kourout’, a jinx risotto rice combined with minced lamb, lots of fried onions and kourout – a particular kind of Afghan condiment. This meal was a nod to the Roman empire that long ago visited Afghanistan and the neighboring Indian mauryan culture that were heavy rice consumers. It tasted just as good as the first dishes and had flavours that reminded us of familiar tastes of other culinary experiences.
These are all authentic dishes with a variety of flavours passed down by countries neighboring to Afghanistan either in the form of the silk route or through colonial exchanges. It was quite an exhilarating educational experience besides the delicious taste.
To make our experience even more delightful, we were served Afghan Mojito, a drink made of vinegar and mint syrup, crushed ice and cucumber water. It served to bring out the rest of the flavours beautifully.
To finish, we were served Afghan Halawa, a nod to the traditional Arabic Halawa but in a typical Afghan style of cardamom essence, topped with crushed almonds. But our favourite were the Afghan churros filled with flavours of rose, cardamom and saffron to make it stand apart from its Spanish counterpart. Absolutely delicious!
Our Verdict: We highly recommend this venue to all of our readers and the food is so delicious that you will keep coming back for more.
Please visit this link or call +971 (0) 4 349 6665.
Sunday – Wednesday: 10am – 10pm
Thursday – Saturday: 10am – 12 am
Seating Capacity: 48 pax
Avg spend per person: AED 110
Contact and Social Media:
Address: Dar Wasl Mall, Al Wasl Road, Al Safa, Dubai