BoxPark is fast becoming one of our favourite spots to dine in Dubai. The vibrant street scene, funky bohemian surroundings and unique architecture, combined with a swathe of international food outlets, makes BoxPark a trendy place to be. Last night we were invited to dine at Logma, a restaurant specialising in Emirati cuisine, to celebrate their one year anniversary.
Prior to visiting, we were well aware of Logma, purely because it one of the few restaurants in BoxPark that is genuinely busy! No matter what time of day you pass by, there are always throngs of people queuing for a table at this in demand eatery. Like all the other restaurants in this outdoor destination, the space is small and housed within a neon lit shipping container that has been up-cycled into a hip and fashionable dining destination. Interiors are modern with traditional touches, such as walls of Arabic coffee pots, bedouin-style kerosene lamps, grey upholstered furnishings embroidered with camel designs and a focal bar area, containing glass jars full of spices like cardamom seeds, pink pepper corns and chilli flakes.
Arriving at Iftar time, Logma was at bursting point, meaning that we had to temporarily sit outside (not fun in the evening heat that was pushing 40 degrees)! Though within ten minutes we were happily dining inside, under air conditioned comfort. Service from the uniquely dressed staff (a combination of jeans, white t-shirts, aprons and the Emirati keffiyeh) was erratic and inconstant to begin with but soon calmed down once the Iftar-rush had subsided.
The cuisine at Logma is a modernist take on the traditional Emirati cuisine of the United Arab Emirates, also known as Khaleeji (the culture of Eastern Arabia’s Gulf Arab states). We have said it before but it is very difficult to find traditional Emirati food, unless you know exactly where to look. This is a disappointing thing, especially as there are so many appetising choices that many visitors to Dubai never get to sample. Thankfully Logma is working to change all that, with its short succinct menu of Emirati specialities, described as:
“A desire to share with Dubai’s cosmopolitan crowd the rich and copious Emirati cuisine as a way of reviving our culture and serving it with the memories that keep the taste of tradition alive” – Logma
Much like the restaurant itself, the food at Logma – though not fusion – combines the traditional with the contemporary. Offering a modern twist on breakfast favourites such as balaleet (sweet vermicelli noodles) and chebab (Emirati pancakes). Being evening, we started our meal with one item that we can never resist when it comes to the food of the Emirates and that is Samboosa. These are the Arabian version of an Indian samosa and comprise of crisp pastry stuffed with cream cheese and spiced Chips Oman. The samboosa had a spicy kick that nicely complemented the cheesy interior.
Another “must order” dish from the ‘bites’ section of the menu are the Logma fries, which had been recommended to us by virtually everyone we know that has dined at Logma. These are without a doubt the most popular item on the menu and after one taste, it is easy to see why. As golden French fries are topped with a secret blend of Khaleeji spices and chilli flakes, though what makes them so delectable, is the addition of crisp herbs (similar in taste to Chinese seaweed).
Rounding out our starters, we opted for the tikka sandwich. Now this was not just any sandwich, because it forgoes the standard bread or baguette for khameer, a traditional bedouin flat bread that is synonymous with Emirati heritage. The slightly sweet khameer is stuffed with a ginger spiced chicken, basil, roasted peppers and mango chutney. These khameer sandwiches should not be missed and would make for the perfect lunchtime snack.
Now we can’t go any further into this review without quickly mentioning the beverages. From traditional Arabic coffee to fresh blended juices, the drinks at Logma put a modern twist on classic Emirati flavours. For example the Ramadan staple of Vimto, is transformed into a refreshing mocktail, while the ‘Logma shake’ mixes dates, banana and honey into a heavenly frothy concoction. Our favourites though, were the ‘Atlantis’ which blends lychees with passion fruit and lime and the ‘Passion Of Arabia’, a tropical hit of pineapple and passion fruit (complete with the sweet flesh and the seeds).
Onto the mains. We had a slight craving for seafood and selected the simple titled ‘Logma shrimp rice’ in which rice is cooked with whole spices like star anise, bay leaves, cloves and cardamom, to provide the most aromatic of flavours. Mrs. Out & About was completely enamoured with the seasoning on the plump shrimps which she described as “divine.”
We also sampled the Machbous Lamb, probably the most traditional of Emirati dishes. In which lamb is slow cooked in a marinade of traditional Khaleeji spices and served with raita. The meat was unbelievably tender and topped with dried fruits, cashew nuts, crisp onion and whole chilli peppers, was an absolute feast.
As we took a short break before dessert, the restaurant was still noticeably busy. The crowd was mainly Emirati’s, which speaks volumes for the authenticity of the food at Logma. Watching families break their fast with these traditional foods that have been prepared by many generations felt very special, especially as it is Ramadan. Seeing Khaleeji food becoming so progressive shows just how versatile the cuisine is and as Arabic instrumental versions of Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” drifted from the speakers, it really did feel as though Logma has found the perfect balance between tradition and modernity.
Picking a dessert was the most difficult part of the evening, as we abandoned out usual favourite (Lugaimat) in favour of something new. Undecided between the date cake, katayef chebab and numerous other options… We eventually settled on the karak creme brûlée and the rahash fondant.
The fondant was impressively large and oozed a beautiful chocolatey goo when opened. The combination of dark chocolate and the traditional rahash was innovative and original. The flavour of the crumbed rahash was sweet and milky, due to its tahini-base and tastes somewhat like a nutty fudge.
Karak creme brûlée was also a terrific choice, but the tea flavour was quite overpowering and rich. The sugar-burnt top was as crisp as should be expected and made for a beautiful textural contrast to the creamy karak infused mixture beneath.
Our evening at Logma ended in the best way possible, with a comforting glass of steaming karak tea. A creamy and fragrant beverage that originated in the Indian subcontinent and has now been embraced by the Arabian culture. The strong black tea is infused with spices such as cardamom, an abundance or sugar and an excess of milk to create something altogether special. The perfect way to celebrate one year of this unique eatery – Happy first birthday Logma!
We were invited to dine at Logma. All views are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.