Re-opened after extensive renovation, Iranian restaurant Shahrzad's new look celebrates its origins. From the handcrafted Persian rugs and kashi kari-inspired cutlery to water fountains and gorgeous wooden balconies that overlook the hotel's lobby, it's quite beautiful. Plus, now there's live entertainment courtesy the resident Iranian musicians who serve up songs in Farsi, Arabic, Afghani and Turkish.
But the food at Shahrzad is what swings it for us. They've got an extensive yet easy-to-navigate menu including appetisers (hot and cold), soups, salads, traditional stews, polo (rice dishes), kababs (18 types!) and dessert. Of course, there's also a selection of famed Iranian caviars.
In the mood for soup, we ordered the hearty Ash-E-Reshteh (Dhs40). Combining flavoursome red kidney beans and chickpeas with noodles and the favoured Iranian blend of dried yogurt, olive oil and mint, this is a great starter. Comforting and filling but not so much that it stops you from enjoying other dishes.
Next up was the customary fave Kashk-E-Bademjan (Dhs40), made with dried eggplant, onions and the yogurt-olive oil-mint combo. Seasoned to perfection, it was a complete hit at our table.
For mains we picked the Chelo Kabab-E-Kubideh Murgh (Dhs90), melt-in-your-mouth minced chicken kebab served with three different types of rice - plain white, saffron with barberry and flavoured with broad beans and dil. Eat it the traditional way, sprinkling sumac powder on the chicken, and you'll enjoy it even more.
For dessert, we recommend Bastany (Dhs35), vanilla/saffron flavoured ice cream. Or you could always tuck into Faloodeh, the iced vermicelli creation with blackberries, rosewater and lime.
Overall, Shahrzad offers great value for money considering the specialties it serves. If you love Iranian cuisine, it's well worth the trip to Deira to check it out.
INFO: Shahrzad, Hyatt Regency Dubai, open Monday to Saturday, 12:30pm to 3:30pm and 7pm to 1am, 04 317 2222, www.dubai.regency.hyatt.com