Another stop along the food extravaganza that was Dubai – or more particularly, Dubai’s insane malls – was Almaz by Momo, a shiny Moroccan joint in the upstairs of Harvey Nichols in Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates (near the home and kitchen section, which I suppose is the only unsurprising part about its location). I’d gone to two of Momo‘s places, sketch (London) and 404 (Paris), and enjoyed the former’s quirky Library Room (with a Pierre Gagnaire-designed menu) and the latter’s dark-dining-room trendiness and sumptuous food.
This was yet another uncommon experience, mostly because of its secluded spot behind aisles of sheets and cookery, different from sketch’s bizarre furnishings (think, egg-shaped pods for bathrooms) and 404’s late-night din. We waited to order off the lunch menu, since we arrived a bit early, and nibbled on some honey-sweetened berber pancakes (too pungent for my taste) and sweet Moroccan mint tea (delicious) to tide us over. The two lamb dishes (lamb tagine and couscous mechoui) had excellent consistency, although the sweetness wore on us (and frankly, we got too much lamb). The mezzeh selection was also excellent, the babaganoush with its deep smokiness and the falafel, perfectly fried. Our final dish was the chicken pastilla, a stuffed pastry that we thought would be savory but was very much on the sweet end (it came with a dusting of powdered sugar). Interesting texture, and a new concept for chicken that I hadn’t had before, but was unsettling-ly close to baklava in taste. It seemed the theme of our meal was “really good and well-made, but just too much.” We didn’t order with enough balance, which wasn’t really an issue with our Lebanese meal the previous day, but the sweetness of the Moroccan dishes became too hard to ignore after a point. So lesson learned.