Azerbaijani cuisine refers to the cooking styles and dishes of the Azeris in Azerbaijan and Iranian Azerbaijan. Many foods that are indigenous to the country can now be seen in the cuisines of other neighboring cultures. For the Azerbaijanis, food is an important part of their culture and is deeply rooted in the history, traditions and values.
Azerbaijan ‘s national cuisine is closer to Eastern European cuisine due to taste and preparation of the dishes, as well as adding a dark spice and flavor additives. Contemporary Azerbaijan cuisine retains traditional methods of preparation of dishes while incorporating modern cooking requirements and preparations. Azerbaijani dishes have traditionally been cooked with copper utensils in copper cookware. Copper bowls and plates are still commonly used as serving dishes.
While I was exploring Dubai during my recent trip, I chanced upon Jag, an Azerbaijani restaurant devoted to showcasing the country’s transcontinental flavors, located in the Box Park locality. With my curiosity piqued with the excitement of trying something new, I immediately decided to try this unique and relatively lesser known European cuisine.
The outlet boasts a modern, minimalist decor with warm wooden furnishings and traditional elements. It is a warm and inviting place with soft lighting and Azeri music playing in the background. The decor has incorporated the whole Azeri concept with the flag at the entrance and pictures around the whole restaurant. They have both indoor and outdoor seating which could be selected depending on the weather. Since it was quite hot, we decided to get a table inside the place.
|The comfortable ambiance|
Originating from the Turkish / Azerbaijani region, the Choban Salad (Turkish for “Shepherd’s Salad“) is a lovely refreshing salad made with finely cut cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, dill, red basil, coriander, mixed with fresh lemon juice and olive oil dressing. While none of the ingredients were out of the world, the freshness of the salad shone through. The Yashil Salad had sundried tomatoes, shallot onions, Lollo Rosso lettuce, rucola [also known as arugula or rocket] leaves, ginger and drizzled with lemon juice. The sundried tomatoes gave a nice sweetish tinge to the salad while the lollo rosso and rucola leaves provided the crunch factor.
|Choban Salad [AED 19], Yashil Salad [AED 28] and Azeri Bread|
The Chicken Tike Kebab had chicken marinated with tomato sauce and indigenous herbs and served with a portion of rice. While the cook on the chicken was perfect, overall the dish felt a little dry without any sauces or gravies.
Xamali Toyuq is a marinated chicken dish typical to the Azerbaijani region. The chicken fillet is stuffed with mushrooms and onions on a bed of creamy gravy, served with a pickled cucumber & tomato salad and rice. While it may feel bland to some palates, I personally found it rather delicious and not over-saturated with contrasting flavors.
|Chicken Tike Kebab [AED 59] and Xamali Toyuq [AED 59]|
Excellent service from the staff who were well versed with the dishes being offered. However, considering the area and the quality of service and food, the pricing leans on the high end for the quantity being served.
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