First Impressions | Bebabel at The Dubai Mall Review
Bebabel is the cafe concept sister to the award-winning Lebanese restaurant Babel. Open in the new extension of The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue, Bebabel is the ideal place to refuel after a long day of shopping. This new addition The Dubai Mall’s food scene strikes the perfect balance between elegant interiors and a casual atmosphere. They serve classic and updated Lebanese dishes at a surprisingly reasonable price, considering the quality of food and snazzy location.
FIRST IMPRESSION REVIEW
Taking inspiration from the Youtube beauty community, I base my first impression reviews on my first experience trying out a restaurant. I am explicitly calling this type of review “first impressions” so my readers know my experience level with the restaurant and have context for my writing.
Based on the interiors, I thought I was walking into a fine dining Lebanese restaurant, but Bebabel serves casual Lebanese cuisine. With a mix of classic dishes and updated Lebanese favorites, there is a lot to explore on the menu. The menu features pictures of each dish, which makes it easy for someone unfamiliar with the cuisine to order.
The plating of the trio of hummus, labneh with garlic, and Moutabbal (28 DHS) is a refreshing presentation for the classic Lebanese dips. Typically, the portion of hummus at a Lebanese restaurant is so large I don’t order other dips. This trio is perfect for sharing between two people, and it lets you sample more than one dip while leaving room for the entrees. It isn’t clear on the menu, but you can mix and match any three of the appetizers shown as trios to make a create-your-own trio. I only figured this out when I mentioned to the server that I wanted to order hummus, but I wasn’t keen on the other things pictured with the hummus. For a gluten-free option, ask for slices of carrots or cucumber instead of bread.
I ordered the cheese platter (56 DHS) out of curiosity. I had never seen a cheese platter at a Lebanese restaurant, and I didn’t know much about Lebanese cheeses. The menu did not list the cheeses, but a server said the cheeses are feta, halloumi, majdouli, and ackawi. Walnuts and jam accompany the cheeses. I enjoyed exploring some cheese I had never tried before, especially the ackawi.
The shish tawouk (65 DHS) was the best I’ve had in Dubai. The chicken was juicy but not fatty, and the marination was flavorful. I would reorder everything I ate, but the shish tawouk is first on my list to eat again. I highly recommend this dish.
Lebanese food is a cuisine that is relatively easy to eat gluten-free because there are many types of grilled meats and salads. Bebabel can offer gluten-free options, but you need to inform your server. They do not have gluten-free bread. I asked for sliced carrots to dip in the hummus, and they provided them at no extra charge. Many restaurants up-charge for these small changes, so I appreciate that Bebabel went above and beyond to be accommodating.
My experience with the staff was a little mixed but not bad. Not all the staff I spoke with understood gluten-free. I liked is that when a server did not know something, they brought over someone who did. The manager I spoke with is knowledgeable about gluten-free and the ingredients in the food. We encountered so many different servers during our meal, that I have to recommend you reiterate that you are gluten intolerant to each person and double check that the food is gluten-free with the servers who deliver the dishes.
Overall service was good, but one thing could have improved. There were so many different servers I encountered throughout the meal I was confused about who to call if I needed something. Speaking with so many servers also made making sure everything was gluten-free difficult. A different person delivered each dish to the table. It would have made the dining experience much more relaxed if there was one server helping us the whole time.
The manager and server who took our first order were both exceptional. The server checked with the chef that everything was gluten-free and also brought the manager to our table to reconfirm as well. The manager knew every ingredient in each dish and was able to reassure me everything was gluten-free.
When I entered through the long, beautifully lit hallway, I genuinely thought I was on my way to a fine-dining experience. I cannot think of another casual Lebanese dining spot in Dubai that is as beautiful as Bebabel at the same price range. The restaurant feels relaxed, welcoming, trendy, and elegant, all at the same time. When the weather is pleasant, grab a table on the outdoor terrace. It’s massive, and it overlooks The Dubai Mall fountain.
grabbing a bite to eat while shopping in fashion avenue, quality Lebanese food at a fair price in a beautiful restaurant, trying Lebanese food for the first time, catching up with friends, a casual date night
Exceptional casual dining Lebanese food
The terrace that overlooks The Dubai Mall fountain
Pictures of dishes on the menu for easy ordering
Creative takes on Lebanese dishes
Classic Lebanese dishes made exceptionally well
Prime location in Fashion Avenue
First Floor, Next to Lindberg and Somewhere
The Dubai Mall
Downtown Dubai, Dubai
Reviews are written based on my experience at the time I ate at the restaurant. Remember to always check with the restaurant staff regarding current menu, timings, prices, and allergy information. They are subject to change at the restaurant’s discretion at any time, and I cannot be held responsible for their changes.
What is your go-to restaurant when you are at the mall? Will you be checking out Bebabel next time?