“ Address: Wasfi al-Tal Rd Jubilee Gardens „
For our first meal in Jordan, this Amman based restaurant was suggested by our guide. We enjoyed it so much we came back on our last night too. The restaurant is massive - the first time we went through the courtyard and up the stairs to the right. The second time we went left and round the back on the ground floor. The restaurant does cater for international groups but at the same time we saw small and middle sized parties of locals. I think this would be a lovely place to dine al fresco on a warm night. As you enter there are two large wooden giraffes in the entrance hall, the significance of which is lost on me, same as the two zebras upstairs. There is also a windmill outside. You are seated around the long wooden square tables with round brass plates in the centre and it is here your meze starter arrives. Hummus, tabbouleh (bulgur wheat with mint) Baba Ganoush, and various other chickpea and aubergine dips served with warm inflatable bread (OK, so not really inflatable, just puffy), salad, spicy olives, pickles plus a couple of lamb fried balls. Let them know if you are vegetarian they will bring a tasty, hot cheese pastry item for you. The service here is very attentive, and may not be to everyone's taste. The waiters like to serve the dips to you whilst explaining, in broken English, what they are. They are very friendly, smiley, and obliging. The restaurant doesn't serve alcohol but they do make the best lemon juice drink with mint. There is an art to stirring it, and your waiter may help if he thinks you are not doing it right. Whilst I found this little game with my waiter amusing, one of my companions got a bit paranoid and didn't want to stir her drink when he was around. The meze is vast and knowing this, I didn't have a main course on our second visit. The first time I ordered the vegetarian option which was herby rice and vegetables (courgettes, carrots, broccoli and green beans) seasoned with black pepper. It was quite tasty but nothing special. The lamb dishes seemed popular and the fish dish was a huge success. The regional speciality was the 'mansuf' which is lamb in a yoghurt sauce with rice, and I gather this was well received. There are also chicken dishes if you prefer. The portion size was very good. Dessert is fruit and your waiter will peel it for you be it an apple, orange or banana and cut it into an interesting pattern. I didn't visit the loos but I understand that the upstairs loos were OK but cold, however the downstairs ones were not as nice. For a few dinar you can smoke a water pipe of various flavours - the liquorice one was popular with our crowd. This is not going to be the cheapest restaurant you dine at in Jordan. As we had a group meal, I didn't really see a menu. The second visit, where I just had a meze and two lemon and mint drinks, came to 14JD (£14), and the first visit where I had a main I paid 20JD (£20) which includes tax and sevice. The food is prepared to a very good standard but I still think it expensive for what it is.