The proper Middle Eastern restaurant experience is not complete without sheesha. Well OK fine, twist my arm. Two pages of fun flavours kick off the menu. I choose my sheesha the way I choose my gum: Strawberry-melon, please. The waiter carts over this massive hookah, lights it up, drags staccato-style to get it going, and hands us a fresh pipe. I’m pumped – yes, hookah cafes in Toronto aside – I love these genuine experiences. I am also captivated by the woman at the table next to us, gingerly drawing in from her pipe and letting waft the biggest plumes and clouds of smoke imaginable, a sweet scent billowing over us as she sits with it dangling from her mouth, hardly missing a beat in her conversation. I like the flavour we choose. I order a frothy and thick lemon-mint juice, a huge plate of grilled meat and call it a day.
TIP: Go to Reem Al Bawadi, sit outside, and people watch. It smells great out there. If you order the mango ice tea, the chunks of mango are mixed with chunks of ginger, so nibble at your own risk. The lemon-mint juice is happiness in a glass.