Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Restaurant Mejhana, Ajman

Duringour trip to the United Arab Emirates we started many attempts to get to know the typical cuisine of the country. The way led us from Ajman via Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Who would have thought that we managed to get the best and most comprehensive insight, however, without traveling even one kilometer: The restaurant Mejhana, directly with us in the Ajman Saray Hotel, a five-star house opened only a few months ago, serves Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine, interpreted in a modern way.

We were very fortunate that Virginia, the hotel’s chef, who is from Greece, took an afternoon for us. Not only were we able to sample many of the dishes on the current menu – we were also given the honor of working with Victoria in the kitchen and cooking some of the dishes together. I’ve included some of her recipes, which she has graciously shared with me, right in this post.

The concept of the cuisine at Mejhana is as simple as it is wonderful: traditional cooking. No experimentation with ingredients or preparation. No modern adaptations of the dishes, but traditional craftsmanship and just such flavors. Only the presentation breaks new ground. Classic Arabic dishes are arranged in a modern way, combining the traditional flavors many diners (us included) are accustomed to with tidy and contemporary plates.

So, for one lunchtime, we luxuriated among everything that is the influence and core of Middle Eastern cuisine. Mezze in many varieties, fresh vegetables, chickpeas and pomegranate, lamb and fish.

Recipe for Fatoush salad


200 g tomato
200 g cucumber
50 g frisée lettuce
50 g green peppers
50 g onion
20 g parsley
20 g mint leaves
20 g radish
10 g sumac
5 ml pomegranate syrup
5 ml lemon juice
5 ml olive oil
10 g salt
2 pcs pitta breadA very simple, quick recipe. The sensational dressing with homemade pomegranate syrup (recipes below) makes it taste incredibly fresh and extraordinary. Oriental.

  1. First, cut the cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, onions, radishes and lettuce into pieces of about 2 cm.
  2. Add all the herbs and fold in.
  3. Gently mix all the ingredients, add the spices. Now mix in lemon juice, pomegranate syrup, salt and olive oil.
  4. Lightly fry bread pieces and spread over salad.
  5. Serve with toasted or fresh pitta bread.
The first main course, Kraydis Mejhana, shrimp with goat cheese, we were allowed to prepare together withVirginia in the kitchen. The secret lies in an intense, long and above all slow-cooked tomato sauce, which is the base under the shrimp.

The combination with fried feta cheese (or as in this case with balls of feta) is quite unusual, but fits quite wonderfully. A nice, summery dish – with just the right amount of spiciness.

Recipe for Kraydis Mejhana


3 large shrimps
5 g butter
3 g garlic
5 g thyme
40 g feta
5 g Greek honey
10 g red onion
5 g black pepper
50 g flour
5 g pine nuts
50 g panko
1 g salt
100 ml olive oil
100 g tomatoes

  1. Heat two teaspoons of the olive oil in a pan. Dice the onions and sweat them lightly.
  2. Add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme and the remaining olive oil and simmer slowly. Stir gently on a regular basis. About 30 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
  3. Sauté the shrimp with garlic and a little chili in the remaining olive oil until they turn a light golden color.
  4. Now pour the sauce over the shrimp and let it steep slightly. Add a little butter.
  5. Serve together with plenty of basil and the feta balls.
This is followed by a shoulder of lamb cooked for about four hours. Prepared quite traditionally. Only in presentation does the kitchen around Virginia break new ground here, serving carved pieces layered on rice, vegetables and roasted onions. Very intense and juicy.Pâtisserie is the only area of the kitchen that allows itself to be more open to other culinary influences. So we get to enjoy two different desserts right away to get to know the differences. Traditional Arabic pastries with pistachio and lots of sugar (honey, surprisingly, plays no role here) on the one hand. And big, heavy classic deserts with lots of chocolate on the other side. Both delicious – and wonderfully combinable as cultural-culinary bridge-building.

Recipe for pomegranate syrup

The more reduced and focused a kitchen is, the more clearly the individual components appear. Accordingly, a lot of effort and expense is also put into supposedly simple ingredients, such as the pomegranate syrup. You realize that it’s absolutely worth it the second you taste the dressing of the Fatoush salad.

2 cups pomegranate juice
½ cup sugar


The path to the syrup begins with the juice of the pomegranate. First, put the aril (i.e., the seeds as well as their red coating) in a straining mill or blender, then strain. Whereas the way in the blender can lead to a significantly cloudier juice – which, however, only affects the appearance, not the taste.

From one large pomegranate you can get up to a whole cup of juice.

Heat the extracted juice together with the sugar (use less for savory recipes, more sugar for sweet recipes) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. A pink foam is formed. Reduce the temperature and simmer gently for 45 to 50 minutes. The syrup should throw shiny pink bubbles. Do not reduce too much, as the syrup cools it will become much firmer.

Pour the still warm syrup into sterile glass bottles. In the refrigerator it will keep like this for at least three months.It was a great afternoon. And the best opportunity, shortly before the end of our trip, to still get to know authentic cuisine from the Middle East. Many thanks to Soraya, the hotel’s marketing manager, who organized our lunch and of course to Virginia, the chef, who cooked so extensively with us and wrote down the recipes.

The Ajman Saray, a Luxury Collection Resort

Ajman is the smallest of the United Arab Emirates and about 90 minutes from Dubai city center. The Ajman Saray is a new five star hotel, located just outside directly on the coast. The small, but very beautiful beach section, is surrounded by three other hotels of the five-star category. The Kempinski on the right, pioneered tourism to this region over ten years ago. In the meantime, however, the house looks a bit outdated between the new and modern neighbors. To the left is the also brand new Ajman Fairmont. Next to it, the Ajman Palace joins the ranks of luxury hostels. Since all the hotels have private beaches, the coast cannot be accessed by the beach path.

We deliberately chose the Ajman Saray. The ocean-facing rooms have great views, and the total of four restaurants allow for plenty of variety in dinner plans. This seems very important to us, because the road to culinary alternatives is long.

Ajman Saray
A Luxury Collection Resort
Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi Street
Ajman, 8833
United Arab Emirates

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