Bait Maryam JLT is the brainchild of Chef Salam Dakkak, whose love for food and cooking started at an early age thanks to her talented mother – this gem’s namesake – Maryam.
“Maryam was my mother and I would parade her name in “Al Zarqa”, Jordan – the town that I grew up in. I was a friend to her at all times. In the kitchen, I was her little helper. During the olive season, I used to go out to the fields to pick olives with her. When she wanted to make jam, I would extract the berries with her. The doors to our home were always open, welcoming people of the town to join us in the special meals that Maryam cooked. Everybody was able to feel her happy spirit around the house. She used to love making people happy and used her special recipes to do that.
My passion became to look like my mother in every way; in her spirits, in her beauty and most importantly in her essence in the food. History began to repeat itself. Maryam’s home opened its doors to gather family and friends in this memory and so the dream came true… With the same plates, the same dishes, the same gatherings, and the same quotes that were used by Maryam are being repeated.”
This emotion-filled, nostalgic story is evident as soon as you step foot inside Bait Maryam. Set up to feel like a home away from home, this JLT gem features rustic touches and cosy vibes. Think cute little wooden tables and chairs, exposed brickwork, white wooden shutters and trinkets from Maryam’s bait (meaning ‘home’ in Arabic) decorating the walls. There is also an expansive outside area with festoon lighting and views of the twinkling JLT skyscrapers.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the dishes on offer at Bait Maryam are homemade with the freshest ingredients and a lot of love – just like Chef Salam’s mother, Maryam, used to make her food. The Huntr has ordered delivery dinners from Bait Maryam more times than we are willing to admit, and at long last, finally visited our favourite Levantine food spot to enjoy a sit-down dinner. We sampled the Fattoush (22AED), Lentil Salad (30AED), Hummus (20AED), Fatet Musakhan Maryam (36AED), Maryam Fukhara (37AED), Lamb Chops with Honey (56AED), Maryam Kebab (54AED), Batata Hara (23AED), Knafeh cheese (34AED), Mohalabieh (15AED) and the Rosewater Juice (18AED). Everything was spot on, delicious, wholesome and comforting. You should also try Maryam Fteerah (22AED) and the Cheese Rolls (23AED).
Insider tip: Take advantage of the pretty terrace during the cooler months and eat outside. Bait Maryam JLT is open daily from 10 am until 11 pm.
Photography and reporting by Augustine Paredes exclusively for The Huntr