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LILA Wood-Fired Taqueria: Mexican delights & specialty coffee in Umm Suqeim

HUNTR MEMBERS PERK

HUNTR Members receive a complimentary churro with caramel sauce with every coffee purchase at LILA’s. Coffee is available from 9 am. LILA’s is closed on Mondays. To redeem this perk, simply show proof of your membership via ‘My Account’ in the main menu bar above. 

Situated along the bustling Jumeirah Beach Road in Umm Suqeim, LILA is headed by Chef Shaw Lash, a pupil of multi-awarded celebrity Chef Rick Bayless. After opening a variety of fast-casual hotspots in Chicago and New York, Lash is now in Dubai with an all-star team, including four Mexican chefs.

With partner Tarek Islam, Lash aims to bring Mexican flavours never tasted before to our beloved UAE. The team here use traditional culinary techniques to grind hierloom Mexican corn into masa for tortillas. The menu is divided between snacks, tostadas, mariscos y mas, tacos, entrees, desserts, and house-made special Mexican drinks. 

Specialty coffee and craft mocktails are also available. The coffee is powered by the Dubai-born RAW roastery and available from 9 am alongside some rather exquisite churros (do not miss them). Mexican breakfast is also in the works (stay tuned).

The restaurant is warm and cosy. Simple and with no airs and graces, LILA is split between two floors. On the ground floor you will find a space that housing the mocktail and specialty coffee bar (not there when The HUNTR visited, but now in place), and the grilling station for the delicious lamb tacos. Up on the second floor you will find a casual seating area for small and medium groups, plus a glass-framed kitchen, which allows you to catch all of the cooking action. There is also a small al fresco seating area right outside the front.

The HUNTR visited for a pre-opening private dinner. We started with the Chips & Housemade Salsas (38AED) – giant, fresh-pressed tortilla chips served with three-chile salsa, and tomatillo jalapeño salsa, plus Guacamole (17AED). Next we shared the Queso Fundido (44AED), a decadent mix of Mexican cheeses, smokey mushrooms, roasted garlic & smoke chile salsa, and epazote. Which is served with fresh corn tortillas, that you can slather with all of that cheesey goodness. 

From the tacos section of the menu we have the vegetarian-friendly Smokey Cabbage (52AED) with smoked purple cabbage, cilantro lime crema, salsa macha, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Plus the Chiptole-Honey Grilled Shrimp (65AED) – locally-caught wild shrimp with creamy green chile ‘doña’ salsa, shaved white cabbage, and pickled purple onions. Plus the signature, spit-roasted Lamb Tacos Al Pastor (65AED for 3 and 75AED with cheese), Oaxacan-style marinated lamb shoulder, spit-roasted and sliced to order, served with green salsa cruda, and sliced radish.

We washed this all down with refreshing, house-made Hibiscus Lemongrass (28AED) teas.

Insider tips: Complimentary valet parking available. LILA also offers a unique restaurant-to-beach delivery service for hungry beach goers. Find out more here.

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