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A Mediterranean Summer: An Interview with Chef Zohair on Minoa’s Fresh Summer Menu

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Minoa Mediterranean Fusion prides itself on having fresh dishes that complement produce seasonality, and with summer amongst us, Minoa has launched a new summer menu dedicated to the season of al fresco dining. Dive into all the details with Head Outlet Chef Zohair Aljatlawi.

How did the summer menu for 2024 come to be? What inspired you to create this seasonal menu?

With this new menu, we are keeping it simple yet complementing the menu with complex flavours coming from fresh products. A lot of preparation is done beforehand, from dry aging and preserving to marinating. So even though the dishes might look simple, there is a lot that goes into making each dish. For this menu, I was inspired by my roots and childhood, the smell of freshly cut summer vegetables and herbs, nature, and the Mediterranean Sea. This menu is a translation of a long journey of tasting, trying, and feeling emotions connected with memories and places.

Are there any ingredients that you are particularly excited about using in this menu?

It must be the heritage tomato and smoked burrata that we use to make our refreshing burrata starter complemented with strawberry powder. Other ingredients I am excited to use are fresh mackerel, rabbit legs and fresh summer truffle that really bring out the taste of summer.

For those seeking an alternative menu, can you explain the concept behind the vegetarian dishes on the menu?

Our vision at Minoa is to use as many vegetables and local produce as we can, with more than 60 per cent of the menu being vegetarian. We incorporate original flavours into such dishes, giving them a modern touch.

Head Outlet Chef Zohair AljatlawiHead Outlet Chef, Zohair Aljatlawi.
Minoa Summer menu - AX ODYCYMinoa Summer Menu at AX ODYCY.

What are some signature dishes on the menu for this summer season? Are there any wine pairings you would recommend with the dishes?

A cold starter I would surely recommend is the Smoked Burrata with tomatoes, basil and strawberry powder, paired with a Grand cavalier Sauvignon Blanc. If a patron is looking to indulge in one of our hot starters, then I surely recommend the Rabbit Leg, presented with truffle mayonnaise, shiitake mushrooms and a cured egg. I would pair this with a light rosé wine like the local 1919 Gellewza. As a main dish, I would say our signature is the Lamb Belly with pickled aubergine, walnuts and pearl couscous. I recommend pairing this with a Cabernet sauvignon or a white full-bodied chardonnay such as Hauteville Chardonnay.

What techniques or preparation methods have inspired this summer menu?

As I said, a lot goes into making each dish and we do so with precision and care. Various techniques are incorporated in the menu, including preserving, marinating, aging, hydrating, fermenting, slow cooking. We also bake our special sourdough bread every day that we serve with compliments.

How do you approach the presentation of your dishes, especially with the vibrant colours and fresh ingredients typical of summer?

The menu is truly vibrant, with fantastic colours brought out from our summer ingredients. We are keeping things simple to reflect the Mediterranean diet, while adding touches of modern cuisine using seasonal ingredients and flavours.

What emotions do you hope to evoke with this menu?

This menu will give a feeling of freshness from the smell and taste of summer ingredients, that are inspired by the Mediterranean Sea and its nature. I want to inspire guests to delve into flavours they don’t normal go for and invite them to experience a world of summer tastes.

Head Outlet Chef Zohair Aljatlawi - Minoa Summer MenuMinoa Mediterranean Fusion Restaurant.

Experience Minoa’s Summer Menu.

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