Mleiha Sharjah – The Real Desert Escape – Review
And when we thought there’s nothing left to explore; along came Mleiha!
It is fascinating to find archaeological remains in a desert, where the unsullied sand stand the test of time with silence and submission, where the horizon is the flat lay of sand dunes, static rocks, unflinching succulent plants and the resilient Ghaff trees. The opportunity of finding the ancient civilization buried under the sand is an inimitable divergence of the reality from the myth that extorts human curiosity leading to the spread of humanity from Africa across the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf region, and onward to populate the world through Iran, India, Europe and Asia.
Mleiha a municipality in the Emirate of Sharjah, UAE, is a land immersed in history and archaeology of ancient Arabia, it is the central location where the archaeological remnants dating from the Neolithic to pre-Islamic Arabia were found 40 years ago. Today Mleiha Archaeological Centre in the middle of the municipality is a destination for history buffs and nature lovers, built around a well preserved Umm al Nar era tomb. The center details the excavations and discoveries including the Faya North East find, which provides evidence that ‘anatomically modern humans’ were in the Mleiha area between 130,000 and 120,000 years ago. The center also offers tours to the nearby attractions, including the popular ‘Fossil Rock’, or Jebel Mleiha. Right in the middle of the Center is the museum dedicated to the finds, studies and research of the area.
Right next to the museum is the lovely Bystro Mlieha Cafe cum restaurant. It is one of those places that you can never imagine existed, for not just what it offers on the menu but also for how it is nestled effortlessly on the grounds of the archaeological site, giving the most luxurious unfiltered views of pure desert nature with total peace and submersion.
With comfortable indoor seatings, the vast patio offers the best communion with nature. Inside the restaurant is airy with various elements connecting it to the natural surroundings outside. A wall with a number of books offers the visitor a chance to unwind while still learning more about the history and the geography of the Emirate. Next to the book collection is the area dedicated to kids who might find the museum experience slightly somber to their taste.
The menu at Bystro Mlieha is another shocker. In the middle of technically nowhere the Bystro offers an extensive menu of delectable fare. Starting with hearty breakfast options all the way to delicious lunch and dinner meals. The breakfast menu is perfect for those who want to hit the road or hitchhike the desert and the nearby area. If you are up for Breakfast we recommend you try Shakshouka the quintessential Middle Eastern grub or go for Full English complete with sausage, hashbrown and more. Moreover, the menu is available throughout the day you can try the morning meal later in the evening too.
If you are in for a proper meal then look no further since Bystro Mlieha offers full-on meals, including salad, starters, and sweets. Since we were there around afternoon we opted for the dinner options from the menu. Our first choice was the Falafel Salad, which came with the side of beetroot hummus tomatoes and cucumbers. It was a refreshing and very homey start to the main course artfully presented on a wooden tray. For the main, we opted for Chicken N’ Waffles and Herb Roasted Half Chicken. To start with chicken and waffles was a very quirky offer from the restaurant, considering it is pure soul food with a backdrop of the Archaeological sites, but interestingly the comforting appeal of the flavors make it all the more desirable. The dish was made to perfection, soft doughy semi sweet waffle and succulent fried chicken on top with streaks of runny maple syrup. It is no wonder that even Indian Jones would have clearly preferred the option!
The Herb Roasted Half Chicken, was also an enchanting and fragrant mix of flavors and herbs on tops of mashed potatoes, again tastefully presented and with a portion size fit for a king! The main courses were served with the refreshing Pineapple and Passion Fruit Cordial, which gave a rejuvenating kick on a day hitchhiking the Mleiha grounds.
Finally, a cup of coffee with the lovely latte art made the end of our trip.
There’s something about the UAE that never fails to surprise. With a number of futuristic adventures to participate in, the country strives to preserve its natural and national treasures, Mleiha being one of that. It is without a doubt one of the top outdoors destinations in the UAE, with ample to unravel and explore and unwind at the perfect Bystro Mlieha. The restaurant experience is on par with any great desert escape we have had in a while, along with the option to learn more about the history of the UAE.
Check out a brief video of our trip to the amazing Mlieha, Sharjah…