Huqqa is more than just a restaurant and more than just a shisha lounge. It's an oasis in Dubai Mall, where weary shoppers can unwind over nibbles and an artisanal hookah. Primarily designed with Emirati women in mind, Huqqa is the sexier version of Dubai's staple shisha parlors. It slides in perfectly well with Dubai Mall's flawless aesthetic, boasting fine food and finer shisha. Divided into a restaurant, delicatessen, and shisha lounge – Huqqa is Turkey's gift to Dubai.

Reservations at Huqqa can be made at 04 566 8557.

Parking was surprisingly simple given Dubai Mall's notorious parking lot. We parked on the third floor of the Fashion Avenue parking lot and sauntered into the mall without breaking a sweat.

Greeting and seating
Greeted ten feet from Huqqa's actual entrance, we were walked through the dizzyingly large space and promptly seated in the “market” section of the restaurant.

Knowledge and service of the waiter
Our waiter was of Anatolian descent and described the dishes with the intimate familiarity that only a native can muster when talking about their food and culture.

Our order
Huqqa's menu is as expansive as the restaurant. We surfed countless offerings of American-style sandwiches and Asian-inspired salads, and zeroed in on dishes that were essentially Turkish at heart. Grilled vegetable flatbread for me and dolma fillet for my colleague.

Hand-kneaded and fresh out of the oven, the flatbread arrived glowing with an angelic oil-kissed luster. The ingredients fused together and melted in my mouth with the first bite, but called for a bolder flavor. The slow-cooked dolma sat snuggled atop a sharp cut of medium-rare steak, both cooked to divine perfection. While my colleague gave his dolma a gold star for authenticity, he felt like the dish was crying out for a dash of something special.

That's when we spotted the solution at the corner of our eye. A heaving faux-log with a cleaver wedged into it sat at our table, boasting more than your standard salt and pepper shakers. A sprinkle of artisanal sea salt and a drizzle of gourmet olive later, the flavors sprang to life. I pushed the envelope a little further and spritzed some salt solution onto my already salted food. Curiosity usually kills the cat, but in this case, just left it with salty lips and an incurable thirst.

Courtesy extended during the meal
Our server guided us through Huqqa's digital menu and ensured we were well looked after.

Huqqa is a restaurant where you could easily burn the calories you've consumed during your meal just walking from one end to another. The restaurant resembles a spaceship from Star Trek, and sports a glam industrial vibe with a pinch of 90s Dubai luxury. The restaurant enjoys a picturesque view of the dancing fountains and Burj Khalifa. The acoustics could use some tweaking, though.

Two mains and a bottle of water landed us with a 190 dirham bill.

Overall, would you return?
Not too soon, but I'd highly recommend it to hookah and Turkish food enthusiasts.

Chef's recommendations
Turkish breakfast spread, centik kebab, baklava