Food: it’s the gateway to the soul, the way to a man’s heart, a source of happiness. For me, I love food, don’t get me wrong. But it is mainly just something I need. I never really understood the emotional side of it until I visited OJ’s Neighbourhood Eatery.
Owned by Emirati Moza, OJ’s Neighbourhood Eatery bridges the gap between amazing home-cooked comfort food and clean-eating.
All of the recipes are Moza’s own; either developed and perfected from scratch, or learnt from her mother and grandmother. The sauces and spice mixes are prepared daily by the lady herself, and all the dishes are made from the freshest ingredients and are as clean as can be (there’s no added sugar, thickener or preservatives).
By the University of Sharjah. It took me 40 minutes to drive there from Dubai Sports City, and there was an accident on the road. The return trip took around 25 minutes.
Open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. Breakfast is served all day.
The food is actually incredible!
So far, I’ve sampled the spaghetti meatballs, quinoa stuffed vegetables, enchiladas and some of the desserts and cookies. All the dishes feel so light (if an ingredient doesn’t need to be added, like flour or sugar, it isn’t) and at no point did I ever feel lethargic.
Moza loves to cook, and you can really taste this in her food. As much as I love food, I eat mostly because I need to, so I never really understood why people get so emotional over food. OJ’s Neighbourhood Eatery changed that. Her food influenced my mood. It made me feel so good, and the Crème Brülée actually made me speechless (yes, it is that good. It tastes like no Brülée you’ve ever had before). I genuinely believe that some of the ingredients are happiness and love.
I know I sound really dramatic, but I’m serious. I’ve been to some very nice restaurants, but none of them have ever actually evoked an emotional response.
The menu is inspired by her family. The pancakes are a homage to her little sister who used to make the family pancakes every Friday. Mama’s Harees Salad is Moza’s Mother’s signature dish and was taught to the chefs by the Mama herself.
The whole vibe of OJ’s is amazing home-inspired, great quality food and family time. There are no plug sockets, and the wifi code is not given away freely. Conversation is hugely encouraged, and they even have a mini library and ‘games night’.
So there you have it. Your slighty dramatic, yet justified introduction to OJ’s Neighbourhood Eatery.
Visitors, remember to add it to your itinerary.
Residents, make the 30-minute trip.