For all those tourists in Amman who want to gain authentic Arabic cooking experience to bring back home and impress their dinner guests, or for the local Jordanian who wants to throw a unique rooftop party in the area, Beit Sitti, My Grandma’s House, is the place to go.
Located in quaint Jabal al-Weibdeh, the intimate establishment brings together the natural charm of the mountainside and the charisma of the staff. Maria Haddad, the bubbly young hostess, greeted my group when we reached the top of the steps leading to the terrace. She led us inside, pointed us in the direction of the complimentary lemon juice, and so began the introductions and the start of our culinary adventure.
Along with the experienced chef, affectionately called “Umm Reem,” Maria guided us through our preparation of moutabal, the starter dip for which we took painstaking care in peeling the first layer off blackened eggplant; Arabic salad, with all the freshest ingredients; maqluba (makluba), the famous upside-down dish; and, last but certainly not least, kanafeh in all its cheesy goodness.
Kelly’s maqluba, the vegetarian way
While the others made their maqlubas with chicken or beef, I opted for the vegetarian way and thus got my very own cooking pot. I was proud of my performance in flipping the contents onto my plate; Maria insisted that a maqluba flip is a pivotal kitchen moment, not to be taken lightly.
As the light faded around us, the pink, orange, and blue tablecloths and matching canopies draped from end to end of the veranda kept the mood bright while we dined. It was such a light and festive banquet that confetti would really have been an apropos final touch.
When Maria asked us how the food was, and we all responded positively, she stressed that she’d had no part in the work, encouraging us to pat ourselves on the backs because we were the real masterminds. We all laughed, feigning agreement, knowing that without the guided instruction, we would probably still be figuring out the best way to mash the eggplant for the moutabal.
Beit Sitti, a great entrepreneurial idea turned craze, is not to be missed. In fact, it is ranked as the number one restaurant in Amman on Trip Advisor – even beating out the famous Hashem’s.
Sure, the latter is much cheaper, but a night at Beit Sitti is well worth the price.