High Garden : Urban rooftop in the heart of Amman

high gardens
(Photos: Tripadvisor)
When looking for locations to dine in during summertime, outdoor areas, especially rooftops that overlook the beautiful skyline of Amman, should be on our radars. Many rooftops are popping up and garnering quite a crowd, especially for those looking to dine surrounded by an outdoorsy, uplifting vibe. اضافة اعلان

Unfortunately, food seems to be repetitive in most rooftops you visit, and few places are risking creating new dishes. And so, between the choices of new and creative versus popular and overused, most places go for the latter one. Examples of these dishes are anything with dynamite sauce, traditional Caprese salad, Grilled chicken with lemon sauce, and so on. Even though I am all for placing safe choices on the menu for guests who do not wish to choose or try new dishes, not all choices should be safe.

While entertaining guests from out of town, I decided to take them and head to High Garden for dinner.

Located in the Fifth Circle area, in a quiet neighborhood and away from Amman traffic, High Garden serves an authentic Levantine and international breakfast and brunch, lunch, and dinner menu.

The rooftop embraces a botanical garden theme to enjoy in the early hours of the day with a stack of fruit-laden pancakes or a well-balanced eggs benedict with a cup of coffee or a glass of bubbly. It also serves hookah, and not many places in Amman serve hookah and alcoholic beverages at the same time.

When you walk into the restaurant, the greenery is impossible to ignore as it is everywhere you turn, reminding me of an urban forest. There are birds in cages around the restaurant which makes it not only visually appealing but also auditorily pleasant.

The seating arrangement varies from couches, long tables with high chairs, and regular dining tables, suitable for giving the guest options.

We went for dinner on the weekend, and it was not too packed. Possibly because it was after Eid and people either over consumed or overspent their salaries and were trying to cut down.
When you walk into the restaurant, the greenery is impossible to ignore as it is everywhere you turn, reminding me of an urban forest. There are birds in cages around the restaurant which makes it not only visually appealing but also auditorily pleasant.
We ordered the sliders, the fettuccini alfredo pasta, the crab and mango salad, and the shrimp in bang bang sauce. We also ordered fresh smoothies, which were a personal highlight for me.

Before we start with reviewing the food, it is important to note that food presentation is something many restaurants focus on away from just flavor, and that presentation can alleviate or diminish a dish.

Places that are not solely focused on the food sometimes miss an important factor for experience, besides the menu selection that we previously talked about, that factor is how well dishes are executed and presented. This observation is not only for High Garden, but for places of similar vision, where food is not the focal point. Execution from cutlery to presentation is highly influential.

Therefore, while assessing the food taste and presentation, it is important we note whether we are judging based on the food item itself, or are we judging it in light of where it is being served? I am sure some of us have heard the sayings “For a café, the food is pretty decent” or “ The steak is actually not that bad” while knowing that if the same dish was served at a steak house, the place would be butchered.

That being said, let us dig into the food. First, the sliders; even though the taste of the meat was nicely seasoned, they were very dry with no sauce.

Adding sauce can help the dish tremendously. Sauce, in general, should be present on both parts of the bread. And if you are trying to bring it up a notch then you can create a more complex liquid component, such as a caramelized onion, tomato bacon jam, or pickled red onions to help create an easier bite that does not require dipping the slider into ketchup or mayo to make it more edible.

The crab salad with mangos was great, the dressing was just right and the seasoning was on point. I loved the fact that there were multiple vegetables in the salad and not just lettuce overshadowing everything.

However, the mangoes were not ripe and unripe mangoes can be a little bitter to the taste. I understand that it can get quite challenging to have the ingredients exactly how we want them to be, however, I would suggest informing the guests that the item is unavailable rather than to have them chew on bitter crunchy mangoes.

As for the fried shrimp with the bang bang sauce, also known as the dynamite sauce which was introduced by P.F. Chang’s and made its way to most cuisines in Jordan, is served in a little bowl on top of lettuce and topped with the fried shrimp. I do like the fact that the shrimp is seasoned prior to being fried, which is a major thing that most places forget to do. But personally, I have a passive-aggressive relationship with the bang bang or dynamite sauce since it is overused. However, people still enjoy it and expect to see it on the menu.

The fettuccini alfredo was good in flavor too. The pasta was a little overcooked for my liking, and there was a tad more sauce than usual, which with a cream-based dish means that it will clump up after it sits there for a while, especially if the temperature at the place is a little cold.

Aside from the food, the service at High Garden was very friendly and attentive, the servers were always present and would acknowledge every need with high speed and urgency, which in this case I can say “for such a restaurant the service is really good”.

I definitely recommend trying out High Garden for a breakfast, lunch, or a dinner outing with drinks and friends; the crowd is mature, the ambiance is fresh, and the food is good. I have been there for breakfast before and I did enjoy both the quietness and the food.

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