Lila uses traditional culinary techniques to grind the perfect masa for exceptional tortillas.
Corn vs. flour – an ingredient debate that continues to divide enthusiasts of Mexican food owing to the resulting tortilla’s taste, texture, and ability to hold fillings. But if it’s authenticity you’re seeking? Corn tortillas are the real deal considering that corn has been a staple ingredient in Mexico for thousands of years. Now, a new taqueria by name of Lila is gearing up to debut in Dubai, bringing with it one big claim to fame: it will be the region’s first wood-fired taqueria to use traditional culinary techniques to grind heirloom Mexican corn into masa for tortillas.
Located on Jumeirah Beach Road, Lila will serve the likes of spit-roasted lamb tacos’ al pastor’, chipotle-honey glazed grilled shrimp, wood-grilled shareable entrées, and Mexican classics such as locally sourced whole grilled red snapper ‘a la talla’, double cut grass-fed ribeye ‘carne asada’ – all served with hand-pressed corn tortillas. Headed by American chef Shaw Lash and inspired by traditional Mexican techniques, Lila is rooted in the grinding of fresh corn into masa, which retains all the nutrients and benefits that are normally lost when using industrial processes to create tortillas.
Lila will import, nixtamalise, and grind heirloom Mexican corn into masa to create perfect hand-pressed tortillas, resulting in a distinguished flavour profile. “As a true lover and student of Mexico, I understand how deeply the cuisine is rooted in its connection to the original landrace varieties of corn – every great taco starts with a tortilla, and it must be made from fresh masa,” says Chef Lash.
Over 15 years of experience in designing, launching and leading novel restaurant concepts aside, Shaw’s passion and dedication to Mexican cuisine led her to collaborate with some of the most important representatives in the Mexican culinary world today, such as celebrity chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless (with whom she served as a Development Chef for several years) and British food writer Diana Kennedy (considered the primary English-language authority on Mexican cuisine).
Designed with an open floor plan that features an intimate dining area, an open kitchen, and a sidewalk terrace, Lila will offer a casual dining experience with warm, homey vibes, together with complimentary valet parking. For those who enjoy food on-the-go, Lila will feature an all-day walk-up taco window. The street food spot will also feature a full-service coffee bar programme, partnering with Raw Coffee Company, serving single origin beans and blends sourced from Chiapas, Mexico.
Come weekends, beachgoers can have tacos seamlessly delivered to their location within 30 minutes by ordering through Lila’s Instagram account. The restaurant will have an in-house delivery service to bring a curation of its classics to some of the most popular public beaches in Dubai: Kite Beach, Jumeirah Beach, Umm Suqueim Beach, and Al Sufouh Beach.