If you thought camel shawarma was an exotic twist on the traditional Arabian snack, then ‘deer shawarma’ could make you hit the hoof.
Shawarma Time,  an eatery on Abu Dhabi’s Najda Street, is introducing deer shawarma as a Thursday special. “We are the first ones to dish out deer shawarma. You will not find it anywhere in the world,” Mustafa Kuttenie, operations manager, told XPRESS.
Costing Dh20, the sandwich is made from the meat of the Arabian mountain gazelle,  which has been declared an endangered species. Hunting and poaching them are illegal in the UAE.
However, Kuttenie insists he is on the right side of the law. “I have not hunted them. Instead I have bought them from a farm in Al Ain and got them slaughtered.”
He said all three gazelles were male. “I got about 45 kg of meat from three gazelles, which will make 200 sandwiches,” he said.
According to him, he will need a kilogramme of meat to make six sandwiches as slow grilling will extract all the fat, shrinking the meat by 400gm.
“I am not making any profit out of this. I want people to come and taste this all new shawarma ,” he added.
Deer shawarma will be available only this Thursday. “Every Thursday, we will be introducing something new like duck, turkey or vegetable shawarma. This week it is deer special,” Kuttenie.
The taxonomy of the Mountain gazelle is complicated as gazelles in the Arabian Peninsula are not considered pure, but the result of cross-breeding between two or more unknown species.