Taste of the Middle East

ARABIAN MAGIC There is a lot to try at the Middle Eastern food fest Photo: G. Krishnaswamy   | Photo Credit: G_Krishnaswamy

This food fest is meant strictly for those who love to spend ‘quality time’ with the company and food while dining. The Middle Eastern food festival at the Arena in Taj Deccan is set to give you a slice of the regions’ cuisine. Beginning with the sheesh kebob, kibbeh, shawarma, hummus, lebaneh tazatski and more the chefs are set to give diners the best dishes from Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Morocco. With extensive use of chickpea, aubergine, hung-curd, broken wheat and fresh veggies, the spread which is served a la carte will play plenty of tricks on your palate.

Now if the Arabian coffee is served right in the beginning, pardon the chef. In their excitement to serve the middle eastern coffee, the guests might be served the coffee right in the beginning. What makes the coffee special? It is brewed on a special pan and then the brew is ‘pulled’ to get the white milky froth. “The coffee doesn’t have milk, the white foam comes from the constant pulling of the brew, this coffee instead has cardamom,” explains executive chef Sajesh.

The menu has two clear divisions — ‘mezze’ and ‘meshwi’. In the mezze, go for the Hummus bi tahini or the Hummus bil lahm; the latter is non-vegetarian. There’s Baba ghannouj, taboule as well. If all that selection is too much, Falafel in pita which is a regular mezze could be an easy pick.

Meat eaters must try the Dijaj shawarma, made with grilled chicken and served with Arabic pickles. More than the chicken it is the fried potato fingers which makes these stuffed rolls delectable and filling. Here’s some advice, make sure you are having the shawarma with the Arabic pickles, or the dish might just fail to tickle your taste buds. The bowl of hung curd pickle and the chilli paste will add the much provided zing.

To make the wait for the main course more worthwhile, try the ‘Sambusik’, it’s a middle-eastern version of the Indian samosa and is stuffed with kheema. In the Meshwi the Samak meshwi, the charcoal grilled fish cubes flavoured with turmeric and ginger is a pleasant surprise. Cooked to perfection the mild flavours in the fish make every bite a good fishy experience.

There is sheesh touk as well. They are mild flavoured char-grilled chicken with garlic aioli. But what steals the show is the Rubian meshwi — barbequed prawns marinated in saffron and onion juice.

The other delights which the chef presents is Bamia with ‘Roz d feen’. This is an Egyption okra preparation in tomato gravy with mint and chickpea pulao. The chickpea pulao is great by itself as well. They have pulao or a biryani version as well and call it ‘Machbous ala dijaj’.

Among the desserts, Muhallabia would be a better choice than Basbousa, unless you are a great fan of rose flavoured foods. This food fest is on till July 25, with the à la carte dinner, open between 7.30 pm. and 11.30 pm.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 5:45:18 PM |

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