Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Middle Eastern Delight

For dinner, my friend took me to Holland Village, a trendy area full of restaurants and boutiques, kind of reminiscent of Sanlitun in Beijing.

We went to Al Qasr, a Lebanese and Middle-Eastern restaurant that was empty save for one table with a young French family -- which was a pity as the food was pretty good.

The decor is warm and inviting and the music set a lively tone; however once the restaurant managers walked off the premises to hang out with their friends across the street, the wait staff didn't seem to be able to function. Even when the CD finished playing, no one pressed play to keep it going.

Nevertheless we ordered a number of starters. The hummus had a smooth creamy texture that was perfect with the light and puffy pita bread that was served with it. And the artichoke salad featured diced artichokes, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce that was fresh and refreshing. We really enjoyed the halloumi grill, which was grilled goat's cheese that was slightly salty, as well as the maussakaa batinjan, which was roasted eggplant, chickpeas, onion, garlic, coriander and cumin in a tomato-based sauce. These ingredients had been simmering for a long time and created the most wonderful flavour.

Another pretty good dish was the fool medames, featuring cooked broad beans marinated with garlic, lemon and cumin mixed with chickpeas and olive oil. The only dish I could fault would be the lahim bel ajeen, described as Lebanese-like pizzas filled with minced lamb, onion, yogurt, garlic, parsley and pine nuts. They were like mini dough pockets with the filling that were easy to eat, but didn't have much flavour.

Strangely only one other couple came into the restaurant while we ate there which was too bad as the food is great; perhaps the location of this restaurant isn't so good, being on the edge of the main strip. There's another Middle-Eastern restaurant called Al Hamra which probably grabs most of the diners eager for some exotic fare.

In the end the bill came to about S$67 for two; the restaurant definitely has some fantastic dishes. Service was spotty, at times very attentive and at others not quite sure what to do.

Al Qasr
46 Lorong Mambong
Holland Village
(65) 6467 7793

1 comment:

  1. when cat is away the mice will play. may be the owner should never leave the premises while it remains open. the quality of service would then be more uniformed.