The moment this idea popped up, I got tons of doubts running around my mind whether I'll (or more like my stomach) will be able to take it. But KS wanted to be adventurous and try something different. Well, being a supportive girlfriend, I decided to take up the "challenge".
That brings us to Al-Salam Restaurant @ Setapak for lunch.
With no prior research, we arrived at the restaurant hoping that the menu will at least tell us more about what we might be eating. Not much of a luck. The names of most dishes were somewhat no where close to English. Well, at least I still know if it is chicken or lamb or fish or something else.
For soup, we chose lentil soup & mushroom soup.
Nothing very extraordinary, but one plus point, the soup is hot and hence, it tasted nice.
Fattoush: Bread salad made from fried pieces of flatbread combined with mixed vegetables and dressed with olive oil & lemon juice.
As expected for a salad but I really love how crispy the bread pieces are. Gave a nice texture that complements well with the salad. Quite a refreshing appertiser on a hot sunny day.
Baba Ghanouj: Eggplant mash mixed with olive oil & other seasonings, served with flatbread.
Eggplant has always been my favourite and it didn't take me too long to decide when KS asked me to choose between this & Hummus (chickpea mash).
But it being a cold appertiser, the eggplant just didn't stand out as much as I had expected. It could have been the seasonings that had covered the taste of the eggplant. Still, it was quite interesting to spread this mixture on the bread. Definitely a good alternative to butter. Maybe we should try Hummus next time.
For mains, we decided to play safe and ordered Chicken mendy rice & Shish Tawouk.
Chicken mendy rice: Spicy grilled chicken served with fragrant basmati rice
This dish may look very simple & bland but its taste is so complete. I could envisaged the amount of effort the chef must have put into completing this dish. Don't be fooled by how dry the rice looks. We were so shocked that the rice managed to lock the moisture & the flavour of the chicken. It was like eating Hainanese chicken rice, but minus the oiliness.
The chicken is very juicy and tender, while the skin has a little crispiness as though it was air-fried. And it tasted even better with the chilli mixture (herbs+lemon juice+chilli) that came together.
It was so good that KS almost finished it within minutes (I was busy making way for my dish to come, and the moment I turned to his dish, it was almost half-gone T.T).
Shish Tawouk: Grilled skewered chicken served with tomato-flavoured flatbread & house special garlic sauce
I have no idea why fries came along with this Arabic dish (Maybe they wanna make it more acceptable?)
Back to the Shish Tawouk. The grilled chicken cubes, although it looks like it has been grilled until it is dry, is surprisingly very tender. It has been marinated with a lot of spices, with a tinge of lemon - enough to make you wanna stuff yourself with more of the chicken cubes. The only setback: a little on the saltier side.
The flatbread here has been filled with tomato paste - tasted just like any pizza - and was nicer than the flatbread which they serve together with the Baba Ghanouj as this was warm.
Wrapping some chicken cubes on the flatbread, topped with generous amount of garlic sauce & onions/parsley is just unbelievable. (By then, I had forgotten about not having my share of the Chicken Mendy :P)
Mohallabiya: A Morrocan style milk pudding
To be honest, it actually tasted nice, like those puddings you find in the supermarket for kids. The only reason we were quite petrified when eating it was because we had no idea what it was then. On top of that, they served it quite early together with the mains & hence, it was no longer cold.
Drinks: We had ice lemon tea & Arabic tea.
The Arabic tea was actually Ceylon tea & mint, and it was quite refreshing. The ice lemon tea, on the other hand, was just a bit too sour for my liking but had a strong tea flavour, which sort of made it a good drink to quench our thirst.
What I didn't like about the place was that the air-con was not really working well (they had relied on standing fans) and the place is a little but dusty (no-no if you have a sinus problem). Also, not so good for a lunch visit especially when it has not rained for the past few days.
For the sort of price they charge, I would expect a more decent & comfortable environment. But, as we had a discount coupon for this meal, no complains ^.^
All-in-all, will I give another chance to Arabic food? Definitely.
Al-Salam Restaurant Lot 52A, Plaza Usahawan Genting Klang, Jalan Danau Niaga 1, Taman Danau Kota Setapak