Thursday, May 22, 2008

El Sheikh Restaurant, Pahang Street

I've noted this place (18 Pahang Street, tel: 6296 9116) quite a long while back when venturing in the vicinity of Arab Street. This time round, I was just roaming around the area again, came upon the restaurant and decided to check them out. The place sells itself as Lebanese, but I guess like many of the other Middle Eastern places locally, it's probably a little bit of Western as well as localisation of some of the items. I'm not so sure about penne arrabiata or crinkle cut fries in authentic Lebanese cuisine. But then again, I haven't really been to Lebanon, so what do I really know?

The experience here was a few hits and misses. But I guess there were more hits since at the end of it all, I didn't mind returning again another time to try something else off their menu. There were a couple of items here which I've never seen elsewhere so there's something for interesting. The options on menu was quite good for variety as well. Service however, was very spotty with very disinterested looking waitresses that didn't know what's in the menu.

We started off with a couple of warm appetizers which was a hummus with lamb and chicken liver with mollasses.

I'm quite taken in by the lamb and hummus. The creamy chick pea puree was definitely enjoyable despite the lack of lemon and garlic that flavors them generally. There were some toasted cashews and pistachios scattered sparingly on top of the dish, but they didn't taste too freshly toasted. Also, I found it a little strange that the accompanying flat bread came wrapped in plastic instead of being freshly made or even warm. Still, I found myself enjoying this quite a bit. The chicken livers are another item I wouldn't mind at all, having again. I'm not too sure what mollasses are, but the freshly cooked livers tasted like they were cooked in some kind of mildly sweet black vinegar reduction which made them very appetizing indeed.

And that's the 1/2 kilogram mixed kebab platter which the waitress insisted, consists of only lamb. But the truth is, we got a couple of chicken and lamb shish kebabs, a couple of lamb chops, and chunks of grilled chicken and beef. I guess that people who get this stuff go for the quantity of the meats which not surprisingly, wasn't too remarkable in terms of taste. It was in the end, just regular decent meat that would probably satisfy any one with one of those feral cravings. The accompanying spiced rice was pretty good though.

An interesting note, this place actually serves a whole lamb/goat for $400.

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