Sunday, December 03, 2017

Urban Bites, Telok Ayer Street

The general wisdom is that if a restaurant has been around for some time, it's probably good or at least decent. But that's not always true isn't it? This was Urban Bites (161 Telok Ayer Street). Lebanese they styled themselves. And style it was, over substance.

Their sambouski wasn't too bad. Minced lamb and onions in a puff. The stuffings were tasty, moist and piping hot. It was a promising start.

This stuff was called hummus with meat. Sliced lamb tenderloin at medium rare doneness. It looked pretty darned good. A nice looking char with pink in the centre. But - the meat had little flavour. I could tell that it's red meat but I would absolutely have had no idea that was lamb. That's a sin there. The hummus was too sour. Too much lemon, too little olive oil and garlic and it was mashed into puree without much texture. Not even grainy. Glad was I this wasn't my first hummus experience or I would have thought little of them. 

Halloumi cheese needed more time on the grill. It arrived barely lukewarm. So it's either under done or service is an uncontrolled mess in the restaurant.

Wasn't getting much squeakiness from them cheese. I can sense the shifting of priorities in the food because their online menu which hasn't been updated doesn't mention toast but the current printed menu does. I'm pretty sure the were thinking bruschetta when they decided to add "toast" in to the cheese. That toast was hard. Not freshly toasted at all.

These chicken livers were tender and properly cooked. But at this point, everything was pretty much tart or sour. The balsamic vinegar from the Halloumi cheese before, their hummus with too much lemon and now pomegranate molasses on the liver that was more tart than sweet. But look - there's even a slice of lemon that might you might want to squeeze onto those livers. Or perhaps they were just for decoration.

I'm sensing that a lot of what's being done is copying of ideas without any understanding of what's being done. The chicken livers doesn't need more lemon.

That's sea bass. Baked according to the menu. Looks pan fried to me. The fish was nice. But it was destroyed by the tahini and hummus which took out the crisp from the skin and drowned out all the natural flavours by being hummus-y and tahini-y. I didn't think these combined well. So it was sour and a little spicy and a little nutty. Waste of a nice piece of fish if you asked me.

This was what they called arabica affogato. Very obviously, these guys know little to nothing about making/serving affogato. It wasn't very difficult to deduce that they had just wanted to do one and impress people. 

Generally fucking stupid to be serving them in a martini glass which was already filled with an oversize scoop of ice cream. Not much room to pour the Turkish coffee which was suppose to have cardamom flavour but didn't. How the hell does one eat this shit? The Turkish coffee wasn't even as flavourful as espresso. That and we could only pour a little before the glass was about to overflow and we had to eat ice cream to free space before we could pour a little more of coffee. We left more than half of this untouched.

Muhalabiah was nice. But then again it's not something that's easy to screw up. We were too sugared up at this point to even bother with those namoura that came with them.

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