KampungBoy and I had been curious about Lebanese food for the longest time. So when an email popped up in my inbox inviting us to review an award winning Lebanese restaurant in Pavilion, we gladly said YES.
I love Al-Amar’s warm and earthy interior with exotic paintings, ornaments with strong Lebanese influences and elegant upholstered seating.
Patrons can also enjoy al fresco dining at the terrace while taking in the fresh air and sounds of the bustling city below. Perfect for shisha smoking too.
The restaurant owner, Joseph who hails from Beirut, Lebanon takes great pride in his restaurant’s offerings that truly signify the taste and flavor of his home country.
Josepf even went beyond the extent to hire two highly qualified (with hefty salaries) Lebanese chefs, Mohamed and Pierre to run the kitchen of Al-Amar.
Lime Juice with Mint.
Lebanse Beer – Almaza. It is light in colour and flavor with a clean taste. Almost reminiscent of Heiniken and I love it!
Arak Fakra with an alcohol content of 53% is one of the best known brands of Lebanese Arak. it is mixed in approximately 1/3 arak to 2/3 water, and ice is then added. This dilution causes the clear liquor to turn a translucent milky-white colour. It has a strong aroma of licorice and the taste is nice and full.
Excerpt from Wikipedia:
Arak or araq (Arabic: عرق, pronounced [ʕaraq]) is a clear, colourless, unsweetened aniseed-flavoured distilled alcoholic drink (also labeled as an Apéritif), produced and consumed in the Eastern Mediterranean, Northern African countries, Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt. The word comes from Arabic ˤaraq عرق. Arak is not to be confused with the similarly named liquor, arrack (which in some cases, such as in Indonesia—especially Bali, also goes by the name arak). Another similarly sounding word is aragh, which in Armenia is the colloquial name of vodka, and not an aniseed-flavoured drink. Raki, zivania, and ouzo are aniseed-flavored alcoholic drinks, related to arak, popular in Turkey, Cyprus, and Greece.
Lebanese Bread Basket -the soft and flavorful flat bread was hot and fluffy. Joseph told us that mezzes are eaten with Lebanese flat bread. The right way is to use the edges of the torn bread to scoop and mop up any food.
extra virgin olive oil from Lebanon
hommos (front), moutabal (back) & mhammara (in red)
Hommos (or more commonly known as hummus to Malaysians) is a dip made of mashed chickpea, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
Moutabal is an aubergine (egg plant) and tahini dip. Charring the aubergines on a gas flame or charcoal grill gives the dip a distinctive smoky flavour.
Mhammara is a hot pepper dip made of fresh or dried peppers, ground walnuts, breadcrumbs, and olive oil.
All the dips have a smooth texture and rich, creamy consistency. So delicious that we almost forgot that these spreads packed with Vitamin C and Iron are actually good for health.
shanklish salad (front), tabbouleh harra (back)
Shanklish is a type of aged and dried cheese made of cow or sheep milk. The cheese has a strong and peppery flavor because most of it was covered in thyme & Aleppo pepper.This shanklish salad is made of the shanklish, together with some diced tomatoes, onions and cucumber and dashes of extra virgin olive oil. If you think that feta cheese has a strong game flavor, wait until you try shanklish.
Tabbouleh is also something that Malaysians are more familiar with. It is a salad dish with finely chopped parsley, bulgur, mint, tomato, spring onion, and other herbs with lemon juice and olive oil. There is something so refreshing about the bright flavors of parsley and lemon that I can’t stop scooping onto it!
Batata Harra (front), Mixed Pastries – cheese rolls, kebbeh kras (minced beef meat stuffed in pine seed dough) & beef sambousik (Fried Pastry Stuffed with Beef, Onion, Pine Nuts, Spices) (back)
Batata Harra is a spicy potatoes dish. The potatoes were stir fried with red peppers, coriander, chili, garlic and olive oil. I love the spicy tangy sauce that coated the potatoes. It really perks up one’s appetite!
If you fancy one large platter with a little bit of everything but with enough meaty grills and kebabs to feed an army, the mixed grill platter for six (RM180) sounds like a perfect choice!
It came with lamb mechwe, lamb cutlets, kafta antabli, kafta khishkhash and grilled fish filet. The meat was done well without being chewy and the lamb had a robust, slightly gamy flavor which I absolutely adore!
Al Amar also offers Sunday Buffet @ RM 65++ per person. Patrons can watching the swaying hips of the belly dancer every Saturday night too.
The buffet spread is huge enough for us to know more about Lebanese cuisine.
Just take a look at the awards! It is enough to convince us that Al-Amar is undoubtedly the best Lebanese restaurant in town.
The food review session is truly an eye opening experience for us. Joseph and his chefs are proud of their cuisine and they are certainly not wrong on this sentiment. The flavors of the dishes are so fresh and lively and the Lebanese cuisine as a whole goes under the heading “health food”. Fresh fruits, vegetables, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice are apparent in their cooking.
Al-Amar Lebanese Cuisine
Lot 6.10, Level 6, Pavilion KL,
168, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur.