Date of Visit: Numerous times since 2011, the latest visit being November 2012
Tabouli is basically a salad of bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, mint, green onions, olive oil and lemon juice. Simple as it is, I love tabouli very much. I love the zingy sharp acidity of lemons mixed with the robust flavours of mint, parsleys and shallots. When I first arrived KL, I often went to Al-Amar for my tabouli fix. Although their tabouli is overly masticated to a pulp, I still went there for their Tabasco-ey tabouli which included the hot red chili padi that suited the Malaysian tastebuds.
Yes, I know tabouli is easy to make at home, but getting my hands on the fresh herbs was a chore for a new arrival especially since the supermarket downstairs does not have a complete stock of fresh herbs and I don’t know where the market is. Anyway, how convenient was it to have one of Malaysia’s Best Restaurant at your doorsteps right?
Anyway, here is the review of my last visit from a while ago:
The nice thing about Al-Amar is that each table gets 2 types of complimentary breads together with olive oil and seasoning salts.
Normally one would order the mezze plate of assorted hummus, but why order them if one can whizz these dips easily at home? (Chuck a can of drained chickpeas and a drizzle a bit of olive oil, then blend in the blender).
Foods in Al-Amar tend to be on the sour side. If you crave for something really sour, I recommend the Dolmades (rice stuffed in vine leaves and marinated in lemon juice and olive oil) or what they call Warak Enab in Lebanese for appetiser. A really sour finger food which jolts one awake, this is a welcoming respite after all the sweet Malaysian fares eaten in KL.
The restaurant has a huge oven on display, so naturally one would ordered grilled dishes.
I ordered Lamb Kofta, which came with more bread, spices and onions – warranting no complaints from me. (for the adventurous, there are raw lamb meats too!)
The oven baked Snapper looked festive sitting on a bed of lettuce and surrounded by lemons, tomatoes and onions. It was a delicious fish. Tarator dressing (made from more lemon juice, yoghurt, oil and nuts) was paired with the fish if one wants more flavour. In the midst of eating, we realised that the fish was not cooked in the middle so we had to send it back, which was a negative.
We had a bottle of Lebanese red wine from Chateau Musar which I thought was rather special, as this was my first time tasting vino from the ancient civilisation of Mesopotamia (Interesting history read up here ). It’s a young fruity wine, with a nose of rich red fruits, cherries and violets. The tannins left a long velvety touch hinting towards dark fruits at the end.
The interior harkens to Aladdin’s caves with red furnishings and exotic ornaments which is rather dated, but still attracting Middle-Eastern clienteles. The restaurants serve huge buffet spread during the weekends. A perfect chance to sample all the offerings the restaurant has. I definitely recommend Al-Amar to the vegetarians, raw foodists and those who wanted something savoury and tart, away from the unctuously sweet dishes.