From a quick kebab to a grand banquet of sharing plates, Middle Eastern cuisine can really hit the spot. If you’re craving some Middle Eastern food, here’s our roundup of restaurants to check out in Singapore.
Beirut Grill – Lebanese cuisine
Beirut Grill has offered an original Lebanese dining experience in Singapore since 2009. The store has striking red walls at the entrance, with traditional Lebanese carpets and motifs. There was also a Middle Eastern soundtrack on my visit, enhancing the ambience. Anyone looking for a slice of Lebanese life in Singapore will appreciate this spot.
My meal began with the Beirut Mezza Platter, which gave me the chance to try a number of items. It includes hummus, two eggplant-based dips (baba ghanoush and moutabal), cheese roll and falafel. The cheese roll and falafel combination was my favourite. I liked the tangy, stretchy cheese texture, and the falafel was fresh and crunchy. I was given pita bread to pair with the different spreads. It was such a natural complement, especially to the hummus, that I finished the whole basket in no time!
For my main, the Shish Taouk came recommended as one of the chef ’s signature dishes. Chicken cubes are marinated overnight in Lebanese herbs and spices, then cooked and served on fragrant rice, along with grilled vegetables. The chicken cubes had a smoky flavour, while still being quite subtle and light on the palate.
For dessert, the Kunefe came as a surprise – it’s a creamy and sweet pastry dish with a crispy topping, soaked in a syrup called attar, and layered with cheese. The distinctive mix of crunchy and gooey textures made for a very interesting and succulent treat! As it’s only prepared to order, do ask for it early to save on waiting time. For those craving a tipple or two, Beirut Grill boasts a great cocktail and wine menu too.
Alaturka – Turkish and Mediterranean food
The cosy 50-seater restaurant predominantly serves up Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. We started with the meze tabagi, an assortment of the restaurant’s signature dips. Served with a warm Turkish lavash bread – the perfect base – this appetiser was absolutely delicious. We opted for the small portion and had plenty to go around for two. There’s also a bigger portion available for larger groups.
Meat lovers will be pleased with the selection of kebabs on offer. The adana kebab, featuring minced lamb seasoned with traditional spices, was seared to perfection, and came with a generous serving of fragrant, fluffy buttered rice and a side of fresh green salad. For something different, try the inegol kofte – special grilled beef patties based on a 19th-century recipe. They’re well executed, extremely flavourful and with a tender bite.
End your meal with the classic baklava – simple yet divine. Or, if you only have room for one dessert, get the kunefe, a one-of-a-kind treat made of thin vermicelli pastry baked in soft cheese and sweet syrup – hands down the highlight of my meal!
Fat Prince for modern Middle East food
This vibrant, modern Middle Eastern restaurant is perfect for those who love Turkish cuisine, especially kebabs and mezze. We chose the fried cauliflower with white lemon, black olive and green tahini from the mezze section to start, followed by a salad of okra with kale, bacon and mihalic cheese. We then tried all five kebabs! While that sounds like loads, each pita is “open” and the fillings are hearty, perfect for rolling up and tearing in two.
Shabestan for Persian cuisine
If you love Persian cuisine, especially grilled food, then this Middle Eastern restaurant is for you. The appetiser platter at Shabestan is a great way to start, as you’ll get to taste five different apps of your choice. We especially loved the muhamara – a delicious dip made from walnuts, pomegranate, molasses, olive oil, toasted bread crumbs, roasted peppers and spices. It is served with Iranian bread and kash-e-bademjan – a mixture of sautéed eggplant, onion and mint (almost like baba ganoush).
From the charcoal grill, there are loads of different lamb, chicken, beef and fish options, from kebabs and masti (meat cubes marinated in yoghurt and Persian herbs) to a range of mixed meat platters. We shared the Shabestan platter for two to try some variety, as it includes beef fillet, lamb, chicken, fish and prawns. I particularly loved the perfectly flavoured beef and the super-succulent prawns – delish! We paired the platter with a mixed rice plate that included zereshk rice with barberries and pomegranate, and bahala rice with lima beans and dill. To round things off, be sure to finish with some baklava.
Middle Eastern dishes at Artichoke
The restaurant is home to loads of shared platters and is ideal if you’re looking for fun Middle Eastern food with a twist. We started with a selection of mezzes including chickpea and tahini hummus, smoked eggplant, pomegranate and teriyaki babaganoush and roasted red pepper muhammara, all served as dipping plates with soft pita bread.
The caramelised cauliflower was one of my favourites, tossed in a tahini and dill sauce, as was the squeaky halloumi with honey-glazed carrots and Thai basil. Next came the kale fattoush, a homemade “feta burrata” served with kale croutons and herbs. Next came the brassica tabbouleh – perfectly cooked Brussels sprouts with raw cauliflower grains, red cabbage and pickled onions, the amazing hot skillet prawns in green harissa and cream, 100-day aged short rib with Turkish coffee barbecue sauce and slow-roasted lamb shoulder, which melted in our mouths. Artichoke has a great selection of beers, wines and ciders, and can make pairing recommendations for your Middle Eastern food too.
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