Arabic cuisine Bangalore restaurant reviews


Monday, November 25, 2013Me! In words

Its been close to a month since I last posted on my blog. Way too much has been happening on the work, home and life front in general. The dark heavy clouds that seemed to have made themselves quite at home at our place finally seem to be dissipating and what better way to celebrate than to remember a really good meal at a great Lebanese place. 

Byblos was been on the radar for a while and it had been ages since we had some good Arabic style 'Ta'aam'. And so we headed there one weekend afternoon. The valet parking instantly earned the place a few points for thoughtfulness. Finding parking on 100ft road in Indiranagar on a weekend is pretty much close to wishful thinking. 

They have pleasant sofa and chair style seating on the ground floor with a good view of the brick oven in the open kitchen and large glass jars filled with the exotic. There is extensive seating upstairs as well and if you have a child whose mission it is to check out every restroom, then you better head upstairs. The first time we went there, I wish I had. 

The menu is quite large and while you are contemplating all the goodies, a basket of oven fresh pita is placed before you with pickled veggies, tzaziki and black and green olives. The pita is very very addictive. It flows continuously, with the basket refilling the minute the last pita has been taken out. The fresh yeasty aroma and the texture will have you eating it as is. While everything on the menu seemed lovely, especially the meats, I was in a reminiscing mood and wanted to have all the classics and so we asked for a Hot and Cold Mezzeh Platter, which though entirely vegetarian, was exactly what I wanted. 

What we did not expect was the quantities. We were 4 adults and a child and this platter satiated us all. We did ask for an Al-Arayas, simply because my mom never tires of telling me how that was one of her favorite dishes when she was expecting me and I wanted to remember what all the fuss was about. So now on to what the platter had - 

The oven fresh pita with pickled veggies, tzaziki and olives

Mutabbal - a lovely grainy texture, with the coursely ground eggplant and the tahini mixed in. It comes loaded with olive oil and that lovely tanginess that is an essential part of this eggplant dish. Sumac seems to be a general garnishing for most dishes that come out of the kitchen.  

The quintessential hummus - smooth, olive oil laden and it will have you scraping the bowls rather shamelessly

Spinach and cheese fatayers - crispy on the outside and somehow, the flavor of the spinach is not entirely drowned out despite the presence of cheese and the extensive cooking that the dish needs.

Dolmas - my all time favorite, right from childhood (though I still prefer the meat filled ones). This one has vine leaves stuffed and rolled with rice, minutely chopped bellpeppers, zucchini and finished off with lemon juice. Its tart, and I could easily stab any of my dining partners for their share. Luckily no one tested me that day and I got more than my fair share 

Baba Ghanoush - Yes, eggplant is predominant in the Lebanese cuisine, but then each dish is treated differently and makes for excellent dips with the fresh pita that is constantly coming to the table. 

Tabbouleh - a bulgar wheat and parsley salad originally - I think this version used a bit of couscous. It also had tomatoes, mint, salad greens and was finished with lime juice. 

Falafel - though a staple on a Lebanese table, this has never caught my fancy. Though the others at the table seemed to enjoy it thoroughly.

Fatoush - the Levitan bread salad which has toasted pieces of pita, fresh tomatoes, salad greens, and zucchini with an olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper dressing. Crunchy, cold, smooth are some of the feelings you are going to get

A look at the spread on the table

We ordered a hot chocolate which was fabulous and a cold coffee. I don't really remember what the drink at the back was. 

Al Arayas - This was pita bread pockets filled with grilled lamb mince, tomatoes, onions, garlic and then grilled. The meat is soft and has all the flavor of the spices well blended in. The bread, despite being grilled is not hard, but rather soft, almost melding into the meat to give each bite a more fuller taste. 

We were stuffed the gills by the time we were done and declined dessert. Despite this, we were offered a small platter of Arabic sweets - Aish A Saraya ( a bread pudding of sorts) and Awama (deep fried dough balls soaked in syrup) and date filled filo pastry.

We treated my mum here for her birthday another time and in addition to the platter ordered Smoked turkey ham & cheese sandwich. We assumed the little one would like it, but she chose to have the pita bread instead. It was a very filling sandwich with a salad and fries on the side. Both times the service was really good and the food came to table pretty fast. The manager came our table to ask if all was good the second time, and insisted on taking our dessert orders. We asked for fruit salads, since anything else would have been too heavy. This took way more than 20 minutes and 2 reminders to arrive. Though we did receive an apology, we never understood why.

Both times the meal + a couple of non alcoholic beverages came to Rs 1800 for all of us which was a really good deal for some great food.

Address: 100ft Road, CMH Road, Indiranagar, Bangalore
Phone: 25200411
Cuisine: Lebanese
Cards Accepted: Yes
Wallet factor: Rs 1500 for two on average (including 2 drinks)
Parking: Valet Parking

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