Middle Eastern Dinner @ Kazbar, Capital Square

I was away in the Middle East for a vacation and fell ill after I returned. A few concerned friends asked if I had drunk camel's milk while I was there. Apparently, 2 Singaporeans were struck with a rare illness, brucellosis, which was attributed to the fresh camel's milk that they had consumed while they were in Saudi Arabia.
Cute Camel o/s The Treasury, Petra

I didn't drink any fresh camel's milk while I was in Jordan because I didn't come across any. Since we're on the subject of camels, check out the picture of the camel that I snapped sitting outside The Treasury in Petra. Doesn't it look cute and cuddly? :) A common question asked of me was, "What is there to see in Jordan?" For a start, Petra! Look at the pictures below and tell me if it rings a bell! I hope it does, as its one of the New Seven Wonders of the World!

Peeking @ The Treasury from The Siq, PetraThe Treasury @ Petra, Jordan

Visiting Petra has been a longtime dream of mine (along with my goal to visit all the Wonders of the World - where possible and I'm glad to have visited a few so far). The fascination with Petra started with Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade almost 20 years ago! I'm a major Indiana Jones fan and have watched all the movies!

As I generally prefer visiting ruins to modern buildings, it was exhilarating to finally visit Petra! The experience was definitely worth every minute of the brutal flight from Singapore to Amman (coupled with a 7 hour waiting time in Doha as I flew with Qatar Airways)! :)

Kazbar Interior

I'm a little bit of an Arabophile (I love Arabic cuisine, music and dance) so when a fellow Arabophile (of the foodie variety) JH suggested doing dinner at Kazbar, I was thrilled even though I'd had a week's worth of Arabic cuisine!

I first stumbled upon Kazbar in 2002 and was immediately drawn to it by its decor and music. Its a plush and cosy Middle Eastern "oasis" (as its also a bar cum restaurant and thus qualifies as a "watering hole") in the midst of the concrete jungle /desert (depends on how you look at it) that I work in. I especially love the cosiness of the little private rooms and was thrilled to get a table in one of them. We were lucky that some diners were just leaving when we arrived. Unfortunately, the lighting was too dim for my camera to handle, so please bear with my pictures.

Mixed Mezze Platter @ Kazbar
Mixed Mezze Platter @ S$18 Hummus, Moutabel, Babaghanoush, Cheese Borek & Falafel

We started with a Mixed Mezze Platter (Lebanese version of tapas) which consisted of Hummus (chickpea dip), Moutabel (smoked eggplant dip with Tahini & lemon juice), Babaghanoush (grilled eggplant, tomato & capsicum salad), Cheese Borek (herbs & feta cheese pastry) and Falafel (fried balls of mashed chickpea marinated with spices).I loved all of the items in the Mezze platter as I am a huge fan of sesame seeds (Tahini is a smooth sesame seed paste that is also used in Hummus), cheese and eggplants. I felt that the dips were a tad too bland (as all the dips that I had in Jordan were way saltier). JH and PC felt that they were adequately seasoned. The Falafel was too brown for my liking but the interior was still moist, I guess its because the large-sized Falafel helped to keep the moisture in. Despite all my gripes about insufficient salt, this is still worth a try unless you like your dips saltier (like I do).

Tabbouleh @ Kazbar

Tabbouleh @ S$14 Chopped parsley & mint salad with cracked bulgur wheat, tomatoes, lemon juice & olive oil

Tabbouleh is one of my favourite salads in the Mezze! It is a refreshing mix of chopped parsley and mint leaves, tossed with tomatoes, bulgur wheat, lemon juice and olive oil. I've found that not that many people like it as its an acquired taste. Unless you hate parsley, you'll find that the tart dressing helps to whet the appetite and to refresh the palate throughout the meal. This is definitely a MUST-TRY if you like greens!

Fried Chicken Wings @ Kazbar

Fried Chicken Wings @ S$14 Deep-fried chicken wings marinated in Arabic spices served with Harissa & Harissa Mayonnaise

The fried chicken wings were well-seasoned with the flavour of the spices which added an interesting dimension to regular old fried chicken. Though the chicken pieces look like they've been over-fried, they were still juicy and went very well with Harissa (Moroccan chili paste). This is also a MUST-TRY!

Chicken Shawarma @ Kazbar

Chicken Shawarma @ S$9 (Wed, Thurs & Fri after 6pm) Marinated grilled chicken served with pita bread & harissa

Chicken Shawarma is essentially a wrap sandwich filled with shavings of marinated chicken strips that had been cooked on a spit. Its the Arab variation of Turkish Doner Kebap. JH had been craving shawarma for a long time so she was especially thrilled with it. The chicken shavings were moist and tender. I added more harissa to spice things up and was pleased with the results. This is worth a try if you're in the area and if you've never had such a sandwich before you might find it interesting to see the vertical spit in motion at the al fresco area.

Mixed Grill Platter @ Kazbar

Mixed Grill Platter @ S$29 Lamb Chops, Shish Taouk & Kofta Kebab

The Lamb Chops here are outstanding and have been so for many years (despite the change of chefs). It has been my favourite dish at Kazbar for as long as I can remember. Why do I love them? The lamb chops are excellently marinated and grilled to perfection, so that they are succulent and have a pleasant smoky flavour. I ate mine without any condiments so I could savour its unadulterated flavour. This dish is definitely a MUST-TRY!!!

Kofta Kebabs are similar to Turkish Izgara Koftes as they are made from ground meat. The lamb kofta kebabs were delicious especially when complemented with the garlic dip! As with all lamb dishes they must be eaten warm for maximum enjoyment. The Shish Taouk (grilled marinated chicken) was too dry for our liking and so we didn't finish it.

Kazbar 25 Church Street, #01-03 Capital Square 3 Singapore 049482 Telephone: +65 6438 2975

Operating Hours: Mondays to Fridays: 12 noon - 1am Saturdays: 5.30pm - 1am Closed on Sundays

PS: This place is worth checking out Wednesdays to Fridays (if you've never visited) just for the experience as there is a bellydancer who heats up the scene.