Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunday Lunch @ Arab Street

Sundays have always been more of a family day for me. And when a family gets together, they eat together. After church, we headed to Cafe Le Caire for some physical food.

We decided to share a starter of Foul and Falafel Set ($7.50). The Foul (stop thinking of yellow and red cards!!) pictured above, is a dish of slow-cooked fava beans, topped with olive oil. Earthy and rich, it made for good eating.

How or what did we eat it with, you might wonder?

Arabic bread! Thin and floury, it was a little like chapatti and great for scooping up the Foul.

The Falafel that came with the set was essentially deep-fried patties of spiced fava beans or chickpeas. With a soft and chewy interior, and a nice fragrance of the spices used, I enjoyed this snack. Dip it into the Foul and their flavours complement each other. Oddly, the taste of Falafel here reminded me of McNuggets, without the chicken of course. It could be the seasoning/spice mix used I guess.

Mum's order of Sharam El Sheik ($5), spotted a pinkish blush and was supposedly a drink concocted from lime juice, Sprite and pomegranate. But all that hit my tongue was the distinct taste of Sprite, Sprite, Sprite.

I had fond memories of the Karkadeh ($4), after Dinesh brought some of the Station guys here and recommended the drink. Made from the extract of hibiscus, my Iced Karkadeh had a reddish hue. The drink on this visit turned out to be a tad too sour and thick. Better memories of it were light and refreshing with just a bit of tang.

Okay, fans of Tweety Bird please scroll past the next few lines.

For main courses, the Grilled Quail ($10) was the first to be ordered as it had required 25 minutes of preparation time. I found the meat slightly tougher than chicken (yes, it seems that chicken is the GOLD standard for comparison when it comes to 'exotic' food) but more flavourful. Personally, I would prefer big chunks of meat rather than small bits here and there but I reckon people who enjoy bony parts would better appreciate the quail.

The Laham Meshwi ($15) was a burnt grilled lamb steak with garlic sauce or so said the menu. The exterior of the three pieces of lamb steaks were too blackened for my liking but just a notch below what I would term chow tar (burnt). Scrapping some of the blackish bits away, I sliced into the lamb and found it sufficiently tender and tasty. There was that lamb-y flavour, but nothing too harsh. Dip the lamb into the yogurt and it adds another dimension- cold, creamy and tangy. Yums.

All main courses comes with a choice of rice, fries, potato wedges or mashed potato (add $1.50 for the mashed potato) and a small side of salad. There are three different styles of rice and what you get depends on the day and availability. On that Sunday, it was Bukhari rice. Those beautifully-long grains were sweet and nutty. A good companion to the grilled meats.

The last main course we tried was the Fish Kebab ($13). Once again, I would have preferred it less blackened. Looking past that, each fat cube of fish on the skewer was moist, sweet and tasted very fresh. The white meat was firm and the flesh held together well. As with the lamb, dip the fish into the yogurt (this time lightly spiced and drizzled with a very fruity olive oil) and taste the beautiful harmony of the smokiness of the fish and the calming, savoury-sourish tone of the yogurt. I think they serve grilled fish and yogurt in heaven.

Lunching at Cafe Le Caire was a laidback, no-frills affair. The prices seemed to have increased by quite a bit compared to one or two years ago but with the recent hike in food costs and oil prices, it probably can't be helped. Having said that, the current prices are still affordable and the food generally is unpretentiously delicious with a rustic feel.

Cafe Le Caire
39 Arab Street
Tel: 6292 0979
Opens: 10am - 3.30am (Sundays to Thursdays)
10am - 5.30am (Fridays & Saturdays)

Chew On This: Cafe Le Caire also does catering and has a high-tea buffet in the afternoons, on the second floor. They can even help arrange an Arabian Night party complete with belly dancers and sheesha for your Aladdin fantasy! Magic carpets not included.


Anonymous said...

Wow..!! the high tea and belly dancing can be tempting.. :)

The Hungry Cow said...

mama bok: No wonder they call it 'high' tea! ;p