Archive for the ‘Middle Eastern’ Category

The price is right at Pita & Olives, a lonely Middle Eastern eatery on Level 3 of 100AM mall. Very affordable for the quality, especially the wonderful small plates of hummus, falafels and labane (ohhh, especially the labane)! Give it a try before it’s gone as I’m concerned about its going concern since 100AM is too quiet…


Clockwise, from top left:

Labane ($3.90) – yogurt cheese, olive oil & zatar; Hummus ($3.90) – blend of chickpeas with tahini & herbs, topped with olive oil and paprika; Sabich ($12.50) – grilled eggplant, hummus, boiled egg, tahini, mediterranean salad, pita bread; Shakshuka ($11.50) – mixture of tomatoes & vegetables topped with eggs, served with pita bread; Grilled Beef Patty in half pita ($6.50); Falafels ($3.90) – patties of chickpeas, parsley, coriander and spices.

Pita & Olives
#03-10 100AM, Beside Amara hotel
​100 Tras Street
9011 2312

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Meaning ‘the sun rises in the east’, Levant is a warm and intimate restaurant offering eclectic culinary wonders from the Middle East region.

I’ve been to cities in Turkey and Egypt to explore their dining scenes and I fell in love with the food there. A meal at Levant reminds me of just how much I love Middle Eastern cuisine!


There’s baba ghanoush and there’s moutabal. Both are similar, and I was told that higher-end restaurants call their version “moutabal” instead of “baba ghanoush” (don’t ask me why). Doesn’t matter to me; I love all roasted eggplant dips and Levant’s rendition was wonderfully smokey and very satisfying! And of course, when there’s hummus around, you can be sure my spoon will be busy making repeated trips between the plate and my mouth ha.

Mixed Appetizer Platter ($28++)
hummus, moutabal, taboula, green salad


While Levant’s menu is fixed and comprehensive enough, the kitchen does cater to guest’s requests whenever they arise and also when possible. So I requested for homemade falafels and they were indeed delivered fresh and piping hot to our table! Kudos to Chef Hany (the handsome chef who works out in the kitchen with his dumbbells haha) for going the extra mile!

chickpea patties, off the menu


Stew dishes also take center stage at Levant and most notably Chef Hany’s lamb biryani with whole lamb shank stewed to tenderness and served with quality light and fluffy biryani rice. The smell was incredible and everyone at the table (except me, the pescetarian) raved about it!

Lamb Shank Biryani ($32++ for 2 pax)


I officially love the seafood platter here! Marinated and cooked in all kinds of exotic spices which I won’t even pretend I know what’s what, everything was fresh and the fish kebab was spectacularly tender and soft, tasting almost like cod fish~ Plus I couldn’t stop dipping all my food in the delish yogurt and garlic sauce on the side!

Seafood Grill Platter ($128++)
fish kebab, prawn kebab, lobster, squid


K was all praises for these two meaty kebabs and he even liked them more than my fish kebabs! Awesome, all the more fish kebabs for me then! Both dishes are also the chef’s recommendations so you won’t go wrong choosing them!

Kebab Koobideh ($29++)
minced lamb, onion, pepper
Shish Tawooq ($28++)
boneless chicken, saffron, traditional spices


By now, I already know desserts in Middle Eastern cuisine are more often than not an afterthought. I don’t fancy baklava and Turkish delights so a mere scoop of ice cream was the perfect ending to the meal!

Saffron Ice Cream ($6.50++)


My thanks to Anil and Suresh for inviting and being such entertaining hosts!

8 Greenwood Avenue
9640 4866

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Two dishes off an extensive menu can’t even make up a sample to draw a reliably accurate conclusion, but hello we are talking about food so I’m going to judge anyway haha.

I think Urban Bites does great vegetarian but meat eaters ought to think twice.

My mezza platter had a tasty variety of delicious dips, falafels and salads (yes, I love mezza so much that I can have it as a main course!) but K’s grilled chicken was dismally skinny, dry and tough. Sad.


Mezza Platter ($22)
hummus, motabal, labneh, fattouch, tabbouleh, falafel


Farrouj Meshwi ($14)
charcoal-grilled half spring chicken, fries (or rice), specialty garlic sauce


Lebanese Bread ($6)
garlic mozzarella


Urban Bites Mediterranean Cuisine
161 Telok Ayer Street
6327 9460

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I have very nice and accommodating friends who always let me choose where to eat, no questions asked. So 3 days after the tasting at Overdoughs, my lingering craving for more Middle East food had me herding the group to Artichoke again, for brunch this time!

Not even bothering to read the menu (for once), as I already knew what I wanted: ful mudammas, a national Egyptian dish that’s frustratingly hard to find in Singapore. Hearty bean stew that’s rich in flavours (friends commented it’s curry-like), this one-pot dish hit all the right spots!

Half the group had the mezze platter (selection varies weekly) which I shall gun for on my next visit, while the other half opted for scrambled eggs with haloumi cheese, a safe but not terribly exciting choice.


Ful Mudammas ($17++, above)
“breakfast of Egypt” – cumin spiced fava bean stew, 5 minute egg, sesame sauce, melted butter, pickles, za’atar bread

Mezze Platter ($25++)
“Mediterranean bento” – smoked salmon, hummus, beetroot tzatziki, anchovies, za’atar bread


Scrambled Eggs ($22++)
local organic mushrooms, grilled haloumi cheese, rocket, za’atar bread


Artichoke Cafe & Bar
161 Middle Road
6336 6949

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Overdoughs, the bakery offshoot of Artichoke Cafe, has launched a simple but absolutely delicious lunch menu! Extremely pleased to drop by for a tasting after the wonderful meal we had at Artichoke a few weeks ago.


Located at Sculpture Square and sharing the same space as Artichoke, the lunch menu is available for takeaway or to be enjoyed at the alfresco area, in the midst of Artichoke’s edible garden.


A perfect thirst quencher is the homemade mint & basil lemonade ($3.50), so refreshing! The herbs are freshly plucked from the edible garden above!


How lunch works (12-2pm, weekdays):

1. Choose a base: pita bread, nacho chips, or spiced rice infused with cumin, turmeric and peppered with currants
2. Choose the fillings: Lebanese roast chicken ($8.50) marinated in yoghurt and spices, gluten-free flourless Turkish beef meatballs ($9), or garlic mushrooms ($8) for vegetarians

What brings it all together are the exotic sauces: toum (hot garlic sauce), zhug (green chilli sauce), ezme (Turkish tomato salsa), and tahini (roasted sesame sauce). I was initially skeptical about mingling so many sauces together but it works! The folks at Overdoughs know their stuff.


Creamy hummus ($2.50) is my favourite! Get extra Arabic bread to mop up the chickpea spread!


More of the addictive garlic mushrooms! Locally grown by Kin Yan Agriculture, the mix ranges from meaty abalone or golden oyster mushrooms to the delicate willow variety, depending on what’s fresh that day.


We were supposed to be only tasting Overdoughs’ menu but owner Bjorn kindly fed us more food, awesomeeeee!

Scrambled eggs and maple glazed bacon chop is a present classic at brunch. Basically heart attack on a plate, super thick and fat bacon chop is what you get!


Smoked salmon with beetroot tzatziki on za’atar toast looks so beautiful! Top marks for presentation. If you like your food colourful and flavourful, Artichoke is where you want to be!


After all that savoury food, it’s time for a lot of sugar!

Lemon/passionfruit meringue tarts have been done to death recently so Overdoughs’ soursop meringue tart ($5.40) is a welcome change. That said, I prefer the boring lemon/passionfruit combi since the tanginess is more distinct and pronounced. I like sour>sweet desserts!


If you think a meringue tart was all we had, guess again. Like I said, Bjorn loves to feed his guests great food and the platter of sweets he brought out had us ooh-ing and aah-ing! Such an impressive and gorgeous plate of calories, don’t you agree?


Walnut baklava, fig chutney & pistachio baklava, cashew baklava, traditional’ baklava, chocolate & almond baklava, orange almond meal tea cakesnickers tart, roasted banana muffin (prices range from $5.40 to $6.40)… Overwhelmed, in a happy way!


Baklavas are grossly sweet by nature so I can’t fault the phyllo pastries for being so sweet (and slightly oily). Credits to Overdoughs for taming the sweetness to suit the local palate!

Flourless orange cake with mascarpone cheese is the most conventional item on the platter and that’s easy to love.

Snickers tart is literally that, snickers in tart form: layers of peanut butter nougatine, salted caramel and peanut brittle within a cornflake crust! Isn’t that brilliant? I wish I could have it all but it’s so rich that while the heart is willing, the tummy surrendered after a couple of bites.

The best surprise is the banana muffin! Now, I generally don’t like bananas or muffins but this hearty cake with roasted banana chunks, fresh blueberries and sticky marshmallow streusel is soooo good! I certainly don’t mind having this for breakfast or tea on an indulgent day!


My special thanks to Stefanie from Ate Integrated Communications for the invitation, and to owners Bjorn and Roxanne for the warm hospitality!

Overdoughs / Artichoke Café & Bar
161 Middle Road
 6336 6946

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K is feeling all smug and proud that he managed to unravel the hidden artsy meaning behind Artichoke Café & Bar. Well, I’ve got to give him some credit, he’s good (okie, very good). Especially since I didn’t figure it out, considering I’ve already been to Artichoke Café a couple of times.

I mean, look at the jumbled scrawling on the chalkboard below. Can you guess that Artichoke is a play on words, standing for ‘Art I Choke’? Being housed near (or is it in?) an art gallery and all that. Clever clever.

It was a pretty funny moment when we asked the waitress for affirmation of K’s ‘Art I Choke’ theory and a blank look was returned. Apparently like me, she had no idea too! So off she went to ask her boss and yep, K was given the green light to sport a self-satisfied smirk for the whole of that evening! It’s a guys’ thing to hear those magical three words: “you are right”, so I shall let him indulge in his moment (and I promised to praise him publicly on my blog) haha.


‘Deviant Middle Eastern food’ — that’s how the talented guys behind Artichoke described their cuisine. Traditional or unorthodox, I don’t really care. Just be delicious. And I wasn’t disappointed, albeit surprisingly since I wasn’t blown away on my previous visits. Maybe we picked the right stuff this time!

A wide variety of mezze was laid out on the counter, and I was so tempted to get all! Of course, reality intruded and we ordered modestly for two: hummus as usual, muhammara (interesting and I say that in an ambiguous manner), and my favourite beetroot tzatziki! Very very good. To accompany all the dips, a side of Arabic bread was ordered. Freaking expensive at more than one buck per slice, but any carb-whore will love the freshly toasted and crusty bread!

Artichoke’s dining policy advocates the oh-so-popular-these-days communal sharing. But it’s hard to share when it’s just the two of us, and he wants chicken (which I don’t take) and I want fish. So we each had a main course to ourselves, no fighting involved!

The aroma of his grilled chicken hit us even before the plate was placed on the table.

Me: “Nice??” (I love to ask this question whenever we eat)
K: Like satay.

He meant that in a good way, by the way. I was judging it to be coarse and dry, but according to K, the kebab-style chicken was nicely charred and tender.

As for me, I love my grilled mackerel! Generous portion and the chef was careful to not overcook the fish, plus points. The addition of green chilli harissa (a Tunisian hot chili sauce) gave some heat to this addictive dish!


Assorted Mezze ($7++ each or set of 3 for $20++)
beetroot tzatziki, pistachio dukka, garlic breadcrumbs
 hummus, smashed chickpea & sesame dip
muhammara, red pepper, walnut & pomegranate dip


Arabic bread ($4++)


Shish Taouk ($26++)
lebanese charcoal BBQ chicken, toum garlic sauce


Local Mackerel ($28++)
charcoal grilled, green chilli harissa, dirty onions


Artichoke Café & Bar
161 Middle Road
6336 6949

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Pita Pan, Always

Pita Pan holds many special memories for me…

It’s where K was first inducted into the world of Middle Eastern cuisine, where we had our numerous late night suppers back when I was still flying, and it even had the honour of ending up as our impromptu venue for Valentine’s Day dinner this year. Super unromantic, but incredibly gratifying!

These days, ordering is a breeze and doesn’t take more than 5 mins (a feat for the fickle minded me) since we always order “our usual” —> red shakshouka ($9.90+), full pocket falafel pita sandwich ($10.90+), hummus topped with sauteed mushrooms ($11.90+), and our recent discovery — crispy and addictive sweet potato fries ($7.90+)! *cue full tummies*

And that’s the most wonderful thing, we’ve never once walked away feeling unsatisfied or discontented. Pita Pan is associated with happiness (so far), which is more than reason enough to return again and again!


Pita Pan
 #01-87, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
6688 7450

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Prices at Medz are unbelievably cheap! Thanks to the promotions going on (25% off for lunch, 50% off for students and senior citizens etc), we paid barely $17 for one starter and two mains. Wooo, cheap thrill! Haha.

Rosti, sunny side up ($7+)

Grilled seabream, roasted eggplant, pumpkin mash ($7.50+)

Chicken shish kebab, rice ($9.90+)

#B2-01/03, Orchard Central
6238 9028

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Pita Pan

If you think Tunisian from Wild Honey is good, wait till you try the red shakshouka ($9.90+) from Pita Pan!!

I’ve had this about 3 or 4 times now; insanely delicious everytime, I promise.

Pita Pan
#01-87, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue
6688 7450

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Sofra wasn’t our first choice; Porn’s was but it was closed on Sunday. So was Ah Loy Thai at Shaw Tower 😦

Oh well, exotic food it was then. And nothing spells more exotic than Middle Eastern cuisine!

Everyone ooh and aah when the salad plate was placed on the table cuz it looked so colourful, thanks to the combination of hummus (my all-time favourite), fried eggplant salad, vine leaf rolls and spiced vegetables mixed with herbs and walnuts.

Oh yes, does the thought of eating leaves fills you with horror? Don’t be, just give dolmades a chance. Popular with the Greeks, these are delicate vine leaves stuffed with rice, pinenuts, currants and spices. Definitely an acquired taste, one which I wouldn’t mind trying again.

In the spirit of adventurous eating, we decided to try the grilled eggplant, despite its gross puke-worthy unsightly mushy appearance.

Not. A. Good. Idea.

Weird look, weird taste, enough said.

The chicken kebab looks good!

So does the baked cream dory~ Very soft and tender, though I wouldn’t say it’s fresh.

While there’s nothing seriously wrong with the food (save for that scary grilled eggplant), service or ambience here, I still prefer Cafe Le Caire when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine!

Sofra Turkish Café & Restaurant
#02-42/43/44 Shaw Tower
6291 1433

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