Foodies Meet and Eat at Arab Street
Few weeks back, my dear friend Ajit Induchudan, who also happens to be a popular foodie, invited us for a lunch meet @ Arab Street in Ashok Nagar. My knowledge of Arab food is limited to Shawarma (One of the few non vegetarian dishes I eat), Hummus, Pita and Baba Ghanoush.
Disclaimer: While this was an on-the-house meet, the review is my personal opinion of the food and our experience.
To my surprise, I found a ton of Vegetarian items on Arab Street’s menu, some which really piqued my interest and the foodie inside me was jumping up in joy to taste them.
For the first meet ever in my foodie life, I was bang on time for the meet. That would show how much I love middle eastern food, despite having tasted very few items from the cuisine.
Knights of Chennai march on Arab Street
Having humbled by the offering in the menu, we decided to go by the Manager’s recommendations, which, as it turns out, was the best choice.
We started off with Lentil and Mushroom Soups:
Lentil Soup: Had just a spoonful of it. Found it okay
Mushroom Soup: Rich and Creamy. Loved it.
Next came the Salads
Tabbouleh: This one’s basically a salad. Took only a spoonful of it again. Being extremely health conscious, I don’t try unhealthy stuff like salads much 😛
And then we got ‘started’
Mix Mezza: Middle Eastern Veg Platter with Hummus, Moutabal, and Baba Ghanoush for dips and served along with warm pita breads and Garlic Sauce. Being a sucker for Hummus and Pita (thanks to Nandos), this was one of my most favorite dishes in this visit. Loved the taste of it.
The dips were a bit watery though, but they tasted great nonetheless.
Garlic Cheese Bread: Typical Garlic Cheese Bread, nothing special about it.
Cheese Arayes: Grilled Pita bread sandwich with Cheese and Olives filling. This was another star of the day, crunchy and yummy.
Falafel: Fried patty made with Chickpeas and Beans, it was quite decent. For some reason, it reminded me of the South Indian Masala Vada though. Went well with the Tahini sauce served with it + the Hummus, Garlic Paste dips from the Mezza platter.
Vegetarian Shawarma: Having tasted Chicken Shawarma from some of the best places, this one was a let down for me personally. It had crushed Falafel for filling, but the ‘secret sauce’ of Shawarma – The Garlic Sauce, was completely missing and it was quite dry on the inside. I’m not sure if this is a dish I would order again.
Milano Pizza: Extremely thin crust pizza, with lovely amount of veggies and cheese for topping. Loved it !
Arabic Veg Briyani: Flavorful & veggie loaded, it was nice. But we couldn’t enjoy it fully as we were feeling up to the brim, and wanted to leave some room for the desserts
Muhalabiya: This was the crescendo of our meal. Nuts, Agar Agar, Rose Water, and Milk cream made it a rockstar of our meal.
They’ve tried to blend a Middle Eastern feel + Street decor to the place. In the end, it looks more classy and upmarket than like a street decor.
Some of those wooden bench type chairs could be uncomfortable, but it goes with the overall theme. Except for the blue light in the corner which really spoilt the decor (and our food-porn shots), the ambiance was nice in general.
Considering it was on-the-house invite, we found the service of Arab Street to be quite friendly and warm. It was partially due to the Manager taking time to guide us through the dishes of course, but overall, it was quite nice.
Dr. Ambedkar Road, Ashok Nagar.
Landmarks: Same building as La Chocolate or Near Big Bang Theory. Even more accurate? Arab Street is bang next to Velu Military Hotel (I know you won’t miss this, Velu Military is so prominently placed on that road)
Cost: NA (It was on the house)
To sum up, Arab Street is one great Arabic restaurant that treats both Vegetarians and Non Vegetarians to close-to-authentic Arabic food and has something for everyone. Do give it a shot to see if you like it !