Whenever someone mentions Middle Eastern cuisine, the first thing that comes to mind is hummus. My first encounter of hummus wasn’t pleasant – I remember picking up a small tub from Tesco UK and found it incredibly bland and grainy. Needless to say, hummus never made it to my favourite-things-to-eat-list. The hummus at Cascade in Mandarin Oriental however, had me singing a different tune. What was initially a sharing platter became my own and I ate all the hummus with the Za’atar Manakeesh and pita bread provided.
Cascade – located on the 3rd floor by the pool – boasts a panoramic view of the city skyline, giving you a different experience from the other restaurants at Mandarin Oriental. Once seated, our waiter brought out a Greek Dip platter (RM34) and Arabic Mezzeh (RM34) for sharing, but as I mentioned above, I hogged the Arabic Mezzeh and even cleaned out the Greek dips.
Among the dips I enjoyed were the htipiti – a dip made with feta and roasted peppers, hummus – smoothly blended chickpeas and baba ghanoush – a dip of mashed eggplant. The entrée of cheese samboussek (RM18) with crunchy iceberg lettuce and Za’atar dressing was noteworthy. Flavours were subtle but accented by the crisp nature of the samboussek.
The Arabic Mixed Grill (RM86) was a large platter of lamb kofta, beef kebab, chicken shish taouk, Arabic rice and fries. I found the kofta moist and heavily seasoned with spices, while the beef cubes were tender and succulent. We had the lamb shawarma (RM45) – spiced lamb with Ekmek bread, where combination of feta cheese and tzatziki livened up the flavour of the meat. That said, I found the Ekmek bread a tad thick for my liking.
Some of my dining companions were too full to eat the lamb meatballs/albondigas (RM22) so I happily ate their share. According to Raymond (Chef De Cuisine of Mosaic), the meatballs were seasoned with onions, marjoram, parsley, cumin and coriander, and topped with a sauce of bell pepper, garlic, onions and capers. This was good stuff. The Arabic pizza (RM38) was a bold combination of lamb, cheese, eggplant, pine nuts and chilli; a good snack by the pool.
Another popular item on the menu is the lamb kofta kebab (RM65), served with mint yogurt, Fitoush salad and a large portion of fries. I couldn’t get enough of the Zabadi Berries (RM26), a yogurt mousse with caramelized macadamia nuts and amarena cherry. This was richly flavoured yet light in texture. Too good to share, this one.
Shisha is also available here, so choose your flavours (I recommend apple mint) and puff away. For the uninitiated, shisha is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavoured tobacco is covered with foil and roasted with charcoal. I haven’t touched shisha for almost two years as the smoke contains high levels of toxic compounds and cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens). So one shisha session is equivalent to smoking a whole pack of cigarettes. Just FYI.
Community message aside, the Middle Eastern promotion is available from 15 June till 18 July 2012 and dishes are prices from RM18++ onwards.
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Food: 7/10 (halal)
Verdict: I enjoyed the Lamb Meatballs, Arabic Mezzeh and Zabadi Berries best.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Tel: 03 2380 8888
Email: [email protected]