Thursday, March 13, 2014

Al Souq Middle Eastern Exploration at The Line, Shangri-la Hotel

♫ "We're going on a trip in our favorite rocket ship!" ♫

People who have kids at home or within the family will surely be familiar with this catchy-yet-can-be-annoyingly LSS-causing song from the Little Einsteins. It surely was the song playing in my mind as I read the invite that my friends from Shangri-la Hotel Singapore sent me a few weeks ago. As the invite says, we were to join them in a journey across the Middle East and to immerse in the vibrancy of "Al Souq". Oh how I love Middle Eastern food!

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So there we were earlier this week, excited to indulge ourselves with our favorite kebabs, hummus and a lot more. Browsing through the menu, I realized that there really is more to Middle Eastern food than kebabs. Quite a revelation, don't you think?

Well, lucky readers in Singapore will be able to experience a wide array of Middle Eastern flavors as The Line is having a two week long buffet promotion which started yesterday up until the 25th of March!

It was so fun that we were given a gastronomic preview of what diners can expect at The Line during this time period:

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Dinner began with a delicious and really fresh plate of Omani style Octopus Carpaccio. Generous slices of octopus were mixed into a salad with avocado, sweet pomelo, herbs and olive oil. It's very light and definitely makes for a good start to your meal. I was also told that it has onion sumac which helps lower cholesterol. Upon hearing this, I made sure to polish my plate clean.



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We moved on to the cold mezze which means small plates/dishes. This time it was a trio of yummy dips consisting of the Turkish Tabouleh, Baba Ghanoush and my personal favorite, the Hummus Bil Lahim. Served with warm pita bread, you'll surely enjoy alternating the dips as you consume more tasty pita bread.

The Turkish Tabouleh was Paul's favorite. A refreshing mix of chopped tomatoes, onion, parsley, crushed wheat, olive oil and lemon juice. It also has a slight sprinkle of Turkish chili paste which wasn't spicy at all. The Baba Ghanoush, reminded me of my sister who told me that she ate a lot of this when she went to Egypt for her business trip a few years ago. While I'm not a big fan of eggplant, I enjoyed the robust flavor brought about by the roasted eggplant mixed with lemon juice and sesame oil.

Now, my favorite -- the Hummus Bil Lahim is made of chickpeas (hummus) with really delicious chopped lamb and roasted pine nuts. Sensing how much I loved it, Paul agreed to swap my Tabouleh with his Hummus. Yay!

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After the cold mezze, out came the hot mezze platter. Here, we were able to try a piece of crunchy Falafel, Warak Inab and the Arides Lebnani Bil Zayton. The Falafel is something that I like everysince I was still in Manila. It's pretty obvious that I love anything with chickpeas and while the hummus was served as a dip, the falafel had the chickpeas formed into mini burger patty-like and deep-fried to perfection. I love this and would even dip this into my hummus. Yes, chickpeas on chickpeas = ♥.

The Warak Inab has chopped tomato, sticky rice and onion wrapped into a piece of grape leave. I have to admit that not a lot of people like this. Paul and my friend G for one aren't very fond of this and were happy to give me their share. It was alright for me though. :) It also came with a piece of cherry tomato topped with spices and chili but I chose to just leave this untouched on my plate.

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The Arides Lebnani Bil Zayton is one dish that you shouldn't miss when dining at The Line for this promotion. You'll love the plump shrimps cooked with tomato and green olives on olive oil. I can also taste a bit of onion, garlic and other spices too. Since I still had a small piece of pita bread left, I happily dip this into the sauce and enjoyed the perfect marriage of flavors in my mouth.

We were feeling quite food already and were surprised that we haven't had the main course yet! Oh boy!

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Finally, out came the star of the night -- the Tunisian Lamb Tagine was served in a traditional ceramic Middle Eastern dish with a cone-like cover. As soon as the server opened the cover, I caught a whiff of the lamb and spices and I knew whatever happens.... I have to make room in my tummy for this!

The tender lamb was cooked with sun-dried tomatoes, onions, saffron and was probably simmered for hours to make it this good. It was served with another dish filled with couscous which we all know is a healthier alternative to rice. I love the play of colors thus we decided to do our little creative plating with this. How'd you find it? :)

The Lamb Tagine and Couscous alone makes a good reason to check out The Line and try Al Souq Middle Eastern buffet promotion.

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For dessert, we had a HUGE..and I really mean HUGE piece of crepe called the Moroccan Delight which was stuffed with fresh apple, brown sugar and cinnamon. Kinda like Apple Crumble minus the delicious crust. Sadly I didn't like it very much. Perhaps because I love my crepe with mangoes, strawberries or chocolate.

Since I wasn't quite happy with my dessert, I headed to the buffet area to get myself a cup of Frozen Yogurt which was so goooood.

Head over to The Line at Shangri-la Hotel Singapore to try these delicious Middle Eastern specialties for a very limited time only. This will only be available during dinner time.

Buffet Rate:
Adult: S$72++
Children: S$36++

*photo credit: Paul Ang

The Line is in Shangri-la Hotel, Orange Grove Road, Singapore. For reservations, call them at +65 6213-4275.

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