An outing at Al-Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88 for the Happy Hour promotion and a bit of food turned out to be a definition of excess, and a textbook reference of good times.
There tends to be the unfortunate generalisation that Al-Amar Express being a Middle-Eastern food joint (which is correct), would not serve alcohol (which is incorrect).
In fact, the Al Amar “lets meet up…” wines and cocktails menu has several selections of Lebanese wines, popular beers, whisky, spirits, and 10 different types of cocktails.
From 4pm to 8pm, one can buy two cocktails and get one free. The same applies to beer as well.
After a bit of chit chat and some drinks, it was time to eat. Dipping warm pita bread into Hummus or Chickpea and Eggplant Moutabal as you would with chips and salsa was decadent as these dips are richer, and definitely more refined.
The Haloumi Salad is another exquisite dish – fried Haloumi cheese, herb crust croutons, cherry tomatoes, and a vinaigrette dressing on top of a bed of rocket. The fried cheese was a revelation – slightly crispy on the outside, and definitely cheesy within. It was very good!
Tabbouleh is a uniquely Arabic salad with finely chopped tomato, Italian parsley, and mint. The taste was very… refreshing.
Another salad was the Grilled Chicken Salad, which came with a generous portion of grilled chicken breast topped with an Aioli dressing. The marinade definitely gave a Lebanese touch to this dish.
Warak Enab meanwhile is a dish of spring rolls with ground lamb, rice, and spices all chopped up and wrapped in grape leaves. It was a tad too sour and salty, but perhaps it is an acquired taste, or just a case of Al Amar sticking to the traditional recipe very closely.
Being deep-fried finger food, the Spinach Fatayer, cheese roll, and Lamb Sambousik were best enjoyed with beer or cocktails – no further explanation required.
Next came the mains…
The Spicy Chicken Cheese and Kafta with Cheese Manakeesh were supremely delicious. These looked exactly like pizzas, but the taste was definitely different – salty, spicy, and savoury.
The portion for the Grilled Whole Chicken – spicy and non-spicy versions – was enough to feed two to three adults. These too, carried a distinctive Lebanese taste.
The Chicken and Beef Shawarma meanwhile were a bit like Kebab meat, but served loosely on a plate with pita bread.
Although the food at Al Amar was delicious, the flavour profile was a little too one dimensional in the sense that every dish stayed too close to a distinctive taste that was undoubtedly Lebanese. It got a little monotonous after a while.
However, if you want a change in tastes from your typical dinner choices, a meal at Al Amar surely wouldn’t disappoint. Just don’t order the Warak Enab!
Al Amar Express
Lot G44, Ground Floor
GPS: 3.14748, 101.71283
Tel: 03-2141 3814
This article first appeared in kyspeaks.com