Monday 27 February 2017

Yemeni specialties at Al Nafourah

DON’T forget your smartphone when you go dine at Al Nafourah. Why? Because dine-in customers who like the Yemeni restaurant on Facebook can take a picture of themselves with the food and post it. Then when it comes to paying the bill, all they have to do is show the FB posting to the cashier to get a 15 per cent discount.
The interior is simple in decor with plain black furniture but what I like is that the tables shine with cleanliness.

Al fresco seating for smokers

Neat, uncluttered interior
Sacks of imported rice and flour

On the floor in front of the cashier’s counter are sacks of imported rice and flour.
According to the menu, Yemeni cuisine is influenced by tastes of Africa, Turkey and India. The menu is simple, classified under appetisers, bread, tapas, main courses and dessert.
As we pore through the menu, I sip on a refreshing Lemon & Mint (RM8) while the rest pour themselves dainty glasses of Adani Spice Tea (RM12/pot).

There are a few fusion dishes too, including the only fish item, Oven Baked Fish (RM38) and Maggi Goreng Kabsa (RM18) with the tasty noodles infused with kabsa lamb.
But my eyes are drawn to the Arabic breads, especially Mullawah Bread (RM5/small). This is a folded, layered bread sprinkled with sesame seeds. There’s also  Lebanese bread and Rateeb bread.
We tear off pieces of the Mullawah and use it to scoop up Hummus (RM12), a smooth blend of chickpeas drizzled with olive oil. It’s equally appetizing when eaten with tapas items such as Chicken Oqda (RM17), a stew made with vegetables such as carrot, tomato and potato, or Prawn Salona (RM22), shelled shrimps sauteed in a flavoursome gravy of tomato, onion and cumin. I can eat Mullawah just as happily with the side condiment of Garlic sauce (RM4). Recommended as a “delectable condiment” for lamb or chicken dishes, this silky, mayonnaise-like dip is delicious with anything.
Mullawah Bread with Prawn Salona, Hummus and Shaweq dip
Al Nafourah also has shaweq, a fresh dip of blended onion, garlic and green chilli.
All tapas items are served with complimentary Mullawah or Lebanese bread.

Having heard of the Al Nafoura specialty, Madghout, we naturally order one. There’s lamb (RM39/half kg) or chicken (RM35/half).  This comprises lamb or chicken on top of basmati rice with tomato-based sauce and cooked in pressure cooker. Customers have to wait at least 20 minutes as it’s cooked to order.
Our half kg lamb and rice, served with onion rings and hard-boiled egg, will feed two or three persons. We are surprised to find the lamb not only meaty and tender but also without that gamey aroma.
Lamb Madghout with basmati rice, served with Shaweq and
a chopped salad of cucumber, tomato and black olives
The other three main dishes are mainly chicken (RM16/quarter) or lamb (RM23/small). For Mandi, the meat is grilled in slow heat and served with basmati rice cooked with traditional spices. But I find the chicken so cooked it’s lacking in texture.
In contrast, the Kabsa lamb is stewed in light spices to give delicious soup. The meaty chunks of lamb are tender, yet full bodied, and served with scented basmati rice cooked with black peppercorns.
There’s also Haneeth, where seasoned chicken/lamb is wrapped in aluminium foil and steamed under high pressure. Served with basmati rice similar to that for Mandi.
Chicken Oqda,  a stew made with vegetables such as carrot, tomato and potato
Lamb Kabsa is a light stew served with peppercorn basmati rice and a tomato-based potato curry gravy

Mandi Chicken  served with basmati rice and a tomato-based curry gravy

Maggi Goreng Kabsa

For dessert, we ignored the creme caramel and brownies and opt  for Kunafe (RM15) and Areeka (RM18). Areeka is a sweet-savoury, Yemeni dessert made from wheat flatbread and dates. It’s a huge portion, so do share. But its gritty texture is an acquired taste.

Kunafe is a crowd pleaser. This Middle-Eastern cheesecake has amazing textures. Made with crisp phyllo pastry stuffed with soft cheese and topped with cream, it’s not very sweet and two people can easily polish off one serving.  
Areeka has a gritty texture

Kunafe, a sweet Middle-Eastern cheesecake

Galleria@Hedgeford, Jalan 26/26, Section 10,
 Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-4131 4886
OPEN: Daily, 11.30am to 11pm

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