Monday, January 31, 2011


Third visit to Casbah this month; it's a testament to this restaurant's consistent excellence that all the different people who've eaten here with me have been impressed by the food.
For earlier entries on Casbah, click: January 11 & January 25.

Stirato (Italian grilled bread). For anyone who's leery of belly-busting pizzas, here's an alternative, with no heavy toppings needed or desired. Thinly stretched, comfortingly warm and crisp, every bite of this bread released the captivating fragrance of rosemary, tomatoes & olive oil; even a Tuscan countryside baker working with local produce might be proud.

Lebanese "patata harra" with labneh (strained yogurt). This might bear the deceptive appearance of ordinary potato wedges, but KFC's pales tragically in comparison. Piping-hot, fluffy and fried-to-order, with heady hints of garlic and a lemony scent of sumac. Let's thank heaven that potato famines are a thing of the past.

Spanakopita. Phyllo pastry, packed with feta cheese and spinach. Those of us in KL can savor this Greek delicacy at only two places: here and Giovino at Changkat Bukit Bintang.

Gazpacho trio (white with almonds, red with tomatoes, yellow with bell peppers). I rarely find versions of this cold Spanish raw soup that I enjoy, but I loved (LOVED!) this. Creamy like a milkshake but delicately flavored; perfect for reviving the spirit after a wearisome week.

Sambousek. Petite parcels of potent pleasure, stuffed with savory shanklish (a rich-textured, clean-tasting Turkish sheep's milk cheese, rather reminiscent of ricotta).

A Moroccan traditional favorite of Chicken Moghrabieh. Only chicken breast is used, but it's expertly cooked to mouthwatering tenderness. Let the meat linger on your tongue to relish its complex marinade of cinnamon and cumin. This rustic recipe comes with "Lebanese couscous" _ steamed, pea-sized balls of semolina dough.

Manchego, Idiazabal & Valdeon cheese with quince jelly. A welcome change from the typical Italian and French cheese platters at other outlets.

Barramundi with white beans, artichokes & clams. Comfort food for devotees of oceanic delights; firm yet juicy chunks of fish, exotically spiced with dukkah, an Egyptian blend of hazelnuts, sesame, mint, caraway & pepper.

Moroccan tagine of lamb merguez sausages. A hearty, slow-cooked stew, with North African couscous, almonds & dried apricots; the sausages might be slightly too salty or gamy for some, but that's a matter of preference.

Turrons. Honeyed nougat confections, with a paste-like stickiness. Supposed to be mainly a Yuletide treat in Spain, but it's Christmas all year round at Casbah.

Yogurt sorbet & stewed apricots. A tangy, seemingly guilt-free substitute for Baskin-Robbins (but by no means inferior or any less luscious).

Baklava. Boasted a freshly-made feel and aromatic nuttiness that are often absent in KL's other Arabian pastries. Crisp, flaky and not overwhelmingly sweet.

Churros (fried dough fritters with spiced chocolate). Astonishingly light and grease-free.

Yiaourtopita (lemon pound cake with Greek yogurt). Dense, but marvelously moist.

Luxury Margarita (sauza hornitos repasado tequila, fresh lime, cointreau, pomegranate foam) & Guava Cosmo (belvedere vodka, fresh lime, pink guava, cranberry).
Thanks to Cheryl of the Mandarin Oriental for hosting this particular feast.

Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.


  1. Waahah.. i ws wondering hw did u order and finish that many dishes then i saw yr thks to Cheryl!

    I think i would luv to try some of the Greek stuffs. somethin out of ordinary..

  2. how is the price over there?

  3. Tng: Greek is good! :D hopefully they'll include more Greek items in the near future ... I recall a lot of yummy recipes at giovino that featured eggplant, beef and cheese...
    Hsim: tapas are about rm12-30, mains rm40-100, desserts around rm20...

  4. The churros look like yau char kwai from that angle! :)

    (Wah. 3 times already? coolness. Am putting Casbah on my current top 10 to go eat list!)

  5. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised at the delicious fare at Casbah. Love the baklava.

  6. I have to find a way to persuade my parents to dine her cos' my parents are so petrified with anything that reminds them of mediterranean food. T_T

  7. 3rd time is always the charm :D

  8. j: heheh, they're basically yau char kwai, but fluffier and less oily :D yeah, i hope there'll be a fourth time, but probably not in the next few months (waiting for them to add more stuff to their menu) =)
    lemongrass: hurray for pleasant surprises (so much better than terrible shocks). i wonder if baklava is difficult to make at home. i know i wouldn't be able to make it, but maybe pureglutton could! :D
    michelle: yikes! if they don't mind middle eastern food, then this place is still OK. but maybe it's not really the ideal option for a family dinner, since it has more of a "lounge" feel...
    augustdiners: heheh, for baseball, maybe, right, or for love ... but not often for food! :D

  9. Yerr... when are you gonna take me and the Devil to Casbah... we want to be impressed with the food too... for your sake, of course. Consistency ma... :P

  10. lfb: you both have fussy taste buds, it might ruin my track record with casbah! i don't dare to eat with you both at any japanese outlet either (by the way, a new one, called hanare, has opened at the intermark, near your office, and it's very good) :D

  11. Ooh, hooray! Devil and I will try Hanare when we get back from CNY - we've been dying for more good Japanese fare.

    And we don't have fussy taste buds lah. We are very easy to please that way. Service, on the other hand... :P

  12. lfb: hmmm, on the service count, casbah passes with flying colors! rest assured, u won't be ignored here or rudely told to just eat whatever's placed on your table :D

  13. Hahaha... You funny. But yes, Casbah certainly sounds loads better than a certain Japanese restaurant the Devil and I won't be patronising ever again. Hooray!

  14. lfb: maybe if that certain restaurant ever announces that it's closing, you could go there on its last day, do a jig of joy and order some sushi for old times' sake :D

  15. Wishing you and your family a wonderful and prosperous new year. Kung Hei Fatt Choy!

  16. babe_kl: thanks so much! hope you and your lovely family have a safe, happy celebration too :D

  17. Hahaha... No.

    Once bitten by poor service... no twice. *chuckles evilly*

  18. lfb: but but but with the high turnover rate of restaurant staff, you'll probably be welcomed by a completely new set of waitresses if you revisit later this year :D

  19. Hi... got here from Unkaleong's blog... delicous looking food, especially the Barramundi dish...

  20. Lrong: thanks for visiting. Oh yeah, I love the food here. Really fresh and well-prepared =)

  21. haha the churros does looked like "you tiau" right?!! does it taste like one too?

  22. eiling: very similar! but not as heavy and less sinful, with a more airy texture :D