Sunday, February 5, 2017

Al-Nafoura Yemeni Cuisine @ Wangsa Maju

'Nafoura' means fountain in Arabic, & this casual restaurant is certainly an oasis for cooking that takes inspiration from the Arabian Peninsula, specifically Yemen. It's a labour of love that intimately showcases the passions of Eritrean-Malaysian couple Ibrahim & Izana; Ibrahim was raised in Saudi Arabia, & the menu here represents the nourishment that sustained him for much of his formative years. Izana too has long cultivated a fascination for Middle Eastern food & culture - on the walls of Al-Nafoura, you'll find her beautifully captured photographs of landscapes & life throughout Oman & the United Arab Emirates.

Feasts here may start with Al-Nafoura's tapas-style small plates, which illustrate how Yemeni cuisine has expertly embraced foreign influences & ingredients from Ottoman, Mughlai Indian & African counterparts. Yemen's national dish of saltah is a should-try, featuring gravied lamb partnered with potatoes, tomatoes, egg, chilli & salsa for pure, pleasurable comfort food (RM20), a testament to how Ibrahim & his team personally scour the markets for top-flight produce. Other tasty temptations include kebda, beef liver stir-fried with spices & onions (RM16), & oqda, made of stewed chicken & carrots (RM17), served with complimentary malawah, the well-known giant-sized layered bread that's addictively flavoursome & admirably textured.

Al-Nafoura's pride is madghout, harnessing the skills of the kitchen's all-Yemeni cooks - expect fleshy chunks of achingly succulent lamb, freshly & fragrantly prepared to order in a pressure cooker with basmati rice moistly simmered in a mellow, sweet-savoury tomato-based sauce; lamb lovers will like this a lot (RM39 for a portion with a half-kilogram of lamb). To boost your lamb satisfaction, pair with the lamb soup, brimming with thick lamb cuts in a clear, compellingly aromatic broth (RM18).

The restaurant's repertoire extends from the familiar - chicken mandi, comprising a full leg grilled in slow heat & served with traditional rice (RM16) is a safe crowd-pleaser - to a unique Malaysian-Mideast fusion creation of Maggi Goreng Kabsa (RM18, punchy with lamb). For balance, order an enlivening house salad of crunchy Japanese cucumbers with olives & feta (RM10).

Save space for sweets: Al-Nafoura serves excellent kanafeh (RM15; the Mideast cheesecake - irresistibly crisp pastry stuffed with melt-in-the-mouth mild white cheese, crowned with cream) & creme caramel (RM10; smooth chilled custard, artfully adorned with cookie crumbs), A pitcher of cooling lemon-mint juice is the ideal companion for the meal, & hot, stove-brewed adani milk tea, with undercurrents of cloves & cardamom, makes for a fitting finale. Many thanks to Al-Nafoura for having us.

Al Nafoura
9-G, Plaza Wangsa Maju, Hedgeford Galleria, Jalan Maju Ria 2, Wangsa Maju, Section 10, Kuala Lumpur. 
Tues-Thurs, Sat, Sun, 1130am-10pm; Fri, 1130am-1pm, 215pm-10pm. Tel: 03-4131-4886

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8 comments:

  1. Looks so good - that madghout sure looks like a killer! Never got to try anything Mid-Eastern ever, I sure would grab the chance when I see any place like this one.

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    1. Suituapui: hopefully you'll spot a middle eastern venue in sibu one of these days ... if you like lots of meat, rice, flatbread & gravies, you're in for a treat! :)

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  2. Very exotic and since they use lots of spice, I believe I will be a fan. I am targeting the lamb hee..hee..

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    1. Phong Hong: i like how the spices here are gentle and warming, but not fiery or painful! :D

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  3. Wow, something new to me, not sure if I know how to appreciate or not, hehe.

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    1. CK: heheh, i guess maybe if you're looking for something different, you can check it out :)

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  4. well this is pretty much like a second kitchen for me. The food is not just really tasty, but has the authentic arabian feel to it, very homely flavoring and ambiance of the place too. on a lighter note, had no idea i was gona show up here....but good job..

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    1. Tochukwu: thanks for adding the vote of confidence to this place - I think you described it perfectly for me with homely flavoring ;)

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