It was a Saturday noon time and the weather's sweltering! It was so bright, sunny and humid plus the warm winds blowing was making me very uncomfortable.
I have not been to the Middle East but I am imagining that I was! I was going to try the food at Anar, a Middle Eastern Restaurant that hails from United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to Kelvin of Touch Communications and Toufik of Anar who hosted TheHungryCow and I, this might be the only place where Middle Eastern food is served as it is in the Middle East in Singapore.
To get to this place, the easiest way is to go in via the Sentosa Boardwalk. At the end of boardwalk on the Sentosa side, you will see this tent like building. This is Anar. (Anar means Pomegranate)
It was such a hot day, that the moment you get into this 'tent', you would feel so comfortable!
It's a modern and luxurious tent with air-conditioning.
When you get in, you would be wowed by this huge chandelier.
Brought into Singapore from the Middle East, this thing weights about half a tonne! Even the locals can't figure out how to hand this up and they had to fly the craftsmen in to hang it up.
The huge chandelier is hung where the private dining area is.
Look at those chairs, it's so King Arthur!
See the tiles on the walls? These are all hand crafted and brought in from Iran.
This place is interesting even before having the food!
Now for the food and drinks:
On such a warm day, we were so glad for these cool refreshing drinks.
If you are looking for something more alcoholic, Anar Guru ($20) is Fresh Anar Juice shaken with Vodka and topped with Moet and Chandon Brut Champagne
For mocktails, I was recommended this by Kelvin. Jasmine Belle ($12) It's fresh lime & honey syrup shaken with cranberry juice and lime served tall with chilled jasmine tea.
Shortly after, we were served flat breads that's hot from the clay oven that you can see.
These are complimentary and it's really addictive. It comes with platter of pickles and cheese.
These bread goes best with these dips that you can order.
Hummus with Minced Beef ($14)
A healty dip of pureed chickpeas with sesame seed paste, fresh garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin oil topped with grilled ground beef.
We were told people in the Middle East don't eat spicy food! These are the usual stuff they have their breads with. They love sesame seed paste and it is used in most dishes. Most of the ingredients in the dips are made from food grown abundantly in the Middle East.
A smoky and rich salad of roasted fresh eggplant, with sesame seed paste, crushed garlic & lemon juice, topped with chopped parsley, pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Eggplants and grown in abundance in the middle east and they mix it with sesame seed paste again and this was really interesting. The eggplants are roasted and it has a what we call a 'chao tar' (burnt) smell to it, but the whole paste is whitish and has hints of sesame seeds fragrance.
A passionate, red Levantine dip of walnuts, tangy tart pomegranate, red fleshy peppers and spices.
Of all the dips, I liked this best. Maybe it's because I love red capsicums. It's not really spicy, but Toufik (the 'boss' here) said this is spicy to him. Middle Easterners don't take spicy food. Toufik's very frank and good communicator and company.
He saw we were too delicate trying to eat the bread with us slowly peeling some bread and using our knives to spread the dips on our bread. He asked if we want to know how they eat this in the Middle East. Yes of course!
See the quartered slides of flat bread in the photo above? Take a piece of it and start to roll it. After rolling it, scoop a huge amount of spread with it. With the 4 of us guys starting to use our hands, suddenly the meal was turned into a much relaxed atmosphere! It's like a barrier just broke down!
Dejaj Salad ($14)
A Mediterranean delight, this refreshing salad boasts grilled chicken strips, feta cheese, thyme, black olives drizzled with fresh lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
Want to try a Middle Eastern salad? This was nice and refreshing. I did not notice the chicken cubes and thought they were feta cheese until I had them in my mouth.
Riz Be Lahem Ala Djaij ($35)
Traditional and regal Ottoman feast for special occasions. Egyptian long grain rice with minced meat and a Arabic spices, topped with a succulent chicken breast and roasted nuts, served with a cool yoghurt dressing.
This is just a sampling portion. People in the Middle East eat huge portions and when they first opened, guests said the portions here are too big! They have reduced the portions now.
This dish was interesting. Rice with minced meat and spices it not really my type of food.
Maybe our taste buds just needs getting used to this. Probably Middle Easterners in Singapore would be craving for this!
The way to eat it apparently is to have the yoghurt soaked over the rice and eat it.
Lamb Kubideh Kebab ($38)
Minced lamb served with Persian saffron rice
When this plate of rice was served, it was just so fragrant and fluffy!
The yellow rice on top if Saffron rice. Saffron is expensive here in Singapore but in Iran it seems it is so cheap! They grow it there and it's used in most of their dishes!
I was curious to find out how they prepared the rice. How can it be so fluffy and tasty just by itself? (Nowadays I seem to be more daring in asking how things are prepared hehe). Since I asked about it, why not share it with you all? If I got it right, here's how it's done.
The long grain rice were boiled with lots of water with a tiny bit of vinegar to give the rice an extra white appearance and also prevent the rice from sticking to each other. The hot steaming rice is then drained and a little butter is added into it and it's then it's wrapped up in foil and baked in the oven for 2 hours!
The Lamb Kebab is shown in the photo below. The kebab is made from minced lamb. It seems there are different species of lamb. The lamb they use here are imported from Dubai. The species of lamb they use apparently has more fat. (don't think yuks, but think of it like Wagyu, more marbled!)
You don't get the strong gamey smell too. Just a slight smell to remind you that it's lamb!
Shish Taouk ($32)
A traditional Babylonian recipe. Chicken breast marinated in rich yoghurt, garlic and tomato puree; then grilled over smoking charcoal and served with traditional ‘toum’ (Syrian garlic paste).
That's the yellowish chicken on the right. The chicken's tender and somehow it's a joy eating it!
The famous Arabic milk pudding, simple and delicious, with sugar and rice powder.
This is to let you know that Middle Eastern desserts are super super sweet! The arabic milk pudding is so sweet and smell very floral too! The smell of it is like walking into a Crabtree and Evelyn store! It smells flowery and sweet and this is edible!
If you have a sweet tooth, try this! The red thing you see on top is pickled orange flower petals. It's something very common in the Middle East apparently.
The Ottomans made it famous and brought the recipes as far as South-West Asia. Layers of paper-thin phyllo pastry are filled with roasted nuts and honey syrup.
TheHungryCow and I wondered if we could try the Baklawa and we got to try it. Toufik said that good Middle Eastern baklawa does not have heavy syrup dribbled over it. The good ones like the one we see above, the sweet layer is in between the pastry layers. Perfect with a cuppa!
Come to Anar if you want to try out real Middle Eastern food without flying to Middle East. Their food is mix of Middle Eastern / Arabian. If you think the pricing is a bit high, I noticed that on group buying site, you can buy coupons to try this place out for a cheaper price. Certain credit card has offers here too. The food's here has very good quality and I enjoyed it.
Anar @ Resorts World Sentosa,
26 Sentosa Gateway,
Tel: 6884 6989
Hours: 12noon-3pm; 6pm-10pm