I call up my date five minutes before he leaves the house and announce rather elatedly that there’s a change of venue. Our initial plan was lunch at Grand Cafe an Indian restaurant on Lenana road but that could wait. Swiftly averting that lecture about the need to be decisive, I was already explaining the method to my madness.
You see we hadn’t been to Two River’s since that weekend after it opened where a record 120,000 shoppers visited the mall. It was absolute chaos. Convincing my date that it was time we went back was no sweat.
Lunch was first on the agenda and we settled on Aldar, an oriental Lebanese restaurant. Most of the other restaurants were empty and Aldar was packed, save for 1 or 2 tables outside so we figured they must be doing something right. I was actually reading about this online (us choosing the crowded restaurant instead of an empty Colosseum right next which might have better food or is cheaper) and it’s the power of social proof. Read more about it here.
I’ve been creating a lot of dishes at home with chickpeas and eggplants, making dips and I was pretty stoked about the menu. Which doesn’t even begin to explain why I ordored what I did. There’s a choice of cold starters, falafel in the hot starters list, a variety from the charcoal grill or oven in the main course section. Or just a simple shawarma, salads or special rice.
Their bread a staple served on every table before the main meal and the savory dip was the highlight of my meal.
We made a safe choice and I ordered charcoal grilled lamb chops served with special rice for Sh1200, swapped the rice for fries instead. The meat was a tough chewy mess.
Our second order was the mixed grill of shish(grilled or roasted chunks of meat), shogof, lamb chop, kebab served with special rice for Sh1500. The chicken was a tad dry but their kebab was a favorite.
I set out to learn more about Lebanese cuisine after we left Aldar and came across a blog post by Saides Kitchen with some interesting facts
- Hummus is a popular maza (appetizer)
- Lebanese flat bread (pita) is a staple in every meal
- Baklava a Middle Eastern traditional dessert is so popular that there is even a day for it. November 17th is National Baklava Day.
- Chicken shawarma is a well known Lebanese dish
- Arak is a very strong (63%) and sweet alcoholic drink with flavour similar to Sambuca. This substance is lethal, I tasted it at Cedar’s and it’s a clear drink which turns milky after mixing it with water.
Have you been to Aldar Restaurant? Leave a comment in the section below. I would love to hear about all your Levantine dining experiences. Here are a few more places you should check out
1. Beirut Lebanese Cuisine (Thika Road Mall)
2. Cedars Restaurant (87 Lenana Road)