Panda Peeks – Al-Tanoor
Like all good authentic Arabic restaurants, Al-Tanoor is reminiscent of a small restaurant hidden in a side street detached from the bustling souk, but in this case it is aside the hustle and bustle of the food court. Having previously lived in the United Arab Emirates, a sense of Déjà vu came rushing over me as I made my way inside the marble like arched entrance of Al-Tanoor. Along with the ever welcoming smile of Roula the manager, a vibrant chandelier comprising of individual multi-coloured lanterns is an impressive feature which hangs centrestage from the ceiling.
Al-Tanoor gets its name sake from the clay oven known as the Tandoor. The Tandoor is a predominant focal point within the restaurant, where many of the regular customers’ favourite dishes are prepared. The restaurant has continuously flourished over the past 5 years, due to its dynamism in successfully tinkering with ingredients, instead of stubbornly sticking to the regional herbs, spices and cooking methods to which the Syrian Chef grew up on.
The fattoush salad was first to be served, and being a self-acclaimed fattoush “expert”, having eaten this dish 3 or 4 times a week in Dubai: this salad ticked all the boxes. Its balance of flavours complemented each other perfectly: from the sharpness of the pomegranate molasses vinaigrette, balanced out by the tartness of sumac, to the salty olives, and the freshness and sweetness of the cucumber and tomatoes.
To top this, quite literally, the fried pita bread is the perfect answer to the French Crouton. You can’t go to an Arabic restaurant and not order the hummus: this trip was no exception! The chickpea dip is drizzled with the finest sourced olive oil, and should be enjoyed with the light, fluffy Arabic or Tanoor bread, baked in the Tandoor and sprinkled with both black and white sesame seeds. Tear a bit off, tuck in and enjoy!
Last to make its way from the kitchen was the shawarma. Slices of marinated chicken are carved from the rotisserie like a Turkish Kebab and coated in the pomegranate molasses, before being wrapped up into little individual pockets, ready to be demolished: heavenly! The chicken dipped into the garlic sauce adds another delicious dimension to the shawarma!
Although the kitchen teased us by exhibiting the highly recommended Mandi Chicken, we were unable to get our hands on it, as it was still at its preparation stage: due to the high demand during the lunch service, so a useful tip, make sure you go nice and early and to avoid missing out on the Mandi!
Address: Level 1, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Opening hours: Mo-Su, 10am to 10pm
Click here to order online from Al-Tanoor.
Jonathan is busy eating his way through Asia, where he is completing an exchange program organised by his university. Coming from Scotland, the biggest culture shock he’s experienced is the heat!