Saturday, November 04, 2006

Banoo, Mohamed Sultan, Singapore

I have a huge penchant for Middle-Eastern food and since I had a mega craving for koobideh one evening, I thought it was about time I paid Banoo at 7 Mohamed Sultan a visit.

We started off the typical breads and dips. As with most Middle-Eastern joints in Singapore, unfortunately, the bread was not baked fresh. It tasted as dry and plain as generic supermarket "Middle-Eastern" breads despite the server purportedly claiming that their breads are flown in from Dubai daily. In fact when I was browsing through Cold Storage at UE Square later, I saw pre-packed Lebanese unleaven breads which look identical to these.

The hummus was pretty good. The serve was generous and the dash of olive oil really added to the fragrance. I would say it's better than the one at Cafe Le Caire but still not as good as the one at Nasser Elmassry.

In addition to the hummus we were also recommended to try the Kashk-e-baadaemjaan which is some grilled aubergine dish. I actually expected whole grilled pieces like Cafe Le Caire's but this came as some blended paste. Quite unique but I don't think I'll be craving this on a regular basis.

To enhance the whole dining experience we asked them what sort of beverage is authentically Persian and they suggested some Persian yoghurt drink. I'll try to describe the flavor without using any expletives but this, in all honesty tasted rather nasty, it was served at room temperature, slightly sour, saltish (quite) and had chopped mint in it. It was also non-homogeneous so you had to constantly swirl your drink to get an even consistency before sculling it down. Yes, that's right, this stuff didn't agree with us so much that we had to scull it. In fact, we ended up playing finger number games at the end of the meal to get the loser to finish off the jug. In a sad twist of fate (I was really setup), I was that sorry-ass loser that night. I'm really not sure if this is how it's supposed to taste like but if anyone knows, please drop me a note.

Another dish with aubergines, the koreshteh baademjaan came in a nice tomato based sauce with nicely grilled aubergine slices and some beef chunks. The beef could have been abit more tender and I would have preferred a cut with some tendon in it but I guess that's just personal preference.

I forgot what this is called but it's essentially a giant minced lamb ball. Served with a similar but less strong sauce as the koreshteh baademjaan, this also came with some crunchy potato slivers which sort of remind me of those crispy French fry snacks you get. This tasted pretty good but I wished they had not added some much potato filler in the meatball.

Finally, what we came here for, the koobideh. This tasted excellent. It came piping hot, there was a small pack of butter for us to put on the rice(all of it of course) and the servings were good (we ordered the upsized version). The koobideh was seasoned just right, not too salty but heaps fragrant and the rice was something else by itself. The quality of this long-grain was evident and when we were stirring in the melted butter, I could almost feel myself melting as well, it just exuded this fragrance that was most heavenly. If I had anything to gripe about this, it would be that I found the minced used in the koobideh slightly too fine, I would have preferred something slightly chunkier but I guess that's just bordering on being pedantic.

We ordered the chicken koobideh for a fun comparison and although this was rather tasty in its own right, it could not compare to the lamb koobideh. I guess it's a good alternative for those who don't eat lamb (yes, such people do exist!).

The only thing lacking from the koobidehs was a drizzle of lemon juice so I asked the waiter for some lemon wedges and instead got this bowl of pre-squuezed juice. He apologized that they were out of fresh lemons and had to use bottled juice instead. Although this tasted rather ok, it just didn't have that fresh flavor or satisfaction from a hand-squeezed lemon wedge.

When I found out that they had baklava, I had to order it. This wasn't the best baklava I've tasted but it's decent. The pastry was abit dry and seemed as though there wasn't enough rose water syrup to perfuse the layers of filo pastry. The walnuts did taste fresh though and the citrus syrup on the side was refreshingly not too sweet as well. I guess this will have to satiate my baklava cravings for now.

I will definitely return to Banoo for their koobideh alone and maybe that odd baklava or two.



LiquidShaDow said...

Great job on this D. I'm planning for dinner at this place actually. Good to have some preview of what they serve.

D said...

Stick to the koobideh and if you're a brave lad, try that yoghurt drink, I DARE you to hahah! Nah, don't try it really, don't waste your money.

Anonymous said...

My friend wants us to have our usual gang dinner there so good thing you wrote this review. How are prices like?

No excuse imo to not have freshly made bread. You don't even have to let it rise since it's unleavened right so it'll be so easy and quick to make and fresh makes ALL the difference.

I've tried Cafe Le Caire's once. It's not bad but not something I'll crave. Also their breads are dismal and cold.

I wouldn't choose to go myself personally because the boss was very rude to my friend over a fundraising event he had originally agreed to help with but reneged on. The one time I went was because it was a huge group gathering and it'd already been fixed. I rem out of the many items I tried, only the eggplant dip was good, and the roast chicken while not special was value for money.

LiquidShaDow said...

I visited Banoo last night and the lamb Koobideh was really enjoyable. Apart from the hummous, the rest wasn't really to my taste, but I probably made some wrong choices for myself. I saw the yoghurt drink on the menu and wondered at the vileness that you described. lol. I didn't order it.

D said...

liquid shadow: Stick the grilled meat items and the hummus I reckon, a pity the breads aren't baked fresh. Haha, glad thing you didn't try the yoghurt drink. It was most vile!

LiquidShaDow said...

Hi D,
thanks for the note. :)