There’s always been something very fascinating about Middle Eastern cuisine. Not that I have lived there, but having eaten at umpteen Turkish places in Europe, Doner Kebab, shawarma roll/plate with salad and fries, and Falafel Roll is something that I would eat without a second thought.
However, in Chennai, it has always been limited to a few restaurants serving Arabian cuisine. There were one or two places that were exclusively serving doner, havent heard about them in a while though. When I heard Mezze served Middle Eastern cuisine, it got me quite excited.
I was waiting for some occasion to visit this place. When none came up, made an impromptu plan for a dinner with family and headed there on a weekday evening. Thankfully, we readily got a table. I’ve heard that on weekends, there’s a huge waiting time. After entering, understood why! It is a very small place with limited covers and easily gets full.
It didn’t take very long to decide what we wanted to have, the sections in the menu was quite nicely organized. Ordered a few variants of pita – plain, Chicken Cheese and Chilli Cheese, along with Hummus and Babaghanoush from the cold Mezze section, to go with it. Hot Mezze had small and large plates, more like starters and mains, with a lot of options in vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Ordered Dukkah Mushroom, Feta stuffed Falafel, Chicken Shawarma, an Americano, Green Apple Lemonade and Masala Goli Soda. Part-1 of our order was done and we couldn’t wait to dive in 🙂
It didn’t take very long for the food to arrive, one by one they made their way to the table. Pita was soft and the Chicken Cheese and Chilli Cheese variants were even better. Hummus was one of the best I have had, tasted very fresh and nice. Babaghanoush, is basically a roasted eggplant dish, topped with pomogrenate kernels and served cold. One can’t help but draw a slight comparison to Baingan Ka Barta, given the similar smoky flavor in both of them. Dukkah Mushroom was pan-fried mushrooms tossed in a nutty spice mix. It was good, nothing worth raving about. Feta stuffed Falafel was very good, but the feta cheese didn’t seem to make any significant impression. Chicken Shawarma tasted wonderful, but in appearance, didn’t look like it was shaved off the meat in the rotisserie, rather sliced from a piece of chicken, it left me a bit confused. Since it tasted good, didn’t think too much about it. We relished the food and thoroughly enjoyed it. Americano was good, kids liked the Apple Green Lemonade and Masala Goli Soda.
After a brief look at the menu, decided to order just one more dish. Quite tempted to order a Lahmajoun, basically a Middle Easten Pizza, but kids wanted Roasted Chicken with Hummus instead. Decided to go with that. It was good, and came with the same set of accompaniments as the chicken Shawarma, so it was a bit too much of Hummus in the end 🙂 As an afterthought, felt I could have ordered something different.
The only dessert on the menu that had its roots in the Middle East was Baklava. In no mood for the ‘usual’ brownie and ice cream., ordered one plate of Baklava, it had three pieces. I loved it! The nut-filled dessert topped with syrup was very yummy!
Excited to see Turkish Coffee on the menu and ordered that, sadly they didn’t have it, had to end the dinner without that. Service was courteous, nothing worth a slightest complaint. We paid around 2.5K in all, that included a Service Charge of 10% which was quite prominently displayed on the menu, I didn’t have any problems with that. Only thing that I felt could have been priced cheaper was the goli soda! 125 bucks for a goli soda sounded way too expensive, especially when you buy it off the shelf from Kozzmo. I recollect last time I had it was in Nammaa Kitchen in Taramani and I mentioned 70 bucks as expensive 🙂
Overall, good food, nice place and I would recommend this for a weekday dinner. I wouldn’t be too keen to wait for a table on a crowded weekend.