Naab Restaurant, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Naab, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Although at first glance Middle Eastern food might appear
similar across all regions, distinct countries have their own peculiar use of
seasonings and preparation creating a distinct difference in taste, texture and
aroma and, unique dishes. Persian food can be found at Naab in Bukit Bintang
and, it is here, where you can not only taste it, but also learn about how it is
traditionally eaten, some folk tales behind certain dishes and hear narratives
that will fulfill your soul while your filling your tummy at the same time.
Naab management’s passion for sharing Iranian culture and
cuisine has led them to employ a Food Guide. This is a new venture for Naab and
they are planning to set up regular buffets where diners can have a guided
introduction to various dishes from the menu with the support of a culinary
expert. On the weekend we were able to sample such an arrangement where we
nourished both our bodies and our minds.
Laid out in one of their function rooms (Naab caters for
individual diners but also large groups in its generous well equipped
building), we set our eyes upon an extensive sampling of appetizers, soups,
salads, main courses and desserts. The display was constantly hot and steaming
and, piping new batches of food were regularly whirled out by attentive staff. As
usual, I headed straight for the appetizers and salads and hubby for the meat.
My favourites of the starters were the: Mirza Ghasemi, a
mixture of smoked eggplant, tomato and egg seasoned with garlic; Kashk O
Bademja, fried eggplant blended with Kashk, aged dried thick yoghurt and topped
with dried onions; Hommus, blended chick peas with garlic, lime and seasoning; Dolma,
tender rolls of rice, tomato, onion and garlic wrapped in vine leaves and; Mottabal
Salad, barbecued eggplant, smoked garlic and beans seasoned with lime juice and
herbs. Of the soups, I’m a huge fan of Barley. I love the chewy texture of the
grain and, with a squeeze of lime, the brew is given a touch of zing. As I
further explored the spread, I fell in love again, not this time with my
husband, but with salad, in this case a feta and walnut bricolage. Fine cubes
of feta and walnuts mixed with fresh leaves was an unexpected but mouth
pleasing plate. Amongst many other light dishes, there was also Persian Fatush,
Shirazi Salad, Baba Ganoush, Tabouli and Naab’s Special House Salad.
The main courses were hubby’s domain and he hoed into the
various kebabs like there was no tomorrow. An endless selection of marinated
and grilled cuts of beef, chicken and lamb in the form of Kebabs threw him into
a carnivorous frenzy. Barg Kebab, Chicken Koobideh Kebab, Sultani Kebab and
Bakhtiari Kebab were all for the taking. The Lamb Koodbideh Kebab though, grilled
marinated ground lamb served with saffron rice, is purely Persian and a “must
try.” A number of gravy based dishes are also unique to Iran, such as the
national favourite, Ghormeh Sabzi Stew. A combination of stewed beef cuts
cooked with fried diced herbs and red beans and, served with Saffron Rice, is
said to be an important dish to know if you want to get married;-). The Ghyeme
Bademjan Stew, making use of beef, chickpeas, eggplant and tomato paste is
another traditional favourite.
Desserts and beverages have a mix of sweet, sour and salty.
The traditional Baklava and other pastry dishes are soaked in sticky sweetness,
while the Orange Crème Caramel puts a spin on its original counterpart.  Dates, of course, play an important part of
any Iranian meal, and the soft fresh dates stuffed with slivers of nuts quickly
disappeared from their serving platter. The signature refreshment, that must be
tasted, is Dough. Taken sweet, salty or plain, this yoghurt drink is
reminiscent of Indian lassi but thinner and able to be drank in larger quantities.
The common Iranian Sekanjabin, a sweet and sour Ancient Persian drink made of
sugar syrup, vinegar flavoured with mint leaves and laced with shredded
cucumber, is not to everyone’s liking, but should definitely be on every food
adventurer’s ‘to taste’ agenda.
Through our own taste testings and information from the Food
Guide on hand, we learned that Persian food is light and healthy. Natural
colours, flavourings and garnishes are used and the simple preparation style
means nutrients remain intact. According to our culinary attendant, Iranians
are particular about the taste and smell of food, paying careful attention to
the use of herbs to improve aroma and prevent an after taste.  For me, Persian cuisine seems to be balanced,
mild and not extreme in taste or texture. I find the use of fresh herbs,
vegetables and grains appealing and appreciate the grilling and marination of
meats in natural ingredients.
Having our stomachs and curiosities satisfied was not enough
for Naab. They attempted to provide sustenance for our souls too. Each table was
allotted a story or a fable that provided thought on how we live and
enlightened table conversation too.
Reason to visit:  Persian buffet with the guidance of a Iranian
Food Expert
*** Readers of The Yum List are entitled to a 10% discount
by showing either an electronic or hard copy of this post.
Naab Restaurant
130 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
+603 2143 3949
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10 Comments

  1. Oh I love Baba Ganoush….sorry to miss this lovely little place! Looks like a serious spread too, so many types of kebabs!

  2. The kuihs certainly look Malaysian. I always stay in this area when in KL but I've never tried the mid-eastern eateries there, not even one. Will have to do that sometime. How long is the discount valid for?

    • Yep, I think there were a few Malaysian sweets thrown in there. There are sooo many mid-eastern eateries in that area you are bound to run into one. This one is well worth a visit when you next return. Discount is valid until the end of 2012.

  3. Sorry I couldn't make this as well. Have never tried Persian food, but it looks mighty fine.

  4. Wow, seems u're venturing into Middle Eastern food now. Nice clips!

    • It's a great time of year to try dishes out with buffets abound. I'm rather found of Middle Eastern – it's something where both hubby and I are happy – I love the veges, salads and dips and hubby loves the grilled items.

  5. love the food here… especially the Barg Kebab and Koobideh… also the dips and salad… definately on the Yum list!!

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