Arabian Nights at Cesar ‘s
The Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur
Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
The normally elegant atmosphere of the Ritz Carlton is on fire with fun right now. Cesar’s takes on a Middle Eastern flavour with an Arabian Night’s extravaganza until 27 August. A lively and festive atmosphere permeates with the energetic band, a beautiful belly dancer and audience participation, while Arabic style food is served late into the night until the feasting stops at midnight. Come prepared to enjoy yourself or stay at home!
The feasting starts with a plate of pickled olives, fresh vegetables and tiny green chilies. If you’re a spice lover like me, secrete a couple of these for later.
Soon our table is overflowing as plate after plate of colourful and fragrant offerings arrive. Everyone loves tabbouleh with plenty of couscous, but for me the fatoush is the star of the salads; crispy pita atop delicate furls of pepper, tomato, onion, cucumber, combine in a fruity citric minty dressing. My favourite, kibbeh: those yummy light meat and cracked wheat patties with a nutty center. Firm falafel, slightly spicy with chicken and veg samosa, all good for dipping and scooping the houmous tahini, babaganoush and mutabal from the abundant bowls. Caning’s totally rolling his eyes in delight at the deliciousness of the wara ainab; fresh, wet, stuffed vine leaves that are slightly pickly with a tinge of cinnamon.
|Mutabal, Hommous, Baba Ganoush|
|Fatayer, Kibbeh, Falafel, Samosa, Wara Ainab|
Conversation is interrupted by a tambourine rattling band member at my shoulder who has me clicking my fingers in no time before I am dragged onto the floor in a shameful semblance of Middle Eastern dance. Yes trust me to be the first showpiece! When the music changes to Latin rhythm, Monica and Caning’s salsa demonstration is much more impressive. The atmosphere is bubbling with fun, and all tables are laughing and clapping, as more and more people are encouraged out of their seats.
|Band from Egypt|
Delicious wafts from the on site shawarma grill, manned by a smiling, knife wielding chef, are whetting our taste buds for something more meaty, so we’re happy to see shish tawook, a lightly marinated grilled chicken kebab, its lamb cousin and yummy herby lamb meatballs, served both dry and in a rich tomato sauce. An impressive buttery almond and raisin pilaf boasts great chunks of slow cooked baked lamb, delicately spiced; the lamb ouzi platter. But suddenly everyone is squabbling over the plates of shawarma tucked inside yet more pita bread. Shards of crumbly lamb, giving satisfying fatty undertones without being greasy, mixed with sweet and herby onions and an accompanying tangy yoghurt sauce, evokes child hood memories of stopping at street stands and eating this by hand in fat thick pita rolled up in a piece of greasy paper. Everyone is sneaking just a little bit more of this.
|Chef Carving the Lamb|
|Ouzi Lamb Platter|
Our red wine – a Grand Burge Shiraz – is bang on; just fruity enough and just dry enough to pair well with the meat and light oriental flavours. It cuts through the fat but is leaves a rich lingering blackcurrant tinge on the back of the tongue. When more is offered, it is not refused. But I’m totally distracted by the beautiful glasses, which appear to be delicately iridescent, catching the surrounding lights as though blue and purple bubbles are floating in air. These have to be seen, to be believed. I want a set!
|Grant Burge Shiraz|
We thought we were done with our active participation in the evening and were settling into enjoy the fleshy lemony glory of the Egyptian belly dancer, sparkling and sinewing past in a cloud of fragrance, dark locks a-flowing. She’s delighting the guys in particular with her shimmies and wiggles. Aiwa! Yes! Broad smiles all around… Aiiee, is that body part really meant to do that? Rarely have we seen buttocks shimmy so fast, as for the rest, you’ll just have to go and see for yourself…
Habibi! Habibi – beloved, we hear, and we cant help but relax into the vivacious atmosphere. The musical mix is sure to get you moving in traditional after dinner style, hand clapping and foot stamping to the timbre of the tambourine. Natural joie di vivre abounds and you’ll feel the outside world dissipate as you’re transported through an evening of laughter and aplomb.
|Chefs Enjoying the Music|
‘Yallah!’ – Let’s go! She’s at my shoulder the dancer and once again I am dragged up, the wine easing my reticence to be in a hip shimmying and midriff rolling contest with this denizen. But laughter and applause abound as she wraps a scarf around my waist and we dance wildly before she moves onto her next reluctant victim.
Shukran Jazeera to the Ritz Carlton for such a lively and pleasurable evening. This is a great lingering night out with family and friends, with plenty of time to chat in relaxed Mediterranean style as the plates continue to arrive at table. Prepare to have fun, with your taste buds tickled and eardrums entertained. But don’t wait too long, this extravaganza ends 27 August.
The Arabian Nights at Cesar’s is RM168 ++ inclusive of food and entertainment.
Reason to visit: How many do you need? A brilliant atmosphere, constant yummy food, wonderful entertainment and a chance to shake your booty with a real belly dancer. Something totally different for KL – ‘Yallah!’
The Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Imbi Pudu
+6 03 2142 900