At first glance, Arabic eateries seem dime-a-dozen in Chennai. Most of them are fungible Shawarma and Grill establishments, churning out better Malayali dishes than Arabic fare. Tucked away in Kodambakkam, however, Arab Street stays true to its name. Interiors are fashioned like an alfresco Middle-Eastern diner with wrought-iron benches and street lamps. The effect is novel, in spite of little natural lighting, but the wallpapers have begun to peel over time. I begin with a 'Mezze Platter' of Pita with neat servings of 'Moutabel', 'Baba Ghanoush' and 'Hummus'. Freshly baked, 'Fluffy Pita' soaks up Olive Oil as it lifts the creamy dips. The punchy, distinct and flavourful dips are a far cry from uniform cakey plaster that usually goes around. I enjoy the warm richness of my 'Grilled Haloumi', and the peppery tender 'Laham Meshwi' (lamb chops). Dessert is the rich, milky 'Umm Ali' after a cup of 'Turkish Apple Tea'.
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