Place : Mabruk , Sahara Star
Location : Domestic Airport , Mumbai
15th July 2016
On a Friday night when FBAI and Sahara Star flew us on the Magical Carpet and brought us to the land of Sheherezads , we realized we were going to have this fantabulous night.
Mabruk – As Exotic as it sounds , This is the specialty restaurant of Sahara Star that has created this Magical Mediterranian Bliss ! Five times award winning fine dinig restaurant is headed by Chef – Jihad Al Shami a Lebanese and he makes sure he takes you to his land through this gastronomical affair.
All dolled up and ready we arrived at Mabruk at 7 pm. Sahara Star – the name itself states luxury! I felt like Carry from Sex and the city who goes to this Arabic land and has Arabic adventure. We had our share of Arabic adventure. There were some sexy cocktails presented to us immediately after arriving. We took our seats by the lagoon where the ambiance was set with the beautiful sound of water and the in house musician who was playing soulful music. I was sipping on my Baileys which was truly tasty.
Entire Décor is done so tastefully from the cutlery to your dishes and service accessories etc. The casual low seating sofas let us relax as we got comfortable at our big bloggers table. Chef Jihad then arrived at our table and started interacting with us. He started explaning how visual appearance of food is so important and plays an important role in that entire process. He rightly said – We also Eat with eyes along with our mouth. Mabruk mainly represents Lebanese cuisine , however there is a good participation of Moroccan , Egyptian and Turkish influences.
Mezze was a big range of appetizers that included –Safi’ha – These were open pies that were with a filling of Pine nuts , cheese and greens. There was a non vegetarian variant of it as well.
Kibbe – Cute looking oval appetizer was a treat for meat lovers.
Falafels – Vegetarian’s answer to Kibbeh 😉 Heart shaped beauties made of beans and chick pea.
W’rak Inab Bzeit – This interesting dish , I saw for the first time ever was cooked with rice and veggies wrapped in Vine leaves. They say its super nutritious.
The Dips –Babaganouj / Babaganoush – The question is to call it Baigan ka bharta or stick to its Lebanese name. Nonetheless it tasted too good with the bread.
Moutabbal – If I could eat this dip forever I might just do that. It was made of eggplant / brinjal / aubergine being smoked and mixed with some kickass spices.
Hummus – I love love love hummus. Its my ideal accompaniment with beer or wine or cocktail. Mabruk’s Hummus was way beyond words. It had olive oil beautifully placed within it enhancing the awesomeness. The interesting part was there were different kinds of Hummus which I had never tasted before the variants where they had used bellpeppers and chillies Onion and garlic. B’fli Fle and Beiruti respectively.
Mahamara – This walnut dip had such texture that it gave a different experience to my palate.
The Peta bread that was the best I tasted and we were surprised to know that it had an Oregano. Oregano was not the usual one we get here; this variant came straight from Lebanon. I almost had the bread without even any accompaniment a couple of times.
Chef also demonstrated to us how to make Shawarma and when he was showing it seemed pretty simple whereas whereas when it was our turn to make one. Oh well , we struggled. We learned that a Shawarma is like a chaat the more chutneys or elements you add it only gets tastier. Garlic Sauce and Tahini Sauce form important elements of the Shawarma. So mine had Tahini Sauce , Pickled veggies , Onions , Yoghurt Sauce and some Marahmara as well.
For mains there were variants of what we call Biryani. Kharoof Maash , A Raan Biryani that was a whole leg piece of meat placed on flavoured rice. Oh the charred flavor of that meat and the juiciness. Rice was so full of flavor. This is a slow cooking process and hence it enhances the tastes.
Mahancha Laham: this was a puff pastry with the filling of veggies / meat. The pastry was sooo light that it would just melt in the mount the moment you pop it in.
Sharia Medfauna Mushroom – This was a sevaiyaan kind of preparation with a dollop of Mushroom rich gravy.
Chef interacted even more as we feasted on the mains. He said how cooking in Lebanon and India is similar and how both the countries adore spices. He loves his comfort food and seldom cooks his special Lebanese comfort food for Team Mabruk too.
We then moved our attention to the array of desserts Baklawa was something we were eyeing since a long time. This is a pistachio pastry rich in butter and the sweetness overwhelming.
Umm Ali – I quite liked this coconut flavoured dessert that had the perfect amount of raisins, nuts and almonds. Mish Moush B’loz – This apricot dessert was a less appreciated one among the others.
Kneef – Lebanese version of cheese cake. This is made of Ricotta and Orange.
This entire experience at Mabruk was fun and learning as well. I learnt a lot of new things that I wasn’t aware of Lebanese cuisine. And well , My palate got a treat that it’ll remember for a good time J
Taste – 5 /5
Ambiance – 5 / 5
Service – 5 /5
Value for money – 5 /5