Food Photography and writing about food is my hobby. I am certified in Health Supportive Cooking, Health, Nutrition, Disease Prevention, Gastronomy, and Global Health. My blog contains food related information and images, healthy eating and fitness, health benefits of different foods, tried out and tested recipes from my kitchen, about Kitchen Gardening, specifically cooking with the fresh produce and some restaurant reviews.
Friday, 13 January 2012
Ahlan to Abaan- The Lebanese restaurant in town
“SWOT-An-Arabian-Night’ A robust evening enjoying the unique taste of Middle Eastern cuisine
back to early nineties, when, suddenly the middle eastern food started
appearing in the Pakistani food scene. Result of influx of overseas Pakistanis
back to their home country after the gulf war. Two decades later there are no shortage of worthy Middle Eastern restaurants spread throughout
Pakistan. Karachiites with their love of eating out adapted their taste buds to
the middle eastern cuisine and made wonders with some fusion to suit the local
preferences and available ingredients.
Abaan is one such evolution on
the fine dining map of Karachi. Located at Khayabe Jami, Aban offers
surprisingly great tasting Lebanese dishes. Due to my several trips to Lebanon
and close ties with friends and colleagues in Beirut, Lebanese food is close to
my heart. I have had opportunity to eat at Abaan several times over the past 7
months that it has been operating. “SWOT-An-Arabian-Night’ was a robust evening
where SWOT members dined at Abaan. SWOT is a group of Karachi based foodies who review and share their eating out experiences on facebook. Before our
dinner, I and Shahrukh had a solid two hours with our cameras clicking away the
creations in the very modern, well laid out and neat kitchen of Abaan.
Abaan is located in a beautiful
building with an impressive reception area, the main dining hall is located on
the 2nd Floor. It is quiet spacious, not exactly laid out in Middle
Eastern décor, but done beautifully, with comfortable seating, and dimly lit.
The Arabic music and music videos on TV adds to the setting. Overall ambience is
definitely relaxing and helps unwind with friends and family.
off the evening with appetizers, the group ordered Falafel; which turned out a great
hit with its light texture and right spices. The Assorted Mezze Platter and Grilled Halloumi cheese salad tasted good too; but some of us suggested that they can
be improved with adjusting some seasonings and adding more olive oil. The
Lentil Soup is served with crisp and thin pitta was a perfect preparation .
There were several main
courses ordered; Lamb
Shank, Lamb chops, were outstanding. The meat on the Lamb Shank was tender,
juicy carefully cooked, spiced with a sauce poured over. The sides include
vibrantly colored steamed vegetable and couscous. The couscous could do with
some more olive oil and soaking in water longer.
The grilled entrees that
were tried included Sheesh Tauk, and Lamb Chops; which were well grilled, tender, and
tasted well. The Sheesh Taukh can do with little less spice. Dajjaj Moussaka,
was pan seared chicken marinated a tasty sauce, served with brown rice
containing herbs, nuts, and raisins. I loved that rice, though the chicken was
somewhat overcooked and would be much better with adjustments in spice and cooking temperature.
The Shawarma that came on the tables were far from authentic or even close to what
Shawarma can be, maybe omitting onions and capsicum would improve the taste or
might be a complete different recipe. A couple of us also ordered mint drink
that was freshly prepared with lemon juice and crushed mint, and did not have taste of any artificial syrup or ingredients!
I would also like to point out to the
fact that the meat dishes served by authentic Lebanese eateries on streets of
Beirut would be completely bland and dry to Pakistani tastebuds!!!! At Abaan,
the chef have done a great job of creating these dishes palatable to our taste, yet carrying the distinct Lebanese flavors.
dessert were the highlight of the dinner – everyone loved the Om' Ali, which was
outrightly Yummy!!! Just that the chef needs to ensure they arrive steaming hot
on the tables. The baklava, though over sweet, was crunchy, sticky and sprinkled
with chopped pistachios. The little Arabic Biscuits were all delicious and people
wiped them off to the last crumb.
The Executive Chef of Abaan is an
experienced professional with extensive experience of working in Middle East.
As we were shooting in the kitchen, it was a sheer pleasure observing him and
his crew; food stylists, cooks and assistants working harmoniously as a great
team creating these mouth watering dishes for us. Our reviews, suggestions alongwith the
appreciation was very well received by owner Adil Iqbal. Adil is a young, dynamic
business graduate from London, who was inspired by his love of Middle Eastern
cuisine specifically Lebanese food while in London.
I was impressed by his extraordinary
openness to involving his customers in improving the food, and listening to
their advice intently. Lebanese food tastes fairly different and it is a
challenge to introduce the subtle and delicate flavors of Lebanese cuisine in
Pakistan. Adil is brave enough to take up this challenge, and is fairly
successful so far.
us would definitely go back to Abaan and anyone searching for a unique Middle
Eastern taste much venture out to