It’s no secret that I love Lebanese food. I fell in love with it during my first visit early this year and I even went back there again to celebrate my birthday later. So when I heard that Al-Amar Express is opening its doors at the prime location of Jalan Bukit Bintang, Saucer and I immediately went to pay them a visit, on the second day of operations itself! Located just outside Fahrenheit88, the huge signboard in red is hard to miss, and will definitely be a prominent landmark in the future.
The grand Al-Amar Express signboard in red
Initially, I had thought of Al-Amar Express to be a booth by the roadside, selling takeaway items just like those Kebab stalls in the shopping malls. The term ‘express’ led me to believe that, but boy, was I wrong! Even though it’s termed ‘Express’, it’s nothing short of a full-fledged restaurant! It occupies quite a huge space, with 3 different dining areas – an outdoor area with couches for drinks/shisha, an indoor air-conditioned area and another outdoor dining area. It was really impressive! The whole building was made of glass walls, giving it a very classy and elegant outlook. We dined outdoors the whole night while watching cars driving by the busy Jalan Bukit Bintang.
Al-Amar Express interior
Of course, being an Express restaurant, the items sold here are quite different from the restaurant in Pavilion. Most of the items sold here are bread or pastry-based, something that can be prepared in a jiffy, suitable for the hectic lifestyle of working people in the heart of KL.
While waiting for the others to arrive, I ordered a bottle of cold Almaza beer for myself. I drank that during my first visit and I didn’t mind drinking that again. Even though I’m not a beer person, this was light, smooth and very refreshing! And it’s cheaper than Heineken.
Almaza beer (RM20)
As usual, appetizers in Al-Amar started with some bread and Hommos. The bread is complimentary, but the Hommos is not. The bread served here is slightly different from the one at Pavilion, in the sense that it wasn’t baked into fluffiness before serving. I guess it’s understandable, as baking them would take time hence reducing the speed of their express servings.
Combining the bread with Hommos (mashed chickpeas mixed with sesame seed paste and a dash of lemon juice, topped with olive oil) is always a sure-win thing. I love the thick but smooth paste of the mashed chickpeas, not unlike mashed potatoes, but with a fragrant, savoury and creamy texture. I could really eat just bread and hommos for a meal!
The rest of the items that we tried were mostly new, starting with Tawouk Salad, which was chicken tawouk with baby spinach, rocket, tomato and walnuts with aioli dressing. I don’t know how they did it but the chicken was aromatic with a tender and moist interior. The slightly charred skin gave it not only an aesthetic appeal, but a nice bite! I could definitely see myself eating this for lunch, a healthy one that is.
Tawouk Salad (RM20)
If you can’t live without carb, perhaps the Chicken Baguette would be a better choice. I wonder where they sourced the baguettes for they were really good! Toasted on the surface with a crispy skin but soft and warm interior. Not to mention it’s quite sizable too! It had some roasted chicken, garlic sauce and pickles within. Some really sour pickles, I might add! I have to say I don’t really fancy sour stuff, so I would ask them to omit the pickles on my next visit.
Chicken baguette (RM16)
When the next dish came, we were surprised as we didn’t know there were Lebanese pizzas! The Zaatar & Cheese Manakeesh was a thin crusted pastry of Lebanese cheese topped with thyme and sesame seeds. It was not overly cheesy and the thin crust really did the trick for me.
Zaatar & Cheese Manakeesh (RM12)
In fact, the Spinach Fatayer had a stronger cheese smell compared to the above, in addition to baby spinach, onions and a zest of lemon. I found it a tad too rich but cheese lovers might love this.
Spinach Fatayer (RM12)
My favourite pizza would be Kafta with Cheese Manakeesh, delicious grilled lamb mix topped with tomato slices, cheese and mayo. The lamb slices were generous! They were nicely grilled, with a strong aroma that was sure to tease anyone’s taste buds! And the best part was? It’s portion is good enough for sharing! Where can you get a lamb pizza for 2 at only RM16 in the heart of KL right?
Kafta with Cheese Manakeesh (RM16)
As mentioned earlier, most of the items served at the Express outlet are pastry or bread-based. So we had the Sandwich, the Pizza and now we had Wraps! The Falafel Sandwich was a wrap with fried beans and chick pea paste, turnip, pickles, parsley, lettuce and sesame paste. I’ve always liked Falafel for its crispy skin and its filling mixed with spices. It was moreish and went well with the wrap. Again, no pickles for me next time.
Another wrap was the Kafta Halabi, seasoned minced lamb wrapped with hommos, parsley, onions and pickles. I think Al-Amar really knows how to make its lamb delicious and tender! Add that with hommos, what’s not to like? Eat them just out of the oven for that crispy bite on the wrap. I even packed this back for breakfast the next morning. Yummy!
Kafta Halabi (RM15)
The next dish was something quite special. Dubbed as Eggcellence, it’s actually a clay pot of baked eggs! 3 eggs, to be exact! And they’re baked to a runny finish on the hot pot, to be eaten with the warm Lebanese bread. I guess we took too much time in taking pictures and eating other dishes that when we ate these eggs, they were more solid than runny. *LOL* So next time, remember to eat this once it’s served for the best effect!
Baked Sunny Side Up (RM15)
One more dish before desserts! A Half-Roasted Chicken served with fries and Lebanese bread. I was incredibly full at this point of time and did not have a bite of this. It did look golden brown and had a nice aroma to it.
Half-roasted Chicken (RM22)
Finally, it was time for desserts! We had a few types, starting with the Creme Caramel. I have to say, this was huge! Definitely meant for sharing, especially after having a hearty meal. The texture of this was firm and bouncy but smooth. It was rather sweet, but that’s what desserts are supposed to be, no?
Creme Caramel (RM12)
The Homemade Ice-cream was delicious and smooth, but I’d prefer for it to not melt that fast.
Homemade Ice-cream (RM6/scoop)
Last but not least, a huge piece of Cheese Cake, which turned out to be my favourite that night. It was not overly rich, very smooth and the addition of the slightly sourish berry sauce made it all the more appealing in taste! Absolutely loved this!
Cheese Cake (RM15)
Of course, dinner wouldn’t be complete without company from amazing friends! That’s the reason why I love dining with a group of friends, we could order more, try more and laugh more!
witch and the gorgeous Farena
Esther darling and witch <3
witch and Joseph
So when you’re around Jalan Bukit Bintang, hungry and wondering what to eat, do look out for the unmistakable red sign board and drop by for a visit that wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket!
Lot G44, Ground Floor,
179, Jalan Bukit Bintang,
Tel no: +603-2141 3814
Opening hours: 8am to 3am Daily (24 hours on weekends starting in 2011)
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