Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tarbush Restaurant Penang - Arabic & Lebanese Cuisine To Satisfy All Your Senses

Tarbush, one of the leading Middle Eastern restaurants in Malaysia has opened its doors to the Penang dining scene about two weeks ago. This chain of restaurants which already has branches at Starhill, Jalan Bukit Bintang and Sunway Carnival has been around in Malaysia since 1998.

Tarbush literally means a brimless cone-shaped flat-crowned hat that usually has a tassel, is usually made of red felt, and is worn especially by men in eastern Mediterranean countries.

The Tarbush menu which consists of primarily Lebanese and Arabic delicacies, as the slogan suggests, is probably the most complete Middle Eastern offerings you can find in Penang. We were lucky to have had the chance to meet with the owner and Managing Director of the Tarbush chain of restaurants, Mr Mohyiddin Al Halabi and his assistant. According to his assistant, the restaurant aims to be the best restaurant in Penang. We were told that the restaurant also has the environment and its customers' health in mind with its built-in smoke reducer and treated water.

Owner and Managing Director, Mr Mohyiddin Al Halabi

The restaurant has undoubtedly brought the dining experience in Penang to the next level, with its authentic Middle Eastern fare, beautiful setting, Syrian-inspired decor and contemporary concept. The restaurant is made up of two levels, the ground floor being the more elegant air-conditioned dining area while the upper floor is the more contemporary open air dining area. The table tops are made of beautiful and colourful imported Syria tiles.

Elegant air-conditioned dining on the 1st floor

The restaurant is already enjoying very brisk business and currently running on full capacity for dinner and the clientele are made up of a 50% mixture of locals and tourists respectively.

The restaurant is right next to the beach so you will get a great sea view if you opt for the tables by the windows on the ground floor or at the patio on the 1st floor.

Staircase leading to the first floor

Open air dining on the 1st floor

Table and floor tiles imported from Syria

Service was a breeze and we were immediately served with Lebanese bread and pickles.

Drinks - Arabic Tea (RM7) and Lemon Na' Na' (RM11)

Lemon Na' Na' is a blend of lemon juice and chopped mint. The best drink you can get on a hot day.

Soup - Addas (RM8)
Yellow lentil soup with cumin and coriander

The lentil soup was a great way to start the meal. We absolutely loved this thick and creamy lentil soup with the right amount of spices.

Appetizer - Mazze (RM38)
A combination of hommus, mutabal, tabouleh, green salad and wara alnab served in one plate

(1) Hommus - Chickpeas with tahina sauce (sesame paste), garlic and parsley, topped with sesame oil
(2) Mutabal - Grilled eggplant dip made creamy with tahina sauce, drenched in olive oil
(3) Tabouleh - A salad of chopped parsley, tomatoes, cucumber with lemon juice and olive oil
(4) Green Salad - Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber tossed in lemon juice and olive oil
(5) Wara Alnab - Pickled wine leaves stuffed with rice, mixed with tomatoes, onions and herbs

We have always loved dips and salads and Tarbush has not failed us. The sheer amount of olive oil brought out the flavour of the hommus and mutabal. The best thing about the salads was the refreshing lemon juice that will perk your appetite on any day.

Main - Tarbush Mixed Grill (RM35)
A medley of grilled arayes, lamb chop, shish tawook, shish kebab and lamb cubes

Shih Tawook - Boneless chiken meat marinated and grilled, served with Tarbush garlic sauce
Arayes Lamb - Minced lamb, onion and tomato stuffed in traditional grilled Lebanese bread
Shish Kebab - Minced seasoned lamb grilled
Lamb chop - Lamb chop marinated in herbs and spices and grilled

The way the meat was grilled has retained the exotic flavour of the meat and was complimented by the right amount of spices and herbs. We absolutely loved the succulent, juicy and tender meat and the signature Tarbush garlic sauce that was a great accompaniment to the chicken and lamb. Definitely a must-have at this restaurant.

Desserts - Mahalabia and Baklava
Mahalabia is a milk cream pudding garnished with chopped pistachios and baklava is a Middle Eastern finger pastry filled with nuts.

Mr Mohyiddin was very kind and generous to have given us complimentary mahalabia and baklava to savour. The baklava was very fresh and the phyllo pastry very cunchy and crispy with the right amount of nuts. What a great finale to end a great meal.

Arabic Coffee (RM5)

The Arabic coffee was served in a special cezve coffee pot. The coffee was very aromatic with cardamon spices, just the way we liked it.

It was definitely a great dining experience with delicious Middle Eastern food, cozy and elegant ambiance and good service. Thanks to Tarbush, we now have good Middle Eastern fare to satisfy our tastebuds in Penang. We will definitely come back again to try other items on the menu.

Baklava on display


Small garden and fountain at doorway leading to restrooms

Tarbush Catering

Tarbush Restaurant
Lot 4134 Section 1
Batu Ferringhi
(Next to The Ship at Batu Ferringhi)
Tel: +604-885 2558
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