Arabian Bites

Jakarta (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - From the curious spelling of the restaurant name, its location off the trendy Jakarta dining belt and its modest appearance, there is a friendliness about Sindbad restaurant that other eateries lack and make it an ideal place for families. And it also has very good food.

Located on Jl. K.S. Tubun, Central Jakarta, the one-story Middle Eastern restaurant's rust-colored fa?ade bears the caricature of a grinning young man in a turban holding a plate (Mr. Sinbad we presume). The interior is similarly unpretentious, with its colorful carpets and dim lighting creating an intimate ambiance.

The humble appearance belies the fact that the restaurant's hearty fare has won international acclaim, including the 25th International Award for the Tourist, Hotel and Catering Industry in Madrid in January 2000, and the Quality Summit, New York 2001, Gold Award for Excellence and Business Prestige by Jose E. Prieto, July 12, 2001.

The meat-focused cuisine includes kaware or magadim soup (lamb's leg soup) and syawerma (sandwich with chicken or beef and potatoes). For diners interested in more than meat, vegetable-based dishes are found in the cold appetizer section, such as hummus (ground chickpeas), mutabbal (eggplant dip) and idham musyakal (mixed vegetables with tomato sauce).

With most patrons eating the traditional communal Middle Eastern way in groups of families or friends, dishes come in large portions. For those who want to satisfy their carnivorous urgings, there is a quarter lamb or a half lamb to chew on. The waitress said that one of the restaurant's best-selling dishes is Khuzi Fahat Mashwi, leg of lamb marinated in spices and grilled.

That would have been too much to stomach for me as the lone female guest on this particular weekday afternoon. I sought dining tips for one person from the waitress, who happily recommended rice dishes. The restaurant has four types of rice dishes: Indian-style biryani and kebuli, Yemen-style mandi and Saudi Arabian-style kabsah.

The waitress gave samples of each dish for me to choose from (I opted for the mandi and kabsah, as the restaurant can prepare one dish with two types of rice). She said Indonesians usually order kebuli or biryani, while foreigners prefer mandi or kabsah. Diners also may ask for the addition of meat with their rice.

Another tasty dish suitable for a single diner is sambusak (meat-stuffed curry puffs, similar to samosa), with a filling of chicken or lamb. They can also prepare it with cheese, which the chef dolls out in generous portions.

For my beverage, I chose the date smoothie topped with whipped cream and chopped dates, a perfect drink to replenish my energy after battling the traffic in the scorching Jakarta sun.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

  • How a mom accidentally stole a car in under 60 seconds 1 hour 28 minutes ago
    How a mom accidentally stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 3 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 4 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...

  • Over 280 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes
    Over 280 missing after South Korean ferry capsizes

    By Narae Kim JINDO South Korea (Reuters) - More than 280 people, many of them students from the same high school, were missing after a ferry capsized off South Korea on Wednesday, in what could be the country's biggest maritime disaster in over 20 years. It was not immediately clear why the Sewol ferry listed heavily on to its side and capsized in apparently calm conditions off South Korea's southwest coast, but some survivors spoke of a loud noise prior to the disaster.