Restaurant Review; WHAT'S ON.Byline: by DAYLE CRUTCHLOW
Habibi, Far Gosford Street, Coventry, 024 7622 0669. WHEN it comes to international cuisine, I like to consider myself gastronomically well travelled.
Thai? Tried it a lot. Italian? I'm a pasta master. French? Mais oui. Indian? Hell, I'm a curry king.
But Arabic? No, I'm afraid the delights of Middle Eastern cuisine The term Middle Eastern cuisine refers to the various cuisines of the Middle East. Despite their similarities, there are considerable differences in climate and culture, so that the term is not particularly useful. remained a mystery to me - until my wife and I visited Habibi this week.
Tucked away on Far Gosford Street this place really is like a hidden Arabian jewel and, for a Tuesday night it was doing a bustling trade.
First thing to note is the visual treat that Habibi provides. We sat upstairs, where low tables and benches draped drape
v. draped, drap·ing, drapes
1. To cover, dress, or hang with or as if with cloth in loose folds: draped the coffin with a flag; a robe that draped her figure. with authentic Arabian rugs and throws, lit by equally authentic looking lamps, create a pleasing ambience.
Couple this with the wooden beamed walls and you have an entirely seamless and amicable culture clash - a Bedouin tent in medieval England.
Our fellow customers sat around on cushions, puffing away on ornate, intricate and beautiful Shisha Shisha (shī`shə), David's scribe: see Shavsha. water pipes, often known as a hubbly-bubblys, filled with tobacco and dried fruits.
The restaurant doesn't have a drinks licence so, if you want booze, you have to take your own - they charge pounds 1 to open beer and pounds 2.50 for wine.
I opted to start with charcoal-grilled Arabic cheese, at pounds 3.50, while Jo went for a Chorbit Addas Addas was a young Christian slave boy who lived in Taif, a mountainous area south of Mecca, during the times of Muhammad. He was the first person from the western province of Taif to convert to the new religion of Islam. , a traditional Arabic lentil soup Noun 1. lentil soup - made of stock and lentils with onions carrots and celery
soup - liquid food especially of meat or fish or vegetable stock often containing pieces of solid food , at pounds 3.
The cheese was delicious, as far from bog-standard Red Leicester as you could get. The grilled slices came presented on a bed of salad, sprinkled with coriander coriander (kōr'ēăn`dər), strong-smelling Old World annual herb (Coriandrum sativum) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), cultivated for its fruits. leaves and its loose yet creamy texture created a pleasing sense of culinary contradiction.
Jo's soup was simply sensational. For those who consider lentils to be somewhat bland, think again. This was robust, deliciously rich and like nothing either of us had ever tasted before.
For our main courses Jo opted for a vegetarian Mousakka at pounds 8 while I chose a Lameh Belkouder, lamb cooked with onions, potatoes, peppers and coriander, at pounds 9.50.
Both came served with rice and neither disappointed.
The lamb was fantastically tender and one thing that really hit home was the over-all freshness.
You didn't have to march into the kitchen to demand proof to know that every vegetable had been freshly chopped shortly before hitting the pan.
The evidence presented itself conclusively to our tastebuds. You just knew that these dishes had been lovingly prepared to order.
We rounded off our evening with some Arabic coffee There are two ways of preparing Arabic coffee (Arabic: قهوة عربية) in the Middle East. , strong and rich beyond words, and our own hubbly-bubbly pipe, peach flavour for us, at a cost of pounds 5.
It was the perfect way to finish, relaxing on cushions, puffing away on a pipe, the sounds of Arabic music filling the air along with the smells of the fruit tobacco and the delicious food.
Habibi offers a truly delightful treat to all of the senses.We loved it.
Factfile MENU: Arabic/Middle Eastern.
PRICE GUIDE: Starters range from pounds 3 to pounds 6, while main courses range from around pounds 8 up to the pounds 10 mark. Set menus are available starting from around the pounds 22 mark.
ATMOSPHERE: Chilled. Reader's Choice I WOULD like to nominate the Bull Inn, Weston under Wetherley between Leamington and Princethorpe.
It is an excellent public house with tip-top quality food at reasonable prices and daily specials at pounds 5.95. There is also an extensive e-la-carte menu as well as a good selection of beers, lagers and wines.
T Steele, Brooklyn Road, Foleshill.