Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Urban Bites @ Telok Ayer Street - Modernizing Lebanese Food in Singapore

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Urban Bites may sounds like a modern restaurant but what it offers is lesser known Lebanese cuisine. The restaurant is opened by Chef Ghazi Khanashat, who has earned the moniker "Godfather" of Lebanese cooking in Singapore, for he brought the cuisine to Singapore almost 16 years ago. His daughter, Christine is running the business with a young and talented Lebanese Executive Chef, Haroutioun Ara Sayegh, helming the kitchen. They duo want to revolutionise Lebanese food in Singapore by giving Chef Ghazi's dishes a modern flair.

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Lebanese Sangria 4/5

Having just return from Spain, I am delight to see sangria on the beverage menu. I ordered the Lebanese Sangria ($26). The Lebanese sangria is made form a concoction of Jallab (dates, grape molasses, rose water), Lebanese red wine, fruit cocktail, and freshly squeezed lime juice. A sweet and refreshing drink to kick start my brunch.

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Cheese Manouche 4.5/5

Urban Bites has recently launched its Saturday Brunch which is available on Saturday from 930am to 4pm. One of the new items on the brunch menu is the Cheese Manouche ($16). The freshly baked flat bread is stuffed with four different types of Lebanese cheese (jeddal, feta, mozzarella and akkawi), and sprinkled with onions and parsley. The fluffy flat bread has a nice exterior crisp which comes from being baked in the stone oven. It also has a slight hint of spiciness.

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Egg with Lamb Shashouba 4.2/5

The other brunch item I enjoyed is the hearty and comforting Egg with Lamb Shashouba ($20). Using lamb shoulder, it is first marinated for 24 hour with Lebanese spices before being roasted. Served in a pan, it consists of pulled lamb and three poached eggs steeped in a fragrant housemade sauce made of fresh tomatoes, chilli peppers, cumin and onions. It is then crowned with feta cheese and deep fried kale leaves. To eat, you have to give is a good mix. I preferred to have it together with the bread which is served on the side. The whole experience felt like having our local egg and toast.

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Fettet Cauliflower 3/5

For those that loves yogurt, you will like the Fettet Cauliflower ($15). It comes with garlic-chilli roasted cauliflower, toasted crunchy chickpeas, velvety yogurt, crispy pita chips and pomegranate seeds. A worthy note is that Chef Ara spends hours making the yogurt daily. Unfortunately I am not a fan of yogurt and I guess I preferred a something richer in taste.

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Lebanese Big Breakfast 3.5/5

If you are not sure what to have for brunch, then the Lebanese Big Breakfast ($20) will allows you to have a bit of everything. It comprises of labneh yogurt cheese, fatted hummus and a hard boiled egg with an assortment of fresh vegetables and thick slices of homemade bread.

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Hummus Original 4.5/5

From the a la carte menu, we tried the staple Hummus Original ($15). The mashed chickpeas with tahini, lemon juice and olive oil was simple but yet hearty. Best to have it together with the warm bread.

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Falafel Salad 4/5

The Falafel Salad ($18) can be a meal on its own. It comprises of mesclun greens, cucumbers, beetroot, avocado, chia and sunflower seeds in a tahini dressing, topped with falafel patties. There are a lot of textures at play and the highlight for me is the crispy falafel packed with lovely flavours.

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Mixed Grill 4.2/5

Good for sharing is the Mixed Grill ($33) which comes with four different charcoal grilled kebabs. Beautifully marinated, spiced and grilled to tender is the cubed chicken, cubed beef tenderloin, minced lamb and minced chicken. The plate also comes with fries, mesclun salad and toum. Toum is a light and airy Lebanese garlic dip that you need to tried. It goes very well with the different meats.

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Osmaliyeh 4/5

Last but at least, we wrapped up our meal on a sweet note with the Osmaliyeh ($12). It comes in a layer of flash-fried crisp filo strings followed by another layer of sweet clotted cream. This is finished with slices of strawberries, crushed pistachio and more filo strings.

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While Lebanese cuisine is still rather new to many Singaporean, I have enjoyed the food at Urban Bites, especially that they are freshly made from stretch. I am also great to see the younger generation taking over the baton, inherit the recipes and making effort to modernize it to suit and attract the young customers. I am a believer that food needs to progress with time too.


Urban Bites
161 Telok Ayer Street
Singapore 068615
Tel: +65 63279460
Facebook
Website
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line), Telok Ayer (DT Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 11am - 10pm
Sat: 930am - 10pm

Direction: 
1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit G. Walk along the covered walkway until the junction of Mccallum Street and Telok Ayer Street. Cross the junction and continue on Telok Ayer Street. Journey time is about 5 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to junction of Telok Ayer Street and Upper Cross Street. Turn left onto Telok Ayer Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

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