Backyard delicacies

January 17, 2016

For those looking for authentic Lebanese cuisine, it can’t get any better than what is offered at Café Backyard

Backyard delicacies

A stone’s throw from the oh-so-famous MM Alam Road, right behind Zouk, Café Backyard beckons you with its revamped menu that has quite become the talk of the town.

For those looking for authentic Lebanese cuisine, it can’t get any better than this one.

Seated in a covered patio, with Arabic lamps hanging from the roof, as we set our sights on the works of renowned artists that adorned the interior of the place, we realised that equal attention has been paid to the menu.

Anyone who has been to the Middle East must have tasted Lebanese food which is considered best with lamb meat. The food is strewn with olive oil, garlic, lemons and herbs which give it an ideal flavour. The Café Backyard menu offered an array of dishes like the falafel, kafta and moutabbal as we made our pick.

As per the custom at most restaurants or eating outlets serving Lebanese cuisine in the city, the portion sizes were hearty, which was a pleasant surprise. We opted for the mixed platters. The first dish to arrive on our table was a delicious concoction of Baba Ganoush, made with puree of grilled eggplant, mixed with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and other seasonings. Labneh, which is tantamount to cottage cheese balls, had a sour taste because of it being a mixture of strained, spilt milk and thyme. It had just the required zest and all the elements of a traditional Arabic specialty. The combo platter was without the signature Hummus, Fattoush Salad and Pita bread.

Hummus can be the trickiest dish to make as it entails a balanced proportion of mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice and garlic. We usually get this dish elsewhere with an overpowering taste of chickpeas but this one had been created with the right blend of herbs and spices.

Up next was Fattoush, also called summer salad, with a glaze of toasted cubes of pita (croutons) in olive oil that obstructs it from becoming soggy when mixed with the vegetables. The dressing also had a balanced mix of ingredients that brought out the flavour of the dish.

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When quizzed, Marketing Consultant Iftikhar told us that the original menu had been cut down to introduce the Middle Eastern specialties. "This is an authentic Lebanese dining place," he said.

"In order bring out the flavour, we have imported 90 percent of our ingredients and raw material from Lebanon and Dubai. The people associate us with continental food which we offer as well but our Lebanese cuisine is our ‘special’ and we are very proud of it."

Iftikhar also said that everything including pita bread is baked in-house and served fresh and hot straight out of the stone fire oven.

Sesame fried mixture of chickpeas and Lebanese herbs formed a Falafel that was served with a tangy tartar sauce. The combo was replete with pita bread and was an absolute treat to have.

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We were given a selection of spiced sauces/garlic/mayo to add to the pita wraps. My friend got the grilled lamb kafta, another prized dish of Café Backyard. According to him, it was an entire course in itself.

While I settled for the good old Shish Tawook, grilled marinated chicken on skewers served with tabouleh (finely chopped parsley, mint and onion) garlic butter rice and a very special date sauce that, a chef told us, was a creamy blend of gullo kand, raisins and tahini.

All in all, the dining experience at Café Backyard was a visual as well as culinary delight. What’s more, its central location and the perfect combination of good-food-good-price made it the ideal place for foodies like us to visit.

Backyard delicacies