Holland Village’s enclave of restaurants has many great places to discover, and Al Qasr, which offers an exotic mix of Lebanese, Middle Eastern and North African dishes in an inviting vibrant setting worth seeking out.
Helmed by Managing Partner and Executive Chef Ghazi Georges Khanashat, a native Lebanese, customers can expect to feast on the rich and diverse cuisines of the region.
LEBANESE CUISINE AND MORE
A browse through Al Qasr’s menu will reveal a cornucopia of dishes ranging from well-known Middle Eastern specialities such as hommos, kebabs and tajines, to more unusual offerings from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Most dishes boast of hearty flavours, punctuated with the heady perfume of a combination of herbs and spices.
Pique the appetite with a tantalising array of 72 hot and cold mezze; small dishes of appetisers, and salads. The signature Al Qasr hommos ($10) presents a creamy concoction of chickpea paste with sesame paste, garlic and fresh lemon juice topped with whole chickpeas and pine kernels, best paired with freshly-baked Lebanese pocket bread. Hot mezze include Sanboosik ($12 for four pieces), a crispy savoury pastry stuffed with Lebanese akaway cheese and feta cheese, onions, parsley and pine kernels, and Ras asfoor ($15), a simple satisfying dish of fried minced lamb cubes with Lebanese cherry jam or basil leaves.
The quintessential Lebanese salad Fattoush ($10) features a refreshing mixture of chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint among others with a hint of sumac for tang topped off with toasted Lebanese bread for textural contrast. Another option is the Tabbouleh ($10) made with freshly chopped parsley, bulghur wheat, tomatoes, onions and fresh mint.
For main courses, there is a myriad of tempting choices spanning traditional Levantine specialities to North African dishes from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Indulge in a selection of lamb kebabs such as succulent Reyash Ghanam ($22); chilli paste marinated grilled lamb chops served with special Lebanese barbecue sauce, or Istamboli kabab ($22), a subtly-spiced dish originating from Aleppo, Syria, consisting of lamb meat minced with garlic, pistachio, pine kernel and onions served with a garlic onion sauce. Have the world on your plate with the Al-Qasr mixed grill ($30), which consists of a chef’s selection of lamb and chicken kebabs, beautifully presented on a gold-gilded plate.
The ubiquitous Moroccan tagine is presented in various renditions at Al Qasr. Seafood tajeen with apricote ($25) comprises snapper fish pieces and king prawns in a spice broth served in a traditional clay tagine pot.
Vegetarian specialities are also available, from kebabs with feta cheese to Vegetarian Mussaka ($22); layers of mixed vegetables with béchamel sauce grilled till golden brown on the top, and cous cous. Be spoilt for choice with the Assorted Lebanese desserts ($7-small, $10-medium) presented to round off the meal on a sweet note. These buttery sweets include Mammool; with a choice of pistachio, walnut and dates filling, Ghoriabah, a simple crumbly pastry and Barazek; sesame coated biscuits. The perennial favourite of Baklawah ($6); traditional Arabic pastry with mixed dried nuts is available as well.
Savour these unique dishes with a glass of exclusive Lebanese red, rosé or white wine. Alternatively, sip on a refreshing glass of Jallab ($5), a traditional Lebanese beverage in blackberry, dates or tamarind flavours, served with crushed ice with pine kernels and raisins.
Dine amid a regal yet intimate setting that conjures images of ancient folklore and mystic. Pretty lanterns and twinkle lights illuminate the space laid with ornate floor tiles and painted in rich hues of yellow and salmon pink with a shimmering gold-tiled wall. Plush seating of a royal light maroon hue accentuates the inviting ambience while Middle Eastern ornaments and artefacts provide the finishing touch.
A cosy outdoor al fresco area covered with vines and greenery offer an alternative dining space.
EXECUTIVE CHEF GHAZI GEORGES KHANASHAT
A native Lebanese, Chef Khanashat owns three restaurants in Lebanon and has amassed a wealth of extensive culinary experience from working around the world for over 20 years in countries such as Dubai, France and Italy before arriving in Singapore in 2001. Specialising in Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine, Al Qasr is the culmination of his dream and passion for the cuisines of the region.
– Al Qasr. 46 Lorong Mambong, Holland Village, Singapore 277698, reservations tel: +65 6467 7793, fax: +65 6469 8984, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.alqasr.com.sg, opening hours: Lunch 11:30 – 2pm, Dinner 6pm – 11pm, Open daily