I’ve to admit that there was a most disconcerting moment as I sipped on my mojito at Al-Amar Express.
Right in the heart of Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur, Al-Amar Express sits on the refurbished sidewalk outside of Fahrenheit 88. It used to be Kenny Rogers Roasters, then again Fahrenheit 88 used to be KL Plaza. If you can tell me what it was before Kenny Rogers, you also just revealed your age ;)
My cocktail was a well-concocted blend of rum, soda water, brown sugar, mint leaves and lime wedges that makes up a glass of mojito, yours for RM26. It is slightly on the expensive side but you are at a prime spot for people-watching, favourite activity of the urbanite. Take advantage of the current happy hours promotion and your third glass is on the house.
So there I was with a glass of alcohol in hand, delicious Middle Eastern food in the other and surrounded by delightful drinks and dinner companions. It was all very well until two women in burqa walked by that I realised something: I’m drinking (a lot of) alcohol in an Arabic setting? I turned around and right behind me was the Al-Amar Express signboard;
Photo from: Chattering Kitchen
At that moment I half expected JAWI to bust in and make some arrests and scold me for offending the sensibilities of etc. Then I got a grip and mentally slapped myself for being ridiculous. But these are the things that you notice when you live in a country as such, straightaway assuming Arabic words automatically involves Muslims and in your temporary ignorance, forget that it’s the national language for a lot of countries in the Middle East, regardless of religion.
Later I learned that Lebanon is very metropolitan, different from her neighbours. Lebanese are hospitable and love to have a good time. According to a website, the only two things that suck in Lebanon are the terrible driving and lousy Internet connection. Hey, sounds like home…? :P
But of course at this time I’d already put aside my unfounded fears as I tucked into Al-Amar’s delicious Lebanese fare. From tempting appetisers such as mezze of hummus with pita bread and delectable Middle Eastern salads, to mouthwatering mains of Lebanese pizzas, shawarma and flame-grilled chicken. I highly recommend the haloumi salad, a delightful mix of watercress, spinach, rocket salad, cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, herb crust crouton and fried haloumi cheese served with a vinaigrette dressing, all for RM20. There’s a dish not unlike deep-fried spring roll with cheese inside, I don’t remember its name but do ask for it using my description.
Top off your meal with scrumptious desserts or cleanse your palate with a variety of beer or cocktails. If you can hold your alcohol, please order the ‘caipiroska’, a cocktail of vodka, lime wedges and brown sugar. After that if you don’t feel as happy or friendly as the fun-loving Lebanese folks who work at Al-Amar Express, have another ;)
Do check out Al-Amar Express at Fahrenheit 88. Great location, good views, flavoursome Middle Eastern food in a chic and stylish setting. Do check out their website, Facebook and Twitter. Here be some photos: