I always love to try different cuisine and I derive pleasure and satisfaction beyond compare. The urge to know the ingredients and the tastes that blend and the aroma that flows in, fill my mind with peace. Each unique dish provides a new flavor that lifts up my spirit!
Zaitoon has been on my list for some time, but somehow didn’t get time to visit this place. Last Sunday en route Faridabad, I decided to give it a shot. I had a lighter lunch to ensure that I keep myself light to be able to stuff myself with variety. It’s a different thing that I regretted later for not having stuffed myself with heavier lunch as my sister had cooked amazing chicken and mutton curry. Also her cooking skills are similar to that of my mom and not easting to satisfaction was definitely a bad decision.
The other reason to visit Zaitoon was my love for Arabian cuisine that I picked on my frequent business trip to Saudi Arabia. I picked up Mediterranean and Arabian cuisines mainly during my official visits to different places combined with the urge to try out new things. In Saudi Arabia, I fell in love with kabsa, Salads and Kebabs
Kabsa is a family of rice dishes that are served mostly in Saudi Arabia — where it is commonly regarded as a national dish — and the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Kabsa, though, is believed to be indigenous to Yemen. These dishes are mainly made from a mixture of spices, rice (usually long-grain basmati), meat and vegetables. There are many kinds of kabsa and each kind has a uniqueness about it. The spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. The main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat, such as chicken, goat, lamb, camel, or sometimes beef, fish, and shrimp. (Source Wiki)
So, at Zaitoon GK II, we ordered chelo kebab, fattoush salad(my all-time favorite salad), humus with pita bread.
Chelo Kebab is a national dish of Iran consisting of kebabs on a bed of basmati rice ( typically Persian rice) with grilled tomato and onion rings. The secret of good and tasty chelo kebab lies in marinating of the meat. The meat should be properly marinated in onion juice and sometimes in yogurt for a day or two. Having this description in mind, I was excited. I believe I had high expectations as having tried authentic food; chelo kebabs from Zaitoon definitely disappointed me. Kebab was hard and didn’t carry the flavor that I had expected and wasn’t cooked to perfection. Arabians use high quality rice and the grains are long and supreme quality basmati rice. Of course the quality of rice in Zaitoon wasn’t great
I have provided recipe of fatoush Salad in my blog. You can try out the recipe at home as I had learnt it during my stay in Saudi Arabia.
Here is the link to the recipe.http://www.mysticfoodiemantra.com/2013/01/fattoush-lebanese-salad_30.html I have been great fan of this salad. It’s very simply and very easy to make and it’s very delicious. I was under impression that this dish will be authentic as it doesn’t require any skills. Well to my disappointment again, the pita bread was slightly burnt and instead of filling it with green vegetables, I could find layers and layers of lettuce. Lettuce ofcourse is part of this salad, however it doesn’t mean that, all you find is mainly lettuce. Cherry Tomato is what we usually add and we had normal tomatoes here. I also didn’t find the cucumber fresh.
Humus and Pita Bread – Both were very disappointing. Humus was full of oil and tasteless. I was disappointed to the core as I was expecting simple dishes to be more authentic and that wasn’t the case. Zaitoon for me is restaurant that is serving cuisine similar to Arabian with virtue of its own. As long as people enjoy – any restaurant is good. I wouldn’t prefer visiting Zaitoon simply because I have been lucky enough to try authentic Arabian Cuisine and Zaitoon is nowhere close to it.