Anar is unfortunately CLOSED.
Lebanese remains one of my favourites cuisines, and I have not been having much of it ever since I moved to Singapore. I have been missing the days of eating Lebanese daily, when I used to work on the King's Road in London, lunching at "Al Dar II", one of my favourite Lebanese Cafe's. Their sandwiches are some of the best you can have in London. Back to Singapore, ever since Sanobar closed, there hasn't really been much choice for middle eastern food. During my stay in Sentosa, I thought of trying Anar, a new Arabic restaurant located in Sentosa Resorts World.
The building, like all of the new builds on the island, has clearly been thought with the exact concept in mind. The inside is fully decorated in Arabic style, and it looks spacious and sumptuous. High ceilings, plenty of space in between tables, large chairs, beautifully intricate carpets and textiles all round.
And I must say that at Anar, they really started on the right gear by serving some freshly made bread. The tandoor oven is located right in the dining room, so you can watch the Chef at work.
The bread was absolutely fragrant, hot and crispy, with sesame seeds sprinkled on top. It really reminds you of a pizza without condiments, and after all, the middle east is where Italian pizza came from in the first place, it is where all the best flat breads originated! We were not yet served the dips, and we had already devoured a whole basket of this delicacy bread, so we ordered an extra basket for just S$2.00.
I can't really put any Arab restaurant to test without trying their dips. My favoutites are Hommous and Moutabal. Anar serves a hommous with minced beef (S$14.00). This was without a doubt the best hommous I had in Singapore, and it strongly reminded me of what I used to have back in London. A world apart from those amateurish hommous with either a strong garlic taste, or too much sesame paste, this was absolutely smooth and well balanced. A delicacy for the palate, topped by tasty olive oil.
The moutabal (S$12.00) was no less. The smokiness of the aubergines was just right, and it was incredibly light and fluffy, still retaining some grainy texture. I could have had a whole platter of this on my own! I wish I could do this myself, exactly like I had at Anar, and I was so inspired I will definitely give it a try.
As Italian as I am, I love parsley, and this herb is something we have in common with the Arabic culinary culture. Tabouleh (S$9.00) is the ideal dish for parsley lovers like me. This mountain of finely chopped parsley with diced tomatoes, delicately seasoned with lemon juice was a fresher complement to the bread than the other two dips.
Finally, the lamb. I opted for the rack (S$45) rather than the minced lamb, and I asked for it to be served without rice, as I already had an industrial quantity of bread. The saffron seasoning was so generous you could taste the beauty of this spice throughout these juicy ribs. This was really a no frills lamb at its best, and with those roasted onions and tomatoes, it reminded me of the Iranian food I used to have near earl's Court, back in London.
The total bill was S$153.00, which is not cheap, but not too unreasonable for RWS. It is unfortunate that we don't have more informal Lebanese cafes that serve this sort of food in Singapore, and after all sporadic attempts such as Sanobar have not succeeded. I will try Kazbar next, in the hope for a similar level of food at a cheaper price, but in the meantime it's reassuring to know that such food can be found somewhere near this island.
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