The idea of high-end Middle Eastern restaurant Al-Amar serving their fare in less time than it takes you to wait at Pizza Hut was simply too tempting. Clearly something was going to have to give if the Time Out Food Awards winner in the Best Middle Eastern category for 2010 was going to have to compromise somewhere to keep their service promise to be ‘express’.
The easiest option would have been to limit the menu more or less exclusively to shawarma. Obviously they played a major role and proved popular but were just one item of many authentic dishes such as Lebanese pizzas, falafel sandwich and Middle Eastern salads.
The divine hummus and pita bread is easily replicable from the outlet’s ‘big brother’ across the road in Pavilion KL, so no compromise there either. Perhaps in the service? No, that was incredibly friendly with no shortage of waiting staff eager to make suggestions and courteous to a fault. Smiles and waves greeted us on arrival and departure.
The food arrived, as promised, in rapid time, and yet was succulent and devilishly flavoursome. We tried both the beef and the chicken shawarma (the acid test for a Middle Eastern ‘express’ outlet, surely? If they got this wrong what chance did they have?) as part of a platter with a vivid, crisp onion, tomato and pickle salad, tahina and fries.
It would be wrong to reveal any trade secrets but it became clear how Al-Amar are able to deliver their meat so quickly. It was so tender and busting with juices that it had clearly been marinating for some time. This was a revelation as it meant not only did we get genuinely excellent shawarma but that they had not made any type of compromise when it came to their craft. Plus it was very reasonable with sharwarma platters all well under RM30. Impressive.
The restaurant is open until 3am every night and now 24 hours on weekends. It has a three-tiered dining area with couches secluded by greenery at the top, glass boxed interior room (warning: only for those who are comfortable being watched by the hordes of Bukit Bintang while you eat), and the more relaxed benches in another al fresco space nearer the entrance to Fahrenheit 88. Whichever you prefer (and, given Al-Amar Express’s incredible popularity, wherever you can find a table) you are in safe hands, safe hands working quicker than ever.
|Venue name:||Al-Amar Express||Contact:|
179 Jalan Bukit Bintang
|Opening hours:||Daily, 8am-3am|