Tarbush Starhill Gallery
Time Out says
Tarbush is an established name in KL when it comes to Middle Eastern food. Later this year they expect to open in Batu Feringghi, Penang, but our meal took place in the slightly more chic surrounds of Starhill Gallery’s Feast Floor.
An early weekend evening, the restaurant was quiet enough for us to earn the full attention of the (apart from their insistence that we should require French fries as an appetizer) helpful team.
Eschewing the fries in favour of a variety of mezze dishes, we cleaned the plates in no time at all. The judging of any Lebanese or Arabic meal naturally affords much to the appetisers, and they were off to a good start. The hummus I normally prefer smoother and the serve of tahina was not the most generous, but otherwise the offerings were outstanding.
The lamb in the kibbeh was joined by tiny chopped onions and crammed with spice. I hadn’t tasted any to this recipe before but it was superb. Worth going back for all on its own. Likewise the sambosa, which were a bit heavy for starters but full of taste. The vine leaves were also excellent and the falafel fresh, crispy and could only have been improved by being presented with more in the way of that tahina.
Having crammed so much food in at such an early stage we had to rein things in a bit. That meant sharing a portion of rice for main course and getting just one dish between us. But what a dish it was. The ‘Tarbush Mixed Grill’ included all their main meaty offerings, from Shish Tawook, a variety of kebabs, lamb chops and several of their arayes (spicy minced lamb). I find with most Arabic meals that the meat tends towards the overdone (frustratingly, the Greeks manage to get the balance right consistently in similar dishes) although Tarbush was better than most and the crispy, somewhat tough lamb and chicken was helped enormously by the evidently long period of marination the meat had enjoyed.
Given the huge numbers of Arabic tourists that come to KL, it is little surprise that the city has plenty of good Middle Eastern restaurants. Tarbush is, despite some small areas for improvement, clearly among the best. Michelle Whytcross
Tarbush was shortlisted Best Middle Eastern in the Time Out KL Food Awards 2011, 2012 and 2013. It was specially commended in the same category in 2010. Tarbush also won in this category in 2009. Our food awards are 100% voted for by the people of KL. This way, we guarantee that popularity and consistent performance are rewarded.