Monday, 30 January 2012

Restaurant Review: Kanzaman

Phone: 03 9429 3402
Location: 460 Bridge Rd, Richmond
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Overall Impression: 8/10

Kanzaman has been both J and I’s favourite Lebanese restaurant for eons now. We recently found out that our “son” (it’s a long story), Frank is best friends with the owner, which makes us now feel like we have family ties to this restaurant even though we really do not. The food however, certainly does have a strong sense of family. Hearty, rustic and smacked full of flavour, it is consistently an excellent dining experience. The service is friendly, warm and prompt. This occasion was no exception.
After looking through the menu and wanting to order everything, we opted for the banquet.
Hommus, Baba Ghannouj and Tabouleh served with pita bread
The dips were all delicious and had perfectly balanced flavours – The Tabouleh had the right hint of lemon juice, the Hommus was creamy and the Baba Ghannouj was deliciously smoky in flavour. It was an appetising start to the meal.
Foreground: Sambousik - Mild feta cheese mixed with mint, onions and spices in filo pastry
Background: Lahem bi ajeen - Minced lean lamb, vegetables and spices wrapped in filo pastry
Chilli Scallops
Kraidis Bi Toum - Stir-fried prawns with fresh herbs, garlic and lemon juice 

Both the scallops and prawns were fresh, juicy and bursting with flavour. The concept of luscious, intense flavours is common to Lebanese cuisine and no one does it better than Kanzaman.

Ashtarout - Chicken fillets sautéed in a mixture of fresh coriander, garlic and finished with a squeeze of lemon
The Ashtarout, as always, was perfectly seasoned. It was an impassioned combination of flavours - fresh herbs and Middle Eastern spices.
Sultania - Lamb eye fillets sautéed in pomegranate molasses mustard seeds and herbs

These people really know how to cook a piece of meat. Without fail, this lamb dish is always perfectly cooked – beautifully seared on the outside and just the right hint of pink on the inside. Brilliant!
Samakah Harrah - Fish of the day seasoned with garlic coriander and walnuts, topped with tahina sauce and paprika
J has had this dish several times but this was my first time having the Samakah Harrah. As expected, the balance of flavours was classical and the fish was cooked with precision.
Suddenly an alluring Arabic belly dancing music fills the room… A delightful belly dancer quickly graced us with her presence.
The belly dancing performance was awkward in the sense that she was trying to gain attention from an extremely difficult crowd. It must be a tough gig being a belly dancer. She stares you straight in the eye and dances near you and “at” you, trying to convince you to dance along with her. I tried to smile back, all the while not being sure where to look. Is it rude to stare at her belly and bosom? Or is that how you compliment her? What exactly is belly dancing audience/diner etiquette? *shrugs* 

I was pleased that a fellow diner stood up to dance with her. He seemed very comfortable. Almost a little too comfortable. All the better, it made it more fun to watch.
Turkish Delight
Mahalabia - A light and refreshing custard topped with pistachio nuts and a lemon orange blossom syrup
Our desserts soon arrived. It was a pleasant end to the meal. I particularly enjoyed the Mahalabia. It was precisely the description on the menu - “light and refreshing”.
Lebanese Coffee

What a banquet!

I recommend coming to Kanzaman for the delicious Lebanese cuisine and staying for the awkward but amusing belly dancing performance. And of course, join in if you dare!
Kanzaman on Urbanspoon

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