Promotion lasts only for 14-19 April 2014
Cinnamon, Mandarin Oriental Jakarta
Jalan M.H. Thamrin, Jakarta – Indonesia


Levantine cuisine has always been the only one thing that intrigues me most when it comes to Middle Eastern fares. I believe that the region is a melting pot between the Arabian and Turkish cuisines and one of the representation of that came from Lebanon, naturally.

Mandarin Oriental Jakarta, for the second time, promotes the specific Lebanese cuisine led by a native chef who happens to be the CDC of Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, Mr Raymond Abou Rjeily.

Chef Raymond Abou Rjeily
Chef Raymond Abou Rjeily

For me personally, this is a Ramadhan festivity that came a bit earlier this year and I am grateful for it. Not only that I finally managed to explore one new uncharted territory, but to also completely sample all the dishes available that day.

When it comes to Lebanese cuisine, one can see so many influences there like the mezzeh from the core of Middle Eastern countries cuisine, the sweet desserts of Turkish, the authentic Levantine hummus, and even the lemon chicken as influenced by North African’s tajine.

Pita bread and cold mezzeh
Pita bread and cold mezzeh

Of course, the cold mezzeh (cold appetizers), or some say meze, comes first. Chef Raymond served us three types of bread – the plain pita, one with cheese, and one with the herbs. All the five kinds of mezzeh suited my appetite for my lunch that day.

I particularly enjoyed so much Chef Raymond’s interpretation of baba ghanoush that adds fresh pomegranates into it to make it even more delicious and crunchy in texture!

Four other mezzehs are the safsouf (couscous and chickpea salad), labneh bil khear (dry yogurt), hummus, and shamandar mahrous (beetroot puree). Additionally, Chef Raymond also prepares fatoush salad and shawarma stations – all fresh and intriguing!

Arabic rice, couscous, and skewers
Arabic rice, couscous, and skewers

The main dishes are not to be missed as well, especially with so many options of chicken and lamb skewers like shish tawouk (chicken breast marinated with garlic and cumin), kafta antabli (grilled minced lamb skewer), and the kebab. Top that on an Arabic rice filled with peanuts like walnut, pine nuts, pistachio, and almond. Sublime!

When compared with other southern countries, Lebanese cuisine provides milder taste but still, it uses a wide range of spices and ingredients. However, it matches a lot the Turkish way when it comes to sweet desserts.

Chicken shawarma
Chicken shawarma

Traditional desserts like umm ali (Middle Eastern-style of bread and butter pudding) and baklava are among the best you can try. I can actually bear with the sweetness now or was Chef Raymond reduce it a bit? I couldn’t care less but it was really nice after all!

So, be sure to catch up with the promotion as it will only lasts until 19th of April. Chart the Lebanon into your culinary map like I did, guys!


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