Mediterranean cuisine (Levantine) may not be a common dishes nor the favorite by Penangnites, and its traces were scarce in Penang as well. We spotted a few Mediterranean restaurants at the touristy Batu Ferringhi area but were daunted by its expensive price tags. I recalled my last experience with Mediterranean cuisine were in some buildings nearby embassies at Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur and it was an unpleasant ones due to its sky-high pricing.
Recently, we bumped into this authentic Mediterranean cuisine in Lucky Eatery at Relau, and this is a opportunity a glimpse taste for Mediterranean cuisine.
The menu featured an extensive range of Shawerma dishes (a Levantine meat preparation whereby meat are placed on a spit and left for grilling) and Briyani. We have totally no idea on the menu except for Briyani and our curiosity advocated us to order something new. This prompted us to try the Shawerma Arabic Plate (RM 15).
The platter had a balance nutrition with presence of cucumbers (fibers), shaved meat (protein and fat), meat wrapped in flatbread and french fries (carbohydrate), and olives (minerals and vitamins), accompanying by two different condiments which we never came across previously. We thought the meat shaved from slab of Sharwerma the was well done, it resembles the usual kebab meat we had with a slight leathery and gristly texture, yet natural delicious in nature.
Meanwhile, the two accompanying ingredients were secretive. As we lack of access to any Levantine food, we had no idea what were those. Both did not go along well with the fries but it matched the shaved meat well. After gone back, we researched on the Internet and got to know that the red colour sauce was Muhammara (a hot pepper dip originally from Aleppo, Syria, with principal ingredients such as dried pepper, ground walnuts, breadcrumbs and olive oil). On the other hand, the creamy white colour sauce which tasted like a pale mayonnaise was Lebanese Garlic Sauce or better known as Toum.
Another specialty we spotted on the menu was Hummus (RM 8.00). It is actually a food dip made from cooked, mashed chickpeas or other beans, bleaded with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic, which explained its grainy texture. The taste was little bit different from what we had usually, with a sharp aftertaste striking the tongue, probably due the presence of large quantity of olive oil. Spread it across the flat bread on the side would make the hummus a better condiment. We regard it as a special dish and a registration of new flavour to our tongue.