The Kazbar Experience
Located in the heart of Singapore’s central business district (CBD) lies Kazbar; a fortress and cosy space for people to gather, unwind, and indulge in delectable Middle Eastern fare.
Helmed by Chef Kamel from Beirut, Lebanon, Kazbar has established itself as an enclave for the Middle Eastern community here in Singapore, providing them with a taste of home through its authentic Middle Eastern cuisine. For over 15 years, Kazbar has become the go-to hangout spot for the CBD crowd. The restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and wholesome spices air flown directly from the Middle East, creating dishes that are packed full of flavour for the ultimate culinary experience.
The gathering place
Stepping into Kazbar feels like you’re being transported into a different realm. Anchored by a bar designed with earthy tones and rustic artifacts, the space is divided into a spacious alfresco area and a homey interior.
The space is characterized by warm tones and a kaleidoscope of colours, creating a cosy but still vibrant atmosphere. Scattered throughout the space are mosaic lamps, vivid colours and sprawling daybeds. Whether you’re there for a romantic date or looking for a space for corporate meetings, Kazbar is a versatile space that will suit your needs.
No visit to Kazbar would be complete without drinks!
Among us, we shared three cocktails: their Classic Mojito, Poison Sumac Margarita, and Lycheetini. While all three drinks were delicious, the Poison Sumac Margarita immediately piqued our interest. Sumac is derived from the fruit of the sumach flower and commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a tart and almost vinegar-like flavour that went amazingly well in a cocktail! The unique flavour brightened up the entire drink with its tanginess, and was reminiscent of the Asian sour plum drink.
If you’re looking for non-alcoholic beverages, Kazbar also has a selection of mocktails for you. We tried the Lychee Mint Crush which contains lychee, oranges, and mint. This refreshing citrus drink will be perfect to cool down on hot days.
Our feast began with a selection of hot and cold mezze (appetisers) to whet our appetites. You can’t have an authentic Middle Eastern feast without enjoying some dips and bread, and we were treated to two!
Kazbar’s Hummus Beiruty takes the classic hummus to the next level, packing the silky smooth chickpea dip full of tomatoes, pickled cucumber, green chilli, parsley, cumin, and a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to finish it off. The resulting dish was a smooth and creamy dip that we simply couldn’t get enough of. The herbs and spices used helped cut through the creaminess hummus is known for, and paired perfectly with the Arabic bread it was served with.
On the other end of the spice spectrum, we had the Mohammarah, a dip made from roasted cashew nuts, harissa, cumin, and EVOO. This spicy dip is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It’s packed full of flavour and just a little bit of it left our lips and tongues tingling (in a good way)!
For the hot mezze, we were served the Cheese Borek and Kibbeh. The former dish resembled a Chinese spring roll, but was filled with feta and mozzarella cheese. If you’re a cheese lover, this definitely won’t disappoint. Biting into the flaky crust revealed the steaming hot cheese filling that was chock-full of flavour. A real party in the mouth!
Meanwhile, Kibbeh is a croquette of ground lamb meat and crushed wheat stuffed with pine nuts and minced lamb. While the little balls looked unassuming at first, they were seasoned to perfection, and the ground lamb filling was extremely fragrant from the spices and aromatics used.
To balance out the rich flavours of the mezze, we were also served Fattoush, a light and refreshing salad with cucumbers, romaine lettuce, diced tomato and fresh mint. The salad was dressed with lemon juice and EVOO, and garnished with pita croutons which added a nice crunch to the dish.
With all the starters exceeding expectations, anticipation was high for the mains and they most definitely did not disappoint.
Kazbar’s lamb chop tasted divine, with a glorious char that left us salivating for more. The meat was perfectly cooked, tender, with rich and punchy flavours that penetrated the meat. The dish was served with a hearty portion of fluffy saffron rice and condiments that is bound to fill any hungry belly.
We also got to try the Seafood Kebab, which consisted of charcoal-grilled fish and prawn kebabs, marinated in traditional Lebanese style. While this dish didn’t impress us quite as much as the lamb chops, both the fish and prawns were perfectly cooked and the aroma from the charcoal really came through. The marinade was tangy and spicy, a stark contrast from the rich flavours of the lamb chop and will be great for those who prefer a lighter dish.
We were stuffed by this point, but no meal would be complete without desserts, and boy, were Kazbar’s desserts delightful.
Without a doubt, the favourite of the meal was the Um Ali, a sweet pastry soaked in rose water, sugar, and fresh milk. The dessert was sweet, warm, and comforting, making for a perfect end to the meal and especially so on a rainy afternoon.
Another favourite for me was the Muhalabiya, a rose water and pistachio pudding. The floral notes of the rose water paired wonderfully with the bitter tones of pistachio. The pudding was light, smooth, and melts on your tongue. It reminded me of a panna cotta, but was much lighter and more fragrant.
We also got to try the Baklava, a layered pastry stuffed with mixed nuts and covered with syrup. This dish was a little too sweet for my liking, but I still enjoyed the fragrance from the nuts as well as the crunchy texture. To top it all off, we also got some artisan Middle Eastern ice cream. For pistachio lovers, the pistachio-flavoured ice cream is a definite must-try! It was fragrant and creamy, with just the right level of sweetness.
By the end of the meal, all of us were stuffed to the brim and utterly content from the mouthwatering fare we just had.
If you, too, would like to savour some authentic Middle Eastern cuisine right here in Singapore, do pay Kazbar a visit at 25 Church St, Singapore 049482.
Alternatively, Kazbar has curated a range of gift sets that can be delivered right to your doorstep! They also offer do-it-yourself cocktail sets so you can Be Your Own Bartender at home to impress any friends or even a potential date!
For more information about Kazbar and their offerings, do check out their website here. Head down for a visit if you can, we promise you won’t be disappointed.