Friday, 15 February 2008

Restaurant review: Al Nafourah, Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur

Restaurant: Al Nafourah
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Address: Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603 2263 7888
Verdict: Superb service, mediocre food

Okay I know I have 2 other reviews to do but I really had to do this one first.

As you know, today is Rommel's birthday so we wanted to try someplace nice and that we've not tried. It took me the whole day to come up with Al Nafourah.. cos I thought of Prime (also at Le Meridien) but we just had wagyu on Wednesday so I didnt feel like steak. I thought of Japanese but I just had lunch in Kampachi yesterday.

I have heard various comments people have had about Al Nafourah and was really curious to find out.

Here's what I thought:

The Food:
Sadly, this was the most disappointing part. And it's not that we can't appreciate Middle Eastern food. I used to frequent some of the top rated Edgware Road restaurants in London and they were by far, much better. (In fact, one of my favourites was actually Maroush, just off Oxford St).

On Thursday to Saturday evenings, Al Nafourah only has a semi-buffet menu where your starters and desserts are from the buffet and you choose your main course. I was rather disappointed this as I already had in mind what I wanted - just good hummus and some lamb shawarma.

The buffet selection was decent. I liked the hummus. Other than that, the rest was pretty ok but I think I suffered from a case of too much choice of dips and took too many things. Gluttony. Sigh.

Main course - they suggested we ordered a seafood kebab and a beef kebab since they were already serving lamb in the buffet. So we took it. Seafood was not fresh at all. Unbelievably disappointing. The cut of beef they gave was tough (or maybe I'm now too spoilt by wagyu).

The buffet also includes Turkish coffee and Lebanese tea. So we took one of each. I had the tea which was great, freshly brewed with mint. Rommel's coffee was not as strong (they told us it was stronger than espresso). A nice aftertaste to the coffee.

The Ambience:
Great decor, I was telling Rommel that was kinda how I'd like my outdoor garden to look like especially with the Turkish lamps. I feel like flying off to Morocco and shop for those lamps. One day I shall!!

Music got too loud at times, but that's because the belly dancer was making her rounds. A little difficult to carry on a conversation at those times. The belly dancer herself was a bit stiff.

The Service:
This is where Al Nafourah redeemed itself for me. If I'm not paying for the food, at least I paid for good service. Attentive and friendly staff, especially Ammy who served us. The rest were not as friendly but still, service was tops.

The Cost:
The semi-buffet dinner costs RM118 per person. We actually heard the server say RM180 at first at thought that was really steep for the food we were getting. The total bill came up to RM302.45 (incl. my sparkling water, service charge, tax etc..). It was still expensive though considering the food we had but as I said, I guess we mainly paid for the name, service and ambience.

Overall: They asked us to fill up a feedback form and I was pretty blunt about it. Said the seafood and beef was crap but praised Ammy cos his attentiveness towards us. I will most probably not go back in the near future. Ask me in a year's time and maybe I'll give it a try again.

My next place to try in Le Meridien: Prime. I've been saying this for the past 8 months I think. It's about time I went. Time to drag the parents there!