Every time I walk along Luard Road, I notice a man handing out flyers to an Arabic restaurant. He stands there almost every day at lunch and dinner time, and every time I walk past him, I think I should try this restaurant.
So when Helen from Inspiring Passions asked me where to meet for lunch the other day, I suggested two options – one was Oh Food. She liked the idea of arabic food, so I booked a table and off we went.
Initially I had thought we don’t need to book – on Open Rice the restaurant looks pretty spacious and it is tucked away on the 11th floor of a building. I was so wrong. The restaurant is tiny with only twenty-odd seats and when we arrived, every table was occupied. It was busy!
The waiter handed us the menu and a pen, so we could tick my order – and I was not sure what to order, so I asked him for his favourite. He recommended chicken sheesh taook – grilled chicken with garlic and flavoursome yellow rice. I was intrigued and ordered the dish, alongside mutabbal (an eggplant dish that I know as baba ganoush) and a herbal tea.
Helen ordered the hummous and we shared both starters. I am used to the Israeli-style of hummous, so this one surprised me that the consistency was much smoother and runnier. The mutabbal was nice, but I had hoped that it would have the typical smoky flavour that I love from baba ganoush – instead, the yoghurt calmed the dish down and it was a bit bland. The starters were served together with a basked of warmed bread, but it was not the typical pita that I know – instead it was a much thinner bread, and again a bit bland.
Shortly after the waiter brought us the starters, he already followed with the mains. Helen ordered the chicken in tahini sauce, which came with tomatoes and onion, as well as yellow rice. I did not try her dish – but according to her post it was ok. I enjoyed my dish – the chicken pieces were tasty and not too dry, the rice was a nice flavour. The garlic sauce was very garlicky and luckily it was only served on the side, as it would have been too much otherwise.
Would I eat there again? Maybe. One the one hand the service is friendly, the portions (especially the starters) are big and the 80 HKD lunch deal (one starter, one main, one drink) is great. But on the other hand I found the dishes a bit too bland. I don’t recall when I last had an Arabic meal, but the Middle Eastern dishes I had in the past were more flavoursome and either included more spices or more fresh herbs. This time the dishes lacked both. Also the restaurant is very tiny – it is not really comfortable to sit there for more than an hour. That’s ok for lunch, but not that great for a dinner.
Oh Food Arabic Halal Cuisine
Flat A & B, 11/F, Southern Commercial Building, 11 Luard Road, Wan Chai
Tel. 2529 3999