Take a handful of Arabic artifacts (Hookahs, pitchers, jugs etc.), arrange them, take some posters of Arabian dancers and put them on the walls, then take a few tables and chairs, some small and some big, and spread them. On these unpretentious wooden tables set out exotic Middle Eastern dishes at Habibi, made under Chef Aman’s supervision – What do you get? A guaranteed great meal, right guys…
I went for such a dinner at Habibi, Rajouri Gardens, Delhi, one of the best addresses for gourmet food. It was the occasion of the Tagine Food Festival. Keeping up with the theme “Middle East Culture” they had organised this event where along with a wide variety of Moroccan, Lebanese & Indian cuisine, one can enjoy doses of Belly dance, Tanoura dance & Dhol nights in a wonderful n exotic Arabic décor.
The food at Habibi is pretty different and delicious. The meal started with a drink, I was having the Jasorange, an amazing mocktail with fresh orange juice, basil leaves, jasmine tea, lemonade and sweet n soul, served in a little glass with basil floating on it. Though we all were teetotalers, Chef Aman still arranged for a display of their signature cocktail – the Flaming Lamborghini.
We were then served the appetizers starting with the one-bite Cottage Cheese and Spinach Fatayer (Arabic oven baked rolls – Juliennes sprinkled with Sumac) along with Lebanese dips with Lavash. And then there was Kebab Shandar, made of minced Beetroots and prepared with authentic Arabic Aromatic Spices; it just melted in my mouth as good kebabs are supposed to. The Cheese Manakish (Arabian Pizza) with Halloumi cheese and Morrocon Bokharat spices was another great dish.
All of these great crunchy munchy bites indeed aroused the appetite more. And hurrying on to the main meal, we had Soya Tagine (Exotic Moroccan marinated Veggies bruised on slow flame served with herb rice, served in Morrocan Tagine Pot). Aman had specially prepared the veggie for us and this really was the pride of the table on that night. We also had Moroccon Khudar (Vegetable Cooked in Tomato Gravy, Moroccan and Zaffer Spices, and Sumal Powder).
We also relished the Armenian khubus topped with greens and flavourful herb oils, and the Afgani khubus stuffed with dry fruits and sweets too. Khubus are the Middle Eastern leavened breads.
For Information :
The spices used are :
- Zaffer Spices – Blend in Zaffer Bitter Leaves and Sesame Seed
- Sumal Powder – Pomegranate Dry seeds Powder
- Bokharat – Blend in Whole Spices
- Bhorat – Blend in Whole Spices
The meal ended predictably with, you guessed it right, desserts. For me it is this section which can make me remember the whole experience or forget it. We were thrilled to have three exotic desserts served on our table. Basbusa (Arabic Coconut flavoured sweet cake – baked and sweetened by flavourful sugar syrup), Sponge Bob Balls (spongy cake balls dipped in flavourful essence and dark chocolate) and Ruz Bil Hali (Arabic rice pudding flavoured with saffron) were the three amazing desserts that we tried. Ruz Bin Hali turned out to be our beloved Phirni made in a Middle Eastern style. Basbusa, or our own coconut barfi was super, but for me the winner in this section was the spongy choco coated bob balls. This was something that sure is going to get the veggie self of mine to come back to Habibi.
You cant just walk in for a meal at Habibi, a restaurant spread across 3000 sq. ft. offering a capacity of more than 200 guests with an interactive Kitchen, well stocked bar and designated smoking area. You have to make a booking or wait for a considerable time as it is always full during meal times and specially on holidays and weekends.
Why Habibi? – well you have to see the place to realize that it is a big big place serving exotic Middle Eastern food.
Décor: 4/5 Food: 4.5/5 Service : 4/5 Location: 4/5
Address: Rajouri Garden, main road, Delhi.
Pics by Pradeep Chamaria Photography – exatraveller. PIcs by Parej Chamaria, and Pradeep Chamaria.
Disclaimer: We were invited by the establishment for a review. The views expressed are entirely based on the day and time of the review and are personal experiences. No monetary exchange between us and the establishment.