Friday, 19 July 2013
Shahrzad Restaurant in Taman Abad, Johor Bahru
This is my second visit to Shahrzad at the invitation of Mohd the owner. Again, I was very impressed with the Persian and Arabian cuisine prepared by Chef Ahmad whom I met during my first visit to Shahrzad.
Our appetiser was the traditional Iranian Kashk e Bademjan (RM12). The soft egg plant fibres sponged up the creamy blend of olive oil and savoury Iranian yogurt.
The Kashk e Bademjan is eaten with freshly baked naan. A pinch of rich and savoury, olive oil saturated Kashk e Bademjan on a bite size piece of bread worked wonders to get our digestive juices flowing :)
The refreshing Shirazi Salad, crunchy and dripping with juices from the lemon, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes. Interesting blends of tangy and sweet with a mix of soft, pulpy and crunchy textures. Mohd said Iranian mothers make this staple healthy salad regularly at home.
Wholesome barley soup made from scratch from fresh ingredients such as chicken, carrots, celery, and of course, barley and drizzled with a dash of dairy cream. RM7 per serving.
Our main course was the signature Shahrzad Platter (RM199++) for four persons. The platter consists of (from left to right), Lamb Cutlets, Iranian Minced Lamb, Saffron Chicken, Barg Kebab, and the Arabian Shish Taouk.
The Shandiz lamb cutlets made from Australian or New Zealand lamb were expertly grilled by Chef Ahmad over charcoal. Marination is simple, mainly just salt, pepper, and olive oil to bring out the natural flavours of the lamb. I am a lamb lover and so especially enjoyed this flavourful dish. In the mouth, the lamb was tender, moist, smokey from the tiny streaks of fat, and had that subtle yet distinct gaminess of lamb that mutton lovers appreciate.
Second from the left is the Iranian minced lamb. Actually, I am not a fan of minced meat in restaurants as some places took the opportunity to ground in lower quality meat and they are often too fatty, anyway.
But Shahrzad's minced lamb is just superb. When I bite into the minced lamb, the rich saturated flavours bursted in my mouth and filled it with delightful aromas that rush up my nose. I dislike sounding dramatic but I swear it raised the corners of my mouth in a broad smile :)
The Saffron Chicken are large orangey chunks of marinated and grilled chicken breast meat. I am not a fan of chicken breast either as they are often dry, bland and stringy. Shahrzad's saffron chicken is different. Chef Ahmad made the thick chunks of breast tender and flavourful by skillful grilling and slightly moist by having the fibres soaked up the fragrant saffron and olive oil marinade.
The Barg or Leaf kebab is so named because the lamb is flatten to shape like a leaf. Lean cut with very little, if any, fat. Tender and fragrant especially when eaten straight from the grill.
Similar to the saffron chicken but the Arabian Shish Taouk is made with marinated boneless chicken thigh. Grilled till slightly charred on the outside, the inside still slightly moist.
I like Iranian style saffron rice. The fluffy long, pearly white grains are topped with bright yellow saffron dyed grains. In the mouth, the saffron rice is nutty, fragrant and has a rich creamy flavour. The aroma hangs like a puff of perfume in the mouth and nose. Mohd said the saffron rice is cooked in a special four step process in order to achieve this taste. I love this - it is non greasy and very different in taste and tecture from starchy local rice.
We rounded up our scrumptious lunch with avocado milk shake sweetened with honey (RM11). Mohd told me that this creamy dessert is very popular in Dubai.
My drink, a refreshing green apple juice :)
I love the rich flavours at Shahrzad. To me, Shahrzard is one of the new jewels of the more and more exciting Johor food scene.
Restaurant name: Shahrzad Restaurant
Address: 94, Jalan Dato Sulaiman, Taman Abad, Johor Bahru
Hours: 11:45am to 3:00pm and 5:30pm to 11:45pm (Closed on Monday)
Date visited: 22 May 2013, 18 July 2013