Ali Baba - Gzira

i first heard of Ali Baba
when i once was looking to buy myself a shisha (hookah)
these are big water bongs for flavoured tobacco
and are used throughout the arab world

about four years ago
nobody had these things available
now every bar with a smoking section boasts a collection of flavoured tobbaccos and a shisha
but ali baba was probably the sole supplier of the stuff

this place in gzira is a very unassuming restaurant
an ugly rothmans sponsored sign sports the name
wooden planks pave the inside walls which give it a very distinctive 70's look
it looks more like a place where you get a tea and a hobza biz-zejt rather than a restaurant
but apparently what goes for books and their covers
goes for restaurants and their food

i recommend ignoring the facade and interior decor
although i adamantly believe in food presentation
and in the marriage of all the senses where possible
i think it is easy to forego the packaging the place offers
as the food can move you to tears

much like the cave from the arabian nights tale
ali baba's restaurant reserves astounding culinary treasures

the place is small yet it is extremely delightful
run by a lebanese family
the elderly bartender and shisha tobacconist father
and the chef son

we were greeted at once
by the chef himself
who was also responsible for serving our meals
this guy comes off as being rather erudite in the ways of the kitchen

we chose a lebanese wine from a list
but left the food choices to the chef himself

serving after serving of delicious items came out of his humble kitchen
from humus to cheese dips to raw marinated mutton to lamb brains

the little banquet was concluded with a dessert of helwa tat-tork (halva)
baccalava pie
some coffee
and on the house lebanese liqueur

ali baba's in gzira is unpretentious
and offers the unexpected
by any culinary standard

yours gastronomically


Lord Nelson - Mosta -=[Prawn and Coconut Soup]=-

without further ado
i must say
that the Lord Nelson restaurant in mosta is one of the best places to eat in the whole of malta
i haven't been to every restaurant of course but i am sure that it is
it must

i know i didn't ado much
infact i didn't ado much at all
i opened with
because i have been wanting to go there for some time now
but i never had the occasion or the pleasure

first course: prawn and coconut soup
main course: grilled salmon with banana and garam masala
dessert: a walnut and dark chocolate torte with mincemeat ice-cream (as in christmas mince-pie stuffing)

as usual i chose my order carefully and i was extremely pleased with what i was served

i remember a time when the Lord Nelson was a nice bar where you could order food and snacks much like other bars in mosta yet they served superior quality food
in the sense that one could order a simple ravioli or spaghetti, or a ftira or a burger with chips
but i remember that their stuff was excellent
in comparison to the others in mosta centre

there's a missing story here somewhere
of it's transition into the high end restaurant it is now
whatever that story may be
the transition was almost cool a move as when man evolved from the apes

well i mean at least in the evolutionary history of the building itself
i m sure that the metaphor holds

there exist soups which although good and tasty, make you want to stay away from soup for
very long
probably due to their normality and lack of intrigue

why yes! intrigue from soup
i expect varieties of wide ended spectra of sensory results from my food

then there are soups that are great soups
the kind only your grandmother makes
or a grandmother of a friend

then there are soups which cease to exist as soups and become something else
much like the chocolate cake that makes that girl orgasm in one of the matrix sequels
this soup belongs to such category

that was only the start of the meal

the other two entrees were, of course, divine