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


Bab said...

Anyone has the ful address of Ali Baba?

Jean Paul said...

Ali Baba Restaurant
9, Ponsomby Str