Grace and I headed over to Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel (which is under the Marriott International global portfolio) for their “Live Life to DiscoverSM” special preview of Guest Chef Youssef Issa’s Arabian Delights at Vogue Café.
Coming all the way from Dubai, Chef Youssef brings along the flavours of Arabic cuisine utilising traditional recipes, authentic cooking methods and original ingredients for this special buffet menu. You can expect to find traditional Arabic mezzehs such as Baba Ganoush, Muhammara, Tabouleh, Fattoush and Moutabel, and Emirati Cuisine Meat Dishes such as Samaka harra, Chicken tagine, Dawood basha, Lamb shakria, Kebbeh bil laben, Chicken musskan and Kossa ablama. The live station offers either Chicken shawarma, Lamb ouzi, Fata, Falafel or Batata harra rotated on a daily basis.
Chef Youssef started cooking in 1999 when he visited his aunt in Damascus and saw his uncle preparing a dish in the kitchen. After watching the entire cooking process, he was inspired to become a chef and honed his skills in his mum’s kitchen before heading to Damascus to pursue his dream of becoming a chef.
Since then, he has catered for royal weddings and major events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including the Dubai Airshow, Taste of Dubai and many others, cooking for VIP guests, celebrities and royal families. The chef also represented Dubai during the Arabic Cuisine Week in Singapore, and has been a member of the Emirates Culinary Guild since 2006, and received accolades in categories such as New Arabic Cuisine, Traditional Arabic Mezzeh and Emirati Cuisine Meat Dishes.
Here’s a look at some of the dishes in this special menu:
Soups – Lentil soup –puree of red lentil soup, onion, carrots, crispy pita bread
Hommous – chickpeas, tahina fresh lemon juice, olive oil
Moutabel – grilled eggplant mixed with tahina sauce and fresh lemon juice, olive oil
Tabouleh – parsley, tomato, onion, bulgur wheat, fresh lemon juice and olive oil
Muhammara-bread crumb, walnuts, tahini, pomegranates molasses
Vine leaves – Egyptian rice, tomato, parsley, onion, cooked with lemon juice and olive oil,
Mujaddara – lentil, fragrant rice, caramelized onion and olive oil
Cabbage salad – cabbage, tomato, garlic, fresh mint, lemon juice and olive oil
Fattoush – crisp romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, radish, fresh mint mixed with pomegranate sauce
Potato with mint – cubed potato, chopped mint, parsley, and olive oil
Baba Ganoush – roasted eggplant, tomato, parsley, fresh lemon, olive oil
Live Station – Chicken shawarma- Spit Roasted Marinated Chicken, garlic sauce, cucumber pickles
Vermicelli rice – slow cooked rice with vermicelli
Okra bil zaite –garlic ,coriander ,tomato sauce
Samaka Harra – baked fresh catch of the day fillet, capsicum, onion, garlic and tomato sauce
Chicken tagine- slow cooks chicken with olives and saffron
Dawood Basha – meat balls, slice onion, tomato sauce, Arabic spices
Shrimp machbose –shrimp cooked with rice, cinnamon and cardamom
Mix grill – shish taouk, lamb kebab ,kebab hallabi,
Lamb Shakria -Lamb ,yoghurt sauce ,onion shallots ,pine seed
Main courses (pictured above)
For you sweet tooths out there, there are some special Arabic desserts and a whole host of Vogue Cafe’s signature desserts and cakes and even a big chocolate fountain for a sweet end to your meal!
This was actually my first time eating so many varieties of Arabic food and it was an interesting and delightful journey of taste into another region. Some of the dishes are quite heavily spiced and might take some getting used too while Grace found the muhalabia (dessert) rather too milky for her liking. I didn’t mind though and happily finished her portion and found myself actually liking some of the dishes. Chef Youssef’s pomegranate walnut salad was refreshing and well-balanced with the nutty taste of the walnuts versus the acidity from the bell peppers. Do try it out if you have an open mind when it comes to food as I’ll bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Chef Youssef Issa’s Arabian Delights at Vogue Café special buffet is available for dinner only at RM108.00++ per person and half price for children between 6 to 12 years old from now until 29 August 2014.
Vogue Cafe is located at
Lobby Level – West Wing,
Renaissance Kuala Lumpur Hotel,
Corner of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur,
Telephone: 03 2162 2233