Chef Abod’s Café & Catering is located on Kempt Road here in Halifax, about 15 minutes walk from my new home. It is primarily a Catering Service, but the on-site restaurant serves a lovely , and eclectic range of dishes from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Morocco , and Iraq. The café itself is a very pleasant, comfortable place, the service extremely friendly, and the prices very reasonable.
My sister and I went for la late lunch on a Sunday (they open at 2pm, on that day), and enjoyed a very nice meal. Rather than choose any of the delicious sounding Main courses, we opted to go for variety, and ordered entirely from the appetizer menu…
Hummus with Minced Lamb and Almonds – For those not familiar, hummus is a seasoned chick-pea puree widely eaten across the whole of the Middle East. Here, it was topped with very delicately seasoned ground lamb (which was still warm atop the cold hummus) along with a topping of slivered almonds, cucumber and radish. There was olive oil drizzled on top, with a sprinkling of sumac, and Pita bread served alongside to scoop up the hummus. All in all, this was a very nice dish (and I am usually quite lukewarm to hummus) but I was not able to finish it all. In the above picture, as with the one in the menu, it looks rather like a small amount of the puree on a flat plate but, in fact, it came in a pretty deep bowl and there was way too much for me, even with my sister eating some of it. It was certainly good value for the money, but I could see this as a ‘sharing’ appetizer for a table of four.
Taboula – Taboula, which you sometimes see as ‘tabouleh’ or ‘tabouli’, is a middle eastern salad made with parsley, bulgur wheat, mint, tomato and onion, and dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and pepper. My sister ordered this, but I got to taste it and I thought it the best I have ever had, including my own home-made versions. The bulgur was properly cooked, with the grains all nicely separated, the parsley was brightly fresh, and the mint was added in just the right amount. The onion not only added a nice sharpness to the tangy dressing, but also provided a nice textural contrast as well. I would order this myself, next time, although, as with the hummus, this was a very large serving for a starter.
Fatayer – Fatayer are the Levantine answer to Samosa, or Empanadas. They come in a wide variety of shapes, and with all sorts of fillings, with the menu at Chef Abod’s offering cheese, meat, or spinach. The dough wrapped dumplings are served deep-fried, but I think that, here, they were prepared and fried ahead and then re-heated in an oven for service. I chose the meat variety and, while it was nice enough, I was a little disappointed as I was rather expecting something with more of a spicy bite (rather like samosa), but instead, the filling was just a bit bland and not especially interesting. Possibly, my expectations were to blame for my disappointment, but I felt tis could have used a little flavor fillip, perhaps with an accompanying sauce, perhaps. BTW… these are listed in the menu as being $600 for four… thankfully, that turned out to be a misprint.
Sambusa – These appetizers (available stuffed with beef or cheese), are roughly analogous to the Fatayer, but are baked rather than deep-fried. My sister ordered them, but I ate one and enjoyed it. The pastry was nice and light and the meat was nicely seasoned in contrast to the rather bland filling of my Fatyaer. I can’t say what the seasoning was but it was slightly tangy, so there my have been a little sumac in there, too. I can’t actually go into rhapsodies about these, but they were nicely prepared and I liked them well-enough.
Well, on the whole, I really enjoyed this meal and I was very pleased with the bill. I originally planned to have three appetizers but the size of the helpings forced me to stop after two. It was nice to have a completely satisfying meal on just two appetizers apiece, and at such low prices to boot. The menu here is completely Halal (if that is a concern to any of my readers), but I was interested to see that there will soon be a ‘Keto’ section added to menu, which fits in with my dietary habits these days. I will be keeping an eye out for this appearing and will be returning to check it out…