January 11, 2011

In yet another changing of the guard for this new year, Casbah has taken over from Pacifica at Mandarin Oriental, providing a dramatically different but equally exciting dining experience in an opulent Arabian-style lounge setting.

Mezze and tapas are the key offerings here, bringing customers on a culinary voyage that spans Spain, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.

We began dipping into the (currently limited) menu with some exotic-sounding taramosalata, a Greek and Turkish savory blend of cured carp roe, mashed potatoes, olive oil & lemon juice. Thick and creamy, with an appetizingly subtle fishy flavor.

Htipiti, a mix of roasted red pepper & feta cheese. As soft and smooth as the best of butters, with a marvelously milky taste enhanced by a mildly spicy kick.

Tzatziki _ strained yogurt with cucumber, garlic & parsley. Refreshingly tangy. Carb-fearers should steer clear of Casbah though, since these dips work so well with bread.

Prawns steamed over hot stones, served with saffron rouille. Hot comfort food for a cold night, with a lovely herbal flavor that seemed nourishing for both the stomach and the soul.

Creative cocktails: Casbah Colada (Havana Silver Rum, lime, pineapple juice, gold leaf) & Moroccan Green Tea Mint Derby (Belvedere citrus vodka, mint, lemon, green tea, soda).

Casbah's business hours are brilliantly convenient _ the kitchen opens 5pm-1am.

Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.