Tarbouche Restaurant

Middle Eastern food in an oasis in the centre of the city
  • 4

Time Out Says

One of the most endearing features of the Souk Central Market is the calm it offers despite being in the city centre. Tarbouche al Barsha is located amongst the various cafes and restaurants on the ground floor (though there is outdoor seating upstairs with shisha). The café is just that, a café with a number of tables floating in the atrium of the souk. It’s a casual affair with families and corporates chatting quietly over a bite to eat.

The menu is impressive, the mezze alone could compose our entire meal. We flip through a number of pages before reverting to the mezze we know and love, with a few adventurous ones thrown in.

We ordered a selection of mezze - fatteh hummus, fattoush, moutabal and tabbouleh along with the ominous ‘giant falafel sandwich’, which we chose to have on tanour bread. Before we even have a chance to munch on the complimentary pickled vegetables and olives, our food is at the table.

The mezze comes out quickly along with the freshly baked naan bread, which is massive, hot and fluffy. We rip pieces of the bread which is heavenly and use it to scoop up the moutabel.

The fatteh hummus is a stand-out dish. It is a light and almost creamy hummus with chickpeas on top, nuts and a light drizzling of oil over it. It’s a spectacular dish, rich in flavour and a hearty combination. The serving size is also impressive. It’s a divine match with the bread.

The fattoush is a little bitey but it’s delicious, with the pita bread toasted rather than deep-fried which preferable health-wise. The tabbouleh is made to perfection. The consistency is just the right ratio of parsley to dressing to tomato. It’s light and lush, one of the best tabbouleh we have tasted.

The service is a little hit and miss, with us having to flag down the staff several times during the meal, however once we have their attention, they are very obliging.

Then comes our ‘giant falafel sandwich’ which has an apt name. It’s a thick and lengthy affair, with chucks of vegetable and piping hot falafel. The bread is a little chewy, and also hot and fresh, and we love the consistency of the falafel. It’s moist but consistent and a bit more green than the conventional street-falafel.

We recline in our chairs, having deeply enjoyed this magical take on home-cooked Lebanese, agreeing we will certainly need to come back to try some more dishes next time.

To complement the meal, we opt for the lemon and mint juice, a refreshing round-off to a highly satisfying meal. We take home huge amounts of food, having devastatingly over-ordered once again, however it’s just as delicious and satisfying the next day. Well worth a stop and sit down if you are in the area.

The bill (for two)
Fatteh hummus Dhs26
Moutababl Dhs18
Fattoush Dhs26
Tabouleh Dhs30
Naan bread Dhs6
Giant falafel sandwich Dhs17
Lemon and mine juice Dhs22
The total (excl. service) Dhs145

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff  | 11 Feb 2014

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Show number +971 2 6441661
Abu Dhabi, Al Markaziya, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street

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