Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Sanafir (February 26, 2007)

Two reviewers: ts and js

Feature Cocktail: Fig, pear, blackcurrant
Kama Sutra: Passionfruit, guava, raspberry
Marrakech Mint: Sour apple liqueur, cointreau, mint

Actually, it was a little weird that for some of the cocktails, the menu doesn't list the type of liquor in them.

The feature cocktail had that "medicine" (cough syrup) taste. Didn't really like it. But then again, I don't really like that "alcohol" taste. I only ordered it because I thought it would be similar to cassis (because of the blackcurrant). But, no.

Had a sip of the other ones; tasted like juice.


I liked it, although I would have liked it better had it been a tad mintier. They just put mint leaves in the drink and didn't bother tocrush them or anything. Hence, no mint oils oozing, no mint taste.

Tasted the FEATURE COCKTAIL. Ditto on the cough medicine taste.

Grilled Naan, with hummus, roasted garlic, olives

The naan was very good! (Although, it seemed a little thin for naan.) The "grill" flavor was very nice and it was seasoned well. We ordered more! The hummus etc. were pretty good too, but the naan was the "star."

An explanation about the food. The concept at Sanafir was "Tapas-style Entrees". Basically it meant that you choose a protein (beef, pork, etc) and out would come 3 tapas using that protein.

For the 4 of us, we ordered 5 proteins.

I tried to get as much info as possible via the Sanafir website, but the menu online is not as updated. There were various elements that have changed, I believe, and the "Squid" entree isn't posted online.

It's a little hard remembering all the different dishes, since there were so many: 15 in all!

I must admit right now I can't really remember much of the food.
-Smoked albacore tuna loin, saffron celeriac puree, micro greens
-Ahi tuna spring roll, mango, shiso leaves, strawberry-ginger salsa
-Seared big eye tuna, thai black rice lemongrass cream

I know I liked all of the TUNA offerings. It was probably the proteinwhose variations were good across the board.

The spring roll was just all right. The actual tuna pieces in each of the dishes were nice. The favorite element would be the Thai Black Rice.

-Red wine braised short rib, smoked bacon, depuy lentils
-Oxtail cappelletti with white truffle cream, parmesan reggiano, shaved black truffle
-Beef; spicy salad (daikon?), green onions?

The braised short rib was nice enough, but I guess I'm still all "braised beef"-ed out. The lentils were really smoky!

The oxtail pasta was nice. Actually, I don't remember the actual pasta itself, but the sauce was really good.

I really like the "Asian" beef: the cold, spicy salad was really refreshing.

I didn't like the BEEF all that much. The pasta for the oxtail was atad tough, I thought, and the sauce was too rich for me. Didn't likethe lentils all that much. The spicy salad was good though.

-Kanafa wrapped tiger prawn, watercress dipping sauce
-Wild prawn tempura roll, avocado ginger soy sauce
-Sauteed thai prawn, curry slivered almonds, braised saboy cabbage

I liked the kanafa-wrapped prawn the best. It looked "cute" (for lack of a better word). Tasty, too!

The prawn tempura roll was actually a play on words, it seems. Instead of having prawn tempura in a roll, the whole roll container prawn was battered and fried like tempura. This was "OK". The taste of the sushi rice (and the prawn, too, I guess) was lost in the whole fried thing. And the soy sauce made it really salty.

The Thai prawn was curried. I liked the almonds. The cabbage was too salty!

PRAWN. I liked all of the prawn entrees. Tuna and prawns were the best. I liked the kanafe-wrapped one and the grilled. Not so much the prawn tempura roll, but that was still better than most of the others.

-Crispy pork pakora, yam curry smoked paprika
-Steamed asian bbq pork bun, spicy mustard watercress dipping sauce (?)
-Grilled moroccan spiced pork saddle, potato puree tomato jam (?)

The pakora was all right. It was too batter-y, though. The pork saddle was ok; its accompaniments were nice. The Asian Pork BBQ Bun was all right too -- one can't go wrong with that fluffy white bun. =) I don't think it was a mustard watercress dipping sauce that came with it. It was a (horse-)radish salad. I don't like horseradish!

I didn't like the PORK all that much either. One was too dry (the grilled saddle). The pork bun tasted okay enough. The pakora I don't remember the pork at all.

-Asian: with spicy seasoning
-With curry, in a papadum bowl
-Battered, with cucumber salad (fatoush, i think)

Wow, the spicy one was actually spicy!! It was good! The curry seemed like just another curry. The battered one was all right, a little salty. But eaten with the cucumber salad, the salt level balanced out. (The cucumber salad seemed too "simple" to be a fatoush salad. It was just a cucumber salad.)

SQUID. One was so spicy I cried. I must have eaten the chili pepper. The battered one was tender enough and I am not wild about the curried one.

All in all, the food was nicely flavoured, save for some seasoning mishaps. And I guess after 15 of them, some of them started tasting alike (especially the curries).

However, I would still recommend going to Sanafir -- at least just once -- to experience the "ambience". Actually, not the ambience, but eating on the bed!

When we arrived, all the booths on the ground floor were occupied, so we were taken to the 2nd level where the beds were. Others in the party can elaborate, if they wish.

I guess this is all for my review. Food rating: 6.5 or so out of ten. Overall rating: 7.5/10.

I concur with TS, re the food, probably about a 6-6.5 on my scale as well. It was more about the ambience of the place, so with that, you can probably guess it was a tad dark. LOL

I must say I don't think I *GET* tapas at all. It seemed like eating that's not. Now that I think about it, I am leaning towards more towards the "I don't like TAPAS at all" end of the spectrum. It doesn't seem to be *serious* eating. I guess it's like attention-deficit eating. There's no sense for me doing 15 dishes and being asked to choose when 12 are mediocre at best. Tapas is what I would do if I didn't have a good chef in the kitchen.

One thing that's good about the evening though: it really wasn't that expensive at all. We got out of there $135 lighter. For 4, plus tip with 3 drinks -- I would say that's not bad. It's not good either. LOL

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