I was fortunate to grow up with a lot of Arabic friends whose parents lovingly made food from their homeland. So when I visited Shahrazad Arabic Restaurant and opened the mouth-watering menu, fond memories flooded back.

We dove into ordering, calling for the fried kibbeh (RMB 45), fattoush salad (RMB 30/60), hommos bi tahini (RMB 30/50), shash leak of veal (RMB 78), kashkash kebab (RMB 45) and rice with lamb (RMB 70).

Our eyes took in much more than our stomachs would. When the first dish to reach the table (in this case, pita bread) turned up still in the plastic bag that it was microwaved in, the bread’s pre-cut corners hard from one resuscitative zap too many, we adjusted our expectations.

As the dishes flew to our table, the excitement we had felt was gradually punctured into a state that not even the belly dancer jiggling away out on the stage could revive. The meat was gamey, and textures slid from tender and juicy to chewy and dry in a single dish.

The salads, however, were the highlight. The fattoush salad was a medley of fresh and zesty ingredients. Had it not been for this and the amusing, funky waitress that served us, we might have left less satisfied.

Also try: 1001 Nights, Rumi

Shahrazad Arabic Restaurant
Daily 11am-1am. Unit 217, 2/F, Bldg 2, Sanlitun Soho,
8 Gongti Beilu, Chaoyang District (5785 3565)
800m southwest of Tuanjiehu station (Line 10)

A version of this article appears in the March 2014 issue of the Beijinger.

Photos: Mitchell Pe Masilun

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