Good shawarma is somewhat very hard to find in Singapore. It might be because Singaporeans have not embraced this type of food yet. But there is a new kid on the block that serves this little piece of heaven in Orchard Road.
So what are the qualities that I look for in a good shawarma? For me, a worthy one should have the following traits:
- juicy and tender meat
- tangy garlic sauce
- rich hummus
- fresh onions, tomatoes and lettuce
- warm, thin bread be it a pita bread, chapati, tortilla or whatever
My first good shawarma here in Singapore was from a temporary stall set-up in Bedok near the bus interchange. That was more than 2 years ago and the people who were manning the booth were Middle Eastern guys. After that, I tried a few more stalls here and there and since those were more of disappointments rather than epiphanies, I gave up the thought of having an honest to goodness piece of shawarma here. I just accepted the fact that the shawarmas I’ve been used to will never exist in the land of chicken rice and chili crab. But that soon changed. I came across a stall along Orchard Road in front of the Forum Mall that sells these scrumptious wraps.
Named Shiraz Mazzeh, which at first reminded me of the Australian wine, it was a high-end looking stall and the design of the place including the kitchen hardware being used was well, in the pricey side, I guess. The stall was almost the size of a van and the changing neon lights looked inviting. I learned that they actually have 3 stalls around the city, the other two being in Clark Quay and Equity Plaza near Raffles MRT Station.
With luck on my side, it was Happy Hour, which was from 5:30-8:30 pm and they have a promotion of 1 for 1 German beer. I ordered 2 lamb shawarmas with hummus and garlic sauce and 2 500ml German wheat draft beer (the other one was free, of course). You can pick two from the the following available sauces: chili, ketchup (on a shawarma?), BBQ sauce, mayo, hummus and garlic yoghurt. I chose the two old reliables, hummus and garlic yoghurt. The other sauces, I surmised, would be better off with the other items on offer like German sausages. There were julliened veggies that were available and being the veggie lover that I am, opted for all of them to be included.
There was actually nothing fancy with the ‘assembly’ of the shawarma, but one thing that they did was to heat the shawarma in a press sandwich grill. I think for me, this was the thing that did the trick. The warm bread made the sandwich livelier and the dark grill marks gave the sandwich added points aesthetically. The sandwich at SGD 8.50 each was a bit pricey though, in my opinion, but since there was a scarcity of good shawarmas here, I could say that it was worth it.
Regarding ambiance, there were three chairs on the side where a bar was installed. There was also a single tall table which can be used on a first come-first served basis, or you can opt to imbibe in the prized shawarma on the exquisitely tiled benches along the pedestrian walkway of Orchard.
Recently, this has been the de facto meal we have whenever we go to Orchard. And sometimes, we even hurry to go there to avail of the free beer during Happy Hour. So whenever you are in Orchard, try partaking of this healthy, delish treat. Definitely a must try for shawarma lovers in need of a fix.
For pics and full article, visit http://cardiacdelight.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/shiraz-mazzeh-forum-the-shopping-mall-orchard-road-singapore/