With some new Middle Eastern restaurants opening up in Colombo we thought we'd revisit Hazari's. While their desserts still need work, the mains are meaty, ample in portion and spicy.
Hazari's has been around since 2012, and has gained a dedicated customer base. As of late the Middle Eastern food scene in Colombo has grown with the additions of Sama and the new Arabian Knights. The menu at Hazari's is slightly different from the others with stuff like mushaltat and Arabic pizzas. The only downside being that meats are limited to beef and chicken. The prices are also very reasonable with dishes priced between Rs. 280 to Rs. 1500. The great thing is that even the less expensive dishes come in large, filling portions. While the mains we tried were satisfying, we can't really say the same about the desserts which still requires some fine tuning.
We started off with the beef fatteh (Rs. 490) which is a hummus dish served with chunks of grilled beef, chickpeas, toasted kubz, caramelized onions and chillies. So far I'd say this is the best of the hummus dishes I've tried in
Colombo. This is also one of the few places that offers hummus and
meats. We'd say this one falls somewhere between a starter and a main, but the portion is still quite large and should suffice unless you're very hungry. The beef was grilled and seasoned very well with the caramelized onions adding both texture and sweetness to the creamy hummus.
The Kabsa rice with grilled chicken (Rs. 920) was also well prepared, if a bit on the spicy side. The kabsa rice was very flavoursome with plenty of spices, saffron and cardamoms. It's served with a sizeable piece of grilled chicken, sauteed veges, roasted potatoes and aubergines. The chicken was cooked very well, but we felt it was just a tad bit too spicy. If you're a spice buff you'll likely love this one but it tends to overpower the other flavours. This one has personal preference involved so perhaps let the waiter know how much heat you prefer.
The dessert was the only real letdown for us here. We got the oddly named strawberry and cheese (Rs. 265) hoping it would be something similar to Middle Eastern spin on a strawberry cheesecake with some fresh strawberries. While the Middle Eastern spin part remained somewhat true with the roti, there were no actual strawberries, with strawberry syrup and jam being substituted instead. The biggest problem here was that the syrup on the outside and jam on the inside had such contrasting artificial taste that the entire dish was unbalanced.
Ambience & Service
Hazari's is located in Thimbirigasyaya, which is fast becoming one of the best foodie neighborhoods in Colombo with recent additions like Giovanni's, Domenico's and The Bread Company. The interior is very simple with seating for around 30 with large glass windows which allow plenty of natural light to flow in.
We didn't have any complaints about the service at Hazari's which was both fast and helpful. The young waiter was enthusiastic, knew the dishes well and also told us about the dishes that weren't listed on the menu yet. From what we've experienced their delivery is also very efficient.
We've seen consistent improvement at Hazari's over the past couple of years. They're already one of the Colombo's best Middle Eastern restaurants. All they need to do is get their desserts sorted.
Hazari's is an Arabic restaurant on Thimbirigasaya. They serve a different and tasty take on Middle Eastern treats.
We were wrong about Hazari's. It's pretty good. Our first review (see below) said it was basically OK but nothing special. After eating a bit more there, we can say that it's quite tasty and we're upping it a star.
We tried a range of stuff, both take-away and in-house. The standouts were the Chicken On Fire Meal (Rs.1,890, enough for 2 or 3 people) and the grilled chicken platter with khubz (pita), eggplant and salad (Rs. 720).
The chicken on fire meal is a whole flame grilled chicken, well seasoned and soft and melting off the bone. Really good, and comes with sides of hummus, garlic dip and a tomato relish. You eat eat with delicate, flaky khubz (pita) and it's all pretty good.
The grilled chicken platter is another simple meal, sorta a smaller version of the above. The chicken is flavorful and the sides complement it well.
We also had a wrap (Rs. 350). Despite being the most photogenic, this was the more ordinary part of the meal.
One thing we will note is that the individual portions tend to be a bit small. We think this is good (and healthy), but you may want to order some side.
Hazari's is in a increasingly popular neighborhood near the corner of Thimbirigasaya and Fife Road. There's Video International (DVD rental) next door, Wow.lk (formerly Anything) down the street, the Japanese place Kami Maki down the road and Hansa Coffee down Fife.
The location itself is small but functional and they have both table service and plates now. There's parking for three or four vehicles. They also do delivery now. The food we got delivered came really fast and without any directional issues.
The service is really good. They know what's on the menu and they're prompt about serving and clearing plates. Ordering delivery was also quite painless.
Hazari's is one of the nicest Arabic restaurants in town. We were wrong in our first review to call it just OK. They serve different and thoughtful Middle Eastern food with good service and delivery.
Hazari's is a new Arabic food joint on the newly expanded Thimbirigasaya Road, near Fife. It's gotten rave reviews from food blogger Kaemadasa, and we thought we'd check it out ourselves. The verdict? Meh.
As an executive summary, let's say that it's cheap, fast, but not extraordinarily tasty food.
The food is good, but not amazing. It's not especially Arabic but rather a Sri Lankan take on those dishes. This isn't a bad thing (hot buttered cuttlefish isn't especially Chinese, but it is awesome), but no dish really soared.
We started with a range of their mint and iced teas. These are very refreshing and good and not too damaging at around Rs. 250 per. Then we ordered a Chicken And Cheese Fatayer (a sort of hot-doggy delight), which was OK. The bread is thick and not especially awesome, and the toppings are rather ordinary Lankan fare, if a bit underspiced (there's chili on the table).
Then we tried the Chicken Arabesque (Rs. 270), a wrap. It fell apart quickly, which was fine. The bit of pickle inside was a standout, but aside from that, nothing to write home about.
Then a Cheese Manakish (Rs. 280), which was like cheese toast.
Thimbirigasaya Road is (finally) being widened and Hazari's has a spot just after Fife Road. It's a decent location with direct parking for about four cars and more public parking nearby. I think the owner Hazari lives up the street.
Inside, the place is a bit bright but simple enough. There's a prominent sign that says order at the counter, a bit silly when there are four staff standing around. The experience would be better if everyone could order without getting up. They give you plates but still serve with paper plates and plastic takeaway cups. This is all fine.
The best part is that it really is fast food, at least for now. Our drinks arrived almost immediately and the food came quite shortly after.
The best part of Hazari is that it serves decent food at reasonable prices. The damage per person was about Rs. 500 if you had drinks, so not bad at all. In that sense it's definitely worth a try. At the end of the day, a wrap here is like half the price of a cheese roti at Pilawoos. This isn't the best Arabic food I've ever had by far, but it's pretty good, pretty fast, and quite affordable.
"ஹஸரீஸ்" புதிதாய் ஆரம்பிக்கப்பட்டுள்ள அராபிய உணவகம். இது திம்பிரிகஸ்யாய வீதியில் பைவ் வீதிக்கு அருகில் அமைந்துள்ளது.
இங்கு உணவுகள் நன்றாக இருந்தாலும் உன்னதமான சுவை என்று கூறமுடியாது. உணவுகளும் அராபிய உணவென்பதை பார்க்கிலும், இலங்கை பாணியில் தயாரிக்கப்பட்ட அராபிய உணவுகள் என்பதே பொருத்தமானது.
இவ்விடத்தை பற்றிய மதிப்பீட்டை எழுதுவதற்கான அனுபவத்தை பெற நாம் "ஹஸரீஸ்' க்கு சென்றோம். முதலில் "மின்ட் டீ' மற்றும் "ஐஸ் டீ"யில் (ரூபா 250) ஆரம்பித்து பின்னர் "சிக்கன் அன்ட் சீஸ் பதாயர்" ஐ ("ஹொட் டோக்" போன்றது) முயற்சித்தோம். இதற்கு பாவிக்கப்படும் ரொட்டி கனமானதாகவும் உள்ளே நிரப்பப்படுபவை (அராபிய சுவையை காட்டிலும்) இலங்கை உணவை போன்றும் இருந்தது. அத்துடன் உறைப்பும் குறைவு. உறைப்பு தேவைப்படுபவர்களுக்கு மேசையில் சிலி சோஸ் இருக்கிறது.
அதன்பின் "சிக்கன் அரபெஸ்கியூ" (ரூபா 270) என்பப்டும் சப்பாத்தி போன்ற ஒரு வகை ரொட்டியில் சுற்றித்தரப்படும் உணவை சுவை பார்த்தோம். இதனுள்ளே வைத்திருக்கும் ஊறுகாய்; தனித்தன்மையான சுவையை கொடுக்கின்றது. அதை தொடர்ந்து ரொட்டிவகை ஒன்றான ("சீஸ் டோஸ்ட்" போன்ற) "சீஸ் மனாகிஷ்" (ரூபா 280) ஐயும் சுவைத்து பார்த்தோம்.
தற்போது திம்பிரிகஸ்யாய வீதி அகலப்படுத்தப்பட்டுள்ளமையால் இலகுவாக போகமுடியும். நாகரீகமான சூழல், நான்கு கார்களளவில் நிறுத்தக்கூடிய சொந்த வாகனம் நிறுத்துமிடம் என வசதியாக இருக்கின்றது. தவிர பொதுமக்களுக்கான வாகனம் நிறுத்தும் வசதி தாராளமாக அருகில் இருக்கின்றது. இந்த வசதிகள்தான் "ஹஸரீஸ்" இறகு வாடிக்கையாளர்களை அழைத்துவருகின்றது.
இங்கு கொட்டை எழுத்துக்களில் order at the counter என்று எழுதிவைத்திருக்கிறார்கள். ஒவ்வொருமுறையும் எழுந்துசென்று கவுன்டரில் வாங்கி வருவது வசதியாக இல்லை. ஏறத்தாள 4 பணியாளர்கள் இருக்கும் இவ்வுணவகத்தில் வாடிக்கையாளர்களுக்கு மேசையிலிருந்தவாறு உணவுகளை கேட்டுப்பெற முடியுமாக இருக்குமானால் நன்றாக இருக்கும்.
இவ்வுணவகத்தின் மிகச்சிறந்த அம்சம் "பாஸ்ட் பூட்" என்பதற்கேற்ப எல்லாம் விரைவாக கிடைப்பதுதான். பானங்கள் உடனடியாகவும் உணவுகள் கொஞ்ச நேரத்திலும் கிடைக்கின்றன.
அதேவேளை "ஹஸரீஸில்" நல்ல உணவை நியாயமான விலையில் பெற்றுக்கொள்ளமுடிகிறது. ஏறத்தாள ஒருத்தருக்கு ரூபா 500 செலவில் உணவு பானங்கள் அடங்கலாக சுவைக்க முடிகிறது.
ஹஸரீஸ் - உன்னதமான அராபிய சுவை இல்லையென்றாலும் நல்ல உணவு, கட்டுப்படியான விலையில் விரைவாக கிடைக்கும்; ஒரு தடவையேனும் முயற்சித்து பார்க்கவேண்டிய உணவகம்