In this edition of Hot 50 Tables, we go on a taste journey across the Middle East at The Ottoman Room, sister establishment of Fat Prince in Tanjong Pagar
I’ll never forget my first taste of Middle Eastern cuisine – it was a Turkish diner in the dingy Far East Plaza with tables as greasy as the food, but oh did I love their richly spiced doner kebabs. 15 years on, my love of ME food remains, although my preference has changed to venues where my shoes don’t stick to the floor.
And then The Ottoman Room came into my life. Behind the its more casual sister restaurant, Fat Prince (see our rave review of Fat Prince), the softly-lit space sees diners seated on low leather settees and promises an Arabian (date) Night out of the ordinary. Low-hanging glass lamps are suspended by a system of chains and pulleys, giving the place a gritty, old-world feel. The Ottoman Room is the sort of restaurant you’d fantasise about stumbling into while exploring a dusty Turkish marketplace.
A border-crossing cuisine
With more than 17 countries making up the “Middle East”, it’s no simple feat to cover the entire breadth of its cuisine. The menu is something of a culinary expedition through the Middle East and Northern Africa, with ingredients serving as landmarks to keep you – and your taste buds – grounded.
The signature dish
Fresh from the restaurant’s earth oven (think clay tandoori oven), you’ll find phenomenal dishes like the apple-stuffed lamb shoulder. Not all that exotic-sounding, I know, but the inclusion of traditional ingredients like the spicy North African Ras el hanout and tart sumac jus affords the dish some rather unique flavours.
Even the vegetables here are sublime. The sweet and spicy baby carrots are a balancing act of sweet and savoury – the ‘zhug’ (a Yemenite hot sauce made with cilantro and parsley) plays off against the sweet notes of the honey carrot purée. And don’t get me started on the sunchokes (an ingredient I’ve come to love dearly).
In five words…
A Middle Eastern taste ticket.
The Ottoman Room, 48 Peck Seah Street, Singapore 079317. p. 6221 3683. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-12am. Closed on Sun.