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This week, join cookbook author & restaurateur Violet Oon at an unusual place for world-class Middle-Eastern/ Mediterranean food prepared by a highly skilled Egyptian chef! Hidden away in Zhong Shan Mall along Balestier Road is a little kitchen unit serving up wonderfully authentic delicacies from the Middle East & Mediterranean in the atrium of the shopping centre. Don’t be put off by the very open plan, the food here is fit for royalty! Why? Because Chef Khaled Elelimi has cooked for sheiks, kings, dignitaries and all the Middle Eastern embassies based in Singapore. You might recognise him from his stint at the Shangri-la Hotel, but over his 20 years in the culinary business, he has also worked at Four Seasons Hotels across the globe and also specialises in healthy Ayurvedic spa cuisine. Married to a lovely Singaporean, Chef Khaled & his wife Agnes are now the proud owners of Pistachio Middle Eastern & Mediterranean Grill, which at barely a year old, offers classic dishes with a contemporary twist for lunch and dinner. Everything is made from scratch and served fresh. Violet was introduced to this hidden gem of a restaurant by her friend and Singapore’s Golden Girl of Swimming, Pat Chan. They absolutely love the food there and these are Violet’s recommendations:
The enormous flat bread is delicious with hummus and olive oil. Great as a shared starter.
Be sure to order the Lebanese Platter – juicy boneless marinated chicken kebabs served with garlic sauce, fresh salad,and the beautifully fragrant and fluffy saffron rice. The homemade Harissa (Moroccan chilli paste) is a must dolloped over everything!
The Turkish Platter is another delicious option if you love good quality beef.
If it’s seafood you’re craving for, try Chef Khaled’s Fish Chermoula, which is an oven-baked Sea Bass fillet seasoned with Moroccan spices or, Violet’s top pick, the black mussels with garlic cream and garlic bread.
The whole family will enjoy the food here, as child-friendly dishes like pastas, pizzas and wraps are available, along with classic dishes including baklava, tagines & falafels, which are perfect for sharing. Best of all, with his training, Chef Khaled approaches his food with a very light touch and believes in the freshness, quality of produce and prepares everything very healthily. He and his wife also offer up warm, friendly hospitality along with the delicious food, so Violet urges everyone to go discover the lovely Pistachio Grill for yourself. You’ll get food fit for kings, but at very unkingly prices – sublime cuisine that’s unbelieveably great value for money! She believes in the care, the skill and the flavours Chef Khaled brings to the table and it’s about time this little treasure of a restaurant got its turn in the spotlight!
20 Ah Hood Road, Zhongshan Mall #01-15
Tel: 6262 6400
Open Daily: 11.30am – 9pm
*all photos via http://www.facebook.com/pistachiogrill