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Lebanese adventure

CHEF AHMED AMMURI has come all the way from Lebanon for the food festival and so you can be sure that everything is authentic with a capital A. "Except for Turkish coffee," the soft spoken chef comments. "It is too strong, too bitter and might not find favour."

Never mind the coffee, the festival offers an a la carte meal where Chef Ahmed recommends "Tabbouleh for starters. It is a salad with parsley and burgul which is broken wheat and a lime dressing." For the main course veggies are advised to go for the "Grilled Vegetable Tower - seasonal vegetables marinated with Lebanese spices and served with chilli oil," while non-veggies could go for "Seesh Taouk - from Tripoli, this dish contains char-grilled cubes of chicken cooked on skewers and the ever popular Chicken Shawarma."

The delicious Muhalabbia (a melt-in-your-mouth custard made from rice flour and flavoured with rose essence) makes up for the absence of Bacalava. While there is a rice preparation (Riz B'Shayariyah), Chef Ahmed admits that rice is not "very popular in Lebanese cuisine. Everything is eaten with Pita bread and we are serving pita bread with all the dishes. There are two kinds of pita bread - plain and flavoured." And if you want to go totally native, you could also relax with the hubble-bubble. Is that indulgence or what?

What: Lebanese food festival

Where: Encounters, Taj Krishna

When: Till October 17 (lunch - 12.30 to 3.30 pm, dinner - 7.30 to 11.00 pm) MAC

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