Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fairouz Restaurant Tasty and Modern Middle Eastern Food in Ottawa!

Fairouz Restaurant on Somerset!
There is a new Middle Eastern restaurant in Ottawa!
Now Fairouz does not serve the typical shawarma, falafel, regular hummus kind of foods you can get on every corner.
The cuisine is more refined and modern.
There is no regular hummus or tabouleh on this menu- also Fairouz is only open for dinner after 5pm.
The "new" Fairouz is located where their previous location was- in a cute house on Somerset St.

My mother from out of town treated me to this dinner, it is better to go with another person-that way you can try more of the dishes.
The meal was started with the Muhammara- a walnut, red pepper and pomegranate molasses dip.
There was also some fresh pomegranate seeds in the dip- that is quite different from other dips I have tried.
We were also brought a basket with with 2 nice pieces of warm homemade pita bread.
The pita had some herbs in it and I forgot to ask what they were.
The drink here was a "mocktail" of fresh grapfruit juice, cucumber, tonic water and not too sure- my mother ordered it and it was something the bartender made up.
If I have one negative thing to say, it is that you just get 1 piece of pita bread per person, then have to pay $2 for each extra piece.

Muhammara Dip and Grapefruit Drink

The next dishes I tried were the lamb neck Falafel and the Monforte Halloumi.
The lamb neck falafel, I was told is a mixture of 50% lamb neck meat and 50% vegetable falafel.
There was no all vegetable option for falafel on the menu.
I usually only like vegetarian falafel, but did try this just to see if I would even like it.
The falafel was very hot and fresh, not greassy at all.
The lamb meat was well ground up for the most part and not overly noticeable.
The falafel was also served with "spicy radish", that was 2 thin slices of watermellon radish with a sauce on them and some dill tahini.
You got 5 golf ball size falafel and it was $12.
There was no pita bread included with this dish.

Lamb Neck Falafel and Halloumi Appetizers

The Monforte Halloumi cheese was also really different and very good!
The cheese was nicely browned on top and served with pressed apples with some kind of Verjus, a beet emulsion was splashed around the plate and then some sumac and other spices.
There was also some very fresh pistachios on the plate.
Overall, all the tastes blended quite well- if I have to give one criticism it is that the cheese portion was very small for two people.
The cheese wedge was around 3" x2" and 1/2 an inch thick. It was maybe a couple bites of cheese and cost $13.
I think they should make the cheese part a little bigger. But then this place has only been open 2 weeks,so their menu is quite new.

Eggplant Mashi Sharing Plate $24

The main dish was the Eggplant Mashi- this is supposed to be a sharing plate.
I could eat this size of dish by myself, but with some appetizers it was a good size to split with another person. There was nothing left on this plate in the end!
The dish was served with chic pea balilah-this was chic peas with tomato (not exactly sure),there was also bulgur,fresh pomegranate,eggplant, also rice I think.
There was quite a few things in this dish- the outside of the eggplant was nice and crunchy. That is different from what I usually eat.
This dish kind of reminded me of a dish I buy at a store that has chick peas, eggplant,tomato- except this version was much more presentable.

Jawaher Rice $12

The Jawaher rice dish was also really good and so pretty to look at.
The rice was topped with some edible flowers, fresh pomegranate seeds,pistachio and there was a slight taste of orange in the dish.
The rice dish was very tasty to eat and I would order it again.

My Own Creation!  Falafel Miriam

This next dish was my own creation. I had quite a lot of time to sit and there were many dishes on the table- the dinner took around 2 hours at least.
So I thought I would try and make a mini Falafel pita sandwich.
This had the lamb neck falafel, dill tahini was already on the falafel and I added some Hibiscus Gel, topped with a piece of watermellon radish on a piece of homemade pita!
I thought all the tastes and textures of my creation went quite well together- the falafel and savory dill sauce, the sweeter hibiscus gel, the crunchy and spicy radish and the fresh bread!
I wonder if anyone will notice this dish I made??

Halwat II Jben $12

Finally the dessert that was ordered was the Halwat II Jben-that was made of "Sweetened Cheese • Rose Water • Semolina Custard • Black Sesame Nougatine".
There was also some maple drops on the plate, a fresh fig and edible flowers.
This was an interesting dessert. I would go back to try the other 2 desserts on the menu.

Lastly when we got our bill we were given a small plate with petit fours on it- there was a chocolate covered date that was cut in half and a shortbread-like cookie that had a whole apricot inside and was sprinkled with sesame seeds.
This cookie was cut in half so you could see the filling-this was a nice was to serve these two extra sweets!
*I can not get my photo to load,hopefully my description is good enough.

Final thoughts on my meal at Fairouz:

Overall the meal was very good and had many new combinations of flavours I did not expect.
My mother who often eats middle eastern food actually wondered where the Tahini sauce was, not realizing the version here was tahini and dill.
The pita bread was super good, but that you have to pay an extra $2 per piece and that there are so many sauce- adding an extra pita per person would be nice.
Also, that there is no vegetarian Falafel on the menu?
My mother is a "vegetarian" but decided to try the lamb Falafel for once anyways.
She did find the falafel amazing,I thought it was good-but I only really like vegetarian falafel.
If you are in a rush for dinner- this might not be a place to eat at- our meal was around 2h30 from start to finish- we got there at 6:20pm and left at 9:15.
But maybe for some drinks and some snacks like the dips it would be good to stop in- the bar area was very nice with high tables and chairs.

I will surely be back to sample some more of the dishes, the whole menu looks really good!

The Fairouz website can be found at:

The restaurant address is:

343 Somerset Street West, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J8

If you do eat at Fairouz, let me know what dishes you like and what drinks you have!