Tarbush Restaurant @ Batu Feringghi, Penang.
If you are finding something exquisite enough to suit your taste buds, you should at least give this restaurant a try. Finding Arabic and Lebanese cuisine has never been easy in Penang, one of the more well-known ones is being Tarbush Restaurant. Tarbush Restaurant has four branches in Malaysia in total, being Penang's branch situated at Batu Feringghi (right beside The Ship Western Food). Tarbush Restaurant has a lot to offer its customers, namely salads, main course (seafood, beef, chicken or even lamb), soups, and a variety of desserts/ beverages. Quoted from Tarbush Restaurant's website:
" TARBUSH's dedication to using only the freshest and finest ingredients and incessant passion of a man's love for authentic and fine Middle Eastern cuisine has undoubtedly rendered TARBUSH's incredible success and growth for all these years. "
Overall verdict: The foods were actually okay to my liking but they lacked of the authenticity. The heavily use of spices and herbs is essential in Lebanese cuisine, but unfortunately, we don't taste the strong aroma of those herbs. Price-wise, expensive for most dishes, despite of their big portion for most dishes, I still find most of them over-priced, especially with the additional 10% service charge and 6% government tax. There is a need for improvements on their services too, with many of the waiters/waitresses do not understand English, the process of ordering/ acquiring information was very troublesome for us (thank GOD the manager was kind and understands English). As for parking, one can simply park its car right in front of the restaurant, there were ample parking spaces available, but do beware of the night market happening every night there, make sure you do not reach the restaurant too late, else, you might face problems finding the parking.
We had their Hommus Tahinah (Rm 10) as starter, Hommus is made of blended/mashed chick peas topped with a drenched in olive oil, with a touch of chili powder. Hommus/Hummus is one of the most famous dishes in Lebanese cuisine too. It is often paired with some Pita bread. This dish was okay in my opinion, it does not possess any distinctive taste/flavor, but it brings a bit salty and the flavor from the olive oil can be easily tasted.
A small basket will be placed on every table, it consisted some Pita breads which one may use them to dip into any of the sauces. These Pita breads were horrible in my opinion, probably due to the long displaying time, it causes the breads' textures to be extremely dry and hard to chew. They should have served these breads separately and fresh, just to maintain the soft and moist texture.
Arayes Lamb (Rm 20) was another appetizers we had, with some spiced and minced lamb and onion stuffed in traditional Lebanese bread. It has some sliced onions (seasoned with parsley and herbs) being placed on top as well. The Arayes Lamb was decent in my opinion, it comes with eight pieces and the lamb was reasonably flavored but some of us did complain that the lamb was in fact, too strong of the lamb-flavor and find it unacceptable. However, this dish works perfectly okay for me.
Another famous dish in Lebanese cuisine will none other than Biryani rice. We had their Biryani Chicken (first picture, Rm 24) and Biryani Lamb (second/last picture, Rm 24). Every single order of their Biryani rice comes with two different curry sauces, with one being spicy and the other one more to the sweeter side. One whole chicken thigh, as for the lamb, one big portion of lamb shank was given. Taste-wise, was rather a disappointment as the rice was a bit bland to my liking. It lacked of the strong herb-spice flavor, making it no difference from the usual rice. The curry sauces given did not complement the rice well in my opinion, probably its my own preferences, but I just do not find the connection between them. Portion-wise, was pretty big and should fit a big eater well.
Shish Kebab Irany (Rm 32) has some minced tender Lamb, well marinated/grilled and laid on top of a bed of white rice. It comes with some spiced onions, grilled tomatoes and some butter either. The lamb was succulent and juicy in my opinion. The butter did enhance the creamy texture of the overall dish, the aroma from the butter complemented the lamb well in a surprising way too. Overall, I find this dish special in its own way.
We also had their Grilled Spring Chicken (Rm 24) as well, it comes with fries and a small plate of Tarbush's signature garlic sauce. The garlic sauce was creamy and possessed a pretty heavy buttery flavor but it was not too salty, just nice. The chicken was beautifully charred and grilled, but it failed to maintain the moisture and juiciness within the meat in my opinion. It was a bit too dry to my liking but this has made it unique, in terms of the crunchiness and chewy texture. Not suitable for those who prefer juicy and succulent texture.
If you are those type of people whom can't decide on your orders/ you wish to try more of their grilled dishes, you may opt for this Mixed Grill (Rm 35) instead, although this set is a bit pricey, but it comes with four different types of grilled dishes. This dish has Shish Tawook (cubes of boneless chicken breast), Shish Kebab (seasoned spicy minced lamb stewed), Lamb Cubes (grilled of marinated boneless lamb cutlets) and Grilled Arayes (minced lamb stuffed in traditional Lebanese bread). It comes with some fries and their garlic sauce too. All of the grilled dishes were palatable to my liking, tho they were a bit oily but most of them were reasonably seasoned, but I would prefer them to spice things up a little bit more by adding more herbs and spices to the meat since that's one of the characteristics of Lebanese cuisine. Nevertheless, it was still okay.
Their drinks/beverages are very expensive in my opinion, especially with the portion served to us. We had Lemon "Na-Na" (left, Rm 11) and Mango Lassi (right, Rm 13). Lemon "Na-Na" has a good blend of peppermint leaves and lemon juices, well balanced between sourness and sweetness, with a strong peppermint aroma. As for the Mango Lassi, mangoes were blended with some yogurt, it was a bit sourish and was very appetizing. Everything about the drinks was okay, just that they are expensive.
Taste: 7/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Price: 5.5/10 (1-3 expensive, 4-7 average, 8-10 cheap)
Ambiance: 8/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service: 6/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Parking: 8/10 (1-3 bad, 4-7 average, 8-10 good)
Service Charge: Yes 10%
Government Tax: Yes 6%
Address: Lot 4134, Sek 1, Jalan Batu Feringghi, Batu Feringghi, 11100, Penang. (beside The Ship Western Restaurant)
Business Hour: 11am to 2am. Daily.
Contact Number: 604- 885 2558