07.11.2012

Sufra, from the Jordanian Table – Amman, Jordan

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Sufra7_crop The Chubby Orangutan
Price
Four Dollars
Rating
Four Forks

Walking on Rainbow Street in downtown Amman, my attention was caught by a beautiful white stone house decorated with vibrant flowers and green plants. On the glass door it said Sufra restaurant, and I was too curious not to go inside even though it was too early to eat.
When I stepped into the restaurant I saw an elegantly designed dining room with grey walls, purple sofas, rustic tables, traditional Islamic tile floors and chandeliers, it was romantic with only a hint of luxury; the floor to ceiling windows then opened up to an air-conditioned indoor terrace, with glass windows on all sides, overlooking Amman’s hilltops and allowing plenty of sunlight; looking down from the terrace, a large outdoor seating area was decorated with wooden tables, white couches and pillows, it was relaxed and cozy.
It looks like whoever designed this place has turned someone’s old home into a beautiful restaurant with three dining areas, each having its own personality, yet they all blend well. This space is a breath of fresh air from most of the tacky restaurants we saw in Jordan and is such a big contrast to the chaotic markets just a couple of streets away.






The menu at Sufra is traditional Jordanian dishes that “capture the spirit of the Jordanian palette”. Many restaurants in Jordan offer traditional Middle Eastern food but not solely on Jordanian cuisine. That being said, the menu does consist of dishes such as hummus and mix grills you can find elsewhere.
My companion and I were tired of eating so much grilled meat and heavy dishes like Mansaf (a rice dish served with traditional Jameed sauce and lamb chunks), we were hoping for some light and refreshing dishes, which can be quite a challenge in the Middle East.
The first dish we ordered was the Bamyeh Bezzait, a cold dish with okra and tomatoes, diced onions, garlic, olive oil and Jordanian spices, the combination was very flavorful.

The next dish was the Jarjeer salad. Fresh watercress was served with onions and a dash of sumac. It was simple, but the sweetness of onions and the sour taste of sumac made this a refreshing dish.

Like I mentioned before I was tired of eating so much meat, so I went all out on vegetables at Sufra. This was the Sufra salad. It consisted of cabbage, courgette, cauliflower and pickled cucumbers. Tahina Sauce was a sesame paste sauce used as the salad dressing, it was a bit heavy but still not a bad combination.

I truly enjoyed the Aubergine salad. The aubergine was roasted then topped with Tahina sauce and fresh lemon. My companion and I devoured it in mere seconds.

Mufarakeh was a dish with braised diced potato, eggs and onion. It tasted exactly like it is… diced fried potatoes with eggs, nothing unexpected and it felt more of a breakfast dish for me.

We decided that a little meat was needed to change up the vegetarian meal we had going, so we ordered the Sujuk – a traditional homemade sausage. It did remind me a bit of a Spanish sausage tapas I had in Barcelona. It was packed with flavors of different herbs and spices: salty, peppery and slightly spicy. Overall an exciting complement to our otherwise all vegetable dishes.

Now onto my least favorite dish: the Grilled Nabulsi White Cheese. I love grilled cheese and I was really excited to taste the Palestinian white brined cheese made of sheep’s milk. The problem was in the texture, every time I chewed it; it made a squeaky plastic sound as if I was chewing rubber.

The desserts were quite interesting. This was the Arabic pistachio ice cream with halva wrapped in Ghazl el-Banat (Arabic cotton candy). I loved the cotton candy, the slightly hard texture was fun to eat plus it was never overly sweet, I could probably have a dozen of it. The nutty ice cream only made this dish more playful. I felt like a child eating her favorite sweets.

My companion ordered the Muhalabiya – a dairy pudding seasoned with cardamom and topped with pistachio. I thought the presentation was beautiful and the texture of the pudding was also very smooth and nice. It was very aromatic but tasted and smelled like a floral soap, which was weird and interesting at the same time, I can’t say I was a big fan of it.

Overall the experience at Sufra was a great one. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. If I had more time I would have gone back there on a meat day so I could try the lamb and chicken, and there were some very interesting seasonal greens such as the Gundelia buds cooked with onion and olive oil that was not available that day. The service was good however the price was quite expensive, especially considering we didn’t even order alcohol. Actually they don’t serve alcohol, but you can relax and unwind there with tea and some shisha!

Address: Sufra on Rainbow Street
Tel: +962 4611468

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