(Mantu @ Silk Road)
I probably wouldn't give much notice to this restaurant - it's right beside a Popeye's supplement store in a strip mall in the East end of Ottawa. If I hadn't of done any research I would have just shrugged it off as one of the many shawarma/kabob shops in Ottawa. However, with it's Persian/Afghan menu and beautiful grilled meats it stands out.
To start Dima ordered the Mast-o Bademjan - roasted eggplant with yogurt and herbs. It was savoury but also had a bit of a sour taste, we spread it on our naan and devoured the plate. I started with the Mantu (shown above) - a steamed dumpling filled with onion and beef, served with chickpea and yogurt. I think I could have eaten 5 more plates of these - so tender and delicious! For our mains we ordered different kabob specials - Dima had the shami (ground beef), tikka (steak) and chicken kabob and I had the lamb and tikka kabob. We both had it served with Qabelli rice - basmati with carrots, raisins and almonds and salad. My lamb and tikka kabobs were amazing, very tender and juicy; I'm happy I decided to get the Qabelli rice, I enjoyed the sweetness of the raisins and carrots. For dessert we shared the Firnee, a house made pudding with crushed cardamom and pistachios - a sweet way to end a delicious meal.
As much as I enjoyed the food, the restaurant does have it's problems. Service tends to be very slow, we waited a while for our plates to be cleared, to have our dessert order taken.. Also, Dima added Beef Qorma to his main kabob platter but it arrived with our appetizers - is qorma supposed to be eaten before the main? If so, since it resembles a beef curry how do we eat it without rice? It felt we were missing information about how to eat or order the food properly. I know at some restaurants if you're new to that cuisine they help you, show you how to order, what goes with what, etc.. We could have used some of that information.
Beside the problems with service, the food is wonderful and if you're into trying something new that's inexpensive ($12-16) this is well worth a trip down the 417.