Monday, 24 June 2013

Elie's Tent

Hubby and I haven't had a Saturday date night for ages!  Recently, we've had random night date nights and tonight was one of them, Sunday date night.  It was so cold and a Sunday night so we decided not to venture too far from home, I had a flick through my Entertainment Book and found Elie's Tent (listed under casual and family dining) for something different.  We rarely go to Middle Eastern restaurants which meant we didn't have many expectations. 

Elie's Tent is located on a quiet section of Albany Highway where there isn't too much happening especially on a Sunday night.  We arrived at around 7:45pm to find a pretty empty restaurant.  Hubby asked if I wanted to go somewhere else but I decided to brave it.  We were greeted by a smiling waitress who showed us to our seats and gave us our menus, a good sign.

There's a large selection of dishes available at Elie's Tent but we didn't really know what to order so we asked the waitress to make some recommendations.  She asked us a question that wait staff at some higher calibre restaurants don't even ask, and that is, whether we wanted vegetarian or meat dishes; a simple question that sometimes gets forgotten.  We only went with her entrée recommendation.

Our order
Sambousik (Deep fried pastry filled with quality spiced ground lamb) $11

Chicken rice (Seasoned combination of prime quality ground lamb, rice and pine nuts cooked to our recipe and topped with shawarma chicken) $24
Shish kebab (two skewers of lamb cubes, charcoal grilled, served with hoummos and tabouleh) $24

Fresh Lebanese lemonade $4

I have never had Lebanese lemonade before so was interested to find out what the difference is compared with traditional lemonade.  It took a few sips before I decided that I liked it and that the secret ingredient is rosewater!  The waitress confirmed the secret ingredient a bit later, needless to say, if you don't like rosewater, give it a miss.
Fresh Lebanese lemonade $4
Food and presentation - 3/5
Hubby and I enjoyed the food at Elie's Tent to a certain extent.  The food was actually quite tasty but we had a niggle with nearly each dish.  Let's start with the entrée, the sambousik was tasty, the lamb was nicely seasoned but unfortunately the pastry although cooked was really oily, like what happens when you deep fry something when the oil isn't hot enough (something I learned from my dad because he gets quite upset when restaurants do that).  Complimentary Lebanese bread accompanied our entrée but it was served cold.  We weren't sure whether it was supposed to be served cold but felt it would be nicer warm.  As I said, I don't have Middle Eastern food very often...
Sambousik $11
Complimentary bread
Our lamb skewers were perfectly cooked, the meat was tender and beautifully seasoned.  I love hoummos and theirs was pretty good and the tabouleh just completed the dish.  The chicken rice was also tasty but the chicken although tasty was really dry, to the point where it was sometimes hard to swallow.  Overall, the food experience at Elie's Tent was not bad after taking everything into consideration. 
Chicken rice $24
Shish kebab $24
Service - 3.5/5
Although we were not overly impressed with her entrée recommendation, our waitress (the only wait staff in the restaurant) was friendly and polite.  She was more than happy to tell me about the Lebanese lemonade and belly dance performances when I asked about it.  The only problem I had was she was not always available when we needed assistance, eventhough the restaurant was quiet.  Our food came out quite quickly which was a plus.

Atmosphere - 3/5
There wasn't much, if any atmosphere here tonight - it was so quiet.  The décor was interesting though, the ceiling was painted blue and a cloud was painted around each down light.  The ceiling drapes and the lounge at the back of the restaurant reminds me of Arabian Nights and is pretty neat. 
Value for money - 3/5
With the Entertainment card, Elie's Tent is pretty good value for money but without the card, it's a bit expensive for what it is.  $24 for a small plate of chicken rice is quite steep.

Next time I want Middle Eastern food, I wouldn't mind returning to Elie's Tent but it will have to be on a Friday or Saturday night when the belly dancers are there.

Taste Test Total Score 12.5/20

Elie's Tent on UrbanspoonEntertainment Book 2013/2014 Information
Section C - Casual Restaurant and Family Dining
Page - C25
Offer - 25% off the total bill up to $27 value