Al-Tazzaq At Haji Lane

Tonight was our last intermediate class for Arabic, 2 more months till we commence Advanced Arabic. Our teacher invited us to dine at his friend’s restaurant  who was a fellow Egyptian to commemorate our last day of classes.Rapiah, Nadsirah, Naserah, our teacher and myself took bus 960 along Armenian Street and stopped just after Bugis, and walked the rest of the way to Haji Lane. Je suis tres fatigue! On hindsight, we could just have taken a cab there. Haji Lane itself was an interesting path, both sides of the streets were old shophouses of which chic boutiques selling local designers wares and cafes line the way. The lane was lit up by streetlights and yet it still felt odd there, perhaps its all due to the sheesha that was being smoked by the patrons sitting on carpets by the corridors. Anyways, we reached At-tazzaq at 10pm, and our teacher’s former student Ming from Beijing was there with her friend Umay from Egypt were waiting for us. A few moments later, another friend of our teacher arrived  and joined us, Khalid an Egyptian who’s lived in Singapore for close to 16 years.  We couldn’t figure out to order, because everything looked so interesting, and in the end we got 2 plates of mixed grill, a plate of special all in one platter of dips and bread, 2 plates of falafel, 2 plates of foul mademes, a plate of lamb kebabs and ice cold hibicus tea. We had reserved a table on the 2nd floor, the ground floor was packed with people. We sat on cushions on the floor with a low table, all eight of us, cozy ambience especially the lighting. I would have liked it if customers who wanted to smoke sheesha, smoked outside rather then the airconditioned room. My hair and clothes smelt like sheesha at the end of dinner. The falafel was yummy. I hated falafels before, from all my trips overseas the falafels tasted like cardboard, but this was the first time I actually enjoyed it. Their mixed grill platter was huge, wasn’t able to take a picture of it since everyone dug in once it was set. I liked their chicken, moist and tender whilst their lamb was not smelling lamby . Their bread was soft and warm, delicious with the hummus and the baba ganoush, my all time favourite dips. Whilst the Foul Mademes, was not quite I expected, it didn’t taste like the Kacang Pool of our yesteryears prepared by the Arab man in the old Geylang market that came with the french loaf, salt, egg, raw onions, green chilli, clarified butter and a sunny side up egg. The Foul Mademes alone would make me come back for seconds, it wasn’t too heavy and when paired up with the soft warm bread, it was happiness in a scoop of broad beans and olive oil. The Cacade, or ice hibiscus tea was delicious and perfect for a humid Friday night.  My only gripe was that service was rather slow (perhaps due to the thronging crowds) and that I came out of the restaurant smelling like I had smoked sheesha the whole night.  Maybe next time I should dine outside instead🙂

Al-Tazzaq is located at:
24 Haji Lane

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