A couple of years ago, hubby and I met the Kabbara couple behind the now famous Kabbara Cafe–the only restaurant in Bacolod serving authentic Lebanese-Mediterranean cuisine. Wassim and Hope, both hard-working individuals who love to eat and cook good food, decided to open Kabbara Cafe in Bacolod because obviously, there is no other restaurant serving their foods. #Bacolodeats
Authentic is as real as it gets at Kabbara Cafe because Wassim himself created the menu at their restaurant and they import spices and other ingredients from Saudi Arabia and Lebanon in order that their dishes will remain true the Lebanese taste. So if they lack something, they will just declare the item “sold out” rather than compromise taste and quality. Hope, on the other hand, manages the operations, does the marinating, marketing, and pretty much everything else for their day to day operations. Their first restaurant was located at Burgos Street but since December 2015, they moved to The Billboard, at the corner of B.S. Aquino Drive, Bacolod City, but their restaurant is on the 23rd-Lacson side.
My husband and I love the Middle Eastern food so it is no wonder that the dishes at Kabbara are a hit with us. Last night, we had dinner there and we had their Kapsa Lamb Biryani and it was a sure hit between us. A great meal that for us can be shared, the lamb is so tender and flavorful and does not reek of the usual lamb smell and the meat is topped on a bed of spiced biryani rice mixed with vegetables, raisins, and nuts. What a complete and healthy meal! While it is cooking, you can smell it from the kitchen and it is just mouth watering.
But I have to remind you, dear readers, that these are all-original recipes from Lebanon that Wassim brought here and not the usual stuff that we are used to here. So yeah, these are not Filipinized versions.
Everything is good at Kabbara Cafe and it is best for those with adventurous spirits and palates willing to take a magic carper ride because really, your taste buds will be transported to the aromatic and mystical world of the Middle East. What we can recommend are what we tried so far that satisfied us:
Kapsa Lamb Biryani
Beef or Chicken Arayes
Their beef shawarma (Related story: Top Shawarma Joints in Bacolod) is big and filling and has lots of beef in it. So it does not cost like your usual shawarma at the mall. It’s a bit pricier but you gotta understand why. Kabbara only uses pure beef–-absolutely no fat extenders. It also has french fries, cucumber, parsley, and tahima sauce, which is how the Arabs like their shawarma. Since we are used to the garlic sauce around here, they have made a garlic sauce, too, made primarily of garlic blended with olive oil and nothing else. They also have the chili sauce, made from natural ingredients with olive oil as the base.
I especially loved the fattoush salad of cucumber and red beets. It goes well with the toasted pita crackers that they put on top. So you have to eat them together.
The hummus is so creamy and thick–I loved it! Put it on some pita bread and it is a filling snack or meal, whichever way you prefer it. That’s high protein and carb for your already.
The arayes is like the Mexican quesadilla counterpart of two pita breads that sandwich different meats, vegetables, and sauces. It is available in chicken and beef. But don’t mistake the two as just having different meats. In the chicken arayes, I sensed a mild curry sauce in it while the beef had something sour in it, like pickles probably? Not really sure. But it is wonderful, especially if you smother it with garlic and chili sauce.
The only disadvantage of Kabbara Cafe is that the place is quite small, but they do have an air conditioned area and an open-air but covered section where guests may enjoy the shisha parties after dinner. But that is a good problem–they can always expand later or open another branch. Customers may also opt to take out their food. On Mondays and Fridays, they have buy 1 take 1 offers for some of their menu items, so you just have to visit them and find out what they are.