Al-Badar is All-good
It’s lunchtime and we’re are heading to the Balti Triangle for something to eat. No, guess again website visitor, we are not in the market for a curry (not on this occasion anyway) our destination is Al-Badar, a Lebanese and Moroccan restaurant on the Ladypool Road - one of the only restaurants, to the best of our knowledge, in the fabled triangle to serve such fare.
We are met by Idris, Al-Badar’s Manager - he is a fine host - generous in nature and with some great anecdotes; we settle down into a cosy booth with soft furnished cushions; the decor in here is great - authentic and inviting, nice lamps too!
Idris tells us they are also regenerating the upstairs into an exclusive space. We chew the cud whilst awaiting our food; soon we would be chewing much much more...
It all starts rather refined with this plate called a ‘Mezza’...
...it consists of spicy houmous, spiced rice wrapped in vine leaves, olives, falafel and served with warm bread rolls for dipping purposes - it is beautiful and full of flavour, we finish it, perhaps in hindsight a mistake, we should have paced ourselves because then...
...this arrived. MAN & BEAST!
And then, this!
This salad also came and looked the don (unfortunately, on this occasion, the meat took precedence.)
This would be the sitting to end all sittings the one lunch to rule them all – after this unbelievable sight a mere takeaway kebab would never again evoke the same feelings of excitement. My 99p baguette at lunch tomorrow will seem a sadder and more pitiful sight than ever before.
Sorry I got carried away there and forgot to say what it is – here people we have tender seasoned lamb and chicken on a bed of spiced rice. The second plate - A Shawarma - much like the humble chippy kebab but without all the suspect bits you don’t like to think about – this is pure marinated lamb and chicken and oh yeah ...heavenly.
Idris is momentarily concerned that the restaurant is a bit fresh - it wasn’t, and anyway, the assured and imminent meat sweats would keep any cold at bay.
I tried to stop, really I did, but I was being egged on by our generous host and also my colleague Marcia, who ironically was not pulling her weight whatsoever in the meat eating stakes! To be fair to her, Rabia, my other dining colleague had a darn good stab at making a dent in the plate – considering her size she must have eaten her week’s worth of calories.
I was however the major contender - taking one for the team, this was turning into an episode of Man vs Food, don’t get me wrong this was no ordeal, it was a purely pleasurable and highly flavoursome experience; it was soooo tasty.
And now I was entering a state of delirium, a meat induced coma was not off the cards. If I were a bear I could have gone into hibernation having easily sustained myself for the forthcoming 3 months.
Idris informs me the custom in Morocco is to get stuck in and it is considered a compliment to the host if you eat and eat and eat and I for one wholly support this notion. I ploughed on, but now I was beaten; it’s one of those occasions where you know that later on when you are hungry again (it would be some time mind!) you will think back to what was left and feel remorse.
And if you’re thinking this looks unhealthy – then think on. Al-Badar utilise the services of Healthy Kitchen, a company that support businesses to give healthier food options – all the restaurant's food is cooked with reduced salt, fat and oil and they ensure that only the freshest ingredients and cooking techniques are used. So you can feel good about eating all this at the same time. Bonus!
Our taxi had returned – but still we were being offered food...
What do you guys want for pudding?
We settled for some Moroccan tea, a lovely refreshing finish to what had gone before – Marcia took a doggy bag of cake. Pig!
But this was the Balti not the Bermuda triangle and however much we wanted to be lost here we must take our leave - I clambered into the taxi and rolled into my seat, I sat back and let out a contended exhale – it was much like a scene in a war film where someone is extracted in a helicopter from a war zone. Our return journey was probably double the fare of the outward journey due to the increased petrol consumption of added weight.
I love these guys
Of course – it’s not all about the meat! I must admit I’ve got a bit carried away there – there is plenty more on the menu for the vegetarian, the pescetarian, meat heathens! - take a look....
Al Badar comes highly recommended – in fact Rabia has already returned – the little meat fiend! The food is delicious and there is a lovely friendly atmosphere to the place. Go forthwith! GO!
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