Great food & CyberJaya doesn't rhyme. Not even close. If you've ever been to this part of the world, you know what I mean. But I am about to let out a secret. Judging by the amount of people visiting this Arabic restaurant, I don't think it's much of a secret anymore. Head up to Saba Restaurant and join the thankful CyberJaya citizens relieved that they are able to get some good food at great prices. And the food is pretty darn good.
Actually the place looks like a typical mamak shop. Plastic tables, indifferent service, no aircon, busy and waiters of various nationalities serving you. If it's not for the kebab machines in front and sishas grouped on one side you'll never know that this is an Arabic place. But this is where the similarities stop. The food is excellent here and that really sets Saba apart from other 'Middle Eastern-like' restaurants, expensive or otherwise. You will never get this kind of taste in Malaysia except here. Eating the basmathi rice here reminds me of eating along Edgware Street in London with their rows after rows of Arabic shops and cafe selling various kebabs and biriyani.
At Saba, start with a small plate of hummus. That will nicely set the tone for what's to come. If you come after 5pm, highly recommended is the roti arab which is Saba's version of Naan bread. Roti Arab is thicker than naan bread, crispier on the outside, softer on the inside and more flavourful than naan. This will go nicely with their kebabs or items with gravy.
Heavy item favourites are in the rice and barbeque sections of the menu. Saba serves different kinds of Kabsah. This staple Arabic dish is mainly made from a mix of spices, rice and meat. The spice mix used are primarily black pepper, cardamon, cloves, saffron, cinnamon, bay leaves and tomatoes. These are main contributions to the distinctiveness and uniqueness of this dish. So if some places have more delicious Kabsah than others, it's because they get the spice mix right. Highly recommended is the Lamb Kabsah. The meat is tender and almost fall off the bone soft. But it is not overcooked. Now that's special. If you prefer your lamb steamed, try the Hanith version which comes in an aluminum foil. I suspect the same spice mix is used, it's just steamed to give it a lighter taste. If you are not a lamb fan, they also serve the same recipe with chicken. Alternatively, do also try the Grilled Chicken, grilled succulent using Saba's secret mix of spices.
I must mention the basmathi again. Calling it biriyani rice is not right. This is a special rice (looks like long grain basmathi, I wonder where they get them?) cooked using an Arabiic recipe. So it has a nice buttery taste with a hint of meat stock and the rice itself has less starch so it does not stick. Very nice with the hanith or kabsah.
Their kebabs are delicious. You can opt to have them with rice or fries on the side. Our favourite is the mixed grill where you get chicken, beef and lamb kebabs in one dish. Polish them off with several bottles of their Barbican non-alcoholic fruit juice (beer?). It tastes like sparkling juice but lighter. Comes in different flavours like lemon, raspberry and peach. Barbequed meats always go well with lemon so you can guess that perhaps Barbican lemon is the best match for kabsahs and kebabs here.
Food averages at around RM25 per person depending on what you order but it's good value for your money. They have appetizers and other frills as well but people come here especially for the rice and barbeque dishes. Be prepared to jostle with other patrons during meal-times and weekends.
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