It seems like there’s a Middle Eastern/Lebanese food craze going on, with new places opening in and around Sukhumvit. Some are even giving the genre a lift with more contemporary decoration. Al Ferdoss is not one of those. Nestled in the heart of the Arab quarter, surrounded by other establishments offering similar menus, this is really as old school as they come. That means a sterile, almost surgical dining space: plain, glass-topped tables lit by a harsh bright fluorescent light, flat screen TVs that are usually not even turned on and a line of aseptic looking sheeshas along one wall. Indeed, it has all the charm of a dodgy doctor’s waiting room, while in fact it’s partly a hotel lobby. The slightly battered menu, served by the speedy but taciturn waitress, maintains the no-frills concept with simple pictures of the classic dishes, from kebabs to koftes. Despite all this, Al Ferdos is a favorite with many and we can see why. Their humus (B80) is not only wonderfully creamy, but also zesty and light. The Lebanese bread, with which you’ll want to scoop up huge blobs of the humus, costs just B10, is the size of a small bicycle wheel and manages to be both crisp and airy. Slightly more challenging dishes also pass muster with flying colors. The fatoush (pita bread salad) is delicately seasoned and comes with lovely big chunks of radish, while another classic salad, tabbouleh (bulgur and parsley salad, B80), is refreshing and pleasantly aromatic thanks to the fresh parsley. The real highlight though has to be the barbeque dishes (which occupy a large portion of the menu and cover options as broad as heart and liver). Whatever you do, opt for this delicate cooking process and the wonderful mix of herbs—it creates meat that is moist and flavorful. Go for the mixed BBQ (B300) and try succulent skewers of lamb and beef along with juicy, roasted tomato halves. Al Ferdoss is never, ever going to win any style awards but, to be honest, we don’t care. If you really want to sample some of the best Lebanese cuisine in town (especially at these kinds of prices), then you might just want to leave your inner-designer at home for the night.
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