During Ramadan I received a message via my blog and I have to say, it more than piqued my interest. It was from the family who operated a small restaurant serving Indonesian, Malaysian and Filipino food inviting me to come and try their menu.
The only catch – it was in Al Khor.
Al Khor? I don’t go that far for my holidays!*
So, after a little coaxing, much arguing over the music play list and a stop for petrol, AZ and I found ourselves one recent Friday standing outside a hypermarket in Al Khor.
Upstairs in the large food court was a final destination – The Sizzlers Qatar.
It’s a classic case of looks being very deceiving. Because out of this humble storefront comes food that people travel from as far away as Al Wakra to eat.
The Sizzlers is just 18 months old, a family run establishment, and came from a genuine desire to share good food. Unbeknownst to me, there is a significant Indonesian and Malaysian population in and around Al Khor and Filipino food was added to the menu for the same reason.
Now…for the food.
The two page menu is like a greatest hits of the three cuisines. We opted for some of the classics – stuffed tofu and chicken satays to start. the tofu was a revelation to me – I was expecting something without flavor. It was the opposite – stuffed with shredded vegetables.
A lethal chilli dipping sauce was the perfect accompaniment. Meanwhile the satays were also a hit – the sauce is made from scratch.
No supermarket special here. Apparently the kitchen team spends more time on preparing the sauces and other items than the actual act of cooking them – and it shows. The peanut sauce is thick, a little sweet and frankly the star of the show. We took jars of this stuff home…just because.
Next, a steaming bowl of Mie Bakso – an Indonesian noodle soup made with beef meatballs. Again, the meatballs are made from scratch using ground beef and tapioca flour. The flavors of the broth were complex yet almost soothing. An accompanying chilli sauce (again…home made), took it to another level.
AZ has a seafood allergy, some many sauces usually served with dishes were served on the side – usually because they contain crushed prawns – but this did not detract at all.
Onto the main event (even though we were barely functional as a result of an impending food coma). While all the dishes were stellar, one dish had us both fighting over the spoils. A seemingly simple bowl of noodles called Pangsit Goreng. the noodles are tossed with a perfectly seasoned meat, but the accompaniments of deep fried wontons filled with a meat mixture make this a riot of flavor and texture. a little bit sweet, a lot of spicy.
Another dish – ayam penyet cabe merah – fried chicken with a spicy sauce served with soy bean “biscuits” was also a surprise. The chicken was tender and flavorful. When mixed with all of the accompaiments, it was a perfect bite.
We were given some small samples of beef and a chicken rendang, perhaps the most well known dishes on their menu. Rendang is Malaysian-Indonesian chicken stew with spices and coconut milk. the Sizzlers version is aromatic and the sauce on the right side of thick. I will be coming back for more of this.
A real crowd pleaser was the Nasi Lemak – a traditional breakfast dish in Malaysia. For those who haven’t had the pleasure – rice dish infused with coconut cream and laden with deep-fried fish or chicken wings. The rice really is the central ingredient and the Sizzlers version was coconutty and a little sweet. Served with chicken, fried peanuts and a spicy sauce, for me this is comfort on a plate.
I’m going to be honest, I was eyeing the leftovers for dinner that night and luckily the team was able to oblige. BUT we had to eat our dessert first. A take on the Filipino ice cream sensation Halo Halo was the right about of sweet and savory for me.
As I said, this is situated in a food court but what it lacks in ambience, it makes up fr in flavor. We arrived around 1pm when they reopened after prayers, and by 2pm their tables were filling up with hungry people. As we rolled out (literally), we were making plans to return in a couple of weeks.
All items on the menu are priced between 15 to 25 QR, incredible value considering everything is made fresh each day. They are open seven days until 9.30pm including Fridays (from 8.30am) when they serve a special Malaysian breakfast and Saturdays (8.30am) when they serve an a la carte breakfast.
The Verdict: Call me a romantic, but I love a good story. And this family run establishment is ticking all of my boxes – quality, authentic food, true passion for the food they are serving. This is food worth traveling for.
The Sizzlers Snack House
Food Court above the Logic Food Center
Map location here
*May be a slight exaggeration
**I was a guest of the management, but good food is good food. Also, they had noodles.