It was Marc's birthday last Friday and being the bad girlfriend that I am, I had nothing planned. As a last minute whim, I offered dinner out to any place of his choice on Thursday night. Being put on the spot, Marc got majorly confused about what he was in the mood for and nothing that I suggested seemed 'right'. With mounting desperation, I tossed up my last ideas of Turkish or Lebanese and they struck home. He decided that he definitely wanted something ethnic.
A quick search on Urbanspoon brought up Rouj Modern Lebanese as a likely candidate. It was located just a short drive away from us in Rosalie. We parked a fair distance away from the main strip of restaurants and walked over. Rouj is located in the same complex as Tomato Brothers, opposite Cold Rock.
The restaurant is small and I found the decor to be quite interesting. Rugs on the wall had a clear middle eastern influence but the low-hanging lamps and tiled tables seemed more abstract/modern? The lamps were also VERY bright. That's great for my food blog photography but less great for staring into when we're trying to eat. We did notice that our table's lamp brighter than everyone elses'.
We took the lazy option with the menu and went for the banquet because it sounded so irresistably extravagent. It contained everything that Marc was after with his craving for ethnic and I'm always into middle eastern cuisine so it was right up my alley.
Our first course comprised of three dips, flatbread, a fattouch salad and golden chips. The chips weren't on the original menu but somehow snuck into our meal. Who's ever going to complain about that?
Hommos, labneh and baba ghanouj
Of the dips, I liked the hommos and labneh best. The baba ghanouj was too smokey for my liking. Too late, we discovered that we could get top ups of the dipping bread. There was still plenty of dip left but we were ready to move onto other things.
The fattouch salad was quite nice. I love pita chips. It's a great way to make an otherwise boring entree/side that bit tastier. The bonus potato chips were cooked well too.
Cheese fingers, lamb sambousik, ftayer, lahem bi ajeen, chicken wings
Next, we moved onto a course full of pastries. My clear favorite here was the cheese finger. It was crunchy, melty and cheesy but not too sickly. Delicious! There were at least 2 separate lamb pastries that were unique in their own way. It was interesting to contrast the different types of pastry textures and fillings.
A mix of grilled chicken and lamb with fragrant rice
By now, we were already getting full but I remembered the mains hadn't even been brought out yet. This was the meat course, with 2 types of chicken, lamb skewers and fragrant rice. The menu description mentions tabouleh salad but I don't think we got that. Maybe that's what the potato chips were replacing?
The chef (owner?) who brought out our meat asked us to decide which style of chicken we liked better. There was a sort of pulled chicken and a charred lemony one. Both were nice but Marc and I preferred the latter. The lamb was fairly standard and I thought a tiny bit dry.
Baklava fingers and mini Turkish delights
We finished on a sweet course with baklava fingers and mini Turkish delights. I don't like Turkish delight at all so I let Marc eat it. The baklava fingers, on the other hand, were perfect. They were light, layered and crunchy with just the right amount of sticky sugar syrup and crushed nuts. Marc normally dislikes nuts but he liked this dessert.
I did enjoy our huge feast at Rouj Modern Lebanese. The staff was really friendly and I saw the male owner chatting to another table for ages. The banquet showcased many Lebanese favorites and I loved that it plentiful both in terms of quantity and variety. We walked out of there very full indeed.