Serving ‘authentic Arabian cuisine’, Al-Fatah has several chains across Selangor and KL, with this one in TTDI Grove, Kajang, apparently being their latest. According to the flyer we found in our mail, they also do deliveries which is great if you’re peckish for some wholesome Kabsah lamb with rice but too lazy to go out yourself.
The first thing you see when you reach the restaurant is a table set up with hookahs and cases of flavouring – evidently one cannot offer an authentic Arabian dining experience without hookahs, so the outside seating area is for customers partial to that.
The interior is a little bare, with almost all the furniture from IKEA – it’s amazing how I can practically tell the table is from IKEA just by its scent alone – and lightbulbs strung from the ceiling. It’s probably the whole hipster concept that’s real hot lately, although there’s nothing remotely warm about the restaurant – bring a jacket if you can, because the air-conditioning is cold enough to freeze over hell.
The food is standard Arabian cuisine fare, with appetizers, lamb and chicken dishes either with rice or bread, pizzas, and other such things one would expect to find in an Arabian restaurant. The dessert is a little lacking, although I suppose no one comes to a restaurant like this looking for baklavas. I ordered a Beef Tikka with bread and some hummus to go with it, because I love hummus and can’t be bothered to make them myself at home. The menu said they had Vimto, which is a thing I dearly love, but apparently they didn’t have any today so I settled for a can of Sprite instead.
The Beef Tikka was succulent and flavourful, but the garlic yoghurt that came with it could use a little more garlic – it was a tad underwhelming. The tomato garnish? sauce? thing that also came with the Beef Tikka was spicy as hell, which was a bit of a surprise since it’s not often I find super spicy condiments in Arabian restaurants. The hummus was a little on the dry side and could’ve used more olive oil, and there was a slight bitter aftertaste that I was not very fond of. For RM7, you might as well go for Nando’s hummus with warm and fluffy pita bread at RM10.90.
The bread that came with the Beef Tikka and hummus were cold. They weren’t even fluffy – just the cheap, thin kind of flatbread you find at supermarkets. I probably wouldn’t have minded since I had to eat four slices of those and if they were even the slightest bit on the fluffy side I would’ve gorged myself into a food coma, but the fact that they were ice cold was a real downer. The least they could’ve done was throw the bread on a pan to warm it up or something, but no the bread was colder than the atmosphere at a dinner table where two exes have to sit next to each other and attempt to be civil but end up bringing up all the missed anniversaries and forgotten I-love-yous that led to the breakup.
I have an odd sense for metaphors.
It didn’t help that the air-conditioning, as mentioned previously, had the entire restaurant freezing. Anything piping hot delivered to the table ended up cold and unappetizing in mere minutes. Service was also rather slow – I wagered we waited almost twenty minutes for our food.
The Lamb Kebab was passable, with the lamb fresh and flavoursome, but the portion was a little lacking compared to other Arab restaurants we’ve been to in the past. Usually they come in portions so huge you’d have to share with a friend if you didn’t have much of an appetite, but here it’s just nice and manageable for one person. My mum, who’s the pickiest eater I know, finished her entire plate and for her that’s either a goddamn miracle or the serving portion was really tiny. She had a Lamb Kabsah, which was okay by her standards, but I could tell the serving portion bugged her somewhat, especially given the price.
Having said that, Al-Fatah is a passable restaurant with decent food for a decent price, but pick your menu wisely or you may end up with an unpleasant dining experience. Dress warmly and eat as fast you can, too.
5/10 would go ehhh if you ask me to recommend.