Before the most self-aggrandizing Pecha Kucha to date, Mack and I had dinner at the nearby Kabsa the Divine Dish on Jasper Avenue and 103 Street. I had heard good things about the Middle Eastern restaurant from a co-worker, and though its location makes it a prime spot for post-work dining, I hadn’t made the effort to visit prior to that day.
Walking in, the black and white colour scheme is as stark as it is notable. Save for a few tiny black mirrors and framed monochromatic prints, the interior is bare. This drew attention to the fact that the restaurant is extremely well kept (particularly on a day where salted sidewalks meant tracked-in slush), and matched the establishment’s seemingly no-frills philosophy. I have to say I would have appreciated some background music (even the radio would have helped) as overhearing other conversations didn’t make for a pleasant dining experience.
Kabsa doesn’t have a posted menu – instead, the clerk lifted the lid of each of the trays and named each dish underneath. Our choices included Tandoori chicken, chicken with garlic, roasted lamb and smoked lamb. Each entrée is served with rice and the day’s vegetable (kabsa refers to a meal of meat, rice and vegetables), and runs in price from $10-14 (on a side note, I had to laugh when the clerk, instead of accessing a till, calculated my bill total on her iPod).
The portion sizes were huge! The large meat serving was complemented by an even larger mound of rice, as well as a handful of potatoes. My roasted lamb was fork tender, and fell off the bone with no effort at all. I’m almost certain the flavourful meat would turn those unsure of lamb into stalwart fans.
Mack similarly enjoyed his chicken which was equally tender and moist. In particular, he loved the aroma and consistency of the rice. His cardamom-scented rice actually reminded me a lot of the Somali rice I had not too long ago.
Our meal, with a can of pop, totalled $28.30. While not the cheapest meal in the area, the quality and serving size blew me away. For these reasons, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending Kabsa as a dinner destination downtown.
Kabsa the Divine Dish
10345 Jasper Avenue
Monday-Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday-Sunday 6-10pm