Want to try Persian cuisine at its vegetarian best? Head to Shabestan! Shabestan is an award-winning restaurant that treats your taste buds to some of the finest Persian food available in Singapore. Helmed by Chef Hamid Hosseini, Shabestan is located at Singapore’s riverfront district, Robertson Quay.
Now if you thought that Persian food was all about kebabs and lamb, Chef Hamid and his team have gone all out to prove you wrong. In celebration of World Vegan Month in November, a vegetarian menu using high-quality, authentic Persian ingredients has been introduced. Available till 15 December 2018, the new vegetarian and vegan menu aimed at veg*n and health conscious diners is a part of its Persian Green Month. Says Madan Kishor, Shabestan’s Corporate Food and Beverage Director, “Persian cuisine is as diverse and multi-faceted as its culture and we would like to showcase another side of Persian cuisine with healthy and plant-based food”.
The special Green Month menu is vast and varied with a plethora of veg dishes. We sampled just a few of the dishes on Shabestan’s Vegetarian & Vegan Menu, and each dish delighted us more than the next. There are several vegan dishes on the menu, and most of the vegetarian dishes can be done vegan too upon request.
The meal kicked off with a Gulf Salad (S$14), which is very refreshing, with apple and pomegranate being the surprise ingredients. The sweetness of the fruit counters the bite of the onions and a sprinkle of seeds adds some crunch. The ingredients tasted extremely fresh, tossed together in Shabestan’s “special” dressing. Feta can be omitted to make the Gulf Salad vegan.
For Appetisers, we had Dolma and Appetiser Platter. I loved the Dolma and I have to say that it is one of the better ones I’ve had. The grape leaves are not too dry and their texture isn’t dominating. The stuffing of rice, split yellow peas and herbs was warm, juicy and delightful.
The Appetiser Platter (S$35) was one of the biggest hits of the meal and my husband would have single-handedly polished it off if I hadn’t intervened. The platter is good enough to be shared among a group of 4. There are 5 different dips/appetisers including Hummus, Muhammara (dip of roasted bell peppers and walnuts, with olive oil, spices, pomegranate), Homemade Cheese, Kashk-e-Bademjan (a dip of sautéed eggplant, onion and mint) and Borani Esfanaaj (cooked spinach with fried onion). While all the appetisers were great, my favourites were the Hummus and Borani Esfanaaj.
For the Mains, we had the Sabzi Kebab (S$25), Mirza Ghasemi and the Ghormeh Sabzi, with a side of Assorted Rice (S$10) and Persian Bread (S$3). Sheer gluttony, I know!
Sabzi Kebab was unbelievably flavourful. The zucchini was very well marinated and grilled, making it one of the few zucchini dishes I have ever enjoyed. The other veggies also shone bright in the kebab. Big chunks of paneer made for a perfect way to balance the texture of the vegetables. The kebabs come with two kinds of rice, Spinach Rice and Saffron rice. The dish is nothing short of spectacular!
Also spectacular is the Ghormeh Sabzi (S$29). If forced to pick favourites, I would pick Ghormeh Sabzi, although, I would have preferred for it to be less salty. Bursting with flavours, this dish is a medley of five types of greens/herbs – coriander, parsley, baby spinach, dill, spring onion – cooked with kidney beans and it takes about 4-5 hours to prepare. It is probably this slow cooking that infuses it with such exceptional aromas and flavours.
Next up, Mirza Ghasemi is a Northern Iranian eggplant dish grilled with garlic, tomatoes and spices, that we enjoyed with Persian bread.
The Assorted Rice platter is a must-order with the mains, it comes with 3 different types of rice. I’m not a big fan of rice but I could go back for these. Loaded with wild barberries and fresh pomegranate, the saffron flavoured basmati rice is called Zereshk Polo. Baghala Polo is rice with lima beans and fresh dill; and Javaher Polo is basmati rice mixed with Persian nuts, berries & sun-dried orange peel. Each of these is a superb dish in their own right, I especially enjoyed the Javaher Polo on its own (without any accompaniments).
We ended the meal with with Persian Saffron Ice- Cream, which is sinful, flavourful and a great end to a very satisfying and invigorating meal that we would definitely love to indulge in again.
Verdict: Shabestan’s Vegetarian & Vegan Menu
All in all, one of those rare meals that is difficult to find fault with. The vegetarian and vegan menu is vast and varied, well-balanced and flavourful. I counted over 25 dishes, so it is heartening to see the efforts they’ve put in to serve the plant-based diners. Remember that the Persian Green Month menu is only available till 15th Dec, so make your reservation now.
Shabestan Finest Persian Cuisine: The Pier @ Robertson, 80 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-13, Singapore 239013. P: +65 68361270