AVA Bistro @ P Ramlee
One of KL’s few eateries that serve tasty Middle Eastern specialties with lots of liquor.
Opened beside Modesto’s on P. Ramlee Road, this friendly outlet mainly pulls backpackers and foreign businessmen, but Malaysians who venture here will be rewarded with the Mirza Ghasemi, a warm, creamy tomato-and-eggplant dip topped with a lovely fried egg.
Other intriguing Iranian recipes include the Ghorme Sabzi, supposedly regarded by many in Tehran as their national dish. Not exactly photogenic, but this ultra-thick herbal lamb stew partners perfectly with rice.
Speaking of rice, AVA Bistro offers Zareshk Polo, mixed with barberries for a mild sourness.
Slow-braised saffron chicken. Prices here are not too agonizing; a feast for two will easily come below RM100 without alcohol.
Shawarma is served starting about 9 p.m. daily. We’d skip this though, since it tastes too much of ketchup and too little of seasoning.
Kubideh and barg kebab: lamb and beef. The latter is better, thanks to its beautiful succulence.
Doogh, a traditional Persian yogurt drink evocative of goat cheese that’s a fearfully acquired taste compared to the Cosmopolitan cocktail.
Red wine, totally drinkable, and Mojito, totally acceptable.
AVA is alfresco. It’s coolly shaded, with occasional traffic noise presenting the only irritation.