In the ever hustling and bustling city of Johor Bahru, you won’t find a lack of abundance of Middle Eastern restaurants scattered around Johor and along the Singapore border. Zaituna may not look any different from the other Middle Eastern restaurants out there, but is on par and perhaps even better than the competition it goes up against.
You won’t miss the establishment thanks to the beautiful exterior decorated in black marble and purple and beige drapes hanging above from the ceiling, and Middle Eastern-style oil lamps to go along with the theme. Once you enter the Lebanese-inspired interior section of the restaurant that is fully air conditioned, you’ll also come to find a lavish platform decorated with Arabian-style carpets, pillows, and other gold bits and bobs that will make your experience even more immersive, should you choose to sit there upon request.
Catering services are also available if you are interested in hosting a muslim-friendly or Middle Eastern-themed events you are planning, and birthdays are always encouraged for a great place like this.
The chef that mans the kitchens and handles your orders is a native Syrian-Palestinian, and knows all the secrets to Middle Eastern cooking from different regions of the Middle East from Saudi Arabia to Yemen. And with those skills, the owner of the business is confident in his business as it draws a lot of attention and potential customers both local and foreign.
Starting off, many colourful and sweet drinks are to start you off and cool you down in the tropical Malaysian heat that seem to last forever. Several salad dishes are also offered to start off your meal as you wait for the main courses to arrive. Additionally, you may also order a sample dish that showcases four of Zaituna’s bestselling dishes comprised of two croquettes, salad, and two hummuses.
The real highlight and Zaituna’s specialty are grilled and barbecued items, ranging from lamb, chickens, and kebabs all marinaded overnight and grilled on a charcoal grill to bring out the famed flavor of the desert. Served alongside with pastries for you to make yourself a pseudo-Doner Kebab and several hummuses to enhance the flavor of the meats.
If grilled items on charcoal isn’t your thing, then a briyani rice dish is your go-to menu item served alongside a whole roasted seasoned-chicken thigh with a bowl of curry to bring the heat of the dessert, and one whole chilli plated right next to it.