With my ex colleague, Abu
If you are looking for something exotic, Shabestan is the place to go to. Nestled in a corner at Robertson Quay, this sleek and elegant restaurant specialises in authentic Persian cuisine prepared using the finest ingredients. You can either dine al fresco by the riverside and enjoy the lovely evening breeze or immerse in the charming ambience indoors.
Iranian Executive Chef, Mohammad Hosseini believes in using natural seasoning to achieve harmony and balance. Each dish is delicately executed using exquisite ingredients, fresh herbs and Middle Eastern spices imported from Iran, resulting in a beautiful marriage of different flavours and textures.
Barbecued chicken, tender beef fillet, tiger prawns and succulent lamb are cooked to order in the restaurant’s show kitchen and the breads are all freshly made in a traditional clay oven to accompany the main dishes. Shabestan also respects the stringent traditions of Halal food preparation and ingredients are ordered from halal certified suppliers.
I decided to dine at Shabestan as I have arranged for dinner with a good friend and ex colleague who was here in Singapore for a holiday. He is a Muslim, therefore, Shabestan was a suitable choice. The restaurant is also highly recommended by my friends.
We commenced our Persian culinary experience with a complimentary plate of tomatoes, cheese and olives. It helped to refresh our palates and prepared us for the main meal.
We were at a loss of what to order for appetiser as there were many choices. Therefore, we decided on the starter platter. The platter was very enticing and consisted of a mix of five different appetisers such as Kufte Parsi (a delightful combination of Kufte-e-anar and Kufte tebrizi, made of fresh minced lamb, nuts and vegetables), Halim Bademjan (pureed eggplant with braised tender lamb and green, lentils, garnished with sun-dried yoghurt and mint sauce), Hammus (freshly cooked garbanzo beans blended with lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil served with fresh Iranian bread), Kash-E-Bademjan (mixture of sauteed eggplant, onion, mint and secret dressing) and Muhamara (made with walnuts, pomegranate, molasses, toasted bread crumbs, olive oil, roasted bell peppers and spices).
I liked the Hummus and the Halim Bademjan. Both were very tasty, rich and appetising and complemented well with the traditional bread. The Mast, otherwise known as the Persian yoghurt comprised a few types of yoghurt dips including mountain shallots, fresh spinach, cucumber and sun-dried mint. Refreshing and lovely.
For the main course, we had the Shabestan platter with generous servings of perfectly seasoned minced lamb, chicken, fish, prawn and beef fillets and served with grilled tomatoes and chillies. This was served with buttery and aromatic basmati rice, The prawns and fish were very fresh and delectable while the beef fillets were extremely succulent and tantalising. The portion was a little too huge for just two people though, it would have been perfect for a party of four.
Fragrant basmati rice
At the end of the meal, we were so full that there was no more room for desserts. I will definitely try the desserts the next time.
Overall, Shabestan is an ideal place to dine if you are looking for an authentic Persian experience away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The food is good, service is impeccable and the ambience is excellent. Prices are a little steep though, starting from $60 to $70 per person. During weekends, a belly dancer entertains diners with her shimmies and hip gyrations.
Shabestan is located at #01-13, The Pier @Robertson, 80 Mohamed Sultan Road.
The restaurant is open from 4pm to 11pm on Mondays to Thursdays and from 11am to 12am. The main restaurant seats up to 60 diners while the enclosed private dining area can accommodate up to 30 guests. The alfresco seating can seat up to 50 guests.