Even though we had just finished eating lunch at La Taqueria just minutes ago, Kevin somehow convinced us to walk across the street and eat even more at Nuba, an authentic Lebanese restaurant. It may have had something to do with how he told us one particular dish was in the Vancouver Magazine’s 101 Best Things to Eat and Drink in Vancouver, which pretty much sold Ben, Angie and myself.
Nuba happened to occupy the space that La Taqueria is in now but due to its popularity, it had to find a larger restaurant space. Actually, if you look at the address of La Taqueria on Google Streetview, you’ll still see Nuba in the spot since the pictures were taken sometime much earlier this year. Luckily, they only had to move across the street into a basement spot underneath Opus, a art supplies store.
The restaurant is rather dark, even though it was an uncharacteristically sunny day in December but everything felt rather warm and the decor is fun.
We ordered three dishes to split among the three of us for an after lunch snack.
Any Lebanese meal has to have some hummus. Hummus may not be everyone’s favorite but personally, I love hummus. It’s a relatively healthy alternative to dips made with cheese or whatever goes into that stuff most people dip chips in and tastes great. The hummus at Nuba is made with organic chickpeas blended with garlic, lemon & tahini. It has a great lemon flavor and not overly garlic-y like a lot of hummus is. Fantastic but I would’ve loved a few more pita pieces for dipping.
This is the lamb kafta, which is a grilled grain-fed halal lamb patty, seasoned with onions, parsley, & spices. Lamb can be gamey and dry if it isn’t cooked correctly but the patty has great flavor from the Middle Eastern spices, cooled off by the yummy sauces.
The main event was the crispy cauliflower, also known as Najib’s Special. The crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon & sea salt, served with tahini. To be quite honest, I was not blown away by it…possibly due to the expectations from the hype that Kevin convinced us with. The cauliflower is fried and very soft while I was hoping for a bit more texture. We all commented that it tasted like it was almost burnt which leads me to believe that we may have gotten a bad dish and perhaps it’s a better dish than we experienced? It wasn’t terrible and we finished it but I expected more from something deemed one of the best dishes in Vancouver. I was a bit disappointed but I’m willing to give it another chance. I guess we’ll find out if I order it again.
The lunch menu looked relatively inexpensive with lots of options in the $10 range, give or take a couple bucks and we all thought that we should come back another time when we were hungrier. Service was friendly and quick although our waitress was perhaps a bit more talkative than we would like. Maybe it was because a table full of people lugging around a few grand worth of camera equipment seems more interesting than the usual lunch patrons…
I can’t give a solid opinion about Nuba yet since we’ve only sampled a small number of dishes so I’ll post again when I go back again for a full meal.