A combination of cravings for dishes from South Asia (brought about by our recent trip to Sri Lanka) and the Middle East (brought about by last month’s FIBA Asia Cup) led me and a friend back to Ziggurat in Makati. This restaurant at an obscure corner of Poblacion has been whipping up meals from a large chunk of the world, serving dishes both popular (say, India and Iran) all the way to lesser-known countries in Africa like Cameroon and Ghana.
Dining here is also the closest you can get to the Middle East, with the restaurant set up like a bazaar tent, and a street sign saying you’re in a corner of the Tigris and the Euphrates. It actually refers to the old names of the streets, but dreamers can imagine being in the intersection of two Mesopotamian rivers.
I’ve actually been here quite a few times before, ordering different items every time. But it’s a testament to the comprehensiveness of the menu that I haven’t even tried a quarter of all the items.
For this particular visit, I start with Fattoush, which the menu describes as a Syrian salad composed of “toasted bread, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in lemony olive oil dressing.” I’m unsure of the specificity of Syria since I believe the fattoush is served in the Levantine region in general. But whatever, right? Anyway, the salad is a refreshing starter, doing a good job of filling me up with fiber.
My friend, on the other hand, skips the starters and proceeds right away with the main course. He goes for the Iraqi Saffron Rice (basmati, butter, cumin, almonds and saffron strands) with Beef Kufteh as ulam.
I, meanwhile, predictably order Sri Lankan Tamarind Rice (basmati, tamarind, mustard seeds and butter) plus Mixed Vegetables Curry. It’s a tasty meal that makes me wish I still had a few more opportunities to try other Sri Lankan dishes.
We round off our meal with a serving of Baklava, a famous Turkish pastry made with filo (thin unleavened dough), honey, walnuts, and almonds.
After our meal, my friend and I take a stroll around the neighborhood, looking at restaurants we might try the next time we’re in the area. Poblacion has started to become sort of a United Nations of dining establishments, which makes me right at home.
G/F, Sunette Tower, Durban Street cor. Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City, Philippines