Experience Lebanese Cuisine and Hospitality at its Best at Ummi Beirut

by Charmian Leong
05 Oct 2023

Immerse yourself in the allure, flavors, and textures of Lebanese cuisine at this new restaurant opened by Australian-born Lebanese chef, Greg Malouf.

If you’re anything like the millions of people who have hoarded Yotam Ottolenghi’s best-selling cookbooks, then you likely have a pretty healthy appreciation for Middle Eastern cuisine. That being said, preparing it regularly requires a tremendous amount of time, an intimate understanding of Mediterranean spices, and a larder overrun with lemons and chickpeas. Sometimes, it’s better to leave it to the pros — pros like the team at Ummi Beirut.

“Ummi” means “my mother” in Arabic, and that should clue you into the values that drive this contemporary Lebanese restaurant on Robertson Quay. Ingredients are chosen with care, tirelessly prepared over days, and portioned to serve a small army. Basically, it’s a restaurant founded on a mother’s love for her family, expressed through food.

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Silky hummus with spiced lamb and pine nuts

To start with, no table here should go without an order of the Ummi Silky Hummus. Made from pureeing organic chickpeas with tahini and salt, the hummus is indeed so silky that it’s like spooning mousse onto your pita. While we’re on chickpeas, other essentials are the crispy hazelnut falafels seasoned with cumin, coriander, and parsley, as well as the eggplant fatteh, which is a luscious, chunky dip made from chickpeas and fried eggplant tossed in a warm yoghurt-tahini sauce.

Keep a bowl of tabbouleh around for the whole meal, because the bright acidity that comes from a party mix of parsley, tomato, pomegranate, mint, spring, onions, cracked wheat, lemon juice, and a house blend of spices will readily refresh the palate between mains (of which you will want many).

Ummi Saayadiya
Makanek sausages

The Ummi Saayadiya features pan-fried sea bass that’s been finished in the oven so the fish is crispy on the outside, but falls gloriously apart on the inside. It sits on a bed of carnaroli rice that has been soaking in crab stock and caramelised onions long enough to have so much flavor as to make paella seem insignificant.

The Musakhan, which is marinated chicken that’s been cooked slow, shredded, and then stuffed into ghee-brushed filo pastry and baked to a fantastic crispiness is powerfully irresistible. Even those who are wary of lamb’s pungency may be drawn to the Makanek Sausages, where generously spiced little logs of lamb are glazed with pomegranate molasses and lemon syrup and topped with toasted pine nuts.

Housemade baklava
Ummi kunefe

Baklava is the archetypal Middle Eastern dessert, and Ummi Beirut obviously does theirs well, but we recommend adding the Ummi Kunefe to the sweet lineup. Kunefe typically consists of two main components: Finely spun dough (not unlike delicate crispy noodles) known as kataifi that serves as a base, and a filling made from a mix of cheese. Here, the crispy shell houses Kashkaval (a semi-hard cheese) and mozzarella with an apricot confit base, and sugar syrup and rose water is ladled over the top. Sweet, salty, crunchy, and gooey, the dessert takes you on a journey of flavors and textures.

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Ummi Beirut is Chef Greg Malouf’s first restaurant in Singapore, but the Australia-born Lebanese chef (who earned his first Michelin star in South London’s Petersham Nurseries Cafe) is looking to expand further into Asia, especially now that Ummi Beirut is left in the capable hands of his protege Ali Assaf. Bring your whole clan — everything from the convivial vibe to the heaping portions deserves to be shared.

Visit Ummi Beirut at InterContinental Robertson Quay, 1 Nanson Road, Tel: 69701797. For more information, click here.