So it’s been a while since my last Goodie Giveaway, and since the next following posts are about my Eurotrip, I’d like to share with you a brand new resto find in the Metro (Manila) which holds very dear to my heart…
After my infamous Eurotrip, a very persistent person took ToT to Arya (in Greenhills) for some Persian food because I was still craving for some middle Eastern/halal food after all this time. During my recent travels to the Eastern Mediterranean, I had eaten much more kebab than should be deemed legal so it was just perfect that I rekindled my spice craving with someone who likes it hot, too.
Corny, I know. But after some Basmati and Beef Koobideh, ToT found herself DTR-ing amidst Garlic Yogurt Sauce breath and Hummus head. And the rest is just TMI for all you people who don’t know me. Just be happy for ToT!
So back to Arya, I was so happy when I discovered a branch outside Podium mall in Pasig. Very close to one of my offices, my gym, my nook… I knew this meant easier access when wanting some seasoned meat and long grain rice. I especially enjoyed Arya in Podium because of the outdoor seating which is perfect when you want to smoke some Hookah.
The restaurant itself feels like stepping into a page of Ali Baba, from the servers uniforms down to the tiles on the floor
Even the walls were decked out with authentic Persian designs that really showed a personal touch from the owner himself.
Speaking of the owner, rather the restaurateur, I had the pleasure of meeting Shin, who was ever so gracious to tour me around the menu as well as the establishment. His presence truly makes Arya more inviting to those who are scared of trying exotic dishes. More on him later.
The menu is extensive, all with authentic dish names alongside informative explanation for those less-familiar with Persian cuisine. I also love the front page, which gives the history of Iran (Persian Empire) alongside other tidbits of trivia for those who want to feel transported to a different country.
I was FAMISHED since it was quite late in the day and I haven’t had a bite to eat, so I ordered a lot thinking I could make a dent. Hey, it pays to be with someone who also loves to eat, so don’t judge me by my appetite! The Arya Signature yogurt drink started me off on the right food, with rose water to lend a hint of flavor.
So have you noticed ToT eats a lot?
Cream of Onion Soup
An interesting take on onion soup, with dried fennel and onions to heighten the depth of flavors. Nice to start with
Whole wheat flat bread that’s pan fried and served with a delicious curry sauce. I’m a big fan of dips, and the soft texture of the bread just soaked up the spices of the curry sauce perfectly. I could’ve eaten the entire plate! Wait… I think I did… Oh well, there goes my demure act.
Crispy romaine, cucumbers, pasta, walnuts, olives & capers with a balsamic mustard sauce. This salad was so big, I didn’t know if we had any more room for our main courses! I liked the creamy balsamic mustard dressing and the abundance of fresh ingredients in this pasta salad, making it delicious as an entree in itself.
Arya Dip Platter
It’s quite ironic that I LOOOOVE dips and sauces with a passion, and ToT’s boylet (gotta find a better pseudonym for him) absolutely wants nothing to do with them, so I was happy to keep this platter to myself! This combination had Hummus, Motabal (pureed smoked eggplant with Tahina and olive oil), Tzitziki (strained homemade yogurt with cucumber, garlic, mint & olive oil), and Mirza Ghasemi (pureed smoked eggplant in tomato sauce and garlic)
I loved them all, but the Hummus completely won me over. More please!
And now for our Main Coursesssss…
I ordered the Beef Combination or Koobideh, ground beef seasoned with spices and onions, and Barg, tender marinated beef steak sliced, skewered & charbroiled with Basmati rice. Soooooo good! The flavors brought me back to Istanbul during my Kebab search, and the meat was cooked perfectly, making it moist and juicy. Sorry boylet, NO sharing!
Someone ordered the Chicken Koobideh, which I had on my DTR date the week before this. I must say, I’m not one to order chicken when I’m out at a restaurant, but this has got to be the best tasting kebab I have had in a long time! I love it when chicken surprises my palate, and Arya’s take on skewered ground meat is my all-time favorite chicken dish by far. No kidding, it’s THAT delicious. Something with the saffron and onions that just make this meager poultry come alive with exotic flavors.
I was eyeing this on the menu, and so glad I was able to try it. The Lamb Biryani had tender lamb shanks stewed in spicy Biryani sauce with fragrant biryani rice was delicious and rich. Perfect for carnivores who love heavy sauces. If one person can finish this, I give props!
And to formally introduce boylet to ToT’s world of Culinary Comas, I took the liberty of ordering for him Arya Sini. This combination had Mahi (Tanigue marinated in saffron, olive oil and lime), Royal Joojeh (skewered chicken breast marinated in saffron and yogurt), Beef Koobideh (ground beef marinated in spices and onion), and Shish Kebab Skewers (juicy tenderloin chunks marinated in saffron and yogurt). He took one look at his feast, glimped at me, and he knew… he was in good hands. Everything was delicious and good for 3 people, but I was surprised that he almost wiped his plate clean!
And back to the lovely Shin, the personality and figure behind Arya. He was so kind to prepare Arya’s signature sauce, consisting of the grilled tomatoes on your platter and their garlic yogurt sauce.
While he was skinning the tomatoes and pouring the garlic sauce, we found out that he is the front or the house while his lovely wife is at the helm of the kitchen. Both dentists by profession, they met during a trip back to Manila from Iran, and the rest, is romantic history. He is ever present in Arya, don’t be shy to chat him up! He might make your tomato sauce, which it the best one I’ve tried.
Voila! Tomato garlic sauce a la Shin!
Ahh… Made every meaty bite taste even better! Just say YES! when the server asks if you would like them to prepare your tomatoes.
Stuffed and happy
We ordered some tea, which came in this cute pot/cup set. Very intricate.
It went perfectly with their Date Cake, so moist with Persian dates, it felt like Sticky Toffee Pudding from Britain! This was so rich.. I couldn’t stuff another bite into my tummy, but ToT is relentless!
All while pouring us some Chai tea, Shin notes that because he and the missus are both dentists, they have a fixation in hygiene and sanitation, hence their restaurant, and their dishes are guaranteed prepared in the most professional manner.
And more bantering brought us to the second floor, which has some of Arya’s most exotic and prized decors
Like some of the handmade carpets framed on the walls. They were so luxe and multi-dimensional, I was almost hypnotized to touch it.
Arya is literally a feast for your senses, from visual to palatable. I can’t wait til I crave Persian again… which would be right about now…
Arya is located at the Ground Floor of Podium Mall. Call for reservations at +632 571 3962
AND now for the goodies…..