Smooth and velvety with thick tahini base notes, a strong citris hit and a fair lick of olive oil, the chickpea dip at Hummus House doesn’t disappoint. Garlic-lovers may find it a little lacking, though their partners might be pleased.
Regardless, the flavour will be familiar to anyone who’s ever tried the hummus at the Beirut Lebanese restaurant, which was until recently located a block or so down Sisowath Quay and best known for its reasonably cheap and tasty shawarma.
That’s because Hummus House – which opened a couple of weeks ago – is the same restaurant, with a new name and new location. It’s got the same staff and the same menu with the same recipes at the same prices. When we reached out to them this week, an unnamed spokesperson said they “were having problems with the partners. So we had to move ahead and shift the entire setup to a new place altogether”. Sounds like a hassle.
Anyway, the new location – another converted shophouse – is a fair bit nicer than the old one, which was a bit stark and bare. The new location is a more comfortable spot to dine, with a bar and tables downstairs, Lebanese touches like tea and coffee pots on shelves behind the bar, wall-hangings and a couple of rough brick-façade arches to give it a rustic look. Upstairs is an air-conditioned dining room better suited to large groups.
The familiar and still extensive menu is mid-range pricewise; for about $7-$10 you’ll be able to stuff yourself silly.
The best deal is still those much-loved meat and salad warps – only $3 for a chicken shawarma – plus there are those big bowls of tasty hummus for $4.
The Arayess kafta – crispy grilled Lebanese bread triangles stuffed with heavenly kafta (minced beef), onion and Lebanese spices – go down a treat as well – though for $4.50 they’re not substantial.
For those with a bigger appetite, or sharing with a few people, there are plenty of larger plates of grilled meats for $9 to $15.
You can wash it all down with some Beirut red tea (Lipton Yellow tea with a stick of cinnamon in the pot) for $2 or a fruit shake for $2.
When we visited this week, there were no desserts on offer, but that could change depending on demand.
If you’ve been to Beirut before – the city or the restaurant – you pretty much know what to expect from Hummus House. If you haven’t, and especially if you’ve got a hummus hankering, then it’s well worth the trip.
Hummus House is located at #95 Sisowath Quay. Tel: 088 943 7372.