Alvin Thomas and his parents jump on board for some scrummy street food that they can actually enjoy sitting down.
Street food in a hygienic restaurant: now that, my dear friends, is the dream. I’ve always had an affinity towards food that is sold in the open; barbecues, burger joints and juice corners – they’re all aces in my book.
Maybe that’s because they take away the snobbishness of paying a large sum of money for food, and partly because such spots are easily accessible during one’s daily commute.
Of course, throughout the course of my study – three years to be precise – in the city of Chennai, India, I had grown accustomed to street food.
But, times change, and after taking up a job (at Y, duh!), it has been restaurants and posh hotels. So, it was time for a change; a reminisce into the past, all without the gaudiness of being a big spender.
And you know what? I seem to have found the perfect location for that: Mishkak Express.
You see, Mishkak Express aims to provide street food in the cleanliness and hygiene of a restaurant.
Situated in a cozy spot in Al Khuwair, it’s a simple setting: the seats are cozy and the tables seem straight out of a Harry Potter movie (The Sorcerer’s Stone, if I remember correctly).
Oh, and there are blackboards where customers can doodle art.
The waiters are proficient, and give me the menu quickly. It isn’t cluttered with too many options like what you would find in most Arabic restaurants, so my choices are quick: three lamb mishkaks, one beef burger and a full-chicken platter (for my parents).
In about 10 minutes, my burger arrives. Both the bun as well as the beef patty is fresh and soft. The latter is also freshly ground, and succulent despite being chargrilled.
Meanwhile, the burger also comes with a firm but juicy slice of tomato, a slice of cheddar cheese and a crunchy piece of lettuce – it’s top notch (!)
The grilled lamb is the next to arrive.
The lamb is fresh and soft, while the insides are cooked to perfection. I am also glad that they didn’t add oil to it like most Arabic restaurants in the capital do. The mishkaks are dipped in special chutney to add to the flavour.
After a good 20 minutes, the chicken is brought to the table. It’s presented neatly in an orange grill box, which I presume is aimed at keeping the chicken fresh, and also let the chicken steam from within.
The chicken has a nice, tangy flavour, and is garnished with a hint of fresh herbs. The chicken – as is the case with most grills – is just perfect; not too tender, not too tough.
It is also served with a side of thin Arabic bread, pickled vegetables and freshly-made hummus.
We devour the platter in less than 10 minutes.
Following this, I also order a lemon-mint chiller. It’s textbook closer for my heavy dinner.
After the meal, I cannot help but smile, thinking about the times I spent pigging out from street food joints in India.
And while Mishkak Express – with its hygienic setting and closed environment – may be far from a street outlet, it aims to revolutionise modern street food.
Funnily enough, it works!
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Good food at affordable prices