Middle Eastern cuisine is trending in Russia at the moment. While local foodies are well familiar with the Central Asian and Caucasian flavours of Armenian, Azerbaijani and Uzbek cuisine, the taste of the Middle East is a fresh breeze in the gastronomic scene and it has been spreading like wildfire over the recent years. Shawarmas ands kebabs have already been well mastered by local chefs and now the vegetarian hummus has become come to the spotlight.
The basic recipe includes boiled and then mashed chickpeas, sesame paste (tahini), cumin, lemon juice and garlic. From here there are all kinds of variations of the recipe: the Israeli-style hummus is heavier on the sesame paste, in Turkey they add olive oil, and in Greece yogurt or hot chili. Hummus is often served with sides like carrots or celery, or toppings like fried meat or chicken. Whether as a dip or a spread – it is a perfect match for nearly any kind of bread.
Rich in vegetable proteins, dietary fiber and elements like iron, zinc and magnesium, hummus has enough carbohydrates to keep you sated for a long time. Some nutritiologists consider hummus to be an excellent aphrodisiac because chickpeas are packed with arginine, an amino acid that increases blood circulation.
Although the recipe seems easy to follow, the perfect hummus can become the trump card of any restaurant. In the Middle East, eateries are always competing to claim they’re making the best humus in town, so let’s see who does it best in Moscow.
15/17 Bar & Grill
The menu of this restaurant was developed by Vladimir Bogozhavets, who had the honour of being the chef to the Jordanian royal family — and that is already very promising and sets some high expectations. Surprisingly, the industrial décor of the restaurant makes no references to the Middle East, but the Jordanian menu lists as many as ten hummus options: Lebanese classics (≈5$) or hummus with lentils, mushrooms, calamari, veal, etc. For main course the chief recommends flavorful Balkan kebabs, juicy chebureki, and Lebanese kebbe. Genuine Middle East flavors served with modern chic!
Mon – Sun 12 PM – 12 AM
This street food joint makes signature shawarmas on a charcoal grill, just like they do in Tel Aviv and Beirut. Here you will find kosher chicken and lamb and the most popular Middle Eastern dishes, like baba ganoush, falafel and – of course – Lebanese hummus with tomatoes and herbs (≈5$). Chicken hummus for ampler appetites is just as delicious. Fyi — Laffa is a flatbread used widely in Israel for shawarmas and dips….so make sure you add that to your order.
Mon – Sun 12 AM – 11 PM
This Moroccan cuisine restaurant promotes the Slow Life philosophy, inviting to meditate in the moment over your plate of traditional hummus with boiled egg seasoned with paprika (≈6$). The décor stayed away from overwhelming Moroccan-style clichés, and instead combines Nordic elegance with Oriental edge. It’s totally worth a visit for relaxed and eclectic ambiance and their very own version of hummus. And their summer terrace and wide window sills are lovely locations to enjoy the summer days.
Mon – Thu 9 AM – 11 PM,
Fri 9 AM – 12 AM,
Sat 11 AM – 12 AM,
Sun 11 AM – 11 PM
This girly bistro was created as a place where ladies could gather for a healthy lunch and a chat. The menu is built around French cuisine with lots of seafood and vegetables, and you’ll surely remember their original sweet potato hummus seasoned with chipotle or edamame hummus with mint and almonds (≈8$).
Mon – Sun 10 AM – 12 AM