Dinner in Amman

While in Amman, S’s uncle took us to an incredible restaurant, Reem Al-Bawadi. A traditional Jordanian restaurant, known for its tasty food and great atmosphere, we had a fantastic time and some even more fantastic food.

First of all it’s a huge restaurant, about the size of a Toronto city block. You walk in to this cavernous hallway where there are men playing drums, a woman serving Turkish coffee and another making the traditional, large, thin flat pancake-like bread/pita which is served with dinner. Leith had a wonderful time looking at everything and everyone, including his first sight of a sheep (real but stuffed and mounted) and a cow (head only). He literally stood there pointing at them saying “Moo” and “Maa” and would have happily done that for hours if we had let him.

Leaving the enormous entry-way and entering the restaurant was akin to stepping back in time and into culture at the same time. Sitting in the restaurant is like sitting in one gigantic luxurious Bedouin tent. You sit at a huge, very low to the ground table that has a big tray set into the middle of it. S’s uncle ordered and that tray was soon filled with delicious appetizers…Hommos, Labaneh, Tabbouleh, Baba Ghnooj, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Kebbeh and some Cheese Samosas. Of course, I was full after the appetizers, which always happens to me, I can’t help it.

Then dinner arrived, again ordered by S’s uncle. There were plates and plates of Kabab and as well (I think ordered specifically for me since I mentioned that I like fish) grilled fish. The fish was probably the best I have had in my life (maybe even better than when I used to catch fish up at my cottage and grill it fresh from the lake). The waiter brought the whole, grilled fish to the table, de-boned it in front of us (I think there were actually 4 plates of fish), squeezed some lemon on it and presented it to those of us who wanted it. Once I had had S. dispose of the head for me, I quickly dug in, forgetting how full I was moments ago. I ate the whole plate myself and could have eaten more if there had been any. I later asked my mother-in-law how they cook it, if they put anything in particular on it…she told me it’s just salt and pepper and lemon juice and a bit of oil. You can bet I’ll be buying whole fish at the market sometime soon and making it for S. and I.

After dinner, coffee is served by a man in a strangely familiar uniform (I’m sure I’ve seen it in a movie at some point). I love the tradition and culture the place is steeped in, from the atmosphere to the music (they put on a “show” mid-dinner with a traditional wedding drum dance) to the food. Some people might find this sort of experience hokey but I just sat back, watched the smile on my husband’s face and enjoyed one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time.

Shukran Khalo Sulayman.