Ziggurat Cuisine – Middle Eastern and African food in Makati
G/F Sunette Tower, Durban Street corner Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati
Friday evening I met up with Ana, PJ, Al and his partner Oliver at Ziggurat Cuisine. We were only supposed to swing by to get the gift that has been sitting idly at Ana’s for months (from Christmas and it’s already March!) from John of Reco, but ended up staying because for one I was real hungry already, and H insisted that we stay for a bit.
I’ve already caught a glimpse of this place before, I can’t remember what we were doing on that road (since it’s off a corner from seedy Burgos), but I remember we were driving around and we somehow passed by Ziggurat. I thought it was interesting from the outside, but it was more interesting on the inside when I finally got to go in last week. Colorful and fancy, with Hookahs (or shisha) on the tables. Inside, there are a few conventional tables and chairs, but mostly you sit a platform on the floor on rugs and throw pillows, cross-legged and barefoot. It’s quite kitschy, the attempt at Islamic decor somehow made it look like a themed motel room instead. Don’t get me wrong though, depends on how you look at it, the kitsch element could be charming too I suppose.
When we got there Ana and PJ were already feasting on a plate of mixed kebabs and rice on coconut milk (and another rice bowl with green stuff on it, I think it might have been parsley). After a few minutes this mixed seafood dish on a tomato based sauce came in. The rice on coconut milk was good, but the seafood dish was so-so. I ordered the chicken tikka and when it came I was surprised that it was as white as H, I was expecting to be reddish. It was tender and tasty enough, but I couldnt bring myself to rave about it. But it was saved by the nice house white sauce.
Al ordered beef in red curry sauce, and when I asked him how it was, he just gave me a smirk. He wasn’t too happy with it. Ana and PJ seemed satisfied enough, but they had a bit of gripe about the wait time. When I ordered the tikka, I thought it was gonna come with rice but it didn’t so I ordered the coconut rice. The waiter told me that it’s gonna be ready in 20 minutes. WTF? I just got the plain rice instead. A 40-peso, single-serve bowl of rice.
The dishes are not exactly cheap, ranging at about 150-500 per dish. I guess they could get away with it being in the red-light district (Burgos hello?) where all the foreigners at the twilight of their lives are. I just shared a can of coke with H, had a single order (stick) of chicken tikka and rice but still managed to shell out 350 pesos. I just don’t think it’s worth it. The only thing that excuses the place is the novelty of it. It’s different, and there’s not much competition where specialty is concerned.
Go here for the curious ambiance, for a taste of something out of the ordinary. I guess it’s also a good place for a first date, you’ll have plenty to talk about with every dart of the eye. Although I doubt if it’s going to be much of a favorite.