Written by Darren Lim
Filled with Lebanese authenticity and flavours, ZALI has created a space in the heart of every Levantine food lovers in Bali. With a wide range of Lebanese favourites from mezzeh (Appetizer), tabbouleh (salad), to saj (Lebanese flatbread) which is a vegan bread and also has the gluten-free substitute. The dishes are not simply inspired the Lebanese tradition and culture, but also mother’s love, encompassing home cooking and a warm and inviting Lebanese welcome.
Mother’s Cooking is Better Than Any Chef
Liza is not your ordinary culinary director, she ensures that the Lebanese dishes on the menu are delicious and healthy as they should be. She also relies on locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. A trivial addition, ZALI is actually Liza spelt backwards.
At the start, it was a challenge to be able to retain the essence of Liza’s creations. However, with proper training of the kitchen team, headed by a talented Lebanse chef, the Zali team was able to successfully preserve Liza’s work.
There’s an Art to eating Lebanese mezzeh to fully enjoy it
Dining at ZALI is not simply about savouring the flavours, the restaurant offers an eating experience that deeply connects you to the foods and people you are eating with. Feasting on Mezze is reminiscent of every Lebanese childhood, with foods traditionally enjoyed with family or friends. The word “Mezze” derives from the Arabic term t’mazza, which translates as “savour in little bites.” which involves sampling simple and fresh bites. Eating Mezze is often served al fresco in hot weather, so Bali is a perfect place to adopt this custom.
To have a little of everything is the way you feast at ZALI, it’s the major part of Mezze. Tabbouleh was the Mezze’s first liner, it’s a salad consisting of chopped parsley, mint, tomatoes, and bulgur (A cracked grain mostly used for Levantine cuisine, it resembles quinoa). The crunchy and fresh flavours will set the mood and refresh the palate for the next dish.
Saj bread is the carbs of our Mezze, they are thin flatbreads that are made on a special griddle at the restaurant to bring Lebanese authenticity.
The saj bread is assembled on the table along with the Mezze spread, which includes Haloumi and silky hummus with ground meat and olive oil on top.
The Mezze is then complimented with a scrumptious kebbeh, a baked pie made of ground meat, bulgur, and spices served with tzatziki. The kebbeh is a favourite of meat lovers, a fancified & healthier version of hamburger steak/meatloaf.
The devil works hard, but ZALI’s rolling machine and griddle work harder. a tray of smaller saj bread with various toppings such as Zaatar (Lebanese herbs), yoghurt, and Mozzarella cheese are served next.
In enjoying Mezze, it’s worth conserving space for dessert. Lisa Ashta’s mastic ice cream is a dessert that compliments the Lebanese culinary experience. It’s a rolled ice cream filled with chopped pecans. The flavour was surprisingly creamy and light, a perfect balance for the sweet tooths.
A Culinary Experience that Satisfies the Hunger and Bonds the People on the Table
Eating at ZALI is about experiencing Lebanese dining traditions where you find joy in feasting and bonding with your friends or family at the table. In addition, home-style meals set a new standard for Lebanese food in Bali. It’s a convivial eatery that embodies the legendary Lebanese hospitality and love for good Levantine food.