Restaurant Review: Habibi-san at 55 Haji Lane, Singapore 189248

I was intrigued to find out about this newish Japanese-Middle Eastern gastrobar called Habibi-San at Haji Lane adjacent to Bar Stories so I made a reservation and went with my foodie friends to check them out about a month ago! It was a great food experience - we tried almost everything on the menu other than the meat mains. The restaurant is in a shop house with two levels - there's counter seats at L1 as well but the entrance was blocked due to SMM so we had to go up to the cosy L2 from the Bar Stories side. We got some pita (S$3) bread for the dips first. 

Here's the relatively small menu, which showcased a seamless fusion of Greek/Middle Eastern flavours with things like hummus and taramasalata to Japanese kushiyaki and ingredients like mentaiko. Because there's 3 of us we got the first 9 items on the left column of the menu - from the Pita to Snapper, and the last item on the right column for dessert. 

Got a Negroni-inspired cocktail from Bar Stories as well but I have to say, it was quite disappointing compared to the food. It was made with alternative spirits to create a similar taste, but it wasn't special. Plus the price tag was pretty hefty (I think it was $22+?) 

Along with our Pita (S$3 each), we had 3 mezzes - the Babaganoush (S$10) which was all kinds of savoury with the smoked eggplant and chicken skin crunch above to start and that was good 3.5/5, together with the Chickpea hummus (S$13) which we all LOVED 4.5/5. The Pickled beetroot (S$10) was also tart, earthy and all sorts of appetising. 3.5/5

The Mentaiko taramasalata (S$13) was also the perfect dip with its super salty, umami flavouring and little pops of tobiko. 4/5

One of the highlights of the night was the Burrata di puglia (S$15) which had some superbly smoked cherry tomatoes that felt like we were having a cigar with the creamy burrata. This was so addictive with the complex depth of the aromas. 4.5/5

Another highlight which I think is a must-order is the "Kibbeh naiyen" (S$17) which had 2 pieces of raw Westholme wagyu mixed with cracked wheat, shio kombu mixed with wasabi-yuzu vinaigrette on top of senbei crackers. We had 2 sets of this because it was just so delicious! 5/5

Another favourite (if you can't tell from the trend) was the Roasted Brussels sprouts (S$16) which was perfectly charred and cooked such that it wasn't darkly bitter, but more like a light hint of it so you can appreciate its original taste. For veggie lovers though, I must caveat. 4/5 

We also got a protein since everything else was more small plates. The NZ line caught snapper sarma (S$28) was the choice for the night and the fish was light and fresh, with a very yummy shaved fennel and apple salad with yuzu butter sauce surrounding it. However against everything else this paled in comparison. Regardless, a delicious dish! 4/5

We ended the meal with a "Namastyle" chocolate tart (S$14) which sounds like a Snickers tart with the 70% guanaja chocolate, dulce de leche (cooked condensed milk), peanuts and kinako cream with sea salt. It was very sweet and dense. Maybe good enough to be shared among 4, even, just for a tiny taste but I'd imagine it to be quite a sugar rush for 2. 

Overall, Habibi-san is definitely worth checking out because there's not often a lot of Japanese and Middle Eastern / Greek food places in the world. If you do go, I'll recommend that you skip the cocktails and focus on the food - get the wagyu tartare and smoked tomatoes with burrata, and definitely try the hummus with pita.

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55 Haji Lane, Singapore 189248
Tues-Sat 5.30pm to 10.30pm
Closed on Sundays and Mondays
Reserve on Chope

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