207 W Hastings St, Vancouver BC V6B 1K6
I’m not often in Downtown Vancouver anymore, mostly because it takes me an hour to find parking and more money than a valet to feed the meters. Parking downtown is ridiculous, but I digress. This Saturday, I had to go so I thought why not make the best of it and get some good eats in.
I had been craving lamb and was in the mood for some Middle Eastern food so I thought where else but Nuba, my favourite joint for this type of cuisine. Half a day of shopping later and I was ready to sit down and reward myself with some wine and tasty food.
We arrived at Nuba for our 6:15PM reservation and was greeted right away. There were a couple of drink specials written on the board for $5-$6 – this was promising. Aside from one other table, the restaurant was empty, except for the food service couriers that would come and go. We were seated promptly and our server brought us menus and waters to start. I asked about the $6 wine special and as it turned out, she visited the winery IN PORTUGAL not more than 8 months earlier. I asked if I could have a taster and she was kind enough to open a brand new bottle for me, just so I could try it. But true to Annie-fashion, I went ahead and ordered a glass anyway, my partner defaulted to my drink choice and joined with a glass. For $6, it was pretty good wine – and the background made it that much more memorable.
I love Nuba so I have a few favourites – we choose one of them for our appetizer: the Najib’s Special. I was finally able to satisfy my lamb craving with Lamb Hushwie; my partner selected the Beef Sirloin Kebab. I want to note that most of the items on the menu are gluten-free, with a big chunk being vegetarian. Our table came with refillable pita, which was a nice little treat though we could barely get through a couple of slices.
Let’s start with the Najib’s Special, which is basically cauliflower that’s been cooked and seasoned with lemon and sea salt. It was flavourful and tangy – definitely jam-packed with flavour. The side of tahini was a perfect addition to mellow out the acidity and saltiness. It remains one of faves and a must-try at Nuba.
My lamb hushwie came beautifully plated, with a side of rice, salad, hummus, and some pickled cabbage and olives. There was nice variety of colours and flavours. The lamb was ground and mixed with spices and pine nuts, which gave it some depth of flavour and minimized the gaminess to it. I really enjoyed the treatment of this meat. The hummus was made in-house and super rich. The salad was a simple spring mix with chickpeas and a nice tangy dressing – simple but still had a punch. The rice was fluffy and a bit al dente – it actually felt more like couscous than anything.
My partner’s order was identical in terms of sides so I won’t speak to that; however his beef sirloin kebab was really juicy and flavourful. It came with three big skewers and they were nicely charred. I actually really enjoyed the kebabs as well. They had less of a Middle Eastern flavour to them but were cooked perfectly to medium-rare and was comparable to a quality cut you would get at a steakhouse.
I’ll quickly review the pita and sauces because they’re worth mentioning. First of all, who doesn’t love bottomless carbs? The pita was refillable! That’s good enough for me. Second of all, the tahini was delicious and a perfect addition to the meats and to dip the cauliflower in. Third of all, their house hot sauce, which resembles the look of salsa verde, was fantastic! It had a bit of a kick but wasn’t too spicy but the flavour was so fresh and potent. It was definitely one of my highlights.
The server came back and chatted us with while processing the bill – during the whole dining service, she didn’t skip a beat. She was also very personable and I enjoyed talking to her about her travel and food experiences to finish off our meal.
Overall, I would highly recommend Nuba for Lebanese/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food – it’s definitely showcases quality, presentation, and good service.
- Daily Wine Special, 5oz $6
- Najib’s Special $12.95
- Lamb Hushwie $17.95
- Beef Sirloin Kebab $19.95
***Classic Plates such as the lamb and beef dishes above are served with hummus, salad, pickled cabbage, olives, pita, choice of brown rice or potatoes, or both!
Beats: Yalla Habibi – Karl Wolf