Nuba is another place that has been on my must-eat list for quite a while. The opportunity finally presented itself one day when Louis, Jae, and I had more time than usual for lunch. We took a nice stroll on a sunny day down to what I think is the first Nuba location tucked away in a corner of the historic Dominion building by West Hastings and Cambie.
I had done my research before going so I asked if Louis and Jae were open to sharing an appetizer of Najib’s special, also known as the crispy cauliflower and one of Vancouver Magazine’s 101 things to eat for 2009. I was very impressed with how they managed to make something like cauliflower taste so good! Its florets were crispy brown on the outside and the inside gave way to a creamy roasty centre. We enjoyed eating this on its own, dipped in the accompanying sauces (I think one of them was tahini), and whole wheat pita. Highly recommended and I think it lives up to its 101 things to eat status.
For my main course, I chose the lamb hushwie pita, which was sauteed ground lamb with onions, peppers, special spices, and hummus. The lamb had great flavour to it and melded very well with the onions, hummus, and fresh veggies. I wasn’t expecting the lamb to be ground but found that this was easier to eat than if the pita was stuffed with lamb slices.
I had such a great time at Nuba that I dragged Jenkins there for lunch a couple of weeks later. This time, we shared a pot of Turkish coffee. It was my first time trying it and I quite enjoyed it. The strong coffee was lightly sweetened and brewed right in the little pot that it came in. At $3.25 and enough for the two of us, I think this was a great deal.
Jenkins had the Chicken Tawook plate, which was grilled chicken breast marinated in paprika, thyme, lemon, and garlic confit. The plate also came with taboulleh, hummus, salad, pita, brown rice, and roasted potatoes. Although Jenkins felt that the chicken was marinated quite well, he found the breast piece to be a bit dry. In hindsight, he reasoned that chicken probably was not their specialty, especially when compared to their beef and lamb dishes. I especially enjoyed the roasted potatoes that came with this dish though; they were crispy and flavourful on the outside and creamy and meaty on the inside.
I enjoyed both my visits to Nuba very much. It has a nice and funky interior and is a nice sit-down alternative to have Lebanese food when you don’t feel like standing in front of a shawarma stand. Service is prompt and friendly and the restaurant always has a small list of specials that sound very interesting.
207 West Hastings Street, Vancouver
Price: $ (for lunch), $$ (for dinner)