menu to a culinary adventure
Sinful abandon is permitted.
— written on the menu at Ziggurat
Upon entering, you have to quickly orient yourself to the smallness of the space. Seating is on pillows laid around low tables, so eating is done cross-legged and barefoot. It’s best that you wear something comfortable, especially in terms of footwear. Save the mini skirt and knee-high lace-up boots for another place.
the “chairs” lie low. That’s Kaie studiously studying the menu
Ziggurat serves Indian, Mediterranean, African, and Mid-eastern cuisine. It seems like a culinary grab bag of sorts, but is actually a concordance of nuanced flavors. Everything here works well together. The menu is literally, the size of a newspaper (and is yours for only P35). Done in full color with some helpful photos, the menu narrates the restaurant’s background, describes its cuisine, and offers a detailed wine guide as well as a primer on matching food with wines.
Undoubtedly, the scope of the menu is enough to overwhelm anyone, even seasoned culinary adventurers. Remember that eating at Ziggurat is an adventure (it says so on the menu), so leave your food phobias at the door. The menu offers “recommendations for our undecided patrons” ”“ groups of six or more for the curious (P3000), the adventurer (P3600), and the explorer (P4800) ”“ consisting of various appetizers, pasta, two entrees, dessert, and a beverage.
Scan the menu and take your time to decide what you really feel like eating. There are numerous appetizers: hummus (P75); falafel (P90); Hilbeh (a spicy Yemeni dip ”“ P120); mixed olive platter (P180); taramasalata (classic Greek pureed smoked cod’s roe ”“ P180); and salsa Ziggurat (the restaurant’s signature dip ”“ P250), among others. All starters are served with your choice of Arabian Khobiz, a fluffy flatbread delectable when warm but hard when cold. You can also opt for the mezze forte (P650), eight appetizers good for three to five persons.
There are also soups to start off the meal, salads, and light snacks that include shawarma (beef, lamb, chicken, tuna, vegetarian -P120-P150); samosas (P50); and Ziggurat turnovers (P120), deep-fried pyramid-shaped dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables. Consider the carnival of kebabs, roll your own souvlaki (Greek specialty of meats marinated in oil, lemon, juice, oregano, etc, before being skewered and grilled); Mediterranean specialties that include moussaka (P150), which I’ve been told is just super; and a cornucopia of curries, really just too many to list here, in all colors of the rainbow ”“ white, brown, green, orange, etc.
Ziggurat has an extensive wine list, over 30 varieties, so flit and flirt with pairing your food with wine. Also, if you’re into this sort of thing, puff on a hookah (or shisa) as a meal-ender. This ancient Middle-Eastern water pipe filled with sweetened tobacco flavor is said to be lower in nicotine than regular cigarettes because the tobacco used is grown in low nitrogen soil.
Algerian grilled vegetable couscous
When I was at Ziggurat, I was hankering for something spicy, so I had the lamb curry (P380) and a serving of the Iraqi saffron rice (P90). I split the samosas and falafel with Kaie, my good friend and fellow food writer. On the day we were there, she was on an all-veggie kick, so she sprang for the Algerian grilled vegetable couscous (P250), which arrived on this mother of a plate. It was one mammoth serving that we two girls polished off.
On that weekday morning at 10, we had the entire restaurant to ourselves, with decidedly incongruous Pinoy rock music (Parokya ni Edgar et al.) streaming out of the speakers ”“ it seemed the security guard had appropriated the sound system for himself that day. We were cool with it ”“ we were too busy worshipping at the temple of good food.
G/F Sunette Tower Bldg.
Tigris corner Euphrates Sts., Makati
Open 24/7, including holidays. Yay!
Note: Ziggurat is a bit difficult to find if you’re unfamiliar with the back roads of Makati. Location map here.
Having said that, parking is terribly limited, so take public. It’ll save you the stress of maneuvering Makati’s perennially changing one-way streets and getting caught by some wily policeman.