When travelling to an exotic destination such as Jordan, you want to eschew the tourist traps when it comes to dining to have something with authenticity, local flavors and a chef that has the know how to elevate his food, thus Kan Zamaan in Amman is an absolute gem where you can enjoy something of a resurgence in the food itself.
Nestled on the hilltop of an old Jordanian Mirage village lies Kan Zamaan – Arabic for once upon a time. Not only is it on a site dating back to the 19th century, this estate, slash horse stable, slash agricultural warehouse, is turned into a modern and probably one of the most stylish restaurants in Amman.
A 20 minutes smooth drive will take you to this spectacular locale from the city of Amman towards the airport direction. The location is a little out of the way for a very special reason of its original façade being situated on this site. It is refreshing to have a circuitous journey out of the city to the hillsides to create an air of expectation. Not only do the locals strive for some authentic dinners by driving in to Kan Zamaan, residences around are also their frequent patrons, even during the week nights.
This unique gourmet experience is enclosed within the stone walls of an ancient settlement, while the Turkish/Lebanese cuisine with a modern twist is some of the best we have had in years. One is looking for that ‘wow’ factor and this has it in spades! The original façade is still very well maintained that makes you wonder what inside would be like.
The moment you step inside, this is a case where you can definitely “judge a book by its cover” with a spectacular ambience. The whole concept is a force to be reckoned with, being broken up into three distinct venues: the stables transformed into the elegant dining room, Bustan Kan Zamaan (the garden), a stunning breezy patio with views to the hilly surrounding countryside and is popular especially in the summer.
Bread and Salt, the local bakery offering homemade delicacies adjacent to the dining room entrance and our main focus on a cold winter’s evening was the main dining room and we were suitably impressed on arrival with the stunning high brick vaulted space, with cast iron candle chandeliers adding that oomph factor and a touch of warmth (it was rather cold outside on the night during our visit). There are a series of lighting features like the gas grill line fire that define the central dining area at seat height with a touch of flair.
People love to dine late in Amman, so we booked a table later than usual and there were quite a few diners intent on having an enjoyable late dinner, so the atmosphere was most enjoyable from the moment we arrived. Naturally, dining late means you have quite an appetite to be sated and we were very quick to start scrutinizing the menu and ordering food.
As the cuisine is heavily referencing Oriental and local cuisine influenced by Lebanese food, it was easy to make decisions, as this is a cuisine we are familiar with and have been waiting to try with anticipation.
Roasted eggplant dip with tahini, lemon, olive oil and pomegranate is our first appetizer. The eggplant was blended to a very smooth texture and the pomegranate added an extra bite with the creamy texture of eggplants being enjoyed together.
This signature dish comes with blended freshly boiled chickpeas with fava beans, green onions, pickles and topped with mint leaves and is another must have order from the menu. Classic yet tasty.
<Kan Zamaan Salad>
This full on salad is more like the Chef signature salad, consisting of iceberg, artichoke, palmetto, fresh mushrooms, asparagus, avocado, corn and cherry tomatoes in a creamy lemon vinaigrette. It can be an entrée by itself and value for money.
<Pistachio stuffed Chicken Balls>
Heavily breaded chicken balls stuffed with pistachio and butter is another great starter. You may want to enjoy a small bite one after another, as the pistachio filling is such a delight and well seasoned.
<Halloumi Cheese Fried or Grilled>
We had this Halloumi cheese grilled to perfection. It is quite a heavy comfort food dish which can almost be enjoyed as a bread and cheese by itself.
<Kibbeh Nayyeh Orfali>
Freshly minced raw lamb mixed with bulgur, onion, parsley, pistachio and chili paste. This chef recommendation is simply divine. We were quite skeptical when we order this house specialty as raw lamb is never our priority especially to a cuisine unknown of. Chef has certainly proven us wrong as this dish was so enjoyable and the presentation will catch your attention with the condiments that come together.
A classic Ottoman style braised lamb ragout on a bed of silky creamed roasted eggplant puree. Similar to a lasagna ragout dish, this is creamy in texture, but with a mouthful of minced ragout lamb. A definite comfort food dish for all.
<Whole Sea Bream>
Oven-baked in a salt crust or char-grilled to perfection to your preferred way. We had it oven-baked and the fish was deboned at our table. Scrape away the excess salt to avoid the salty taste before eating.
Armenian style spicy sausages sautéed with lemon and olive oil. Small bites size sausages grilled to the right texture and with a hint of spiciness in the marinade. You may want to finish the lemon olive oil juice by just dipping the accompanying bread. Yum!
<Fillet Ras Asfour>
Finely diced fillet of beef with spices, onion & pine nuts stir-fried. A quite similar cooking method to Chinese stir-fries and the pine nuts are quite aromatic and in right bite texture.
It can be done in a few ways, either char-grilled, plain or sauteed with garlic and lemon and olives oils. We chose the latter for its delicious juice of course and two quails per portion. The meat was slightly on the tough side yet still enjoyable to finish quickly due to the tasty meat.
Nothing will go wrong with knafet for dessert, especially if it is a-la-minute and prepared in front of your table. Warm katayfi dough with cheese drizzled with pistachio and syrup will easily round up your evening to put a big smile on your face.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 5/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
Airport Road, Mirage Village
Tel: +962 6 412 3838
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