JB Eat: Zaituna Restoran Shawarma @ Jalan Tan Hiok Nee
Restoran Zaituna is a pretty popular Middle Eastern Restaurant located in Taman Tasek in Johor Bahru serving Mediterranean and Arabian cuisines. The restaurant has opened a new branch along Jalan Trus close to Tan Hiok Nee Heritage Walk and serves only shawarma, a popular traditional Middle Eastern dish that originates from the Ottoman Empire.
A shawarma is basically meat cuts wrapped in a flatbread / pita / flat wrap with sauce and salad. The meat used is commonly mutton, beef or chicken, though turkey meat is also used in some places.
At the new Zaituna, they make the wraps fresh on order and bake them on a heated flat stove.
Only chicken meat are available with spicy or non-spicy option. The meat are marinated and roasted on slow-turning vertical rotisseries — don't stand too close to the rotisseries or you will feel the heat. The guy cutting the meat has the hottest job. The roasted meat are then "skinned" or shaved off when ready.
The cut meats are then rolled-up with some sauce and pickled veggies in the freshly-baked wraps. The finished shawarma is then lightly heated on the stove before serving.
The finished shawarma is about 20cm long and can be quite filling for one person, request to be cut into 2 or 3 pieces if sharing with others.
The spicy chicken shawarma is tasty with multiple flavours, not very spicy and is quite filling — even having half of it.
I wish Zaituna can serve shawarma with lamb or beef meat cuts in future, but I will still go for the chicken version for now.
Zaituna (Shawarma) Restaurant
123, Jalan Trus, Bandar Johor Bahru, 80000 Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
Managed to get the sharwama in two afternoons. Will ask them their opening hours next time — tie a knot!