Chef Ameer Alzalek Refreshes Middle Eastern Cuisine At S.A.J Bistronomy By Leen’s

For those who might not be familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine, it has traditionally been associated with staples such as falafel, shawarmas and kebabs. However, Syrian-born chef Ameer Alzalek has recently broadened the horizons of Arabian gourmet platters with his new restaurant, S.A.J Bistronomy by Leen’s, located in Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI). Alzalek’s culinary training was cultivated through diverse kitchen experiences in Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur—reaching new heights during his tenure at Ember Modern Bistro. There, he discovered the potential for redefining traditional dishes, a concept that later evolved into his own venture.

Beginning as a delivery model during the pandemic and later establishing a physical presence in Tiffin at Sentul and Leen’s Middle East Kitchen in TTDI, Alzalek’s endeavour has garnered a fairly strong following. With expansion always in mind, he seized the perfect opportunity when Oh Cha Matcha sought relocation, providing an available space conveniently close to Leen’s. The proximity of S.A.J to Leen’s allows for efficient management for both outlets, marking a new chapter in Alzalek’s jaunt.

I began my dining experience with a refreshing and aromatic iced cardamon vanilla latte along with a visually intriguing pineapple passion cooler. For appetizers, I opted for their charred chili hummus infused with mixed herbs, served alongside two pieces of freshly made bread—the hummus offered a touch of smokiness, heightened by an ambrosial blend of herbs. Following that was a bracing plate of rocket parmesan salad, featuring a mix of arugula, beets, tomatoes, and Parmesan—all brought together with a zesty citrus dressing. My taste buds were then treated to a pleasing plate of Hokkaido scallops crudo, decked with passionfruit, radish, and sumac.

Moving on to the mains, we started with shanklish. A combination of labneh, egg yolk, heirloom tomatoes and kyuri, this dish presented a spectrum of flavours that left me feeling quite sated. Next up was the Sayadieh (fish rice), highlighting the Spanish mackerel that was enveloped in tarator sauce, and accompanied by a side of pilaf rice. Stealing the spotlight as my personal favourite was the Wagyu freekeh, parading Wagyu oyster blade with a marbling score of MB6/7, complemented by freekeh, spring peas and lime aioli.

Concluding this well-rounded meal, I indulged in two different desserts. The first was their olive oil ice cream decorated with sweet notes of apricot slices and the satisfying crunch of hazelnuts and tuile. The second sweet finale was their baklava-based cheesecake, garnished with roses and pistachios—this inventive twist on a classic dessert brought together the lusciousness of the cheesecake with the notable nuances of baklava.

More photos of S.A.J Bistronomy By Leen’s

S.A.J Bistronomy By Leen’s

Photography: Law Soo Phye

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