So, yesterday morning I woke up craving intensely for chicken shawarma and fresh fruit shake. I tried to beat down the thought by rationalizing that I am not exactly rolling in dough as of the moment and by willing my mind to think more austere thoughts, i.e., something that involved blank walls and a three-legged bar stool.
Of course, I am not a disciplined thinker, and the more I tried to replace the image of succulent slices of sauteed chicken drizzled in garlicky mayonnaise with that macabre austere picture of a bar stool against a white wall, the more the gluttonous thought rose like a tide in the half-awake part of my mind. In less than three minutes, the dam broke and my brain neurons short circuited, flooding my whole consciousness with the insane chanting of “Shawarma! Shawarma! Shawarma!”
Rather than risk a nervous breakdown, I gave in to the inevitable. As I got dressed, the thought of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde tramped in my head, along with the images of that Eastern world delicacy. Ah. Whoever coined the term split personality really made big bucks by setting the standards for what is sane and what isn’t. But this is supposed to be a post about food and not a psychotherapeutic exercise so let’s move on.
I know the one exact place in Metro Manila that serves chicken shawarma at seven thirty-eight in the morning. I headed out, crossed the main highway, and caught a westward jeepney to the World Class Persian Kebab.
I got off at the corner of E. Rodriguez and Tomas Morato Avenues. To my right is the eating place that haunted me in my waking hour. It’s located on the ground floor of a commercial building that also houses Sabroso’s Lechon, Pandelites, Ricky Reyes’ Hair Institute, and SkateOfTheNation.
World Class Persian Kebab (Persian & Mediterranean Cuisine) is the only eating place, by far, that always delivers what I expect when it comes to chicken shawarma.
I let myself in, and the waitstaff smiled in greeting. Already, there were other diners who were enjoying their orders.
The chanting in my head was now replaced by a humming of “shawarmashawarmashawarma…” All right, I’ll feast on Persian cuisine for breakfast. Whatever those chanters in my head were, they erupted into applause and finally fell silent as the waiter took my order.
(I would apologize to the dear readers because I did not have a camera with me to take images of my impulsive breakfast. I’m truly sorry to put a damper on your voyeuristic tendencies. All is not lost, however. For visuals, I borrowed some shots from wheninmanila.com in order to further illustrate the next points in this long-winded soliloquy. These are all nighttime pics.)
I ordered fresh watermelon shake, chicken shawarma on a plate, beef kebab, and extra pita bread. And you’d think that in my cash-strapped state, I could afford to pay for all these? Oh, yes, indeedy! Look at their price list:
The price is another allure that World Class Persian Kebab holds over me. I can have freshly cooked good food for less than Php150, or about US$3.30.
(Visual aids end here, dear readers.)
My order arrived and I can’t help but smile at the presentation. On a square plate, my pita bread was folded demurely to one side. Beside it lay the chicken slices (spottled with cracked peppercorns), and the rest of the plate was piled with slices of assorted vegetables, which consisted of cucumbers, white onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. My extra pita was served separately, warm and nestled in a wicker basket. My beef kebab was set in another plate. The watermelon shake came in a sundae glass, so it’s quite a tall early-morning drink. There’s unlimited garlic mayo sauce so that the diner – such as moi – can drizzle liberal amounts over each scoop of pita, meat, and veggies.
So, after a sigh and a word of thanks to the Universe for the goodness of life, I dug in.
And the food was what I expected. The beef has just the right blend of saltiness and spiciness, with that juiciness that is often missing in some other eating places’ beef dishes.
The pita gave the shawarma a hint of sweetness. The vegetables were crisp and succulent and juicy. The slices of chicken were bursting with flavor. And the garlicky sauce complemented it all.
They use real fruit for the shake, which is something else I appreciate about the place. No synthetic flavors here.
And I ate and drank all of it. By the time I finished my breakfast, the glutton in me was appeased. It was purring like a cat that has found a comfortable sleeping place.
Hmm. Maybe I’d do this often.
For those who wish to experience the wonders of World Class Persian Kebab when you happen to be in or around Metro Manila, the place is open 24 hours. If you need the specific address, I would certainly not withhold it from you.
It’s #1 E. Rodriguez St. Avenue (corner Tomas Morato Avenue), Quezon City.
Many thanks to When In Manila for the photos.