Persian Cove (delivery)
A maqlooba is a traditional dish from the Levant and Iraq in which rice, vegetables and meat are cooked in a pot then flipped upside down for serving. Maqlooba means upside down. We saw some pictures on social media and decided to give it a try.
Address: Delivery Only
Phone: 077 249 3562
The menu can be found on their Instagram or Facebook pages though be aware that the menu on Facebook offers a couple more dishes than that on instagram, so it's better to be guided by that one.
The maqlooba is made with basmati rice, onions, vegetables and spices and comes with a choice of six toppings: chicken, beef, prawn, paneer, mutton, or chicken and paneer.
Other than the maqlooba, the only other items offered on the menu are a portion of chicken thighs, raita and a dessert gulab jamun. However, as the maqlooba come with one portion of nine chicken thighs, raita and a jam already included, we didn't order any extras.
Ordering is done by phone or whatsapp. As the are made to order, it's best to call the day before to place your order.
The maqlooba with additional chicken thighs, raita dressing and jam.
The maqlooba arrived on a wooden plate and covered in foil. The lower half, or a little more, is a flavoured rice, above which one can see the vegetables and the chicken. It looked like a large cake of rice, covered with vegetables, onions and chicken, and it smelled delicious. We went ahead and dished up without delay.
This is a big dish. We served up for all of us and were a bit taken aback to see how much was left; it seemed that only a quarter had gone! We accepted that we were likely to be eating this for dinner and breakfast, and we tucked in.
Once the maqlooba was served onto plates, the flavoured rice mixed up with the onions and vegetables and the pieces of chicken on top resembled, at first glance, a biriyani . And in a way it was similar, but milder, and with a different kind of taste.
The rice was lightly spiced, yet mixed with the onions the overall flavour was quite rich and full, The vegetables had an almost creamy texture but there was still some crunch and the flavour was all enhanced by the chicken of course. The chicken too was full of flavour and overall it was delicious.
The chicken thighs that came on the side were also excellent, full of flavour, and in fact one of us thought that the chicken thighs tasted even better than the chicken in the main dish.
The raita that came with was also surprisingly good. You know how quite often the sauces or garnish that comes with a dish is bland, or like an afterthought? Not this. The raita was thick, creamy, full of flavour; we could taste cucumber, mint and even aniseed. Mixed in with the maqlooba it enhanced and added to the dish without drowning it. A great combination.
So far it was all very good. The only thing that fell short was the jam. We were a bit surprised to receive jam to add to the dish but we gave it a try and mixed some in with a bit of the main dish. It did sort of work and we could see the appeal of adding a sweet, fruity taste. However this particular jam that came with the dish was sickly sweet and seemed to be low budget; it was a firm jelly with no visible fruit at all and indiscernible flavour; we had no idea what fruit it was meant to be, it was just sweet and red and jelly-like. With a better quality jam it could well work a lot better, but this one got left to one side.
So overall it was very good, and plentiful. Persian Cove say it will feed 8 to 10 and we agree; or with hungry teenagers maybe 6-8, but that's the number to aim for! The maqlooba itself was good, chicken was very good, and the raita excellent.
The price depends on which maqlooba you want. They are all one size, to feed 8-10 people, with the price starting from Rs5,000 for a chicken, Rs6,500 for chicken & paneer or beef, up to Rs8,000 for prawn, mutton or paneer.
The price also includes a side order of chicken thighs and the raita and the indiscernible jam. If you want another order of chicken that costs Rs1,000, and another raita Rs250. If you think you might still be hungry after and want dessert, the gulab jamun is Rs1,000.
Delivery depends on the distance and there is a deposit of Rs500 to pay for the wooden platter, refunded if and when you return the plate to a location in Colombo.
We are so glad that we tried the maqloob. Aside the from the fact that it was delicious, the chicken was excellent and the raita was superb, all eating from one dish like that gives it is a nice, communal feeling.
It would also be a great dish for when friends are over, something different from the usual bites or snacks; a couple of maqloobas would go down very well. Well recommended!