Meals for sharing at Sharma Ethnic Cuisines at the Portomaso Marina

Head down to Sharma for a varied selection of Indian, Arabian and Mediterranean cuisine - ideal dishes to be shared by groups of people with different tastes

The festive season is all about sharing. The idea at Sharma is that you share your meals so that you can experience a wider range of flavours from the Orient as well as the Med. AMY MICALLEF DECESARE heads down to their new outlet in Portomaso. 

Picture this: the weekend has come to a bitter end, it’s a miserable Monday evening and you’ve never felt hungrier in your entire life. Edit that picture: the weekend has come to a bitter end but Monday isn’t half as miserable because you’re making your way to Sharma Ethnic Cuisines.

 With a spring in my step, I couldn’t help but be blown away by the authenticity of the restaurant, ranging from the intricately designed shawls, rugs and pottery to the warm earthy tones of the tablecloths.Let me tell you, the décor isn’t the only thing reflecting rich oriental traditions.

My guest and I took a seat and ordered (or rather, grossly over-ordered) no less than nine plates, working on the assumption that if we were to share all nine, the calories wouldn’t count as much, right? Right. Let’s move on.

In one swift move, Sharma successfully combined the three equally delicious, yet differing cuisines of Indian, Arabian and Mediterranean food, allowing us to explore (and boy did we explore) tastes, flavours and even textures we didn’t think even existed on this tiny island.

What’s more, according to owner, everything on the menu is halal and absolutely no alcohol is on display (unless you, like us, specifically ask for it). You can also bring along the bottle of wine from home, which you’ve been saving for a special occasion.

Within minutes, a beaming waiter brought over out starters – baba ganoush, bonda, mahshe and 9-10 servings of naan garlic bread (we just couldn’t get enough!)

The ganoush, well-known and well-loved for being that delicious smoky aubergine dip that no-one ever quite manages to master, coupled with a serving of warm garlic naan bread and you may as well call it quits, your life will never be the same again.

The typically Indian bonda were also to die for, with their fluffy chickpea batter interior and crispy exterior. Just a tip: many tend to disregard the sauce which accompanies starters, possibly out of fear of the unknown. Do not make the same mistake here.

Looking for more of a mild, somewhat less guilty starter? The mahshe might be for you. Bragioli-esque in nature, the Arabian appetizer is made of piping hot marrows, stuffed with tender minced beef, rice, onions, fresh herbs and baked with tender loving care.

Another tip: adding naan bread to every dish completely defeats the purpose of trying to ‘eat light’.

After a short intermission, and yet another serving of baba ganoush, we thought it time to take on our mains: tikka masala, haryali tikka, shish kebab and a side of ruzz asfar.

I know what you’re thinking. Tikka masala, really? In spite of masala being everyone’s go-to order when eating at any kind of oriental or Indian restaurant, I cannot stress enough just how delicious Sharma’s rendition of it is. Sumptuous chicken thighs, marinated in tangy yoghurt and masala spices, it’s the perfect order, even for those who aren’t the greatest fan of all things hot and spicy.

The real winner, however, is the haryali tikka, cooked to perfection in a tandoori oven and served on a sizzler. I couldn’t help but excitedly whip my phone out to capture an image of the fascinating smoking plate. It’s like dinner and a show all rolled into one.

The main concept behind the restaurant is that of sharing and combining cuisines, allowing patrons to discover varying foods and the magical ways in which they can be combined to create fusions you could only dream of.

This was perfectly exhibited in our mains as we piled on generous servings of the Arabian ruzz safar - sticky rice, seasoned with saffron and turmeric – with our Indian haryali tikka and charcoal grilled shish kebab.

Concept of combining cuisines to create delicious combinations of food? Mastered. The concept of sharing these delicious combinations with others? Not so much. But I digress.

Despite feeling as though we may have to be airlifted out the restaurant, we thought it best to order dessert anyway.

An exquisite mix of Arabian sweets, made with the winning combination of honey and almonds as well as kulfi malai, a healthy serving of Indian ice-cream made from thick (key word: thick) sweetened milk and topped with nut shavings.

It may have been cold outside, but my stomach, hands and heart were warm, as I made a mental note to re-visit Sharma next weekend… and the next… and the next.


Sharma Ethnic Cuisines

Portomaso Marina, Level -5

St Julian’s

Tel: 21453817

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