EATING is something of a national pastime, but sometimes trying to settle on a place to eat out together can result in broken noses and friendships.

To add fuel to the fire, this writer has an additional seven dining and drinking establishments located along the Red Carpet Avenue at the Encorp Strand, Kota Damansara for your reading pleasure.

Those looking for an evening out at the Strand will not be disappointed at the variety of choices in dining establishments.

My photographer and I were first treated to Arab cuisine of the Lebanese/Iraqi variety from Ayn Zam Zam.

69A9D999461A4564A38C714D6519231FArabian delights: Lamb Mandy (foreground) and Mixed Grill (back). Try the meats with the accompanying dips, one flavoured with garlic (white), and another spicy tomato dip flavoured with onions (foreground left).

We were served Lamb Mandy, a thick lamb shank and long-grain rice cooked in a spice mix, and a Mixed Grill platter of lamb and chicken slices with french fries for filler.

The dips and sauces are highly recommended, and diners should try consuming their meats with the restaurant’s version of garlic dip or a tomato-onion-chilli mashup, which add that extra “kick” to the palate.

Next on the list is Gourmandis, a must-try here is their Penne Carbonara, served with crisp beef bacon topping and peculiarly, an egg yolk basket.

The diner is supposed to pour the yolk out to mix with the pasta’s cream sauce.

But the end result is worth the raised eyebrow when eaten as a whole with the grated Parmesan cheese and basil.

Likewise, one should also try the Bloody Lagoon, made from gin, Blue Curacoa and Grenadine syrup.

Taking a break from the West for a while, we look to Tapis Rouge for a touch of Thai.

The Green Curry Chicken was nicely balanced in terms of taste and spiciness, although the acar timun was a tad too spicy for my taste.

Tapis Rouge’s menu being a pan-Asian and Western one, we were also served sauteed mushrooms in cream on toast, but with truffle oil drizzled for that extra touch of fleeting luxury.

The Company Bar & Grill’s Home-made Pasta Aglio Olio Pepperoncino made me perspire slightly, but one can douse the heat with a glass of Hula-hula, a simple cocktail of gin and orange juice with custard sugar icing around the edge of the glass, almost like a reverse magarita.

The Grilled Lamb Cutlet was nicely done as well, tender and chewy enough without giving the jaw a workout, and for those looking for a “healthy” dish, Sesame Prawn and Cucumber is it.

Dessert-wise, Chocolate Lava is moist and when paired with ice-cream, is the cherry-topping to a meal at Company Bar & Grill.

Apparently, MBA isn’t just a post-graduate qualification. It could also stand for “Malaysian Bars Association”. “Married But Available, a naughty play on the restaurant’s initials, is a cocktail of vodka, midori, malibu, Cointreau, pineapple juice and strawberry puree.

MBA’s Indon” Treasures, which is essentially kampung friend rice with chicken, was a tad too spicy as well.

On the other hand, the Char Grill Salmon, with its melted herb butter accompaniment, was still firm enough without being overcooked.

For the Muzeum Restaurant & Bar, try the Chicken Pamejero. Button mushrooms and mozzarella cheese wrapped around a whole deboned chicken drumstick and roasted, then served with potato salad and greens.

For red meat, there’s the Sticky Lamb Rack, although the dish’s charred exterior might initially put off some diners. Otherwise, traditional seafood dishes such as Smoked Salmon and Prawn Spaghetti Aglio Olio are also on the menu for diners looking for something familiar.

Scottish-themed Saint’s Bar and Kitchen, despite its name, is anything but, cuisine-wise.

The establishment’s signature Haggis Balls are a new spin on the traditional Scottish dish.

Delicious on its own, the accompanying dip of mustard and mayonnaise maybe superfluous for haggis purists. Similarly, the Saint’s Club Sandwich is a delightful orgy of sinful ingredients, which includes two fried eggs, a whole layer of caramelised onion, melting cheese, bacon and some greens for added colour, with the toasted sandwich bread almost an afterthought.

For a wee dram, try their Chambles cocktail, consisting of gin, creme de casis, fresh lime, strawberry puree, pineapple juice and prosecco (Italian sparkling wine).

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