Liverpool is not the first place that springs to mind when I think of halal food. In the North West, Manchester seems a more likely destination than Liverpool. However, well overdue a catch up with cousins, we decided we would trek out to Liverpool and visit Rumi by Bukhara (named after Rumi the famous Persian poet). Now Rumi by Bukhara is the sister restaurant of the original Bukhara in Samlesbury, a younger and more relaxed establishment. Please note: I did not pay for this particular meal. However, I have been on numerous occasions prior to this, as a paying customer.
Firstly on entering, I noticed the casual cafe style feel that Rumi by Bukhara gives. The decor was simple and clean. Feeling instantly relaxed, we immediately sat down to order. After what seemed like eternity, (being 20 of us) we managed to cobble together some semblance of a three course meal.
I opted for a Mojito, the usual classic mocktail I order. When in doubt this is usually my go to Mocktail of choice. The mocktail was refreshing and light, and didn’t contain 90 percent ice (like many other restaurants tend to do) so I managed to make my drink last the whole meal! The nice thing about eating with a lot of people is that you can try more things on the menu, than when going as a couple. My sister decided to order a Pina Colada (non-alcoholic) and the cream and pineapple were a fabulous blend. It was definitely one of the better Pina Coladas I have tasted. The strawberry dacquiri also looked a treat.
We started off with poppadoms, served with five accompaniments. Now these accompaniments are lovely even on their own and I was hesitant to eat too much. As soon as I start eating poppadoms, I end up ruining my appetite for dinner, so I held back as much as I could. The crispy large circles were crunchy and a fabulous combination alongside the chutneys presented and it was quite difficult to stop myself from eating more.
As we were in a large group, we opted to have our food in platters as opposed to small individual portions, as it made sense for the size of our party. Being a huge fan of indo-chinese food, I was delighted to see the Chilli Chicken in abundance on the platter. These small pieces of chicken, coated in a sweet and sour sauce, were succulent and crispy. The ratio of chicken to vegetables (peppers etc.) was perfect. I do find many a time that a lot of places serve very little chicken and an abundance of peppers and garnish. The spice and sweetness was perfectly balanced and I kept eating piece after piece (I think I may have polished the platter off by myself).
Next I tried the chicken 65, which was a similar concept to the chilli chicken, only coated in a different type of sauce. The sauce was deeper with more Indian spicing and then the chilli chicken. Although this was tasty I found it slightly heavier than chilli chicken (maybe because I had already finished a platter of chilli chicken before trying this).
The stir fry noodles were a lightly flavoured in soy and chilli and the seasoning and texture was just right. After the chicken starters, this main dish provided a nice light main course as opposed to the usual curries we opt for. As the noodles were lightly coated in sauce, the flavouring was not too heavy and the dish was enjoyable after the saucy starters.
Cheese naan has secretly always been a guilty pleasure of mine whenever I visit a restaurant. I love cheese, especially meleted/baked cheese. Although the calorie count on this is probably horrific, the buttery cheesy naan, was melt in the mouth delicious and well worth the extra calories. The crispy yet buttery exterior, with the soft interior of the naan bread made for a fabulous side dish. The mezze was also lovely (who doesn’t love a little bit of Middle Eastern salad?)
The Kachori chaat, which consisted of deep fried crispy puri breads, generously laden with potatoes, onions, crunchy noodles (sev) and pomegranate were fantastic with the yoghurt and tamarind sauce. This dish combines all that I love in Indian street food with various textures and flavours from sweet to savoury and manages to balance them all in one dish. I would definitely recommend this particular dish from the vegetarian options.
Rumi, unlike a lot of restaurants, has quite an extensive dessert list. They have 16 seasonal gelato flavours made in-house and fresh regularly. The sheer quantity of flavours meant that I of course had to try every single one. Like a child in a candy shop, I gleefully sampled flavour after flavour. The Snickers, Honeycomb and Kinder Bueno were exact representations in gelato flavours. They had all the textures and flavours of their chocolate bar counterparts and were not overwhelmingly sweet. Strawberry, Oreo and Cherry were also quite strong but pleasant flavours. The gelato-bar is definitely popular as whilst we were enjoying our meal, numerous individuals came to enjoy the gelatos. They were all creamy and rich but also satisfying and the perfect end to the meal.
The dessert menu did not end at the gelato bar. Rumi also catered to more restaurant style desserts, such as the stick waffle. Me being the glutton I was, insisted on trying a small sample of all the stick waffle flavours we ordered (the choice is vast!). The concept was interesting and fun with the waffle size being perfect after a full meal (not as large as Heavenly’s or Swirly’s). I also ordered the Kanafeh (a cheese type dessert soaked in syrup). Although I couldn’t imagine cheese in a dessert context, this dessert surprisingly blew my mind. It was rich and buttery with the perfect amount of sweetness. As this was the last thing I sampled I could not eat too much of it. I would probably order this first next time just so I can eat the whole dish.
Having been Rumi by Bukhara a number of times, I can safely say, the food is always excellent and the service and level of attentiveness is second to none. This restaurant caters for many different palates, from the burger lovers, to the curry fanatics. The food is American, Indian, Middle Eastern and even Chinese. Having such a vast menu means there really is something for everyone. Everything Rumi produces, they produce well. The passion and hard work of the staff and the owner is reflected in their dishes. I have been told (and seen photographic evidence of) the Liverpool team visiting and dining here (which does not impress me at ALL being a lifelong Manchester United fan). The location is very close to Liverpool University and the prices are quite affordable with a range of dishes on offer.
Overall, I feel the service in Rumi deserves an 8/10 and the food a 7.5/10. If you are in Liverpool, I highly recommend visiting and I would love to know what you think of this cafe/restaurant.