Last Updated: December 8, 2017
Tucked away along the row of shops in Changi Village, Kambing Bakar Cairo specialises in Middle Eastern grilled lamb dishes. Mutton dishes are fairly common in Singapore but rarely do we get lamb. For anyone who’s confused, lamb meat is usually from sheep that are under a year old.
If you’ve shied away from mutton dishes because of the strong gamey flavour, the grilled lamb dishes from Kambing Bakar Cairo could be a gentler introduction for you. Softer and less gamey, the lamb meat used in their dishes are more appealing to those looking for lighter flavours.
The homely and unpretentious dining interior doesn’t distract from the main highlight: the grilled and roasted lamb dishes. Ranging from different cuts of lamb to lamb satay, and rice dishes, you’re guaranteed to find a favourite.
We started off with the Cairo Kambing Soup ($8), which you could add on carbs for a fuller meal, such as Rice ($1), Pita Bread ($2) or Potato Wedges ($2). The Pita Bread goes very well with the clear yet hearty broth. Soft, chewy and slightly sweet, this bread is best enjoyed in small pieces and dipped generously in the soup.
The soup itself was an explosion of flavours. Chunks of lamb meat were swimming in the slightly spicy soup, adding a rich meaty flavour to the clear broth. The chunks were soft and fatty, falling apart easily in my mouth.
The slight crunch and sweetness of the cabbage undercut the lingering lamb flavour, and added a splash of colour to the otherwise pretty brown soup.
Moving on to a heartier dish, I opted for the Cairo Lamb Satay ($9). Served on a hot plate of 10 sticks, they also came with two different sauces and the option of additional cucumbers and onions for free. Rice Cakes were also available as add-ons for $1.
Both the peanut sauce and their special homemade sauce went well with the succulent and chewy lamb satay, though I found the special sauce to be a tad too sweet after a few sticks. Most of the gamey flavour was buried under the nutty fragrance and sweet taste of the sauces, but eventually re-emerged after chewing on it.
Tougher than the usual chicken and beef satays, the lamb satay alternates between chewy and fatty. The glaze added a slightly sweet taste to the juicy meat skewers.
Finally, we moved on to the highlight of the meal, the different cuts of lamb.The Cairo Grilled Lamb Thigh comes in four sizes, Small 250g ($18), Medium 350g ($24), Large 500g ($35) and X-Large ($65).
Marinated with salt, pepper and a variety of secret spices, the grilled lamb meat was chewy yet still soft enough to fall off the bone. This was a rather lean cut of meat, so there wasn’t that much of a fatty layer that would melt in your mouth, and it can get a little dry if left for too long.
The flavour lingered long after swallowing, and while I liked the gamey aftertaste, it may not be for everyone. If you want to mask the heavy meaty taste, try dipping a chunk into the kicap cili sauce. The sweet and spicy sauce will give the dish an extra kick of flavour.
If the grilled version isn’t for you, try the Cairo Roasted Lamb Ribs instead. Likewise, this also comes in four sizes: Small 250g ($17), Medium 350g ($23), Large 500g ($33) and X-Large ($63).
The meat was so soft that it fell apart as I was trying to cut it. It slid smoothly off the bone as well, so there was no need for a knife. Taste-wise, the Roasted Lamb Ribs had a fuller flavour than the grilled variant. More savoury and gamey, the ribs also had more fatty parts than the grilled thigh. Chewing on the creamy, gelatinous fats was an explosion of flavours in my mouth.
Of the dishes we’ve tried, I really enjoyed the satay and the lamb ribs the most. With its authentic Middle Eastern flavour, Kambing Bakar Cairo is a rare find in the midst of Changi Village. Even for a lifelong Westie like me, I wouldn’t mind travelling to the far East for it.
Expected Damage: $20 – $40 per pax