Hesham el Masry is an experienced restaurateur with Egyptian blood. His chef, Shane Rider, is a true blue Aussie; so Hesham got him into his Mum’s kitchen. The result fuses Modern Australian cooking and Moorish flavours, with a nod to the ‘interesting but accessible’ peninsula preferences. Service in the almost barn-like modern space won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but they recommend the Banquet ($48/5 plates) for a reason – dishes vary widely in size.
The wine list is small but wide-ranging; the biodynamic 2007 Millton Te Arai Chenin Blanc ($46) from Gisborne is luscious and refreshing. Accompany your wine with a Dip Selection ($7) featuring excellent smoky baba ghanoush.
The Crisp Potato and Duck Mezzaluna ($14) stand out; you may want a second one to enjoy more of the tasty red pepper relish.
Saucing is great all round, including the tomato and cardamom chutney under the well-presented Zucchini Flowers ($14).
Dill is an interesting and successful addition to the Fatoush ($6).
I was less convinced by the Spiced Scallops ($25) paired with cauliflower, sumac and tart olive crumbs;
...ditto for the foamy Ocean Trout ($19/$28) with Swiss brown mushrooms, though the sous vide fish was beautifully-handled.
The more straight-up Peppered Lamb Loin ($22/$33) is an excellent savoury ending...
...before you venture on to the Persian Love Cake – the hero of the lovely Dessert Sampling Plate ($14/head). You can also see a cone of pomegranate ice cream, apple fritters, a scoop of saffron ice cream (quite interesting) and a moulten-centred chocolate pudding - all up a great dessert tasting plate!
654 Darling Street, Rozelle
Ph: (02) 9555 8999