Sydney’s definitive Lebanese dining experience is now in Surry Hills. Before I dined here, I stupidly believed I knew good felafel from bad.
Enter the benchmark aromatic Felafel ($6.90) with crunchy, thin exteriors and lightly spiced, bright green interiors.
Your journey begins with complimentary pickles; nuts too if you buy a drink, and the soft, lightly floral Château Ksara Blanc de Blancs ($40) from Lebanon makes a lovely companion drop. You’re also gifted with a plump bag of fluffy Lebanese bread.
Use it to enjoy a bountiful raw Vegetable Plate ($30) with juicy ripe tomatoes that resonate with excellent olive oil and creamy, garlic Toom ($6.90).
Kibbeh Naya ($11.90) arrives pink and lewd; one bite of this raw, lean minced lamb and you’ll be hooked.
By now I’m drowning in an abundant feast of the senses – smoky Baba Ghanouj ($9.90) rolls on my tongue with achingly tender cubes of Laham Mishwee ($17.90/3 skewers).
Impossibly moist Fried Kibbe ($8.90) tango with excellent Hommos ($8.50). Juicy chicken breast in Shish Tawook ($17/90/3 skewers) is another standout.
Mansaf Lamb ($22.90) on seasoned rice is a revelation! I'd never even encountered this dish before my meal. It's so easy to eat, and is topped with more of those delicious strips of lamb and assorted nuts, with yoghurt on the side. I wanted to eat the whole plate, but had to pace myself. I've mentally scheduled a date with another plate in the near future.
Of the salads the Fattoush ($14.90) was my favourite. The quality of the bread seems to be the obvious difference between this and the salads that have come before it at other restaurants. The produce is also excellent here.
When we ground to a stuffed halt, I had a peek at the beautiful Tea Pots ($75) on sale which would make having tea a very glamourous occasion.
If I thought I’d be able to get back up, I’d have retired to the cute cushion corner for sweets and a hookah; but there’s always next time!
529 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9690 1099