I'll start by saying that this is probably the best Lebanese food I have eaten in Sydney, and it is BY FAR the best value dining experience I have had in the last year. But I am skipping over the 'experience' of eating here - not only is it right in the middle of an amazingly culturally diverse area (Lakemba) abounding in mini-marts selling Indian, Pakistani, Islander, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, Turkish & Lebanese products; but across the road is a restaurant selling the cuisine of the Christmas & Cocos Islands. You don't see that every day!
The restaurant itself is lit with coloured lights, finely painted ceiling domes and walls with elaborate paint-meets-sculpture (Stucco) art. And then there is a counter at one end. It's one part take-out shop, one part mosque.
But all the looking around stops when the food arrives... in mountainous piles! We ordered a Mixed Plate ($12) and a Doner Kebab (Shawarma) ($8) and they both came with mounds of pickled vegetables, a basket of bread, garlic dip, and paprika relish. An absolutely amazing spread for $20 - and more food than two people could easily eat. Lucky their staff don't bat an eyelid when you ask for a container - it was just too good to leave behind.
The Doner Kebab (Shawarma) was a tasty yoghurt and spice marinated plate of shaved steak, cooked on a skewer, and served with flat-leaf parsley and onion. The rich flavours were magical when combined with hummus or baba ganoush.
The Mixed Plate contained the aforementioned dips, plus tabouli, kebbe (minced lamb), lady finger (beef), garlic chicken (which combined with the garlic dip a treat), felafels (light, fluffy and freshly cooked) and marinated, barbequed cubes of shish kebab.
In fact the only critique I could make is that Fatimas in Surry Hills has provided me with tastier (but by no means fresher) felafels, and that (as my dining companion found out at his peril) the onion on the 'pickled plate' is er... not pickled. Luckily they have a rather amazing Coconut Pudding ($2.50) that was fragrant (with Jasmine) and creamy, and soothing on the palate.
The last amazing find was their house-made Lemon Drink ($2.00) which was the nicest lemon beverage I think I have ever tried. We liked them so much that we took home four of them, and let me tell you, they make an excellent Vodka mixers! By the way, they do not allow the consumption of alcohol on the premises.
Great service with a 'can-do' attitude rounded out the experience. We'll definitely be going back.
30b Haldon Street, Lakemba, NSW 2195.
Ph: (02) 9740 3589