Looking for a cheap feed that'll suit the vegetarians, meat eaters and carb avoiders in your life? Jasmin1 ticks every box. Deliciously. No wonder this Lebanese restaurant has been a longtime favourite with locals, as well as those happy to travel for good food.
You'll find a mix of families, couples and large groups of friends gathered here, for breakfast, lunch or an early dinner. The furniture is simple but functional but the recessed domes in the ceiling and the large paintings of dessert landscapes help set the scene. Help yourself to drinks from the fridge at the front and use the communal sink if you want to eat like a local and use your hands.
Complimentary pickles, tomatoes and mint
The hospitality begins as soon as you sit down. A complimentary plate of pickled turnips, chillies, olives and gherkins will get your appetite going. Ripe tomato wedges and mint add a burst of freshness for the palate.
Complimentary toum garlic sauce, tahini sesame sauce and chilli
They'll all come in handy after you attack the complimentary toum, or garlic sauce, with gusto. And let's face it. Resistance is futile. This fluffy temptation is a miraculous emulsification of garlic and olive oil. Nothing else. You'll want to dip everything in it, from the soft triangles of fresh Lebanese bread (also free) to falafel to lamb to chicken. Everything goes with garlic.
Hommus is so far removed from the watery and rubbly supermarket versions you'll never want to stoop that low ever again. There's a noticeable silkiness to the pureed chickpeas here, seasoned generously, but not over-zealously, with tahini sesame paste and lemon.
Baba ghannouj eggplant dip $8
The baba ghannouj is smooth as well. It's not as smoky as others I've tried, but there's still a satisfying heartiness to this paprika-dusted eggplant dip.
Shish kebab $13
Carnivores should definitely order the shish kebab. You'll be rewarded with four kebabs of tender lamb cubes, interspersed with chunks of onion that have caramelised over the grill. The lamb is succulent and juicy. Needless to say, it goes terrifically with garlic sauce.
Charcoal chicken $13
We've tried both the chicken strips and whole chicken thighs available here. The charcoal chicken thighs are the winner in my eyes. Grab a whole one or slice them up to share. I love how the meats arrive draped within a blanket of Lebanese bread to stop the meat drying out throughout your meal.
Vegetarians can load up on dips and salads, including perennial favourite, tabbouleh. Parsley, crushed wheat, onion, tomato and lemon juice are a mouthful of zing, appreciated on its own or as a counter to carnivorous excess.
Golden fried falafel are one of my must-orders too. Few things are as satisfying. It's the initial crunch of that deep fried shell before it gives way to a piping hot core of crushed chickpeas seasoned with cumin, herbs and secret spices.
Inside the falafel
Non-carb eaters can skip the Lebanese bread but noone should pass up that garlic sauce. Noone.
224 The Boulevarde, Punchbowl, Sydney
Tel: +61 02)9740 7866
Open 7 days 8.30am-10.30pm
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2/27/2017 12:46:00 am