Mohammad Issmail

The Founder

From a young age, Mohammad Issmail knew he wanted to do something extraordinary. Having worked in the telecommunications industry for over two decades, he longed to open a business that would capture the true authenticity of Lebanese cuisine. Little did he know, his budding culinary interest would launch him into an adventure in the fine dining industry.

Having grown up with the richness and variety of Lebanese cuisine, Mohammad found his inspiration in the fond memories of his mother’s cooking. His passion for authentic flavour combined with his multiple experiences of dining in world-class restaurants, cultivated his desire to launch a business of his own.

In July 2014, Mohammad opened Zahli, a contemporary Lebanese restaurant inspired by the vitality, ambience and hospitality of Lebanon and its rich culture. Zahli Restaurant offers a fine dining experience within a stylish contemporary setting in the heart of Surry Hills. Zahli’s modern, stylish aesthetic combined with exquisite food and unparalleled service invokes Mohammad’s motto, “We don’t sell food, we sell an experience”.

Zahli Restaurant incorporates the invigorating essence of Lebanese culture while maintaining a captivating ambience. Fusing traditional recipes with a contemporary edge, Zahli’s menu reflects Mohammad’s approach to fine dining- combining the vibrance of flavours with fresh local produce, and delivering quality and sophistication. Mohammad’s intention to create an atmosphere that envelops his guests is enhanced by his meticulous attention to detail and hospitable attitude.

Within his restaurant, Mohammad describes his cuisine as food inspired by the simplicity of humble beginnings. His robust understanding and appreciation of the best produce is showcased in his dishes and widely acknowledged by his guests.

Mohammad has steered Zahli Restaurant to a place where it has become recognised as one of the most exquisite Middle Eastern restaurants in the country. With an array of dishes to impress even the most diverse palates, Zahli has quickly earned a reputation for transforming the modern Australian dining landscape. It has been lauded by restaurant reviewers from around the world and recognised by publications including Destination Australia Magazine, Australian Good Food Guide, Best Restaurants of Australia, The Daily Telegraph, Flight Network, Step Feed and Trip Advisor.

A passion pursued through a love of culture and tradition