The Zahli: A True Lebanese Food Experience
In our previous article, An Authentic Lebanese Restaurant Experience: What Does it Involve? we shared what encompasses an authentic Lebanese dining experience – from pre-meal preparation to the signature beverage everyone must sample, Arak. Enjoying Lebanese food is not just a culinary experience, but a historic, cultural and social experience. Lebanese food is about sharing and sampling, getting a taste of an array of flavours and contrasting, yet complementing tastes.
Today, we’re taking you through a journey of The Zahli – a complete degustation of Zahli signature dishes. As a banquet item, The Zahli is a four-course savouring meal, starting with something light and refreshing on the palate, and continuing with mezze and grills.
Hommos, baba ghannouj and labneh are the ultimate trio – three distinct dips, three Lebanese meal essentials. It is without a doubt every restaurant serving Lebanese food will have these items on the menu, but the Zahli difference is our own modern twist, garden-fresh ingredients and homemade feel.
Hommos is made of chickpeas and tahini, and often paired well with meats, such as lamb; baba ghannouj is prepared using chargrilled eggplant and tahini; while labneh is homemade strained yoghurt. These dips can be eaten with bits of bread, and as a condiment for grills in the final course.
Lebanese mezze is basically a banquet of many small dishes. These often include cold and hot finger foods, traditional Lebanese salads and a combination of meat, seafood and/or vegetarian options. The next course of The Zahli is an array of colourful, flavoursome salads, including Tabbouli and Fattoush – 2 Lebanese food staples, as well as an assortment of homemade pickles. The hot mezze then follows with finger foods including sambousik meat, a traditional pastry filled with minced meat, onions and pine nuts; falafel, a blend of fava beans and chickpeas (and a vegan favourite); potato tossed with coriander; and salt & pepper squid.
Seafood & Grills
If you’re not already full – after the seafood and grills, you sure will be. In Lebanese food tradition, grills are always the final banquet item, the most filling and possibly the most delicious. Moreso, grills are also complemented by dips, such as hommos and salads such as fattoush, so courses should be enjoyed together. The Zahli finishes with bbq king prawns, grilled octopus, grilled lamb skewers and grilled chicken skewers. The latter is also best paired with a tangy garlic dip – knowns as “toum”.
Banquets are possibly one of the best ways to sample Lebanese food, especially for first timers to savour the array of tastes and flavours. Besides the exceptional culinary experience, Lebanese banquets are a great way to gather a group of families and friends to dine in a fun, vibrant and social setting. The best thing about Lebanese food is that it also suits any dietary preference, making it the ideal cuisine of choice for vegetarian or vegan based diets also.
At Zahli, our menu has been carefully designed to showcase the best Lebanese food has to offer. Voted Australia’s Best Restaurant, Zahli Lebanese Restaurant in Sydney’s bustling Surry Hills is warm and welcoming, authentic and boasts an exceptional Lebanese dining experience. Book now!