Lebanese cuisine constitutes a variety of dishes that are made with a unique but diverse set of ingredients. To those who are not familiar with Lebanese food, menus can be overwhelming and full of intimidating dishes and unfamiliar ingredients. This can cause many to bypass some of Lebanon’s most beautiful and delicious dishes. We consider Lebanese cuisine to be a gorgeous product of the country, its history and its people. Rooted in traditional recipes and cooking methods, much of Lebanon’s cuisine in Sydney has remained close to home, providing Sydney-siders with the opportunity to taste the flavours of Lebanon. We understand how intimidating menus can be. At Zahli, we believe that part of our role is to encourage and share the food of Lebanon and the Middle-East, this is why we’re sharing our five must-have dishes at a Lebanese restaurant. The next time you visit Zahli, try one of these dishes, we’re sure that you’ll be enchanted by the flavours of Lebanon.
Key ingredients in Lebanese cuisine
Before we dive into the best dishes to indulge in at a Lebanese restaurant, let’s take a look at some of the ingredients you may find in your dishes. These ingredients are unique, full of flavour and often give Lebanese dishes their signature flavour.
- Orange blossom water
Many of these ingredients are present in the following dishes and contribute to Lebanese dishes’ flavour profiles. Known for their intense spices, nutty tahini and floral orange blossom and rose water, Lebanese cuisine is truly unique and a must-try for any foodie.
5 best dishes to have at a Lebanese restaurant in Sydney
While kibbeh is quite well-known and loved, this list would never be accurate without Lebanon’s national dish. The fried to golden perfection ball is made of bulgur wheat. It is deliciously crisp and is filled with an aromatic mixture of pine nuts, sauteed onions, ground beef, lamb or goat (Zahli uses lamb), allspice and ground cinnamon. When you bite into the kibbeh, it is crunchy while the filling’s aroma immediately hits you. Its interior is moist and flavourful, making it an explosion of Lebanese flavours.
Sambousik meat is the Lebanese version of a meat pie. It’s filled with minced meat, onions, pine nuts and spices like baharat. Baharat is a traditional Lebanese spice blend made from ground allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and nutmeg. We love recommending this as one of our top dishes to try because while similar to a meat pie, it contains the spices of Lebanon, giving you a burst of flavour with just one bite. The crisp exterior of the sambousik meat also perfectly complements the creamy texture of hommos.
Again, a must-eat Lebanese list cannot be complete without Lebanon’s signature and vertically roasted lahem mishwee. Our chargrilled lamb is marinated in mixed spices and served with grilled tomato and onion, chilli bread, hommos and garlic dip. It is cooked until tender perfection, is slightly smoky and incredibly juicy. If you’re a meat-lover, you will not be disappointed with this dish.
Unlike more popular dips like hommos and baba ghanouj, mouhamara is bold in flavour and extremely unique. It is made out of a special combination of ingredients: walnuts, red capsicum, garlic, lemon, pomegranate molasses and breadcrumbs. The result is a slightly sweet but smoky and intense dip. It is traditionally served with bread or pita and can be used as a dip for grilled meats. Instead of opting for your usual, try mouhamara instead, for a more adventurous experience (it may become your new favourite dip!).
Knafeh is made from shredded “qataifi” that holds a beautifully stretchy and sweet cheese. The dessert is studded with almonds and doused in a sweet rose and orange blossom syrup. The dessert as a whole is floral, sweet and slightly nutty–a combination we think makes for a heavenly dessert. It is extremely indulgent and is a fabulous option to end a Lebanese feast.
Lebanese dishes make Zahli a must-visit in the Sydney CBD!
We love all of our Lebanese dishes, however, these are some of our favourites. They represent Lebanese cuisine beautifully and are a key reason why Zahli is a must-visit for anyone in the Sydney CBD and beyond! We recommend that you order at least one of these dishes the next time you visit a Lebanese restaurant.
If you are interested in indulging in authentic Middle-Eastern food then Zahli, Modern Middle Eastern restaurant can gladly provide a memorable meal. Zahli is here to provide you with a culinary experience like no other. Call us on (02) 9318 2228 to reserve a table or for pick-up orders.