Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more
Look around and you might think you’re no longer in Sydney. Women are garbed in flowing black burkas, with nothing visible but their eyes. Men are in white robes, with beards down to their chests. The shops sell exotic meats like camel and goat and spices that don’t have English names.
Sydney’s suburbs are such an interesting hodge podge of cultures. There are the very white suburbs in the East and the Lower North Shore; there are the suburbs with heavy Asian influences like Ashfield, Strathfield, Eastwood and Chatswood; and then there are the suburbs where you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in the Middle East, like Lakemba.
We are here for the famous Jasmins Lebanese Restaurant. Jasmins was featured in the SMH Good Food Guide’s list of top cheap eats last year, and I can see why – a share plate with dips, flatbread, grilled meats, kofta and falafel that is more than large enough to feed two costs just $17.
Our share plate arrives in two parts – first comes a mountain of flatbread with a giant dish of pickles and mint. But the best part is the amazing garlic paste and the chilli sauce.
We are so hungry that we immediately begin on the bread – it’s amazing with the garlic paste.
The second part of our share plate arrives with generous portions of baba ghaannouj, hummous and tabbouli. There are also two large nuggets of falafel, an egg-sized kebbeh, grilled lamb shish kebab, grilled chicken and my personal favourite, the kafta. The servings are generous, and everything tastes amazing.
This little gem seems to be very widely known. The restaurant is packed when we arrive, and the best part is, the patrons are a mini-United Nations, all in the one small restaurant. There are people of Middle Eastern origin, but they are, surprisingly, the minority in the restaurant. Instead, it is packed with Asians, Indians, and even a small sprinkling of Caucasians. With food this good, no wonder Jasmins is drawing the crowds from all over.
30B Haldon Street
Open from 8.30am – 9.30pm daily
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