Over the course of any average year, I get a lot of friends and family who come to Sydney to visit me. Almost every time someone stays on our couch, they will say to me, “Can you suggest somewhere for lunch, close to your place?”
And the problem is, I have nowhere to recommend as I don’t actually eat anywhere that’s within easy walking distance of my apartment! While I eat in Chatswood quite often, it’s still a train ride away rather than reachable on foot. Most of the time if K and I are planning on going out for dinner, we’ll make it a destination dinner somewhere in the city.
Now though, I can finally recommend somewhere local to others, as K and I recently visited La Beirut in Killara, and it serves amazing Lebanese food – some of the best I’ve had.
We went there with a Living Social daily deal voucher that I bought – $29 for a Mixed Grill plate and coffee and dessert for two people. For less than $15/pp, it was a daily deal that I just couldn’t pass up. It’s within easy walking distance of both Killara and Lindfield train stations (15 minutes either way), and is located in a stretch of Pacific Highway that’s otherwise almost entirely residential. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of a location.
While not completely full on the Wednesday night that we were there, the restaurant remained quite busy throughout the night, with at least half the tables and booths full, and regular takeaway orders as well. It’s only been in operation for a couple of months, but it’s definitely proving popular with us locals!
Unfortunately, they seem a little short-staffed. The one waitress on the night was run off her feet – busily bustling between tables and kitchen, front counter and kitchen, and trying to take all the phone takeaway orders as well.
I ordered a Mango Zabdo ($10), without knowing quite what it would be like. It came out as a yoghurt-type of drink, not dissimilar to an Indian-style lassi though I find it a bit sweeter and less tangy. It proves to be a surprisingly good accompaniment to the mixed grill plate to come.
And here it is in all its glory! The Mixed Grill plate (normally $25) comes with “your choice of 3 skewers lamb, chicken and kafta served with hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli and falafel”. All three dips on the plate were done really well – the eggplant of the baba ganoush was delightfully smokey, the hummus was smooth and lightly spiced, and the garlic dip…well, it was so chock full of garlic that I was positively repellant to vampires for three days after the meal!
The various grilled meats were all chargrilled to perfection too. The lamb in particular was tender and tasty, the falafel had a good crust on it, and the kafta was really well spiced. The tabouli made for a good accompaniment as well, as it was well-dressed with a tangy citrus dressing.
After absolutely stuffing ourselves to the brim on the massive Mixed Grill plate (keep in mind we had one each!), I found it really hard to justify indulging in a piece of Baklava (normally $3) to finish our meal…oh who am I kidding, I always manage to find space for baklava! Unfortunately this wasn’t exactly the best baklava I’ve had, it seemed a little stale despite being “home made”. I also feel like it was almost too soaked in honey (if that’s possible!), rendering the filo a bit too soggy for true enjoyment.
K finished his meal with a small serving of Lebanese Coffee (normally $7) which I skipped.
I’m delighted to have found a ‘local treasure’ – somewhere that I can proudly recommend to friends and family as somewhere where they can find a good meal for a good price. While we went using a Daily Deal, the prices are so reasonable that I’d return and pay full price for that Mixed Grill plate again!