Saturday, May 9, 2009

El Phoenician, Parramatta

Happy Anniversary Weh-weh!!

To celebrate in style I thought we’d try something out of the ordinary, for our palate anyway.

It was quite an experience just trying to book and get to this place. I found El-Phoenician through a restaurant guide website and tried to book through the site only to be told that the restaurant is not registered with them. Good for El-Phoenician as they’re getting free advertising and ratings but bad for me cos I couldn’t book online :(

Secondly I was trying to get to their onsite car park and nearly drove into the Parramatta river – they should really fence that part of the road off. Anyway we made it unscathed and really hungry....

I would describe this place as very Melbourne-esque with the restaurant sitting on the bustling Church Street, outdoor street dinning with heated lamps, trendy dark wood trimmings and wine bottles shelved in back lit wall cavities for decor, a very nice looking establishment.

Lebanese Food, it’s recommended in the menu to order a variety of dishes to share amongst the table. I found it quite amusing that the menu divided the mains as Vegetarian, Seafood, Meat & Poultry...and Lamb. Last time I checked Lamb was in the meat category lol. Meat & Poultry Platter for two (it included Lamb) sounded fulfilling to our now ravenous stomachs :)

The meal started off with Homous, Tabouli, Kabeess (A plate of olives, pickled cucumbers, turnips, radish and whole chillies) served with Lebanese bread and deep fried oregano bread.

At first taste of the Homous and the Tabouli we found out that our local kebab shop is not doing these dishes any justice. The tastes of these two dishes were sensational. You could taste that it was freshly made with fresh ingredients. I may be ranting and raving over a dip made of chickpeas, smoked paprika, tahini and lemon juice but my tastebuds could taste every ingredient separately, and when your brain combines all those taste sensations together it was totally enjoyable. I’m also a huge Tabouli fan and this would have to be the best one I have tasted. Weh-weh and I had to keep checking each other’s teeth for any runaway parsley leaves lol. On paper this entree doesn’t sound like much, but it took us just under an hour to nibble through these dishes which already started filling us up. Oh and lesson learned...just because the whole chillies are pickled doesn’t mean they’re not hot!!! Don’t eat them whole like I did – Water water!!

Then the main course came, crispy fried potato chunks with coriander dressing, mixed leaf salad, spicy lamb and parsley sausages and large skewers of meaty goodness on a bed of toasted Lebanese bread. The skewers were huge, about the length of my forearm. There was lamb marinated in red wine and vinegar, spiced lamb mince, and chicken marinated in spices and tomato puree.

Wow, again I couldn’t believe the taste sensations. All the meats were cooked to perfection, very tender and just screaming of flavour. The combination of spices and lemon juice blend really well with the flavour of the meat. There must be an OH&S policy with the skewers as every time I finished one, a waiter swooped on it taking it straight to the kitchen making sure to hold it pointy side down.

Just when we stuffed ourselves and were ready to roll out, the lights were dimmed, the front doors were closed, the booming Arabian music was turned up and out came 3 belly dancers chanting and prancing past each table. There is certainly an art to belly dancing it’s not just about shaking your belly around -they could do some extraordinary things using their ab-muscles. Three fabulous dances were performed in the centre of the dining area then they ran around each table trying to coax guests to dance with them. The girls tried their hardest to convince me to get up and wobble my belly around. But after such a fulfilling meal my belly wasn’t going to wobble at all. Lol!!

A truly different enjoyable experience that I would definitely do again – maybe next time I might be prepared for a belly wobble - Ahlalalalal!! he he :P

Oh and apologies for the poor quality pics my camera battery was dying so the flash was doing funny things.

Till next time...we eat!!



  1. Happy Anniversary Lobo! So glad that everything tasted great for your special night-it does look delicious! :)

  2. Thanks Lorraine. It certainly was a good night and I highly recommend it :) Oh and happy belated Birthday - loved your post from Japan!!

  3. I love Lebanese food, the pics were good enough to have my mouth drooling!

  4. I'm now a big fan as well Yaya. Disappointed the belly dancing pics didn't really turn out though. Fun night.

  5. We love Lebanese food too. We used to go regularly to El Karim in Roseville, but after about 30 years, it changed hands 5 years ago. It looks better (they hadn't changed the decor from brown that whole time), and the food is still nice, but it isn't what it used to be. We haven't found a suitible substitute yet.

  6. Hi HB. I definitely would recommend El Phoenician. It may be a bit of hike for you though!!