It brings me great pleasure and pride to be writing this review today. My good friend and fellow blogging colleague, Fouad from The Food Blog has opened his first restaurant here in Sydney. Along with hospitality veteran Hesham El Masry the two have managed to showcase food that is inspired by the various cultures sharing the Middle East.
Located in the Plunge cafe in Sydney’s Summer Hill, the brilliantly titled “Chic Pea” presents a very creative take in the world of Lebanese cooking.
There is no grainy hummus nor a bad kebab in sight!
Fouad’s menu stays true to his gluten free eating philosophy. The dishes are light on the stomach, yet deliciously filling.
I was invited as a guest along with a number of family and friends as part of a “soft launch” to offer feedback on the featured menu.
Fouad’s “Phoenician Feast” exceeded all my expectations. Yes. I am slightly biased. I won’t deny that. But this was real food made with love and attention.
I won’t bore you with every minute detail but I will list some of my highlights.
A Middle Eastern spread just wouldn’t be the same without bread or pita. Chic Pea takes this to another level by surprising you with home made almond bread.
Initially I was skeptical. A lot of gluten free breads end up tasting like cake. Not these. The warm almond breads were soft and pillow-like in their texture. And they were the perfect accompaniment to the Pepe Saya dukkah butter and the “smoother than Barry White” pomegranate hummus!
Of course I had to ask for the recipe…but we’ll leave that for now.
The clever lentil tabbouli packs a herby punch whilst the beetroot with labnah, maple and black sesame dazzles with its balance of sweet and earthy flavours.
Carnivores are not forgotten here. The beef and pistachio kofta is presented on a bed of smoky eggplant (baba ghanouj) and tangy pickles. And of course the slow cooked lamb with prunes and chickpeas gets a big tick of approval here at Souvlaki For The Soul.
To finish off a memorable evening we gorged (ok everyone was fighting for this one!) on pistachio ashta and rose ice cream. This was accompanied by a whole fresh, succulent fig, persimmon , currants and drizzled with honey!
If you live in Sydney or you plan on visiting I highly recommend you do your taste buds a good deed and head over to Chic Pea.
Fouad my friend, thank you!
Chic Pea @ Plunge
46 Lackey St
[email protected] – 02 9799 9666
Dinner on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30pm
Opening night – 12 April 2014