A Sydney based writer, director, actor. Loves going out and exploring what Sydney has to offer.
Published September 15th 2012
Authentic and delectable Lebanese for a fair price
Nowadays in Sydney we're not hard pressed to find a good Lebanese restaurant. There is a wide scattering throughout the city suburbs, from cheap to expensive, from good to bad. I recently tried one of my local restaurants, Emma's on Liberty, and was delighted to find that it falls into the 'good' category. In fact, I would go so far as to say 'super'.
The restaurant is unsurprisingly located on Liberty St. Emma, originally from Douma, in north-east Lebanon, ran a family corner business in the location for 30 years until, along with her son Anthony, she transformed it into the restaurant it is today.
The menu offers a vast array of sharing plates ($12-$20) and three banquets: meat ($40pp), vegetarian ($40pp) and the 'Moorish Banquet' ($45pp). Although tempted to try the latter, we opted for the meat banquet, which in hindsight was wise as it was a big feed.
To start, we received Lebanese bread with oil and dukkah. Before long, our table was replete with hummus, tabouli, felafels, ladies fingers, potatoes, chicken and shish skewers.
Each item is worth mentioning as they were each delicious. The hummus was well balanced, with the right consistency and subtle garlic and chickpea flavours. The tabouli was bold, bright, fresh and packed with flavour.
The plate of ladies fingers was plentiful. They had a sweetness that I've never before encountered when eating them in other restaurants. This perfectly complemented the lamb mince and pastry of the dish and went well with the hummus. The felafels, of which there were two, were also tasty, with a spicy twist that enhanced the flavour.
The potatoes were cut up, fried and delicious. They had a strong, but not overpowering, garlic flavour and were served with fresh coriander. The chicken, which had been grilled, left a slightly unpleasant charcoal taste in my mouth, however, the less cooked bits were yummy and worked well with the accompanying garlic dip.
The restaurant has a substantial wine and beer list, however, we chose to take advantage of the BYO (corkage is $3.50pp). The waiters were friendly and the service was prompt, in fact a little too much so, as the dishes came out too quickly!
During our dinner young children ran amongst the tables, a clear illustration of Emma's family friendly philosophy. The décor is simple and stylish and, although the tables are a little squashed this did not prove a problem through our meal.