A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Published July 29th 2015
Arabian nights close to home
Nara Lounge is a mini multi-complex showcasing the best of Lebanese cuisine and culture. Newly opened in Hurstville, this lounge is designed to make you feel like you've been swept away from the busy location to an exotic Arabian land. There are in fact five services within this concept venue. Here's the breakdown...
First is the dine-in lounge. The creators of Nara Lounge aspire for guests to walk in and feel like they're in the Middle-East. To help make this vision a reality, they sourced everything from overseas - from the pond, to the lanterns, to the tables, to the elaborate Shisha device from Morocco!
The menu is full of colourful, aromatic delights. A few plates from the Mezza (entree) dishes would be perfect for shared nibbles. We got the mixed Mezza ($19.50), ideal for tasting a variety of Lebanese favourites. Between the Kibbeb, Falafel, Sumbousik, Kabbiss, Tahini sauce, and pickled vegetables, there were lots of spices and tangs to tingle the taste buds.
The main meal list will tickle the fancy of meat-lovers. Lamb and chicken on skewers in juicy marinade entice you. These come with a side of Lebanese bread and garlic. You can also get a Mixed Main dish that brings more favourites like Baba Ghannouj to the table.
Nara Lounge is also a licensed bar, perfect for unwinding with some drinks in the relaxed atmosphere. Have a glass of wine over dinner. Sip on delicious cocktails as you chill out in the ambient contemporary space for hours. The floor and bar staff are friendly and happy to mix up whatever you're in the mood for.
To bring Lebanese culture even more to life in Nara, a shisha lounge has been incorporated. Here you can share the molasses-based tobacco with one or more friends. Either share a Hookah, or waterpipe, or attach more than one to the device that is characteristically decorated with lots of small mirrors.
On the last page of the menu you will see that there are a variety of shisha flavours on offer. Most of these are fruity. Try fresh, authentically flavoured apple, watermelon or kiwi. Perhaps mint or gum will intrigue you more. To tailor the experience even more, you may upgrade from a regular shisha head ($30) to fresh apple or orange ($40) or even a pineapple head ($50). This will make the smoke even sweeter.
A spin-off from the Arabian chill-out space is Nara's Burger Bar. I am yet to try this but it looks good. There are several variations of burgers filled with fresh ingredients - beef, chicken, pickles, tomato, lettuce and cheese are just some. If you're a lover of spicy foods, I hear the Almighty Chilli Chicken burger will have you craving more.
Opened Monday - Friday 11am-3pm
5. Charcoal chicken takeaway
My favourite from the main course list, although not an exclusive Lebanese dish, has to be the charcoal chicken and chips. Their marinade is a savory sensation, and their chicken flavored chips are the perfect accompaniment. With this you get a side of traditional Lebanon. The smaller platter of tabouli, pickles and hummous is a refreshing balance.
Now the great thing here, is that Nara has a takeaway service which centres around this delicious charcoal favourite. This is ideal if you are pressed for time or want to bring the flavours of Nara even closer to home.