Ever since returning from the Middle East three years ago, I have been searching far and wide for pure authentic falafels. Although many Adelaide cafes and restaurants do offer falafels, they were just not the same. But, today, I reckon I have found the best falafels in Adelaide, finally!
We were invited to dine in a beautiful Lebanese cafe in the eastern suburb of Erindale. The Rustic Fig Cafe has a casual relaxing friendly atmosphere and serves up deliciously authentic Lebanese cuisine. All their dishes are cooked fresh to order, with vegetarian and vegan options available as well. Owners Naji and Erica Rizk moved to Australia after living nineteen years in Lebanon. They truly love food and enjoy what they do.
After being seated, Erica graciously went through the menu with us in detail. Her explanations, plus the photos, were very informative and helpful. For those who have never tried Lebanese food before, be rest assured that there is nothing to be nervous about. You will be well-informed before having to place your order.
We ordered a falafel platter ($12.90) and a lamb kafta ($14.90) to share. The falafels were just amazing. They were fried to perfection, crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. And the seasoning was very well-balanced. The gorgeous vibrant green colour was superb. While in the Middle East, I was taught the secret to great falafels and The Rustic Fig Cafe has indeed nailed it.
My friend also agreed that the falafels were authentic and just as good. She liked the lamb kafta too, saying that it was beautiful with fresh soft Lebanese bread and tasty tender lamb. The accompanying mint sauce was refreshing as well. I love the combination of spices in the lamb kafta which was perfectly grilled. If you are not a big fan of lamb, there are also beef kafta and chicken kafta to choose from.
Other Lebanese dishes on offer are the zaatar manoushis on 10-inch dough bases, spinach triangles, salads, sambousiks and dips. The manoushis are all freshly baked to order and gluten-free options are also available. You can even create your own manoushi. As for the salads, there's a choice of either fattoush, groovy grains, black lentil or the traditional tabbouleh. And if you're someone who finds it difficult to make a decision, then the lamb and vegetarian tasting plates might be the thing for you. Pizzas and soups are available too for those who prefer otherwise.
The cafe is not licensed but guests are welcome to bring their own at only $10. However, they do serve authentic Lebanese drinks which I'm sure you won't want to miss out on. They have jallab (grape molasses) and toot (mulberry syrup) as well as their very own fresh lemonade made in-house to a special traditional recipe. Both my friend and I were really impressed by the lemonade which was so refreshing with a tinge of sweetness unlike any we have tasted.
Now for the desserts, there's a full cabinet display to choose from. All are housemade and look amazing. The selection of desserts varies from day to day, so be sure to return to check them out regularly. We shared the Lebanese maakaron ($3.30) and the Lebanese fig & walnut maamoul ($4.20). The maakaron was beautifully golden and taste delicious, not too overpoweringly sweet. The fig & walnut filling in the maamoul was just the right texture and balances nicely with the buttery and crumbly shortbread encasing it.
Overall, it was a fantastic dining experience. Erica looked after us extremely well. I am sure to be back one day and can highly recommend The Rustic Fig Cafe to anyone looking for authentic Lebanese cuisine.