I like to participate in life rather than be a spectator. Music, dancing, theatre, travelling, food, cycling and walking are some of my passions. Writing is an enjoyable pastime that allows me to share my experiences.
The self proclaimed 'best middle eastern restaurant in Sydney' Zahli has a lot to live up to. Mid week there is plenty of space but the atmosphere is still welcoming and friendly. There is plenty of room between the tables and the lighting is dim and the background music is cool. Zahli is good for couples, groups functions and children are catered for.
Named for a Lebanese city renown for food and wine Zahli offers homestyle middle eastern dishes cooked and served with a modern twist. The menu is comprehensive and it is hard to choose just one or two dishes. The best option would be to attend with a group so that you could enjoy a range of dishes. The waitresses are happy to offer suggestions and explanations of the dishes.
The plate of mixed finger food for $21 comprised of fried kibbeh, falafel, sambousik meat, ladies fingers and spinach pastry was a great introduction to our meal. My favourites were the ladies fingers and the spinach pastry.
The freshness of the tabbouli was a great accompaniment to the richness and spice of the main meals. It had a lovely acidity and was well balanced. Mansaf lamb for $29 is a seasoned rice pilaf topped with delectable slow cooked lamb & roasted nuts. The lamb was mildly spiced full of flavour and incredibly tender. The crunch of the freshly roasted nuts added texture to the dish.
The highlight for us was the succulent grilled baby octopus which were tender, smoky and sweet. The drinks list is full of variety, not many wines are available by the glass but those that are are a great complement to the food. The service is fast and friendly and the serving sizes are quite large which left us no room for dessert or coffee.
Go to Zahli for a taste of Lebanon and say hello to the friendly owner Mohammad Issmail.