Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lebanese sweets!

A recent flying trip to sydney to celebrate Mothers' Day with Richard's mum in Sydney only meant one thing ... food! Err I mean quality time with the in-laws *whistle*. We took MIL out to a thai restaurant near their home (they dislike venturing further than 2 suburbs away) for a Mothers day lunch. I was too embarrassed to snap photos but it was quite a nice place and we will probably be back.

On Saturday night, we had dinner on the way down (post to come soon). But on the way home on Sunday, I suggested to Richard that we try a lebanese sweet shop I had read about in the Good Living Eating section of Tuesdays' Sydney Morning Herald. You can read the review here.

When you first enter, the sights and smells and decor really tantaslise your senses. There is very modern decor and large glass showcases of lebanese sweets to your right. It also includes a smaller section of western type cakes, petit fours and some gelato. There is an area with lounges and a TV as well which looks pretty relaxing.

We got pretty overstimulated and must have looked like deer in headlights. A waitress soon asked if we needed help and motioned for us to sit down. We didn't recognise anything on the menu but were keen to try anything new. However, we must have had to wait another full ten minutes before she came back as she got distracted by people visiting. There was only one other table of people in the cafe! We were about to stand up and leave when a guy quickly apologised and asked her to come and take our order. I must say that she was quite patient and helpful after this point.

I ordered two smaller things, one of which was this semolina based biscuit filled with a walnut and almond paste. This was extremely morish. It was chewy yet crunchy and the nut paste wasn't too sweet.

My other order was the ladies finger/arm (Zroud el sit). It is a filo pastry filled with halawet or stretched curd cheese and topped with ashta (they spelled it kashta on the menu), the marshmallowy sweet heavy cream found in many lebanese desserts.

Here is a pic of the inside ....

I would definitely have this again. The tissue thin filo was crisp yet tasty complimenting the slight saltiness of the cheese and the sweetness of the ashta. There was a squeese bottle of rose water syrup on the table for those who like it done traditionally doused with the syrup. I just put a little bit on.

Richard ordered this as he thought it was interesting looking. We forgot what it was called. It was a pisachio overload (whos complaining?) with pistachios sandwiched between semolina and topped with loads of ashta which is topped with fresh pistachios. I personally find there is something in ashta that tastes a bit strange to me so I can only have a little of it at a time. Richard seemed to really like it and he finished the whole square which was larger than our digital camera.

My order of lebanese coffee .... I had it black and it came with authentic sludge down the bottom.

We were so impressed with what we had that of course we had to have take away. These shortbread type biscuits known as mammoul(cookies for any Yankee readers) were filled with date pastes or nut pastes and yes 5 days later they are definitely all gone. A real bargain at $22/kg these 4 biscuits were only about $3. A bite of these sent me to heaven ... smooth date pastes inside crumbly tasty nutty shortbread.

We are still working our way through these baklava. All are extremely fresh with just the right amount of butter and syrup in the pastries. Extremely reasonable, all of this including the takeaways and a cappuccino that Richard had which wasn't pictured .... $26.50 ! We are already planning our return.

El Sweetie
73-75 South Street, Granville, 9760 2299 Mon-Thu and Sun 7am-midnight, Fri-Sat 7-1am

P/S for all fans of lebanese food, I found a fantastic site with recipes! It is aptly titled an Introduction to lebanese cuisine

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At 1:17 PM, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

yummy! i still haven't made it yet to el sweetie but it sure sounds el delicious!

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Flatfeet said...

Those sweets really made me very hungry now! *roar* -flatfeet

At 11:09 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

hi helen ... make the trip I am sure you won't regret it!I'd love to hear how it compares to the one you like in punchbowl!

Hi flatfeet! Can bring you there when you visit again in august!

At 4:11 PM, Blogger noonu enoch said...

they look really yummy.


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