Monday, September 22, 2008

Lebanese Sweets 2.0 !

On a roll after my last encounter with a lebanese dessert shop, I decided I had to visit another. The Good Living Guide had a brief review about a new lebanese sweet shop that had opened in Parramatta, Sydney. This is a branch of a chain in lebanon called Sea Sweet.

The cafe was modern and clean. We arrived just before 6 pm and thus was not a popular time for desserts or coffees but it was good as it meant we were served promptly. People wandered in to check out the lebanese sweets on offer in the glass showcases to the left. Like El Sweetie, Sea Sweet also catered for Aussie tastes with many different western cakes and pastries on offer as well.

However, I was there to quench my curiosity to try new things. We studied the middle eastern dessert menu for a while. (click on it for a bigger version)

The fruit cocktail is a signature dish of theirs, supposedly with a sweetened pureed avacado base, fresh fruits and topped with kashta and nuts. However, we decided to leave that for another time. Richard went for the Kashta Mix.

This was 5 pieces of assorted pastries made on kashta, a clotted cream sweet cheese. The kashta here was very different to the one we had at El Sweetie! It was more savoury and had a texture less like whipped marshmallow and more like cottage cheese. I really liked this version much better. It went so well with the assorted crispy and flaky pastry laced with rose syrup. There was a little dish of additional syrup to pour if neccessary, however I found them perfect the way they were. The kashta found in each pastry was slightly different too, laced with different nuts.

I went for Knefe -Cheese. The waitress asked if I wanted the bun filled or unfilled. I said that I had never tried it before and so I wasn't sure. She was surprised that I was trying this and commented on my bravery. She then suggested she put the bun on the side but when she served it she gave instructions to open the bun, scoop all the mixture in, pour over syrup and press down and enjoy.

I decided to try the Knefe au naturale first before trying it with their "signature bun".

Action shot of the stretchy cheese.

Wow! One bite of this stuff and I was in heaven. Because we arrived on 6 pm (if you read the menu, it is only available at certain times and in the evening only after 6 pm) The kenefe was freshly made. It was a stretchy mozarella type slightly sweet cheese sandwiched between layers of sweet buttery, crunchy semolina. The cheese was slightly chewy yet melted in the mouth. It did not have a chees-ey type flavour at all and neither was it oily. It was extremely tasty and I remember the pillowy texture more than anything else *sigh*.

I ate some of it on half the bun and finished all the knefe but left the other half a bun. Richard had 4 pieces of his and left the large triangular piece. The waitress congratulated us on our effort. We took the last piece away as well as bought some of the baklava and other assorted lebanese pastries. The take away container was really cool. It had the company logo embossed in it and was the quality of a tupperware type container!

My long black (average) which came with one of their petit fours (nice and light).

While we were deciding which ones to get, the guy behind the counter gave us a few sample pieces to try! We were just about exploding at this point so I had to nibble on mine and put the rest away in the take away container. Our take away selection of sweets which we have started sampling.

The filo here is much more buttery and light than at El Sweetie, almost too? flaky for me. I also found the semolina in the Namoura not as crunchy and a bit too sweet. The nut ratio in the sweets is a bit higher though and the pistachios are chunkier within the pastries themselves.

Personally, the eat in desserts here win hands down. The service was much better with really friendly staff. However, I tend to like the pastries themselves at El Sweetie better. Price wise, both places are a great bargain. Our total including a Diet coke for Richard and the take away came to $33.50. We didn't even need to have dinner after that. Having a whole dessert for dinner was a first for me. I have to say I quite like the idea and would be open to doing it again!

Sea Sweet Australia
354-356 Church St Parramatta
1300 90 80 70

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At 12:47 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hi Rachel - That's quite an must have a pretty healthy sweet tooth!

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Rachel said...

lol actually kirk, I don't really consider myself to. Dessert is more a rarity and an occasion than a must. When I do feel the urge, I tend to pick the desserts that have a savory slant to them. I think its more about the nutty, tasty crunch more than the sweet aspect.

At 12:31 AM, Blogger kristainlondon said...

One of my favorite places in London is a Lebanese grocery called Green Valley. The baklava displays in the windows are truly amazing...stacks and stacks of baklava!

At 8:48 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hey Rachel - A belated Happy Birthday to you! (I think I got it right???)

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Arwen said...

That kenefe sounds superb. I went to Sea Sweet yesterday and had their kashta which was just wonderful!

At 7:48 PM, Blogger unnatisilks said...

Great post
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