Bianca: I believe I may be one of the last people in Sydney that has yet to try the pinnacle of charcoal chicken, ‘El Jannah’. Whilst I do love a food related adventure, I can’t particularly justify a trek for chicken. It just doesn’t float my boat like it does for some people. Which is why there was a little excitement when we noticed the bold yellow exterior of ‘Meshwi’ the Lebanese BBQ joint smack bam in the middle of suburban ‘little Italy’, Haberfield.
We dined several times at the former restaurants that occupied the site, many a Mother’s Day in fact. The space is enormous and they have done a great job offering a contemporary yet casual eatery.
We were keen to check out their chicken and compare just how they fare against the charcoal stalwarts El Jannah, Vanessa a recent vistiee had her judge hat on. I’m so indifferent to rotisserie/charcoal chicken I kind of forgot why we were there – I got the ‘Chicken Burger’ – breast fillet, lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayo. w/ a side of fries $12. My love for burgers knows no bounds and two dedicated t-shirts don’t lie. I was taught if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. So ill skip mine completely…..
Both Vanessa and Madre got the ‘Quarter Chicken Plate’ – ¼ chicken, chips, salad, pickles, garlic sauce and Lebanese bread. $13. Feedback was good, the chicken was moist, as a good charcoal chicken should be, according to Vanessa it didn’t have that smokiness that El Jannah has, so they edged out Meshwi in the taste department. One thing we were all impressed by is their rendition of the classic Garlic Sauce, Toum, those that have indulged in the popular Middle Eastern dip know just how potent it can be. With the potential to induce fire-breathing and ruin relationships this was a very mild version that didn’t leave that strong after breath, unless you’re into that.
Alex and I shared the burger so we could then also share the ‘Meshwi Dinner Plate’ – Kafta, lamb, chicken skewers, falafel, kibi, sambousik, fattoush salad, pickles, baba ghanouj, hummus, garlic sauce & Lebanese bread. $22. Firstly, great value for money and there is a wide variety giving you the opportunity to get a real breadth of the menu. The three ‘entrées’ were all equally delicious, with the favourite being the sambousik, the falafel which can often be dry and mealy was that perfect balance of herbs, chickpeas and spices producing an enjoyable ‘not-dry’ falafel. We were divided on the skewers, I enjoyed all three with the kafta being a stand out, and Alex didn’t particularly like the Kafta but loved the Chicken and Lamb. You can’t go wrong with any of the three dips offered on the platter, the smoky eggplant baba ghanouj was a great rendition and hummus is always a popular choice.
A pretty decent addition to the Haberfield dining scene, it’s really got the monopoly on the local chicken shop scene, I believe it’s the only one encompassing Haberfield and Leichardt (excluding Oporto’s) with the only other local a 5 minute drive away in Five-Dock.