Vanessa: I often get asked what my favourite cuisine is and whilst it is a difficult one because I have many, one that I consistently turn back to is Lebanese food. There is something about the contrast and combination of flavours that draws me in every time. There are many places in Sydney serving up terrific Lebanese fare, Nour is taking the traditional dishes and injecting them with contemporary techniques and creativity.
Located centrally on Surry Hill’s Crown St, Nour offers its patrons a modern take on Lebanese cuisine in a setting that is uber contemporary with fashionable pendant lighting and a grand, central bar. Great attention has been placed on the fit out and we were all impressed by the decor and detail.
Team FFS along with Mr M, settled in for a lazy lunch on a Saturday afternoon, opting for an outdoor table to maximise the people watching, of which Crown St offers some quality viewing! As we were a party of four rather than the usual three, our eating power was increased meaning we could sample more of what Nour has on offer.
The menu is designed to share which makes it an ideal location for groups and also features both smaller and larger share plate options. It is fully licensed and offers an extensive range of wines from around the world.
We are presented with a plate of wood fired olives and smokey almonds ($12). An instant crowd pleaser and introduction to what was to come.
The Old City Mix ($18) was a serve of chicken bits, radish atop pan-fried pastry. We were instructed that the best way to eat this was to roll it up and it with our hands. There was a tanginess to the dish that was offset by the smokiness of the chicken and a novel way to eat it.
A beautifully presented dish of Hummus was set down topped with zaatar smoked goat, pomegranate and Persian limes served with a piece of zaatar flat bread.
From the garden, we were lucky enough to try the wood-fired honey figs served up with date challah, halloumi and black garlic. ($23) This combination of flavours really showcased the chef’s creativity and desire to push the boat out in terms of contemporary offerings. The figs were juicy and sweet as were the dates which was offset well by the saltiness of the halloumi and then again by the contrasting flavour of the black garlic.
The snapper served with saffron and cuttlefish rice, nuts and leek ($41) was the least favourite of the larger share plates. Whilst the fish was well cooked, I personally felt it lacked a bit of flavour although the rice made up for it.
On the other hand, the wood-roast spiced short rib 500g ($49) served with roast carrots, nigella seeds and a next level toum bearnaise had everyone salivating. The beef was cooked to perfection and fell away effortlessly from the bone. We are all a fan of toum, otherwise known as the potent garlic sauce that often accompanies chicken and will linger with you for days afterwards. So to create a bearnaise sauce using the garlic toum as a base was just a perfect combination that offered a much more subtle taste to accompany the beef.
To accompany these dishes we had firstly the cauliflower falafel served up with black grapes, sesame and preserved lime ($23). A crunchy and flavourful side dish and definitely an interesting take on the traditional falafel.
Of course, we could not go past the crispy gratin potatoes ($13) served up with smoked garlic, coriander and chilli. Utter joy in a bowl! The potatoes were super crispy but not oily and were superbly matched with the smokey garlic.
Even though we were seriously reaching a level we can all say with no word of a lie that we had no regrets in ordering dessert!
The middle eastern Banoffee ($17) came as a deconstructed slice of banana mousse pie, with caramel, tahini and served up with camel milk ice-cream. It was an ok dessert but not my preferred way of eating a banoffee pie – traditional might be best here.
The dessert that had us talking for days afterwards was the spiced pumpkin cheesecake ($15). This masterpiece was so delicious we have been singing it’s praises to anyone that will listen! The spiced pumpkin flavour that the cheesecake is perfectly paired with the halva ice cream and sweetness of the honey pepitas. It is gorgeous visually and equally as delicious.
We were all impressed by the creativity and play on the traditional Lebanese/Middle Eastern cuisine that Nour offered. Price wise it is on the higher end but it’s to be expected given the location and the quality of ingredients used. If you are open to trying a whole new take on Lebanese food then do give Nour a go..and ensure you save room for the cheesecake!
Photos by Alex
*For Foods Sake dined as guests of Nour, all opinions, however, are our own.