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Friday, 30 September 2016

El-Phoenician Lebanese Restaurant: REVIEW

El-Phoenician is quite the institution in Sydney dining.

Boasting two locations - the original establishment has been in Parramatta since 1997 in its initial incarnation, and in its newer, more opulent, larger location since 2004, then also opening at a new location in Walsh Bay - this is the cuisine you hope for when you dine Lebanese.

Josie's Juice was a guest at El-Phoenician Parramatta, although I've dined there before... several times over the years thanks to my close proximity to Parramatta, and having friends with Lebanese heritage in abundance, and truly appreciating the food and the culture.

Let's get straight to it - the food is nothing short of sensational.

One BIG tip: come very hungry.

If your eyes are bigger than your stomach as mine are, you may not get to experience the full potential of the hearty, generous serves and hospitality these fine folks at El-Phoenician are ready to impress you with.

If you are like me, you won't be able to resist starting to snack on that sinfully good deep fried Lebanese bread planted on the table before you even arrive - it's SO good, more-ish, and a self imposed (but never adhered to) ban on carbs and deep fried food will be promptly forgotten.

Now, diners here are in one or two camps: real Lebanese food aficionados who grew up with the good stuff and therefore know where to get their fix just like mamma's - always a good sign when people of the same heritage as the restaurant cuisine are clued into the slick homestyle version of what they love to eat.

Or, you're a Lebanese food lover, with not a single drop of Lebanese blood in your DNA but have come to know that El-Phoenician is where it's at.

I'd not dined at El-Phoenician for a little while, so I was more than happy to take suggestions from the front of house experts who knew their food - and their wine.

Let's start with the dips and all the entrees... and all the delicious sides. Think: lane, homes, a delicious chilli garlic dip, the shankleesh (spicy aged cheese in herbs - SO good), my fave mixed plate of marinated pickles (those turnips!)



And then onto the substantial entrees:



















Full yet? We were! But... solider on we did, folks! Here are some mains (above and below) we loved but must admit we struggled to finish. Oh my GOSH, those potatoes. Next time I come to enjoy El-Phoenician we will be going straight to these mains. That chicken! That lamb... that garlic. I often judge a Lebanese food venue based on how good their garlic is... and their baba ghanoushEl-Phoenician can stand proud. SO, so good.



Dessert!

What, you thought we wouldn't squeeze this in? EVERYONE knows there is a separate part of the stomach to fit the sweet stuff in.

And, oh... those Lebanese sweets. The best on the planet! In fact, I would highly recommend a drop in visit JUST for the dessert at El-Phoenician. Ladies arms - THE best! The  deep fried filo pastry rolls filled with ashtah - a clotted cream are simply heaven, I tell you.

The baked ricotta cheesecake we also shared - while not traditionally Lebanese - was utterly delicious also.



ME. Now that's one happy, well fed face!




The wine list is ts wine list is a selection of Australian, French and Lebanese wines, in a nod to the heritage of this business owned by the El-Bayeh family.

The name El-Phoenician alludes to paying homage to its Phoenician ancestors, with the restaurant's intention to give patrons - from a table for two, to lovers of a hearty Lebanese banquet - a memorable experience and a delicious feed. One visit won't be enough... you have been warned! Lucky for you there are two locations. Josie's Juice dined at the Church Street, Parramatta location in the centre of the now famed 'Eat Street', and there is a new location in Sydney's Walsh Bay, serving the same El-Phoenician fare for the past five years.

Details:
El-Phoenician Parramatta
328 Church Street, Parramatta NSW
Phone: (02) 9633 1611 – Fax: (02) 9633 1622
Email: parramatta@el-phoenician.com.au
Trading Hours
Dinner: Monday – Saturday 5.00pm to late
Lunch: Tuesday – Saturday 11.30am to 3.00pm
Lunch: Monday Lunch Available For Private Events
Sunday: Closed for private functions
El-Phoenician Walsh Bay
7 Towns Place Millers Point (Walsh Bay) NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9633 1611 – Fax: (02) 9633 1622
Email: walshbay@el-phoenician.com.au
Trading Hours
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 5:00pm to 11.00pm
Dinner: Thursday, Friday, Saturday 5:00pm to 11.30pm
Dinner: Sunday 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Lunch: Friday, Saturday, Sunday 11.30am till 3:00pm
Lunch (December): Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am till 3:00pm

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