In amongst the bustling bright lights of Potts Point is a slice of the Middle East. New to the Kazbah Group, Kazbah Souk is an underground restaurant that sends the culinary traditions of the Middle Eastern and North African bazaars to the streets of Sydney. The Potts Point location is the perfect place to escape the city. With a map of MENA colouring the walls, protruding pipes coming out from concrete ledges and jars of pickles, wine bottles and champagne sitting on an open wooden cellar, the hidden food hamlet brings the ambience of souk life to the city.
Head Chef Quim Hernandez Maluquer expresses “I want to make eating an adventurous experience, where every diner not only lingers on forgotten tastes but also discovers something new”. Under the guidance of Quim and his extremely happy side kick Vinni, my taste buds packed their bags and headed for the desert! Here is my journey through Kazbah Souk’s scrumptious menu.
My night started off in the back bar, where all good nights start. The low lit cocktail lounge is decorated with large black and white portraits lining deep blue walls, plump desert-coloured cushions and green glass shisha pipes resting on antique tables. I am served a pink Poussin ($15) cocktail with vodka, cointreau, watermelon liqueur and lime. The perfect way to get the taste buds buzzing for the first entrée.
Vinni brings out a platter with smokey, smooth hummus ($14) sprinkled with red hot paprika in an old jam jar with fresh Lebanese bread on the side. Conscious not to full my belly up on bread, I keep licking the hummus off my knife as the nut infused dip tickles my tongue. Along with this, Vinni recommends the plate of grilled local octopus ($19) with creamy mashed potatoes, deep fried green leaves dressed in red paprika and sea salt. The tender octopus leg is deliciously soft and is complimented by a glass of New Zealand chardonnay. The neighbouring plate has char-grilled fresh sardine kebabs ($17) with chili, parsley, olive oil and lemon. The herbs and citrus bathe the subtle, sardine flavour perfectly.
The main course makes its entrance and my smile widens. On a large wooden platter sits a slow cooked lamb shoulder ($35) with homemade marinate, grilled with Casablanca vegetable, sauce and carrot steamed couscous. The authentic flavour has hints of turmeric, and parsley infusing the dish. The grilled mixture of zucchini, carrot and onion soak up the light garlic like sauce. The perfectly cooked lamb has been slow cooking for 12 hours which is now melting off the bone. The mild game flavour is comforting and is enhanced with the sprinkles of sea salt and rosemary. It is as if the plate has travelled from the shores of Morrocco to my mouth.
Just when I thought my insides were going to burst with over indulgent excitement, dessert came out. Vinni laughs as my eyes light up at the plate of chocolate coated bunyols ($14) with a chocolate sauce centre and cinnamon ice cream. The bunyols are popular throughout Spain, Greece, Turkey and Morrocco. The fried ball of dough is coated in chocolate with warm, chocolate sauce hidden inside. The chocolate bursts out of the soft dough like a chocolate waterfall in Willy Wonka’s Factory. The creamy, slightly spiced ice cream soothes my palette as I drink the rich chocolate sauce.
The second dessert enters and it is evident Vinni has saved the best until last. He brings out the Kazbah Bomb ($14). Sitting on a Turkish patterned plate sits a soft meringue ball hiding Turkish delight ice cream and sponge inside. The light and airy meringue is sweet with a hint of vanilla added. Drizzled next to it, is dark purple berry coulis. The mix between the fluffy meringue, warm smooth coulis, soft sponge and cold ice cream is a culinary explosion. Vinni pours a shot of Kurrent Vodka over the dessert and torches it with a match. Igniting the flavour in blue flames I blow out the dessert just when it starts to form a crisp layer. I enter a Kazbah food coma.
9-15 Bayswater Road, Potts Point, NSW
Phone: 1300 529 224 (1300 KAZBAH)
I Ate My Way Through dined as guests of Kazbah Souk