If you live in Sydney, then you’ve either heard of or been to a ‘Sushi Train’. You sit on a high bar stool and watch as glorious food swirls before you in a circle, each round bringing something new for your feasting pleasure. The instant gratification of eating this way is unrivaled. You can grab what you want and eat it, watching the plates stack up in front of you.
The same concept is true at Mezza Train, where they’ve created a demure and classy train designed in dark woods and elegantly set. The train features the best of Lebanese Food. The dishes at Mezza Train start from $4.00 a plate and increase to $6.50. All the meats are made to order to guarantee a fresh and hot plate.
Lebanese food has a rich history dating all the way back to the Roman times. Over the last few thousand years Lebanon has been ruled by foreign powers at points which has greatly influenced their food. The Ottoman Turks ruled the country through to 1918 and they introduced lamb as a staple meat. There are also other Arabic influences and influences from surrounding countries such as Syria.
Like many other Mediterranean countries what the Lebanese eat is dictated by seasonal changes. The cuisine is filled with fresh flavours, whole grains, rich dishes and wholesome ingredients. They typically do not cook with cream or butter, instead olive oil is used almost exclusively.
Mezze, is the name they give to small dishes that are served together to guests. These are very similar in concept to Tapas in Spain or mezeluri in Romania. The dishes create a gourmet assortment of colours, flavours and textures. They are traditionally served with drinks to avoid drinking without food. I can only guess that these had to be an inspiration for Mezza Train.
On sitting down, you are greeted with fresh pita and crisp breads to enjoy with your meal. Grab a Hommus ($4) and start dipping as you watch the options go by. There is definitely enough Hommus to share with a friend. When I was there, they said that was the point, to create conversation and connections with people.
From there, the possibilities are limitless and picking another dish is almost torture. You could start with an appetizer such as Baba Ghannouj which is smoked eggplant with tahini and garlic, or Batanjan which is eggplant sliced and fried with taratour (both are $4.50).
Another option is the Shanklish ($5.50) which is a cheese made traditionally from either Goat’s milk or Sheep’s milk and originated in Levantine Cuisine. Shanklish is traditionally formed in balls and contains a variety of flavours. However, it can be served loose, which is how Mezza Train decided to serve it. It is topped with tomatoes, onions and olive oil. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
If you love halloumi, and really who doesn’t, you can get the Halloumi Stack ($6.50) which is topped with watermelon, basil and mint. Yum!
The salads are full of fresh and crisp ingredients. I am not a fan of dressings of salads, however these were perfectly paired and dressed salads. My favourite was the Fattoush ($4.50) which had lettuce, radish, capsicum, cucumbers and tomatoes, it was then topped with lightly fried bread, olive oil and a pomegranate molasses dressing. Pure perfection in a salad.
All the meats were made to order, this way they came out hot and fresh. There are a wide variety of choices including lamb, beef and chicken. The Maanet are packed with flavours, including lemon and garlic ($6.50).
You can not pass over dessert at Mezza Train, between the pastries rounding before your eyes and the made to order desserts your sweet tooth is sure to be singing praises. The Khafeh ($5.00) is a made to order dessert that consists of a semolina mixture and melted cheese. This dessert of Palestinian origin is soaked in an orange blossom syrup during the final cooking phase. The cheese is stringy and mild, mixed with the orange blossom is the perfect end to a meal.
In addition to the Khafeh there are other Lebanese desserts such as Batlawa ($4.00) and Znoud El Sit ($4.00).
With the ability to transform from a quick lunch spot to an elegant evening out to a place to grab an amazing dessert, Mezza Train has it all. Every single aspect of the meal is perfect.
Corner of High Street and O’Riordan Street, Mascot, Sydney NSW
Phone: (02) 8317 6312