If you think Middle Eastern food is only about hummus and tabbouleh, you need to get out more. We’ve found two fantastic places putting a contemporary spin on traditional Middle Eastern flavours – Nour in Surry Hills and Jounieh in Walsh Bay.
Nour means light, and the newly renovated room is full to the brim with it. The menu has also had a refresh under the eye of chef Ben Williamson.
Start off with a falafel crumpet — traditional falafel ingredients and flavours served in a silky sourdough crumpet and topped with a soft quail egg. Another great shared starter is the warm hummus with shawarma chicken bits. Build it, roll it and eat it.
Williamson has also combined a Lebanese dumpling dish, with the crispy fried bread and chickpeas of a fatteh, and the combination is sublime… as is the whole-boned snapper with nuts and tahini.
At Jounieh, traditional Middle Eastern flavours are brought alive with a touch of French technique. You can still start with dips like labne, hummus and babaganouj, or go with the roast cauliflower or beetroot salad served with faro grains, mint and pomegranate molasses.
The mains are very special, from the grilled Moreton Bay bugs served with delicate citrus butter, to the 11-hour lamb shoulder in a rosemary jus with sultanas and blueberries. Want to try the latest flavours of the Middle East? Head to the inner city.