Situated in Osborne Park, Little Lebanon is right across my old beautician, and is a place I’ve seen swarming with happy diners on all nights of the week. Having a bit of a fixation on The Hummus Club and The Prophet, I am one hundred percent committed to Arabic food, and though the garlic practically seeps out of your pores when you’re done – it’s so worth it.
My friends Vee, Linda, Jay and I try to see each other at least every fortnight for what we affectionately refer to as family dinner. We’ve all been friends longer than we can count, and in the haze of adult working life, our catch ups are not just cathartic, they’re something we all look forward to greatly. And if you’ve ever been in the same place at the same time as us… well sorry about that because we laugh the entire time, get louder and louder with mirth and I’m happy to report I’m not the only one who holds up the eating process by taking photos.
Whenever we do go out for dinner we try to visit a new or different place that we haven’t been to all together. Naturally there are some favourites in there that we revisit, but for the most part we’re pretty good at getting around within our lovely city. That’s what brought up to Little Lebanon one Thursday night after work.
Linda and I were the first to arrive and shared a pot of freshly brewed peppermint tea while we waited for the others to arrive. The piping hot tea had actual mint leaves inside, enhancing the flavour and emitting a wonderful aroma. I’ve said it before and nothing’s changed – I really don’t like hot beverages in stemless glasses unless they’re the double coated ones that don’t burn your fingers. No such luck here so I had to add a splash of cold water to each cup so I could actually pick it up.
Once the others arrived, we ordered quickly – noting that the previously empty restaurant was fast filling up with diners. The food doesn’t take too long to come out, and it all looks hearty, and smells amazing. I love that heady scent of spices!
We’ve all ordered a main each, plus a serving of the fried cauliflower with tahini dressing ($12.00) to share. The plating is rustic, but the flavours are beyond tried and true, plus the serving sizes are ridiculously huge. I’m talking we probably could have gone with two mains between the four of us and been perfectly happy. I love that! There was definitely some takeaway action after we finished eating.
Vee and I both order the lamb mansaf ($20.00) which comes with spiced rice and cashews, plus a salad on the side. The lamb has been roasted and is scattered on the plate in chunky pieces. It’s flavoursome and plentiful, but the real star of the dish is definitely the rice. I couldn’t stop eating it!
Jay’s kafta platter ($17.00) was made of two skewers of minced lamb, marinated with onions, parsely and special spices, served with salad, hommus & garlic. He had the option of rice or chips with it, which he chose the latter much to all of our happiness (we literally all gave a little fist pump and a ‘yesssss!’). The kaftas were cooked perfectly and looked a treat piled high on top of the other ingredients. And those chips – well they were just as satisfying as we all had hoped!