So you say you’ll try anything once? Then get into some sheep’s head and prove it.
It’s called khash or pacha, a Middle Eastern winter dish traditionally eaten by men in the early hours of the morning. Tackling this for breakfast is a little ambitious, but dinner is definitely doable at Kebab Abo Ali, an Iraqi restaurant in Sydney’s southwest. This family-run restaurant is popular with Iraqi locals. The dining room is a mix of austere wooden furniture perked up with colourful woven tapestries and traditional artefacts.
Kash or pacha $15
Khash is not a pretty dish, but hey, offal is rarely about glamour. A mere $15 will get you a treasure hunt of sheep’s head and trotters all boiled together until soft and yielding. “Is that cheek?” “Oh look, I got the tongue!” Dinner has never been so much fun. The meat is a funpark of textures – some bits tender, others more gelatinous – all scooped up with comforting layers of soup-soaked bread. It’s hearty fare for real men. And women.
Parda plaw $15
If sheep’s head isn’t your thing, the parda plaw is guaranteed to be a winner. It looks like a giant pudding wrapped in golden brown pastry, garnished with leaves of flat leaf parsley. Cut your way through and you’ll find an aromatic pilaf inside, super long grains of basmati rice mixed through with chunks of lamb, fried vermicelli noodles, toasted almonds and whole cardamom pods. The flaky pastry combined with spoonfuls of rich spiced rice makes for something special.
Rice, mince, nuts and vegetables inside the parda plaw $15
BBQ mixed plate of skewers $15
The charcoal barbecue gets fired up for kebabs, delivered smoky and charred with a liberal sprinkling of sumac. Choose from minced lamb, cubed lamb fillet or chicken tekka or get the mixed plate to try all three.
Quozy lamb shoulder with and rice, beans and salad $15
Qouzy lamb with rice offers up a slow cooked lamb shank. Wood-fired fish has a delicious blackening from the fire.
Wood-fired fish $25
Salad accompanying the lamb
Everything comes with huge slabs of Iraqi bread, bubbled and golden at the edges like a giant naan. Round things out with a zingy tabouli salad or smoky eggplant baba ghannouj.
Iraqi flat bread
Iraqi bread with sesame seeds and nigella seeds
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Kebab Abo Ali
Shops 3-4, 83 The Crescent, Fairfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9723 3644
Monday to Sunday 10am-10pm
This article appeared in the May 2013 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online]
Read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews
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6/10/2013 12:03:00 am