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Monday, October 30, 2006

Morris' Egyptian Restaurant, Dulwich Hill

morris interior sphinx

EDIT: Morris' has closed

You won't need a felucca to get to Dulwich Hill, just a short trip on a bus from the city to arrive at Morris', purportedly the only Egyptian restaurant in Sydney. Dulwich Hill has a village-like feel, but it has a healthy concentration of gastronomic highlights: Eumundi Smokehouse lures from across the road and giant wheels of rose-syrup soaked baklava await at Abla Pastry a few doors down.


I've been fascinated with Egyptian cuisine ever since reading Apricots on the Nile by Colette Rossant, one of my favourite foodie memoirs. The shamelessly kitsch decor inside Morris' is far from my romantic notions of Colette's childhood, but the giant Sphinx mural, 70s brown glass light fittings and colourful alternating red and yellow serviettes don't fail to raise a smile anyway.
There are a la carte options or banquets which start at $25 per person (Pharoah's banquet or $27.50 for Sultan's banquet). A happy group of eight of us go straight to the top: the King's banquet at $30 per head.

Mashed chickpeas, lemon juice and olive oil dip

Yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, mint and lemon juice dip

baba ghanouj
Baba ghanouj
Eggplant dip

A trio of dips arrive almost immediately. They disappear just as fast with eager mopping up using soft wedges of fresh Lebanese bread.

vine leaves and felafel
Vine leaves filled with aromatic herbs and rice
and felafel deep-fried vegetable patties

Dolmades-like vine leaves are mild and without the traditional Greek lemony tang. Felafel are flattened patties of mashed chickpea that also differ from the crunchy football-shaped Lebanese version I'm used to. Tabbouleh (which I somehow forgot to take a photo of) is sweet and refreshing, and noted for its lack of burghul but distinctive addition of coriander.

carob juice
Carob juice $3.50

I can't resist ordering the carob juice, a thick liquid that tastes like dark grape juice mixed with prunes.

lamb kebabs
Lamb kebab
Lamb cubes marinated in onion and herbs

A series of meat on skewers follows: the lamb kebabs are meltingly tender and almost gamey in flavour, the kofta are dense and meaty, the chicken kebabs are plump and juicy. A plate of tahini dip is dispensed with another basket of Lebanese bread, and our empty plates of tabbouleh are silently and thoughtfully replenished too.

Lamb, beef and herbs in a sausage-like mince

Sesame paste, lemon juice and garlic dip

chicken kebabs
Chicken kebab
Boneless chicken cubes marinated in garlic

We conclude with cups of strong Turkish-style coffee and a duo of sweets.

Egyptian coffee

The baklava is sweet but not sickly so, and the Turkish delight is soft and chewy. It far surpasses my usual expectations of soggy or dried out desserts that conclude a banquet meal.

baklava and turkish delight
Baklava and Turkish delight

The ever-smiling owner, Morris Mansour, arrives at our table, adorning us with fez hats and a rainbow of scarves, hemmed with clinking gold coins. And with a blast of traditional music, we may not really be in Cairo, for a brief belly-shaking moment, we don't really care.

morris interior

Morris' Egyptian Restaurant CLOSED
445 New Canterbury Road, Dulwich Hill, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9560 1346

Tuesday - Saturday 6.00pm til midnight
BYO $1 corkage per person
2 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 10/30/2006 08:32:00 pm


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