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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kazbah on Darling, Balmain

Kazbah mixed mezze plate (for two)
[Clockwise from front]: Lamb cutlet sambousek, char-grilled quail with pomegranate sauce,
grilled Cypriot haloumi, chickpea battered eggplant with orange blossom honey sauce, and
char-grilled octopus with skorthalia

A ferry trip to East Balmain must be one of the most leisurely ways to head towards dinner. A relaxing ride across tranquil waters and then up the hill we climb towards The London for a brief pit-stop for a breather and the excuse to down a few beers. From here it's a short hike up Darling Street towards our final destination, Kazbah.

Table setting


Moroccan is the theme here and we're pleased to discover a large airy restaurant. A few touches like beaded napkin rings and crayons on each paper-topped table are instantly noticed. It doesn't take long for the little kid in each of us to remember the joys of doodling with thick stubby crayons.

bread dips
Turkish bread with dukkah, olive oil and za'atar

Today is Thursday and we're pleased to discover their current dining offer for Wednesdays and Thursdays: $40 for two courses with wine, or $45 with three with wine.

Mains and desserts are selected from the menu, entrees must be the Kazbah mezzes platter pictured at the start of this post. The lamb sambousek is my absolute favourite - all buttery flaky pastry, tender moist lamb, sweet caramelised onion and capsicum contrasted with a dollop of smooth creamy yoghurt.

Our entrees also come with a plate of deep-fried pitta breads, crisp golden brown shards that are terribly addictive but soon start to weight heavily on the stomach. The tabouleh is refreshing but by the time we've mopped up the tzatziki, babaganouj and hummus I'm almost full.

Fried pita with tabouli, hummus, babaganouj and tzatziki (for two)

Our mains arrive to already distended bellies. The Kazbah tagine is a little disappointing in appearance, a simple white plate with lamb and couscous lacks the spectacular grandeur of the couscous Casablanca. Thankfully I've ordered the latter which is rich and hearty, packed with chunks of carrot, sweet potato and celery. The lamb falls off the bone and the chickpeas are smooth and creamy.

The pan-fried duck breast is juicy and tender, the skin is crisp and topped with dukkah.

Pan-fried duck breast $35.00
with sweet potato falafel cake, glazed figs and pistachio dukkah

Kazbah tagine with carrot-steamed couscous $35.00

Couscous Casablanca $68.00 for two
with slow roasted lamb shoulder, braised vegetables,
sultana jam, tomato broth and condiments

Pickles, yoghurt, preserved lemon and broth

Desserts are predictably sweet. The Kazbah bombe is a wonderful flashback to the Bombe Alaska era, although I wonder whether this two-person dessert is more suited to four or five sugar tooths. The meringue exterior is sweet and the turkish delight ice cream, although delicious, is even sweeter.

bombe on fire
Kazbah bombe for two $24.00
with Turkish delight ice cream, blueberries and kurrant vodka

bombe cross-section

Halawat El Jiben $14.00
Mafroukeh, fresh figs, ashta, pistachio and walnuts

The halawat el jiben is practically coma-inducing too, although the figs and walnuts provide some relief. By the time our Moroccan cigars I arrive, I am almost spent, but still manage a few forkfuls of the light flaky pastry tunnels filled with mousse. No more sugar, my pancreas insists. No more sugar, begs the enamel on my teeth.

Chocolate and halawah mousse Moroccan cigars $15.00
with honey cinnamon ice cream and chocolate sauce

hot chocolate
Hot chocolate

mint tea
Mint tea

The hot chocolate is declared as "very good" but I order the mint tea which arrives in a coffee plunger. There's a complimentary piece of Turkish delight on the side and... you know what's coming.

My pancreas just sighed and worked a little harder.


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Kazbah on Darling
379 Darling Street, Balmain, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9555 7067

Breakfast: Saturday & Sunday 9:00am - 3:00pm
Lunch: Saturday & Sunday 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday 6:30pm - Late

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Kazbah on Darling, June 2007 (breakfast)
Moroccan - Out of Africa, Manly
11 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 3/20/2007 12:20:00 am


  • At 3/20/2007 12:48 am, Blogger Jess (fushmush) said…

    ooer I love the napkin rings. They'd be so easy to make too! (hope you don't mind craft comments on a food blog *G*)

  • At 3/20/2007 3:29 am, Blogger petite gourmand said…

    mmmm. rock the kazbah.

  • At 3/20/2007 8:26 am, Blogger Vintage Wine said…

    I like the concept of mezzes (and tapas and such things). It's nice to get a bit of a lot of different dishes ;-)
    Couscous is so good, at least when it's done properly with something juice to stop it from tasting dry... My mum makes a turkey with couscous and apple stuffing and it's great! Your picture got my thinking of that dish ;-)

    Take care,

  • At 3/20/2007 9:54 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    Dinner looked interesting but I think for the price, the set breakfast menu for 8 at $22 looks like it's better value....the desserts look amazing though!!

  • At 3/20/2007 3:46 pm, Blogger Anastasia said…

    love this restaurant - Ive been a few times and havnt been disappointed!

  • At 3/20/2007 5:20 pm, Blogger Julia said…

    Have been meaning to go there (esp. for the breakfast tajine) for years. The desserts look incredible!

  • At 3/20/2007 9:32 pm, Blogger ragingyoghurt said…

    i live just down the road! i went for breakfast once, and had an amazing pink frappe... but now i'm wondering why i did not have the hot chocolate. i suppose i will have to make a return trip!

  • At 3/20/2007 10:30 pm, Blogger Jen said…

    Wow what an array of foods! I have been to both Sumac and Kazbah and I have to say that I prefer Kazbah. I went to Kazbah for the breakfact tagine and it was quite good from what I recall. I do love their teas though and the beautiful Moroccan tumblers they come in.

  • At 3/21/2007 11:19 pm, Blogger Warda said…

    This restauranr is so reminiscent fo my childhood, we make the same couscous and the same tea at home. What caught my attention and charmed me is that the restaurant is said to be moroccan yet it has different influences wich complement the dishes(hummus:middles east,duck:a classic in french cuisine,turkish delights...)we traditionnaly stuff the cigars with almond, cinnamon and orange blossom water but here the melted chocoltate is just divine.

  • At 3/26/2009 11:46 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    One of the finest restaurants I have been to! Highly recommended!

  • At 4/01/2009 10:44 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Thanks for your comment. Glad you enjoyed it.


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