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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rowda Ya Habibi, Newtown

It's almost three years on, and the prices still haven't changed at Rowda Ya Habibi.

And just like the prices, the decor hasn't changed at all either. There's still the takeaway style servery out the front, the granite-style tables out the back, and the steep staircase--that has everyone hanging onto the bannister--leading you precariously to the cushion rooms upstairs.

Nothing has changed upstairs in the cushion room. It still has the same tapestries on the walls, the same faded cushions on the floor, and the same low-lying tables covered with tapestries and protected by glass. It's not glamorous by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a welcome quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of King Street below.

Thankfully the quality hasn't changed either. Our group of twelve ordered the Extra Special Banquet: ten dishes including hommos, tabbouleh, baba ganouj, falafel, ladies fingers, fried eggplant, shish kebab, lamb kebab, chicken kebab, green beans and rice...all for the 2004 price of $25.00 (and who knows how long it's been $25 anyway?).


Lebanese bread (hoummos and baba ghanoush dips not pictured)

Kofte and ladies finger


Lamb kebabs

Lamb kebab with beans (on my plate)

Green beans cooked in tomato sauce

Chicken kebabs

Fried eggplant

Rice (cooked in stock with noodle pieces)

Highlights were definitely the baba ghanoush, all thick and smokey; the light and tangy tabbouleh; the comfort of rice, almost sweet with the taste of stock; and the squeaky freshness of the green beans cooked in a thick tomato sauce.

Chicken was surprisingly dry this time round (usually it's perfectly moist and juicy), and the eggplants were also unusually oily (usually it's my favourite dish). The lamb was as intensely flavoured, almost gamey, as I'd remembered.

It was an undeniable feast though, hungry men included. For $25 in Newtown, this is value that is hard to beat.


And even though we were all fit to burst, downstairs on our way out there was still some careful scrutiny of the other options in the servery.

Fried eggplant

Cabbage rolls

Turkish delight (the best in Sydney!)
80c per piece or $5.00 for a box of eight

I love the Turkish delight here. It's homemade stuff, soft and stretchy cubes of bliss. I love to cut off bite-size pieces and then watch in delight as the glistening sugar strands stretch out like honey mozzarella.

The pink squares are plain rosewater, the yellow ones have added vanilla. I've almost finished one box. I'll be back soon for another.

Vanilla turkish delight

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Rowda Ya Habibi on Urbanspoon

Rowda Ya Habibi
101 King Street Newtown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9557 5368

Open 7 days 10.30am - 12 midnight

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12 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 3/29/2007 12:46:00 am


  • At 3/29/2007 8:17 am, Blogger Truffle said…

    what a feast! sounds like a great find.

  • At 3/29/2007 9:46 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    I can't say that I have ever noticed this place in all the years that I have been eating around Newtown. The Turkish delight alone looks like it'll be worth a visit.

  • At 3/29/2007 5:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think I'm hungry....

  • At 3/30/2007 6:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen

    I live nearby and have never seen this place!!! I absolutely love turkish delight. Must go and check it out..again another detailed comprehensive review.

  • At 4/27/2007 5:57 pm, Blogger Andrew Scott said…

    what is the baklava like helen? where is the best baklava in sydney? :)

  • At 4/28/2007 10:41 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Andrew - The baklava here is ok. My favourite is from Rabieh - in Punchbowl. They're super crispy and not too soggy and syrupy. Just the way I like it :)

  • At 11/05/2007 2:19 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen :D Love your blog and have been making many dinner outings based on your reviews. Is the Extra Special Feast $25 per person, or for as many people who wish to attend?

  • At 11/05/2007 11:39 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Ivan - Thanks for your comment and I'm glad that you've been enjoying a number of delicious dinners out. The $25 price quoted is per person.

  • At 10/16/2008 8:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    does this place still do Shisha?

  • At 10/20/2008 12:14 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - I'm not sure, but I'm sure if you give them a ring, they will be more than happy to help you.

  • At 5/31/2009 12:33 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    I used to go to "Ya Habibs" every week back in my uni days (not for the banquet obviously - although I did enjoy it quite a few times) for their amazing kebabs! Chicken/Lamb, fresh tabouli, homous, chilli sauce and eggplant (you have to ask for it, but it's what makes the kebab), all wrapped up in fresh leb bread... all for $5.50 (and as far as I know, the price is still the same 8 years on!). Highly recommended to any of you uni bums :P reading this...

  • At 6/02/2009 2:26 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Sparky - The lack of price changes is quite staggering. I can only imagine it enjoys more than its fare share of uni student patronage. I have yet to eat from their takeaway section although I do stop in for a box of their turkish delight.


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