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Thursday, February 05, 2009

El Jannah, Granville

You can smell the charcoal from a block away. Its smoky tendrils waft toward us, taunting us, calling us, whetting our appetite and making our footsteps to El Jannah just that little bit faster.

El Jannah means paradise or heaven in Arabic. It's a spiritual destination that many of El Jannah's most loyal customers profess to visit. The friend who recommended it to me closed her eyes as she told me about her favourite barbecue chicken. "The chicken. It's soooo tender. Oh and the garlic sauce," she murmured. It was a Homer Simpson-style moment of reverie.

Garlic toum

It's clear that plenty of others agree. During our one hour dinner on a Friday night, I note that the queue at the register never ceases. Each departing customer is always replaced by at least another, and it's a whole cross-section of the community with Lebanese alongside Indians, Vietnamese and Caucasian.

The majority of customers are here for takeaway chicken, and with the relative price jump for eat-in, it's not hard to understand why (see prices at bottom of this post). The restaurant is not so much a restaurant, but more like a takeaway store with a dozen tables and chairs. We order and pay at the counter, and whilst we wait I try not to drool as I watch other customers request a side of chips included inside their shawarma, chicken or falafel rolls.

Pickled cucumbers and turnip

Lebanese bread

Chips $4.00 small

We pounce on the bowl of chips when they arrive. We weren't sure how many chips four dollars would buy you. Let me assure you. It's a lot. The potato straws are a heartwarming hue of gold, crunchy on the outside and sprinkled generously with chicken salt.

The Lebanese bread is delightfully soft, fresh and fluffy. We use torn wedges of bread to scoop up thick dollops of the garlic toum. The toum is quite creamy here, we notice, without any harsh heat of garlic making it more like an aioli.

Tabbouli $5.50

The richness of the toum is balanced with mouthfuls of tabbouli, a zingy salad of parsley, tomato, onion, shallots, lemon juice and a smattering of burghul. We also dig into the pickles, a simple two-toned affair of salty pickled cucumbers and hot pink radish strips.

Whole bbq chicken $21
includes garlic, pickles and bread

And then there's the chicken.

Fresh from the grill and searing hot, we have to gingerly handle it with our non-heat-resistant fingers. The flesh is blackened with charcoal, giving a smoky smell and flavour. But the best part is the skin, so thin and crisp it shatters like a poultry version of pork crackling.

Falafel $1.50 each

And because we're suckers for punishment, the three of us have opted for falafel as well. These are unusually chunky in consistency, some of the fava beans still recognisable in wholeness, giving a heartier chunkier almost mealiness which is unlike the fine textured crumb we're more commonly used to. The falafel is served with a small pot of tahina yoghurt sauce along with slices of tomato and shredded lettuce.

There's too much food but staff are more than happy to provide a takeaway box for leftovers.

Good simple food and plenty of it. Now that's my kind of dining paradise.

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El Jannah on Urbanspoon

El Jannah Restaurant
4-6 South Street, Granville, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9637 0977

Open 7 days 10am-10pm

Eat in menu
Whole chicken with garlic, pickles and bread $21
Half chicken with garlic, pickles and bread $11.50
Quarter chicken with garlic, pickles and bread $7
Chops $4.00 / $6.00
Hommos / baba ganouj / tabbouli $5.50
Falafel $1.50 each
Shawarma $12
Extra plate of garlic or pickles $3

Takeaway menu
Whole chicken with garlic $12.90
Half chicken with garlic $6.90
Quarter chicken with garlic $3.90
Quarter chicken with small chips and can of drink $7.50
Chips $2.50 / $4.00
Baba ganouj $5.90 / $8.90
Hommos $5.50 / $7.90
Tabouli $4.90 / $6.90
Falafel $0.50 each

Chicken roll $7.90
Shawarma roll $7.90
Falafel roll $6.00
Garlic $0.50 / $2.50 / $4.50

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Lebanese - Al Aseel, Greenacre
Lebanese - El-Manara, Lakemba
Lebanese - Emma's on Liberty, Enmore
Lebanese - Jasmin, Lakemba
Lebanese - Jasmin I, Punchbowl
Lebanese - Rowda Ya Habibi, Newtown (Mar07) and (Jul04)
15 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/05/2009 01:16:00 am


  • At 2/05/2009 1:39 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    wahhh that is a huge price increase for eat in :S! They look so tasty I think I would rather get 2 whole chickens with garlic sauce take away mmmmm

  • At 2/05/2009 2:11 am, Blogger Karen | Citrus and Candy said…

    I've heard my boy whinging about the lack of good charcoal chicken around the area for too long so this is perfect since I don't live too far from Granville. I know where I'm buying my next weeknight dinner :)

  • At 2/05/2009 6:57 am, Blogger hazchem said…

    mmmm El Jannah! One of the few good things I found when I lived in Rosehill for a couple of years.

  • At 2/05/2009 6:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That chicken looks delicious, I love the flavour that cooking on charcoal imparts
    If only one lived nearby Granville and could take away!

  • At 2/05/2009 9:09 am, Blogger shez said…

    mmm, charcoal (somehow) makes any meat taste so much better. and wow about the price difference for eat in / take away!

  • At 2/05/2009 9:45 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They do great chicken rolls there too. Yum, love that place!

  • At 2/05/2009 12:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I also look at toum the same way that Homer Simpson looks at donuts, unabashed lust!

  • At 2/05/2009 3:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'd drive there again for some takeway chook. Love the smoky flavour

  • At 2/05/2009 8:52 pm, Blogger Simon said…

    The food there looks very much like the food at Awafy in Belmore. Unfortunately, so to do the eat-in prices...

    If it's as good as it looks, I may have to give it a try if I'm ever in the area.

    Is it just me or do the chips feel somewhat out of place - garlic dip, pickles, lebanese bread, CHIPS, tabbouli, falafel...

  • At 2/05/2009 11:41 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi FFichiban - We did think about getting takeaway but that would've meant a torturous drive all the way home again! Maybe next time :)

    Hi Karen - lol. Let me know what your verdict. Would be curious to see what the boy thinks!

    Hi Hazchem - I've been meaning to get here for about two years. Finally managed to wangle it with friends :)

    Hi Lili - You can't beat the true flavour of charcoal. Crunchy burnt bits are always a bonus!

    Hi Shez - I agree! There's a bit of a price hike but I suppose they want maximum turnover so they want to encourage takeaway!

    Hi 12ontheinside - The chicken rolls were quite popular. I find it intriguing that you can pay an extra $1.50 to get a "freshly cut chicken" too!

    Hi Lorraine - Toum is dangerously good. I think my favourite toum is still the one at Jasmine's in Lakemba though. I still haven't quite mastered making my own yet.

    Hi Veruca Salt - It would be a long torturous drive home with the smell of the chicken in the car! The smoky flavour was good good good.

    Hi Simon - I haven't been to Awafy so thanks for the tip.

    And hmmm I don't think chips are ever out of place. In my books they always fit right in!

  • At 2/06/2009 8:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I always thought that when you order in there, you get more pickles and sauces and stuff included rather than being extra. That's part of why there is such a price difference.

  • At 2/06/2009 9:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    oh yummmmmm i love this place. I used to go after school and grab one of their rolls (which had chips in them!

  • At 2/06/2009 11:34 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi 12ontheside - You do get bread, pickles and toum but if you add up the cost of those if you bought everything takeaway it would still fall short of the price charged for eat-in. I haven't done a portion comparison though, but even the falafel is $1.50 versus 50c.

    Hi Chris - Perhaps it's just as well I didn't have a place like this near my school!

  • At 3/25/2011 9:49 pm, Blogger thehungryduck said…

    I love this place! After reading your blog I'm going to go El Jannah's for lunch tomorrow :)

  • At 11/02/2012 11:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Eat in is a Rip-off but i must admit it is delicious...


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