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Thursday, December 09, 2010

Kazbah, Balmain - Breakfast Banquet

Pace yourself.

These are the two key words you must hold onto when you sit down to the breakfast feast at Kazbah.

Kazbah on Darling

The breakfast feast is not to be bandied about lightly. This is a meal of such epic proportions you should plan at least a week ahead, stretching your stomach with water as though you were a competitor in a Major League Eating competition.

A set minimum of six people for the breakfast feast will require forward planning. Breakfast is served all day at Kazbah (available until the end of lunch service at 3pm) and we found ourselves with a 1.30pm booking for the mother of a breakfast banquet.

We arrived on time but still found ourselves waiting outside for about twenty minutes, faced with a packed dining room, spilling over with people and noisy with cutlery and conversation.

Sweet couscous, mixed nuts and dried fruits
served with stewed rhubarb and cardamom milk

By the time you sit down, you will be ravenous, and twitching with anticipation. As the first bowls of shared dishes land on your table, you will be tempted to elbow your fellow companions out of the way, desperate to plunge your fork deep into the mound of spiced couscous, each grain plump and swollen, mixed with cashews, sultanas and shredded coconut.

A saucer of stewed rhubarb adds tartness, the aromatic couscous moistened with a splash of cardamom milk.

Banana porridge with date compote
served with brown sugar and warm milk

More food will arrive. Banana porridge is as thick and creamy as the stove-top version grandma used to make. If the date compote isn't sweet enough for you, a saucer of soft brown sugar will tide you over. A glass of warm milk allows you to thin the porridge to your satisfaction.

Warm rice pudding with saffron poached pear and hazelnuts $16.50

And then there's warm rice pudding, soft cooked rice served with golden slices of saffron poached pear, dusted with sugar, cinnamon and crushed toasted hazelnuts.

Roast pumpkin breakfast tagine
Roast pumpkin, spinach, roast capsicum, roast tomato,
caramelised onion, feta and eggs served with Turkish toast and Lebanese bread

The breakfast tagines are a signature dish at Kazbah, and signal a shift to more substantial fare. We receive one of each to share among our group of fourteen people.

Lamb mince breakfast tagine
Lamb mince, sucuk, roast capsicum, roast tomato,
caramelised onion, feta and eggs served with Turkish toast and Lebanese bread

The lamb mince tagine comes swollen with chunks of spicy sausage, fresh tomatoes, capsicum, caramelised onion, cubes of fetta and the sunshine yellow of several eggs broken directly over the top and baked.

Pumpkin tagine is the lighter vegetarian version, a colourful array of roasted pumpkin, caramelised onion, capsicum, tomato, fetta and baby spinach leaves.

We mop up the sauces at the bottom with soft Lebanese bread and shards of buttered Turkish toast.

Turkish toast and Lebanese bread

But wait. There's more.

Eggs three ways - scrambled, poached and fried
served on Lebanese bread

A platter of eggs three ways -- scrambled, poached and fried -- is delivered to our table, each egg served on a wedge of Lebanese bread and garnished with baby spinach leaves.

Hot breakfast plate
Roasted tomato, haloumi, potato hash, bacon and lamb merguez sausages

And then the hot breakfast plate -- all the cooked items your seedy self could possible desire -- lands before your eyes, a mesmerising bounty of lamb merguez sausages, rashers of bacon, spheres of potato hash, roasted tomato halves and squeaky slices of pan-fried haloumi.

Baby spinach, mushrooms and baked beans

Unbuckle that belt for the sides, a trio of wilted baby spinach leaves, sauteed mushrooms and the toothsome chewiness of fresh baked beans.

Chocolate pancake with butterscotch sauce and chocolate fudge ice cream

Did you really think that breakfast ended here?

It's not breakfast unless there's pancakes. A Kazbah pancake is not a flimsy crepe, nor a fluffy hotcake. We're talking about a literal meaning here - a cake. Cooked in a pan. Rising majestically to a height of two inches, smothered with butterscotch sauce, a snowdrift of icing sugar and a rapidly melting scoop of chocolate fudge ice cream.

Banana pancake with maple syrup and double cream

And then another pancake. This one with banana. The slices of banana smile sweetly from their cakey cushion, the crust covered with glaze and the top christened with not a dollop, but a boatload of maple syrup-drizzled double cream.

It's big. Bigger than your hand. Take a photograph to prove it.

Strawberry pancake with maple syrup and double cream

I told you it was a feast.

We score a third pancake to share, this one dotted with strawberries. Double cream is not just good, it's magnificent.

Inside the pancake

The pancake is more cakey in texture - perhaps a little doughy in parts - but really by this point you will be slumped in your seat and groaning with pain, especially when you lift your fork for just another mouthful of breakfast dessert.

Raspberry charlotte mousse

Only true gluttons for punishment would try to eat more. Guilty as charged. Our party of fourteen is here to celebrate J-girl's birthday with a raspberry charlotte mousse cake from La Renaissance Patisserie Francais.

Plated birthday cake $3.50 per person cakeage fee

A $3.50 cakeage fee is an unexpected levy but we're assured that each slice will be dressed up "with something special". It takes about 15 minutes for the plates to emerge, but when they do, they have undergone some effort with garnishes of pistachio pashmak (Persian fairy floss), berry compote and scoops of ice cream.

The birthday girl gets twice as much pashmak.

Turkish coffee

And to finish? Teas and coffess are extra but I highly recommend the Turkish coffee, a thick dark brown slurry that arrives in a traditional copper pot.

Pouring the coffee

The coffee is dark and intense, but with a mellow aftertaste and none of the bitterness.

It will take you several hours to digest this epic feast. Only a fool would head back the following week to do it all over again.

Oh yes. Oh yes indeed.

View Larger Map
Kazbah on Urbanspoon

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

Opening hours:
Breakfast Tuesday to Sunday 8am-3pm
Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-3pm
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 6pm til late

The breakfast feast is $25 per person (minimum 6 people). Bookings are strongly recommended.

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Kazbah on Darling breakfast a la carte
Kazbah on Darling dinner
21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 12/09/2010 02:20:00 am


  • At 12/09/2010 6:47 am, Anonymous eatmarvin said…

    Wow, that's a lot of food! I'm already feeling full just buy looking at the pictures The Strawberry Pancake looks nice. It appears to have a glaze on the surface, like it is not dry. Double Cream is evil, but that's why I like it so much!

  • At 12/09/2010 6:48 am, Anonymous eatmarvin said…

    Wow, that's a lot of food! I'm already feeling full just buy looking at the pictures The Strawberry Pancake looks nice. It appears to have a glaze on the surface, like it is not dry. Double Cream is evil, but that's why I like it so much!

  • At 12/09/2010 9:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I usually don't eat much at breakfast but those pics can make me change my mind. Good strategy to go there at lunch time (and perhaps after a workout).

  • At 12/09/2010 9:19 am, Anonymous Katie said…

    ...I think I just found the location of my 25th birthday celebrations. Even the stuff on here which I wouldn't regularly eat just looks so fantastic.

  • At 12/09/2010 9:24 am, Anonymous Betty @ The Hungry Girl said…

    *drools* can't wait to go there this weekend... omg that panCAKE! Amazing!

  • At 12/09/2010 9:50 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    1.30pm brekky? :D
    But the tagines look so good and the pancakes scary.
    I suppose that cakeage fee is justified with the extras and plating... :S

  • At 12/09/2010 10:00 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    Oh dear lord. You know how I feel about porridges... I think I just discombobulated with wanting! SO much heavenliness, adn then so much maple syrup on top if it. I want to go to there!

  • At 12/09/2010 10:19 am, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    that pancake is a monster! But then there were 14 of you guys, so probably not as bad to share. First time to read about a cakeage fee too, that really adds up.

  • At 12/09/2010 10:34 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    So much porridge! Three pancakes! Wow.. They look the size of my head. And you should also add another two key words to your opener: 'pistachio pashmak'. Am I drooling?

  • At 12/09/2010 11:25 am, Anonymous Jacq said…

    yay i'm so looking forward to this weekend! there's so much food but it all looks amazing =D

  • At 12/09/2010 8:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    omg wat on earth!?!?!? Such a FEAST!!! looking at that ... looks like enough to feed 20+ people @_@ LOL

  • At 12/09/2010 9:05 pm, Blogger K said…

    It was unfortunate that there was the initial confusion about how much food we were going to get and I ended up loading up on the sweet things at the beginning. Loved the hot breakfast plate but not a fan of the pan-cake at all. It was way too doughy. Nevertheless, it was good value at $25pp.

  • At 12/09/2010 9:15 pm, Anonymous sara @ Belly Rumbles said…

    OMG those pancakes!! The food looks great and nice for a brunch. You have given me an interesting alternative idea for Mac's birthday in January.

  • At 12/09/2010 11:31 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Talk about a teaser post! soo hungry already!

  • At 12/09/2010 11:54 pm, Blogger Gianna@TheEmptyFridge said…

    Helen, its everything I pictured it to be!!
    I have been DYING to go here for the famed $25 mega breakfast but unfortunately for me the hardest part is getting 6 friends together on the weekend! Their response was that they did not "understand all the fuss" hopeless!! well, this post is getting emailed stat!

    Once again, I am breakfasting vicariously through you.

  • At 12/10/2010 10:31 am, Anonymous Jasa SEO said…

    That is epic!

    For breakfast, it is way too much but I dont mind to taste them all. It must be yummy! Eating with 10-12 people would be awesome.. Hmmm..

    The pancake caught my eyes so.. It's thick and looks like a cake.. Now I'm craving for some :D

  • At 12/10/2010 1:15 pm, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    Oh my I am holding my tummy in imaginary pain! So much food! That's breakfast, lunch and dinner in one sitting alone! Gimme some of that PANcake

  • At 12/10/2010 1:49 pm, Anonymous Emily @ NeedsMoreSugar said…

    I have to ask this, because the thought pops into my head every time I read one of your posts..

    when you go out for a meal, how many people do you take with you?

    you always seem to order such a variety of dishes that you must have a sizable group (or a very accomodating tummy).

    i want to eat everything from this post BTW!!

  • At 12/11/2010 6:15 pm, Anonymous divemummy said…

    oh wow! looks pretty good value for $25. Now to find 5 equally greedy breakfast companions ; )

  • At 12/15/2010 9:57 am, Blogger susan said…

    I have always wanted to go here for the breakfast banquet, but I am not an organised breakfast person. That banana pancake looks wonderful!

  • At 12/16/2010 8:53 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Emily - The number always varies. Sometimes I eat with one person, sometimes 14 :) I do have a very accommodating stomach though, too. lol


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