Dunyazad is a large Lebanese restaurant in Balwyn North, on the corner of Doncaster road and Trentwood Avenue.
J and I joined Nin and Andy for dinner one Thursday night.
The restaurant is traditionally decorated and I believe family-run.
We ordered the Sheik’s banquet, and as room was needed on our table for the shared dishes, our bottles of wine (BYO is allowed) were given their own tables to rest upon.
The first dishes to come out were the starters and they consisted of:
- Hommus (pureed chickpeas mixed with tahini, garlic and lemon juice)
- Baba Ghannouj (smoky char-grilled eggplant, pureed and seasoned with tahini, garlic and lemon juice)
- Tabouleh (Lebanese salad made from burghul, chopped parsley, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice and olive oil)
These were served with Lebanese bread.
Everything was super fresh but my favourite was the Baba Ghannouj, it was so smoky.
The first of the entrees were the felafels (spicy fried croquettes made from fava beans, chick peas, garlic and herbs served with tahina sauce).
Not the best version I have tasted, but edible.
The next two entrees were Lahme bi Ajeen (minced lean lamb, vegetables, herbs and spices rolled into filo pastry cigar shapes and baked or fried) and Sambouslk (filo pastry parcels filled with Hungarian feta cheese, herbs and spices).
Both were winners, but I especially liked the Sambouslk with the the contrast between the creamy cheese and the crunchy filo.
The last entree was Jawaneh (grilled chicken wings and dressed with a lemon, garlic, thyme and olive oil).
I liked these but J found them too greasy.
The mains were Shish Kebab (char-grilled marinated lamb fillets served on skewers) served on saffron rice with vermicelli and Shish Tawook (marinated chicken fillets, skewered, barbecued and served with a garlic, herb and lemon juice dressing) served on almond and pine nut rice pilaf with loubieh beans.
There wasn’t much to the sides but we didn’t need much by this stage. J preferred the lamb, while I found it to be dry and lacking flavour. I preferred the chicken.
Dessert consisted of some of the best baklava (risp flaky layers of pastry filled with nuts and glazed with orange blossom syrup) I have ever had. I was also quite taken with the Turkish delight (a variety of Turkish delight pieces dusted with icing sugar).
What I didn’t like was the Muhallabia (a delicate custard with orange blossom flavoured syrup and sprinkled with chopped pistachios). This was purely a personal thing, as everyone else liked it, but I felt like I was eating soap.
Naturally, we were totally full after all this food. The banquet was good value at just over $40 a person and the standard of food was good. I can see why Nin and Andy are regulars here.