The long-awaited food venture of fellow food blogger Fouad of The Food Blog is finally alive. A few years ago Fouad had a lightbulb moment and found that an ancestral way of eating was the answer to his and his father’s health problems. I had been following his blog for a while but the fact that he published his story in his blog, which is fairly well-known, made me respect him even more.
True to both his ethnic background and nutritional views, all the Middle-Eastern dishes at Chic Pea are free of gluten, seed oils, GMOs, HFCS and preservatives. Sweet.
We didn’t get a table for opening night but went the week after. We started with almond & potato bread with Pepe Saya dukkah butter. If you thought Pepe Saya butter is the best thing ever, wait until you try it spiked with dukkah and spread on warm fluffy delicious gluten-free almond & potato bread. You will come every week and have multiple portions for dinner.
Almond & potato bread ($2.5) with Pepe Saya dukkah butter ($1)
Here, as in other restaurants, is smart to order many dishes to share. Our first was roasted beetroot with labnah, maple & black sesame. The beetroot was good, the labnah was amazing. The combination made me wish the portion was much bigger.
Roasted beetroot with labnah, maple & black sesame ($14)
Next came the chicken shish tawook with toum (Lebanese garlic sauce). This dish came with a modification: it didn’t include tomato in the marinade to accommodate for one person in our group who is allergic. It was still tasty but I’d like to try the original version.
Chicken shish tawook with toum ($18)
The beef & pistachio kofta on charcoal with baba ghanouj & pickles were super flavourful. IMO the 3 components (meat, sauce, pickles) were in perfect balance. One of my favourite dishes of the night.
Beef & pistachio kofta on charcoal with baba ghanouj & pickles ($18)
Another of my favourites was the siyyadiyeh, a spiced fish pilaf with fried almonds and tahini. Perfect textures, perfect ratios, perfect flavour.
Siyyadiyeh-fish pilaf ($20)
The slow cooked lamb shoulder with goat’s yoghurt & chickpeas was good but we didn’t get to taste it in all its glory because we don’t eat chickpeas.
Slow cooked lamb shoulder with goat’s yoghurt & chickpeas ($22)
Fortunately, we were not too full for dessert and got to try both of the wonderful options in the menu. Pistachio ashta (Middle-Eastern clotted-cream) & rose ice cream w/ fig, persimmon, currants & Summer Hill honey was great for those who like creamy textures with a beautiful mix of flavours.
Pistachio ashta & rose ice cream w/ fig, persimmon, currants & Summer Hill honey ($14)
But I got more excited when I tried the atayef with date butterscotch & walnuts. Because Fouad uses tapioca flour to make these crisp-fried ricotta dumplings they reminded me to a fried street dessert I used to eat back home (yuquitas fritas), only much more refined and delicious.
Atayef with date butterscotch & walnuts ($8)
Chic Pea @ Plunge
46 Lackey Street
Summer Hill NSW 2130
(02) 9799 9666 (will be answered by Plunge Cafe staff during daytime)