The thing that I love about Middle Eastern food is that it’s never too complicated. I love the unpretentious vibe the food has. The food is laid out in front of you in mass proportions, and while lacking the finesse in presentation as, say, a 5-star restaurant would, the food tastes good. And that’s the important thing.
My friends and I had dinner at Café Mint in Surry Hills on the weekend. The food was beautiful, however, there are some criticisms I have to make note of.
But we’ll start off with the positives: the food.
Because we were all starving, we all decided to have all of our food taken out in one go. We ordered the vegetarian tasting plate. Now this was beautiful. The plate had 3 different types of dips, 2 skewers of grilled haloumi, chick peas, flafels (a Middle Eastern equivalent to a croquette except this is made with ground chickpeas), stuffed vine leaves (a popular Arabic vegetarian dish of rice and vegetables parcels wrapped in grape vine leaves), eggplant and Lebanese bread.
We also had the meat tasting plate. Like its vegetarian counterpart, this was equally delicious. The platter consisted of: lamb meatballs, Lebanese sausages, slices of lamb steak and chicken strips. All oozing with that classic Middle Eastern herb and spice flavour.
We also ordered one of the main dishes: lamb shoulder with shredded radish and sweet potato. This was delicious. The lamb shoulder was so tender. You could just poke your fork at it and the meat would come apart at an instant. The sweet potato and radish were nice compliments.
The Fattoush Salad was beautiful. This is the second time I’ve had it and I absolutely love it. I need to learn how to make this salad. This is probably one of the best salads I’ve ever had. There’s something about the crunchiness of the Lebanese bread combined with the sourness of the salad that make this so perfect.
Now for the negatives.
I wouldn’t recommend coming with a large group of friends. The restaurant was tiny. It’s a small narrow restaurant tucked away in the restaurant/café studded Crown Street in Surry Hills. When we arrive, the joint was packed to the rafters. Luckily there was a table available for 5 people. But let me tell you, foodies, I felt cramped and a little claustrophobic with all my friends seated at the table.
The service. The service was great for the most part – there were a couple of waiters who were very attentive and helpful – but there was a particular waiter that gave us attitude. We simply wanted to have a cake stored in their fridge during the dinner but she rejected our request stating they were “to busy”. Mind you, the aforementioned waiters were trying their best to help us but Miss Bitchy was not having it.
Sigh. The restaurant would have been better if it wasn’t for the bitchy service and the lack of space. But do try the food here, foodies. It was fully sick.
View Café Mint’s website here.