Normally when dining at Sahra by the River on a Friday or Saturday night you must order their banquet menu - with such a large restaurant I suppose this is how they keep service fast and hungry customers happy.
However on this particular Friday night, when I've dragged The Boy off the couch and out for a feast to satisfy my carving for Lebanese food, the restaurant is not very busy so we can order off the al-a-carte menu. Which is lucky for me as I have a wicked craving for Hummus with Mince Meat that must be seen to.
Sahra is situated right on Parramatta River and the view is really lovely - calm and relaxing. On a lazy Friday night it's just the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by. This is one of those moments when I'm really very happy to be living just up the road from here (not so much the next day though when it was 38 degrees in Parramatta - ouch).
The Boy decides to kick things off with a Fresh Homemade Lemonade ($5.60). Because I'm trying to watch my spending (just bought a new car) I decide to stick with water, but end up drinking most of The Boy's Lemonade anyway. The combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh mint and rosewater is totally divine. The sweet aftertaste of the rose water has me going back for sip after sip.
Although the Lemonade is stellar it really is the HOMOUS with SPICED LAMB MINCE ($17.00) that I'm here for. Before we headed out to dinner I googled the menus of all the Lebanese restaurants in our area until I found one that served this delicious nutty Houmous that is topped with sautéed lamb mince dotted with onion and roasted pine-nuts. If you're a Houmous lover then this just takes it to the next level - the meat is savoury and totally moreish.
The dip comes with a basket of fresh Lebanese Bread and also a few slices of crisp Lebanese Bread topped with a Za'atar mix (a Lebanese spice mix of sesame seeds and other herbs such as thyme, oregano or sumac which is very addictive).
I've always wanted to FATTOUSH SALAD ($14.00) and this seemed like as good a time as any to give this traditional Lebanese salad a whirl. The serving at Sahra is generous, a huge bowl heaving with a tumble of herbs, onion and tomato with fried bread and pomegranate dressing. This was a fresh and lush salad. I'd happily go back for more.
At this point the waiter notices my obsessive photo taking of the food and comes over to offer to take a picture of The Boy and I. The Boy readily agrees, but I have to say that my photo of the SAHRA MIX GRILL ($33.00) is far better than his photo of us - much more tasty!
The mix grill platter comes with delicious smokey tasting BBQ Quail, 3 skewers - lamb fillet, chicken fillet and a kafta (spiced lamb mince) as well as a few grilled vegetables, garlic aioli and special Sahra bread that sits under the meat soaking up all the juices.
Our meal at Sahra was lovely and the setting is fantastic. I'm already plotting a revisit - perhaps with a bigger group for a birthday or family dinner.
Sahra by the River is at 2 / 76 Phillip street, Parramatta. Phone them on 9635 6615.