31 January 2013
Jasmin 1 Restaurant ~ Lebanese - Punchbowl
Rainy day blues are washed away by classic Lebanese at Jasmin 1 in Punchbowl.
Ah Punchbowl, ancestral home of Baby John Burgess, Sydney punk band Hard On's and the site of one of the best Australian movies of the 70's, The FJ Holden. It's pouring rain in Sydney and we need to get out of the house so decide to head out via the magic food train line (Liverpool via Bankstown) and explore what's on offer.
We really haven't chosen the best day to explore, so we head down the busiest road and find a long standing favourite, Jasmin 1. There are signs inside proclaiming this place is the original Jasmin, so beware if anyone claims otherwise!
The interior of Jasmine 1 looks a little bit fancy, they are repainting the murals to include middle eastern and Australian scenes. The food menu is simple Lebanese fare, at unbelievably non fancy prices. There's families in here, lots of couples, it's quite a casual affair.
Mixed plate $15. An easy order, a little bit of everything: crunchy falafel, kibbeh, minced meat kebab, tender beef kebab and grilled chicken, with two scoops of hommous and baba ganoush and a pile of tabbouleh,
Pickles, glorious pickles. A generous plate of radish, gherkins, olives and chillis, with raw onion and mint as you fancy.
Harissa and toum, that magic garlic sauce, for dunking and spreading over meats.
Fattoush $7. This salad of deep fried bread, tomatoes, capsicum and lettuce is mixed together with pomegranate molasses for a sweet ting.
Foule $7. A classic dish of long stewed fava (broad) beans and chickpeas, often eaten for breakfast. There's also Ayran or leben yoghurt drink and a range of Lebanese soft drinks as well.
After lunch we need some sweet relief before heading back on the train. Al Afrah Sweets was busy with (mostly) men out getting plates of sweeties to take home.
The interior has some pleasant spots to sit. We watched the flood coverage as we drank coffee and dried out after walking around in the rain. There was lots of conversation about the floods and water and the need for rain.
A plate of sweet treats, including a chocolate based sweet, nut encrusted cakes and tiny balls of sugary sweetness.
Al Afrah beckons in the rain. It's quite the institution, starting around 1982.
There's another institution nearby. Before Lance there was clean as a whistle Jack Walsh who ran this bike shop until 2008 when he passed away. There's talk the sign will be heritage listed, let's hope so. The kitsch underneath is amazing, especially the tiger tables.
On the way home we stop into Fiji Market in Newtown to buy some beans and pat the shop pussycat, who is falling asleep on the job. Handle with care indeed.
Jasmin 1 is at 224 The Boulevard Punchbowl, NSW, 2196
Al Afrah Sweets is at 751 Punchbowl Road, Punchbowl, NSW 2196