Middle Eastern Banquet @ The Middle Feast

Named “The Middle Feast: for good reason, the name pretty much says it all. This Merrylands restaurant specialises in Middle Eastern cuisine with Lebanese and Turkish influences. The restaurant is decorated to theme with colourful mosaic hanging lights,  murals and upholstered seating.

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Be prepared to feast, this restaurant sure knows how to feed you, the portions are generous to say the least. The Middle Feast also knows how entertain you, with weekend appearances by DJ’s, bands and dancers.

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The cuisine is a mix of Middle Eastern specialties. This restaurant caters to all and is particularly good for group dining. The banquets are a good way to try a bit of everything and the portions are huge, you will likely have food to take home too. Another plus, the Middle Feast is licensed and is BYO.

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Below are the banquet options – perfect for a party or family get together

BANQUET – $40 (Min 2 ppl)

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Bread, pickles, hommus, baba ghanouj, garlic sauce

Fries, lamb samboosek, cheese samboosek, salad,

Kafta, chicken and lamb skewers

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GRAND BANQUET- $50 (Min 4 ppl ) 

Bread, pickles, hommus, baba ghanouj, garlic sauce, labne,

salad, fries, lamb samboosek, cheese samboosek,

kebbe naye, fried kebbe, ma anik,

Kafta, chicken and lamb skewers

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We went for the Grand Banquet which was certainly grand. All of the dips were super tasty, the fattoush salad and tabouleh are always a must. The fries are so moreish – nicely seasoned with chicken salt and there is a serve of garlic sauce for you to dip into, perfection!

The meats all cooked over an open grill, tender, nicely seasoned and full of flavour.

The middle feast also have a shisha lounge, where you can puff on some flavoured tobacco.

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It is also ideal for enjoying some tea or aturkish coffee with some sweets. The Knafeh was the goods and they also serve baklava.

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A great venue to enjoy a meal, plenty of space, nicely decorated with private dining areas. The menu is extensive, you are sure to find something to your liking.

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We were extremely well looked after, with their hospitality skills at their finest. We felt very welcome.

The Middle Feast

8/33/37 Sherwood Rd, Merrylands West NSW 2160

Where to get a Middle Eastern Breakfast – @ The Middle Feast

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The Middle Feast restauraunt in Merrylands has been operating since 2012 and up until recently served lunch on weekends and dinner throughout the week. Recently, they’ve started opening at 8am on weekends with a new breakfast menu and we were invited to sample it.

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Merrylands is deceptively simple to travel to especially if you are driving. It was about 20 minutes west from the city on the freeway – we loved that the freeway exit took us to the restaurant in five minutes with easy parking all around.

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Owner Zayd and his manager Marion warmly greeted us and seated us in the front of the restaurant – it’s a large dining space which opens out to the kitchen, bar and grill.

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Inside there is an even larger dining space and private room. Designed for entertainment, they often have singers and dancers performing there.

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The new breakfast menu spans several pages and offers predominantly middle eastern breakfast dishes as you’d expect, though we did notice a muesli bowl ($12), acai bowl ($12) and a five egg omelette for you to customise ($18). We wanted the more traditional experience and opted for the middle eastern offerings – especially given a family recommended the breakfast platter to us – we queried them and they said it was delicious and their first visit there.

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The breakfast platter or “The Middle Feast Banquet” ($27 per person minimum 2 people) was a beautifully presented two-tiered platter including two sides of scrambled egg dishes. You receive scrambled eggs with sujuk (sausage), menemem (tomato and pepper scrambled eggs), sigara borek (Turkish cheese rolls), aged cheddar cheese, danish fetta cheese, mixed olives, fresh tomato, cucumber, strawberry jam, cream and honey, tahini and grape molasses, apricot jam, halawa (halva), fresh seasonal fruits, walnuts and oven baked bread topped with black and white sesame seeds, and Nutella French toast (as dessert).

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The banquet includes unlimited Turkish tea and owner Zayd assured us the kitchen would bake more complimentary bread if desired (we had plenty but this is a very generous offer especially given the chef bakes the bread to order!). The banquet was delicious – fresh, tasty and it was obvious a lot of love went into plating this up. The presentation was superb.

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We also tried the Zaatar with Labne ($7). Three pieces of freshly baked mini bread with homemade Zaatar mix, served with cucumber, tomato wedges and labne. Very special and still warm from the oven.

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Next we tried the Sujuk and Egg Guvec ($18), an absolute meal in itself and perfect to share. Plenty of sauce to mop up with the homemade sesame bread served with the dish too. This dish consists of Turkish sausage (Sujuk) pan tossed with fresh tomato, lemon juice, Napoletana sauce, layered in a crock pot, with 2 eggs sunny side up topped with fetta cheese, all oven baked. The flavours and textures made this a delight to eat.

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Owner Zayd reminded us of their diverse range of fruit cocktails and gourmet shakes – we tried two: the avocado cocktail ($12) and halawa and pistachio shake ($11.50) Beautifully presented, with the avocado cocktail blended with fresh avocado and served with ashta (clotted cream), honey and fresh nuts. A healthier choice, and delicious.

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The halawa and pistachio shake was a sweet indulgence, topped with halawa fairy floss and pistachios, and drizzled with melted Belgian chocolate. You could skip dessert for this shake, it’s very generously served, and delicious.

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We finished off with some Arabic Coffee (Kahwa) $6 for 3 people, $12 for 6 people – a very strong coffee with a hint of cardamon – served unsweeteended, some might prefer to add sugar. We tried it unsweetened and it made a nice contrast to the cocktails and shakes. Beautifully presented and generously proportioned.

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Overall, this is a breakfast worth travelling for. The restaurant space is superbly decorated in middle eastern art and the lighting is worth wandering around to look at – it’s beautiful. Merrylands is a fascinating suburb worth spending more time in too – we are spoilt in this city with the diverse range of food on offer. Get out one weekend for breakfast and see for yourself.

The Middle Feast Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Part 2: The Spice Trail @Taste Tours

The tour continues, pounding the pavement of Merrylands with anticipation. We were led by our wonderful guides Latife and Parastoo. After a great start to the Taste Tour from Afghanistan to Persia, we’d been to a Persian sweet shop, an Afghani bakery, a Persian supermarket, a Turkish Diner and an Afghani kebab shop. Having already experienced so much, it was hard to fathom that there was so much more to come. We are led to visit a shop that is not food related: The Khosh Rang Boutique. This boutique specialises in traditional Afghani outfits, jewellery and high quality fabrics including silks, often worn for special ceremonies. 

Walking along the street, on the way to our next destination we were pulled into a bakery called Persian Bakery for an impromptu visit. This bakery prepares an Iraqi sweet called dahini made with tahini, honey and slow cooked for 10-12 hours in the oven. This produced an amazing sweet caramelized, creamy, toasty treat. We are informed they are the only family in Sydney that sell it.

We then made our way to the intended destination, a Persian restaurant called Saffron. We were welcomed into the restaurant for a sit down meal. We learnt about the family run restaurant and sampled some hearty options from the menu. Saffron restaurant tabled some flavoursome soup and lentils to start, which was followed by some colourful rice dishes. One rice dish of saffron and pomegranate, the other broad bean and dill, both perfectly accompanied two nicely fragrant spice of the lamb stew and the Ghemish stew.

Latife and Parastoo used the sit down meal as a fantastic opportunity to get to know the rest of the people enjoying the tour. They prompted some fun and engagement by encouraging all tour members to share a bit about themselves, including the strangest food we have tried and our favourite type of food. Our touring companions were from all over Sydney, Including a work group from the Northern Beaches, a group of friends from the inner city, another husband and wife combo as well as an individual who had attended a few of the other tours, loved them and returned for more.

Now on to another Persian supermarket, this one is quite large, with fruit, veg, nuts, spices and a butcher on top of a range of other goodies. We sampled some cherry juice and browsed the aisles. The pickles and Persian fairy floss were well sought after. We also purchased some fresh honeycomb for a good price.

Then on to a definite standout, this restaurant called Kabul House. We love dumplings, but who knew Afghani’s had their own version called mantu and damn, they were impressive. With two types of freshly made mantu hitting the table, vegetable and lamb mince. Both equally impressive topped with a spiced yogurt sauce, these things are so good they will draw us back to Merrylands for some more.

The tour finished on a sweet note at Shiraz Persian dessert bar. We had passed Shiraz earlier and spotted some enticing cakes on the counter. Walking in, I noticed the ice cream cabinet and was hoping to sample some of that goodness. We were all seated and were excited to see the ice cream arriving at the table. The ice cream was a saffron ice cream served some sweet crunchy noodles for texture. The table also had some sour cherry and lemon syrup to counter the sweetness. Unable to resist the cake, we wanted to find out more. Apparently the name of the cake does not translate into English. A layered cake with a crisp pastry top covering a sweet saffron sponge cake, with layers of nuts and the sweet and interesting flavour of the carrot jam. 

We finished the tour with each of us sharing what our favourite food of the day.

This is a well run and inclusive tour, an eye opener to the positives of the Merrylands community. The people of the area are warm, generous and welcoming and the food is diverse and downright delicious. We highly recommend this tour, it is insightful and makes for a great day out. Explore the area with those in the know. Check out the Taste Tours website make a booking to see and taste for yourself.

www.tastetours.com.au

Thanks again to Ompty Media for introducing us and to Taste Tours for inviting us to explore Merrylands.

Part 1: The spice trail @Taste Tours

We love trying new and diverse food and were excited to take a food tour of the spice trail, run by Taste Tours. The tour called from Afghanistan to Persia, but we only had to venture to Merrylands for this experience. This tour so grand that we will review it in two parts, for readability. 

The Taste Tours is a social enterprise, teaching cultural awareness about different nationalities, cultures and foods. The profits of the tours go to training immigrants and refugees. In general, you only gear negatives about Afghanistan and Persia, the same could be said for Merrylands. Taste Tours are showing a different perspective, reflecting positivity in western Sydney, showcasing the rich culture and diversity of Merrylands and allowing us to experience the warm generous nature of the people and their cultures. 

Our meeting point was Asal Sweets, where we met our guides for the day. Two amazingly inspiring women who migrated to Australia, both love the area and were very passionate about the food and culture. Latife intelligent, warm and welcoming was born in Turkey, migrated to Australia when she was four. Also very smart with a chemistry degree and a great mentor for our other guide Parastoo, who was running her first tour. Parastoo is driven and wanting to make the best of her life in her new home, Australia. Parastoo came in 2012 as an asylum seeker from Afghanistan and has a scholarship to study at UWS teaching. Her family fled Afghanistan and went to Indonesia and there came to Australia. She absolutely loves living in Merrylands.

Starting the tour by acknowledged the traditional owners, the Dharug people was a nice touch. Latife and Parastoo introduced themselves and gave a rundown of what Taste Tours is about and what they do. One thing that resonates from the introduction, Latife described Australia as multicultural the food on this tour is from Persian, Turkish and Afghanis culture, but they see it as Australian food as those cultures are now part of Australia.

Remember we were in Asal sweets a Persian patisserie, surrounded by a plethora of delectable cakes and pastriw. We were offed some biscuits to start, with differing flavours including cocounut, rosewater, saffron. The texture was most impressive a crunchy outer layer with a soft chewy centre. We would later return after the tour to purchase some goodies to take home.

Next we were whisked around the corner to the Green Wheat Bakery where they were pumping out Afghan bread from a tandoor oven, check out the video below. Our guide for the day, Parastoo explaining that making this bread was the source of her family income while they lived in Indonesia. We were also introduced to a jam, something tasty and new, a carrot jam, a nice spread for bread freshly made. What a start to our tour.

Next a stop into a Persian supermarket, where we tried some sweets and explored. We followed this by visitingBiber diner, well known in merrylands for thdid kebabs, pide, pizza. The owners origially from Adana southern Turkey. Sampling a specialty dish, the freshly made kiymali pide (pizza) made from mince, tomato, onion, parsley, herbs and spices. The cheese and spinach pide also made as we wait, both were quality.

A short walk away we came to a hole in the wall Afghan BBQ called kebab Al Hojat. With a super red hot coal BBQ firing away. This high heat BBQ taking 7 minutes to cook 50 skewers. Pick the type of marinated, skewered meat you desire. The meat tender and flavoursome, after marinating for 12 hours, in 7 types of spices. This is BBQ’d wrapped in Afghani bread and served with fresh salad. This was one of many highlights and at $6 a pop, amazing value.

We finish part 1 of the post here, keep an eye out for part 2 and the rest of this food adventure.
Thanks to Ompty media for introducing us and to Taste tours for inviting us to join them on this tour.

http://www.tastetours.com.au/