Kazbah, Darling Harbour

13 December 2011
by Phuoc

It’s funny how some friendships work out; you go through school/uni/college, meet new people, become good friends and then either you drift away, remain really close or would see each other every so often but would still be able to pick up the conversation from where it last ended.

A friend who I have not seen or really had much contact with for about 10 years was down from Brisbane a while ago. She had invited me to have a catch up session with her over lunch. We met up at Kazbah; a middle eastern/Moroccan restaurant originating in Balmain which now has expanded to Darling Harbour and Top Ryde shopping centre, I’ve dine at the former two places a few times and each and every time remember walking out of the restaurant being completely full. On this occasion, we had Darling Harbour as our backdrop on a beautiful sunny day (currently a rarity in Sydney) and we decided to order several mezzes (small dishes) to share amongst ourselves.

Haloumi cheese ($12) is a must whenever it’s on the menu. Grilled and slightly charred, with a squeeze of lemon, this squeaky (and not too salty) cheese makes for a perfect starter.

The BBQ octopus ($14) marinated in garlic and harissa is served warm with skodalia. A strong smokey flavour permeates throughout the tender pieces of octopus tentacles.

Battered in cumin, the soft-shelled crab ($15) was possibly one of my favourite dishes of the day. Light and crispy pieces of delicate and succulent crab drizzled with a tangy and sweet date and lime dressing is a perfect dish to snack on with a icy cold beverage.

An array of sausages that I couldn’t really tell apart (apart from the chorizo of course) was ordered. These included Merguez, Ma’aneek, Sucuk and Chorizo ($15). Chorizo was great as always; a hit of spice but nothing to blow your socks off. The other sausages were nicely spiced but I felt they were a little too dry; I had some with tzatziki and that seemed to make it better. Unfortunately the tzatziki was not offered on the side, instead it was pinched off one of the other dishes.

Spicy lamb and pinenut burek ($4 each) were piping hot when they were brought to our table and served with tzatziki. Inside the crispy pastry roll is a moreish mixture of minced lamb which isn’t too spicy and the feature of the toasted pinenuts provide a nice balance in texture and nuttiness to the burek.

Fattoush salad ($8) was ordered because we felt the need to have something light. Small cubes of radish, tomato, cucumber and onion laid scattered over finely shredded lettuce. Normally the best part of a fattoush salad is the crunchy bits of fried bread but this was not evident in this salad.

 

After all these mezes, desserts had to be had. Although there were a few tantalising dessert options on the menu, my eyes lit up at the Kazbah bombe alaska ($28). It’s serving suggestion is for 2 people but it could easily have served 4 people generously. Kurrant vodka is flamed at our table and poured over the bombe alaska but because we had this during the day, we couldn’t really see the fiery spectacle. Marshmallow-like meringue encompasses a smooth, sweet Turkish delight ice cream; I was glad that the rose flavour wasn’t too overpowering. Fresh blueberries were also served on the side for an extra bit of indulgence.

The Chahi “Yemeny sweet milky tea” ($4.50) was presented in a pot spices and creamy milk with a beautiful Moroccan tea cup for you to serve your tea in. I don’t tend to have chai lattes because I find them too spicy for my liking but I had a sip and didn’t mind it too much. It was a warming blend of mild spices which sent a fuzzy feeling down your throat and warms up your body.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served 7 days a week, with ala carte or banquet options. The banquet options are always excellent value and you are left feeling extremely full. Food is jam packed with flavour. However, this is the second time I’ve been here and I’ve found that the service can be a little mixed at times. Some waiters can be helpful, others not so much; you’d sometimes need to grab their attention if you need something.

Kazbah Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

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19 Comments

  1. Miss Piggy

    Great photos Phuoc – is this your new camera? Like you I can’t go past Haloumi cheese – one of my all time favourites. Yet to hit up any of the Kazbah’s….hopefully soon.

  2. joey@FoodiePOp

    Mmm, the soft shell crab looks lovely. I still haven’t eaten at any of the Kazbahs yet; must fix this error.

  3. Tina@foodboozeshoes

    Mmmm, don’t often see Kazbah lunch posts – thanks – looks even better than brekky!

  4. nic@diningwithastud

    Oh I’ve been meaning to try the Darling Harbour one! I loved the Balmain restaurant. So delicious!

  5. chocolatesuze

    mmm halloumi! i never share…

  6. Hotly Spiced

    What great looking food and wow, the variety on the menu is so good. There is so much there that you photographed that I would love to order. Best to go on an empty stomach then.

  7. Adrian (Food Rehab)

    What a great way to celebrate a reunion – with awesome food! The milky tea also looks geeewd.

  8. Tina @ bitemeshowme

    I do love the views that the Darling Harbour Kazbah has. I’ve been here several times but have never thought about ordering mezzes to share. Guess I should next time 😛

  9. Phuoc

    Miss Piggy: Yes new camera indeed 🙂 Haloumi cheese is one of the best things ever!

    Joey: You should fix it soon, especially for that soft shell crab.

    Tina: I find breakfast at Kazbah can be extremely filling and I slip into a food coma for the rest of the day so lighter lunch options are welcoming.

    Nic: Hopefully the weather clears so you can enjoy the views of Darling Harbour soon

    Chocolatesuze: But sharing is caring… :p

    Hotly Spiced: Indeed, hope you get around to going soon 🙂

    Adrian: Food brings people together.

    Tina: Ordering the mezes allows you to try more of the menu 🙂

  10. john@heneedsfood

    Oooh this looks really good. I never go to Darling Harbour but if this place was ever suggested I’d definitely consider it. That top sausage looks incredibly dry in the fourth dish you had. I love Merquez sausages so I’d be really disappointed if they messed those up. A big YES PLEASE to the bombe alaska!

  11. Detective Chow

    Heading here for lunch today. The soft-shell crab looks good — will have to try it.

  12. Detective Chow

    Well, I didn’t get the soft-shell crab, but happy to report that the staff were attentive. The vege tagine was tasty, though I would have preferred the lamb shank tagine (which they were out of).

  13. Sara (Belly Rumbles)

    Mouthwatering photos, nice to see the new toy is getting a work out. I am still yet to venture to Kazbah, wanting to head to Top Ryde for their Sunday brunch!

  14. Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse)

    Have only had dinner at any Kazbah and only visited this one once, for a friend’s birthday. We had to have the banquet menu because of our group size but the table service was…interesting. Not rude at all, but, perhaps kind of vague? Our questions of how many of each platter of food there was to be was answered with, “It should be plenty for you”, and the rest of the evening was much the same even with differing staff!

  15. Phuoc

    John: I also try to steer away from Darling Harbour too, for obvious reasons but if I have to go here there are only a handful of restaurants that I would go to. The sausages were a little bit of a let down, unless that’s how they are suppose to be; dry?

    Detective Chow: Nice to see you report back after your lunch. Shame you didn’t get to try the soft shell crab; maybe next time? I’ve tried both tagine and I reckon they should do a combo of both!

    Sara: Thanks! I hear the brunch banquet is a killer; something the boys can tackle no doubt 🙂

    Rita: Yeah I didn’t really know how to descibe the service, like you said, it’s not really rude but it’s just not all top-notch at times. Last time I was here was for Mother’s Day, after all the drama I had to go through just to book a table somewhere, when we got there at 12-1pm we were told that we could only have breakfast. What?! I had specifically asked for a table for lunch when I booked, there was a bit of fluffing about with our waiter before we were allowed to go for the lunch set menu option. Can’t complain about the food, it was great, just the service put a strain on the whole Mother’s Day experience. Shame.

  16. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Oh great to see what the new Darling Harbour version looks like. A shame that the service wasn’t better-that can make such a difference.

  17. Rhonda (The Dainty Baker)

    That bombe Alaska looks amazing!! Gtg try this place out.

  18. Soriya

    Absolutely concurred with this brilliant review. Just looking back on these jpegs is making me salivate ;_; Especially the haloumi and soft shell, Jesus!

    Thanks for coming out to see me and trying this place out, babe! I miss the bombe ;_; Oh yes I do. <3

  19. Phuoc

    Lorraine: I love the decor of the Darling Harbour restaurant, it’s a nice back drop against the views of the harbour

    Rhonda: Oh man… It is amazing.

    Soriya: Thanks darl xo

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