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The (Heart) of Lebanese – Jasmins

Food @ Jasmin

Food @ Jasmin

Lebanese food holds a special place in my heart as one of my favourite cuisines. If I were asked to articulate why that was so though, I’m not sure that I would have a suitable answer. Probably the closest I could come to an answer would be that it’s food that I find is often good, uncomplicated and inexpensive. It’s food without the pretension that more often burdens formal dining than not. It’s food in a casual environment for the common man. My kind of food.

That’s precisely the experience that a couple of fellow food bloggers and I had received when we dined at Jasmins one evening. A casual environment, without pretension, serving good food. A feast of really good food. The kind of good food that frequently has you coming back for more, at prices that makes such endeavours affordable.

Tamarind Drink

A couple of bottles of Pampa tamarind soft drink. Not as bad as it sounds. Actually, far better than it sounds. Having never tried this before, I was expecting a really sour, mouth-puckering sort of drink. Something that people may refer to as “an acquired taste”, often a euphemism for “most people hate the taste”. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no sourness at all. Just a pleasant, sweet beverage with a light effervescence.

If you’re looking for something different, give it a go. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed :)


As with almost all Lebanese restaurants I’ve been to, a complementary side dish of various pickles (green chilis, gherkins, turnips & olives in this case) & fresh vegetation such as tomatoes, onions & mint is served with every meal. I’ve found that the items on the side plate are perfect accompaniments to grilled meats or dips. The acid, found either in the fresh vegetables or the vinegar from the pickles, helps to temper the richness of the fat in those dishes.

Another staple, and one that I consider a very necessary one for these sorts of meals, is the seemingly endless supply of Lebanese flat bread (no photo unfortunately). Nothing like the ones that you may find in a supermarket that tastes like it’s been stale for a week. No, this is the good stuff, at least by those standards. Soft, elastic, fresh tasting bread. Like with all good breads, I would be content with just eating these on their own.


We fore go the stereotypical and rather ubiquitous chickpea dip known as hommus in favour of the lighter, pleasantly smokey flavours of the eggplant dip baba ganoush ($6).

The smaller dishes (from left to right) consist of tahini (sesame paste), toum (a superb garlic dip, somewhat like aioli) and a chili sauce that is quite flavourful but without any heat. As with the side dish of pickles and vegetables, these dips were likewise complementary.


Tabouli salad ($5). Ok, zero points for originality but their version of this zingy salad is pretty good. Better than most I’ve had.


Falafel ($6). Of all the Lebanese restaurants that I’ve been to in Sydney, these would have to be one of the best I’ve had thus far. A thick, crunchy crust encases a soft, moist centre without being too greasy. A sublime contrast of textures.


Lamb kaftas ($8), which is great value for four fingers of flavourful lamb mince, grilled to juicy perfection. Lemon wedges are served to help cut through the richness of the fat, as well as to impart a complementary citrus note to this dish.

Chili Chicken

As nice as the lamb kaftas were, the favourite meat dish for the evening was the chili chicken ($8). For you chili-phobes out there, this is one of the tamest chili dishes that I’ve ever come across. For a person who likes his heat to pack a lot of, well… heat, this is one of the most disappointing spice hits you could possibly come across. Having said that though, from the perspective of flavour this is a great dish. One that I would certainly come back for.

Store Front

We make our way out of the restaurant, utterly content with our meal and perhaps a little surprised with the amount of money we still had in our wallets. Though this was my first dining experience at Jasmins, it will certainly not be my last!

30B Haldon St, Lakemba.
Ph: 9740 3589

View the heart of food: map

Jasmins Lebanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • billy@ATFT February 9, 2010, 11:05 am

    I am still new to lebanese food and the night at Rowda-ya Habibi possibly more catered for western palates too. I am yet to try all those pickles. Looks like a visit to the west is a must.

  • chocolatesuze February 9, 2010, 11:35 am

    mmm i looove toum! i slather it on everything in sight!

  • Simon Food Favourites February 9, 2010, 5:56 pm

    i LOVE Jasmin’s. definitely the best falafel i’ve had anywhere in Sydney too. the side dish salad is excellent too and not what you’ll find in westernised lebanese restaurants. billy, if Rowda-ya Habibi aren’t cooking the falafel freshly then don’t bother going back. i’m hoping to revisit jasmin’s soon. i miss their falafel.

  • Moya February 9, 2010, 7:51 pm

    I often wonder why it is that the Lebanese bread you buy in a supermarket never tastes as tender or yummy as those found in restaurants? Why do I love Lebanese food? More garlic and flavour than you can poke a stick at!

  • foodwink February 10, 2010, 12:38 am

    What a coincidence – has my first dining experience at Jasmins only last weekend. Had the mixed platter and chili chicken which were delicious. Very cheap too!

  • L and J February 10, 2010, 2:06 am

    Hi Simon,

    We’ve been following your food blog for a while now and have been inspired to start one of our own!
    Here is the link to our blog http://nomnomnibblies.blogspot.com/
    Please pop by when you have time!

    Love, L & J xx

    P.S Looks like it was truly a Lebanese feast ! Would love to try their falafels ! They look great ! ;)

  • Trissa February 10, 2010, 7:23 pm

    Am dreaming of those falafels….

  • Dan February 13, 2010, 11:08 am

    dont forget to plug Jamins II at punchbowl

  • Y February 23, 2010, 4:56 pm

    Love Lebanese food, but I’m not exactly living in a suburb that’s known for it unfortunately. That tamarind drink sounds pretty good too.

  • Simon March 5, 2010, 12:43 pm

    Hi billy! This, along with a number of other middle eastern places in the West are worth checking out. Certainly a different experience to that of Rowda.

    Hi chocolatesuze! Indeed, and the toum here is pretty good!

    Hi Simon Food Favourites! The falafel alone is worth going back to Jasmins for.

    Hi Moya! Once you source the bread fresh from the bakery, you’ll never go back. Well, maybe if you fry it in oil. Then the staleness works in its favour :)

    Hi foodwink! I agree! The mixed plate is the best value of its kind that I’ve seen around, both in cost and flavour.

    Hi L&J! Welcome to food blogging!

    Definitely make a trip out that way for the falafel. It’s so worth it!

    Hi Trissa! They’re so good, huh? :)

    Hi Dan! Thanks for the heads up but this is more about the experience at this Jasmins. I’ll get to that one in due course :)

    Hi Y! That’s fair enough. Well, if you happen to be in the area, do give it a go :)

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