The Adelaide Food Central team were invited to attend a special dinner on Saturday night at Houda’s Kitchen. This new restaurant, which opened its doors on Thursday on Port Rd in Hindmarsh, specialises in Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisines. Houda’s Kitchen is run by Doumit Awkar, whose dream has always been to open his own restaurant. His goal is to bring traditional Lebanese and Italian food to the community in a homely atmosphere and so far he is successful in this.
We were offered a taste of the Beirut Mezze, which is a large selection of dishes from the menu for $55 per person. We first had a taste of the Zaatar, which was an added starter. This was a pizza base topped with thyme, olive oil, sesame seeds and Sumac. The base was wonderfully crisp, the use of herbs were delicious and it was the perfect start to the meal.
Up next were the Trio of Dips including Labneh, Houmous and Baba Ghanouj with both fried and fresh Lebanese bread. The dips were beautifully presented in pretty blue bowls and the fried bread was my favourite as it had the perfect crunch. Each dip was perfectly seasoned and tasty, my favourite being the Baba Ghanouj which had an amazing Eggplant flavour.
The next course consisted of a beautiful plate filled with Kbakeeb which are minced lamb stuffed with onion and pine nuts, Sambousek a pastry filled with lamb, pine nuts & onion and Fatayer which are pastries filled with spinach and onion. My favourite were definitely the Sambousek as they had an amazing flavor and the meat was perfectly seasoned. I could have eaten a plate just filled with these to be honest.
In addition to this course we had Arnabeet, which is fried cauliflower with a tahini dressing, and Batanjan which is fried eggplant with garlic & pomegranate dressing. These two dishes definitely stood out to me as being full of flavor and cooked perfectly. The Pomegranate dressing in particular was an amazing addition to the fried Eggplant.
By this point our pants were starting to tighten but the food kept on coming! Jawaneh are chicken wings tossed in garlic, coriander and lemon and Makanek are a spicy Lebanese sausage. The chicken wings were incredibly tasty and the addition of coriander had me salivating. The sausages were also great and had the perfect amount of spice.
Our final savory course was a selection of skewers, chips and Lebanese salads. These included Prawns marinated in lemon & garlic, Shish Tawouk which is Chicken breast pieces in a secret marinade, Kafta lamb mince with parsley and onion, and finally Lahm Mishwi which is essentially grilled Lamb pieces. We also had Tabouli and Fattouch which are salads comprising of tomato, cucumber, onion and herbs. The meats were cooked well and with great flavor, chips were wonderfully crisp and well seasoned and the salads were the perfect fresh accompaniment.
Finally when dessert was served we were so full but could not say no to what desserts were on offer. First was a platter of traditional Lebanese desserts including an interpreted version of Kanafeh; a sticky pastry with a sweet cheese filling. And of course my favourite, Baklava. Each had a great balance of sweetness and spices and some were unique to anything I had tried before.
Houda’s Kitchen is a definite must try and the perfect place to have delicious and authentic Lebanese food. The service is excellent and prompt, the atmosphere of the restaurant is elegant yet homely and comfortable and the food is incredible. Houda’s Kitchen also caters for private functions and have a courtyard dining area available.
Words by Angela Scarfo from All About That Food
WHERE: 218-220 Port Rd, Hindmarsh