Ok, so I admit that following Adriano Zumbo’s appearance on Masterchef Australia, I got caught up in the whole Zumbo/macaron hype as well and decided that since my last visit to Zumbo was before his Masterchef days, another visit was in order (I may or may not have been one of those Asian foodbloggers standing in line taking photos at Zumbo, but more about that in another post). I rounded up a car-full of friends and we headed to Balmain/Rozelle for the day to check out some foodie destinations along Darling Street.
Our first stop was lunch at Kazbah on Darling and luckily we scored a parking spot just outside the restaurant. It was very busy for a weekday lunchtime with three large groups inside the restaurant but we were still able to get a table. The decor inside the restaurant was beautiful with intricately-patterned plates on the walls and brightly coloured light fixtures.
While we perused the menu, the waiter poured us water from a curiously unique water jug. The ring where you hold the jug from was so delicate and thin that it looked like it would snap off easily but I found it was actually quite sturdy. I also discovered that you can purchase these water jugs from Kazbah and B picked one up for his sister that day.
I had heard great things about Kazbah’s breakfast tagines and it became a must-order. We decided on the roast pumpkin breakfast tagine and it was a firm favourite with the whole table. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was eyeing the last few pieces of pumpkin along with the gooey egg, salty feta and other caramelised vegetables sitting in the tagine. Without a doubt this was everyone’s favourite dish for the day and I think we were all sad that we didn’t order the lamb breakfast tagine as well!
We also order a lunch mixed mezze platter to share so that we can try a bit of everything. The others seem a little apprehensive when the plate is brought to our table so I take one for the team and try a bit of everything. The fried cauliflower has a nice golden tinge to it and is accompanied with an eggplant jam, pine nuts and a yoghurt sauce. Next to that sits a golden fried piece of halloumi with a quince sauce. The haloumi isn’t a squeaky or salty to what I’m used to which is a good thing, and I love the slight gooey-ness of the cheese from the deep frying. The quail is nicely charred but a little dry, but this is helped by the sweet pomegranate sauce drizzled over it. There is also some char-grilled baby octopus with skorthalia, as well as a small mound of tabbouli in the centre and mixed dips including hummus, babaganouj and taramasalata with assorted breads.<
Queen Chu suggests we get a salad, so we settle on the fattoush salad with char-grilled chicken and crisp halloumi. The salad comes in a big bowl and is very refreshing with cool pieces of cucumber, tomato and lettuce, and a bit of bite from the onions. I love the crunchy pieces of toasted pita bread and the saltiness from the halloumi as well, and the dressing and spices bring a zingy citrus flavour to the salad.
The feta potato cake with smoked salmon is easily the prettiest dish of the lot, with slices of smoked salmon draped on top of some creme fraiche and a circular cake of potato, feta and dill, with red wine onion marmalade and two green olives standing proudly on top. The potato cake is the perfect base for the salty feta and smoked salmon flavours to shine through and the creme fraiche adds some creamy smoothness while the onion marmalade gives it a little acidity and texture. Queen Chu doesn’t particularly enjoy this but I could happily eat it all by myself.
Even though we’re reaching satiation by this point we’ve saved room for our highly anticipated dessert which Queen Chu has heard other people rave about – the strawberry pancake. And it quite literally is a pan-cake – a cake that has been cooked in a pan! It’s as big as the plate itself and studded with strawberries and covered in double cream and maple syrup. It is an impressive sight and we cut a slice for ourselves. It definitely leans more towards a cake than a pancake but I love the browned crispy edges. After a while it starts to feel doughy and heavy especially since it’s practically drowning in the cream and syrup but we struggle and eventually finish off the whole plate. It wasn’t bad but unfortunately it looked better than it tasted.
The table is covered in paper and there is a little pot of crayons in the centre of the table so while we digest our food we scrawl and scribble all over the table – great for the kids and for the kids at heart :) Overall we all loved the food at Kazbah and I’m definitely looking to return soon to have more of their delicious breakfast tagines! Stay tuned for more Balmain foodie destinations in the next post (including my visit to Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie!)
Kazbah on Darling
379 Darling Street
Balmain NSW 2041
Ph: +61 2 9555 7067
Breakfast: Tuesday to Sunday, 8am – 3pm
Lunch: Tuesday to Sunday, noon – 3pm
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday, 6pm – late