Sydney is a typical big city and very different to our serene country location in far northern Queensland (The Deep North as some call it).  Nevertheless we enjoy a holiday in the big smoke every now and then.

Over thirty years ago, before we had kids, Kathy and I used to particularly like the grungy ethnic cafes and restaurants in pre-development area of Darling Harbour; dilapidated buildings with flaking walls, cobwebs and bare floors that served fabulous Middle Eastern cuisine.

Things have changed a lot over the decades.  Luckily we have a daughter who lives and works in the city and has the current day knowledge of such restaurants.  Typically we look for smaller establishments without any flash decor that offer authentic ethnic food.

Near Epping station is Bcd Tofu House, a small Korean restaurant you could easily walk past without noticing.  They serve delicious traditional meals and are well patronised by expatriate Koreans – always a good sign.

aussiehunter mixed plate Lebanese dishesToday we caught a bus over to Granville and went to the Hawa Lebanese restaurant there.

We ordered a mixed plate selection of traditional dishes.

Naturally this included the charcoal chicken they are well known for.

After a leisurely and delightful lunch we strolled a short distance further down the street.

aussiehunter shishaAt El Sweetie was a fabulous selection of Middle Eastern sweets and Belgian chocolates.

A further temptation was a shisha area.  After sampling some Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian sweets we took ourselves into the shisha room.

There we spent a leisurely hour, sipping Lebanese coffee and mint tea between puffs of the pipe.

Kathy, who has never even touched a cigarette in her entire life, surprised us by electing to try a puff of the shisha.  Unlike the strong odour of tobacco smoke, the fruit flavoured vapour of the shisha is particularly mild.