Thursday, 15 September 2011
Modern Lebanese at Rouj
There's Indian, Thai, Mexican, Australian, Asian, Indonesian, Japanese, burgers, seafood, ice cream, pasta and more, plenty of seats and some restaurants more popular than others. So when you find a restaurant where there's consistently no vacant seats you know they've got it right.
It took three visits before we managed to score a seat at Rouj which showcases Lebanese cuisine. The trick was to arrive before 7pm but even at that early time the parking was scary.
But safely seated in Rouj all was easy. This family-owned restaurant has a welcome as warm and wide as the waitress's smile. It's owned by Sodith, who is ex the much loved No Nos in Musgrave Road, Red Hill. Sodith has been sharing her passion for food for over 23 years, starting with No No’s back in 1988. After 16 years at No No’s and 4 years at Al Samar, Sodith took a break, before returning to open Rouj.
The menu has everything you would expect to find in traditional Lebanese cuisine, from baba ghanouj and labneh to fattoush and kebabs, all rich in herbs, spices, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.
Take an empty stomach with you when you visit Rouj as the menu is full of tempters. The most popular starter, and for good reason, is the cheese fingers, filo pastry fingers filled with halloumi, fetta, onion, parsley and spices. The baba ghanouj has a wonderfully deep smoked flavour that makes you think of foreign places and the pastry filled lamb sambousik has a winning combo of lamb mince, pine nuts, onion and spices.
Our mains choices were Mansaf - Slow cooked leg of lamb, served with fragrant rice and taboulie and topped with pistachio, pine nuts and almond, and a Kafta Kebab with minced leg of lamb cooked over charcoal, hommos, tomato, pickles, parsley, sumac and tahini sauce, wrapped in pita bread and toasted. It came with my choice of salad, fattouch, and fries
We were overfull at the end of our mains and changed our minds about dessert. Our friendly waitress decided we still deserved a sweet and brought over a treat to share. It was a good move because we will most likely save room for that next time we visit.
Bottom line: This is a restaurant that deserves to be revisited and enjoyed over, and over again.
Shop 3, 21 Nash Street, Rosalie. P 3367 2210