Located on Liverpool Street in Darlinghurst, Almond Bar is owned by sisters Carol and Sharon Salloum, and the restaurant serves unique Middle Eastern tapas, or mezza, for dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Sharon serves as head chef, and the menu is designed to reflect our motherås cooking as well as Sharonås modern influence on Middle Eastern food," says Carol. The sisters have a Syrian heritage, and, having grown up in a traditional Syrian culture, they share the traditional scents, flavours and engrained hospitality of their culture with Sydneysiders.
Located on Liverpool Street in Darlinghurst, Almond Bar is owned by sisters Carol and Sharon Salloum, and the restaurant serves unique Middle Eastern tapas, or mezza, for dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Sharon serves as head chef, and “the menu is designed to reflect our mother’s cooking as well as Sharon’s modern influence on Middle Eastern food,” says Carol. The sisters have a Syrian heritage, and, having grown up in a traditional Syrian culture, they share the traditional scents, flavours and engrained hospitality of their culture with Sydneysiders.
Upon arrival, diners are greeted with complimentary almonds, which is a tradition in homes and restaurants in Syria. You’ll receive chocolate-covered almonds after your meal, too. Almond Bar sells jars of its almonds to take home, from sweet-chilli and sesame almonds to chocolate-and-coconut almonds. You’ll also find other traditional ingredients common to Middle Eastern cooking for sale, such as za’atar spice and moghrabieh, better known as giant cous cous.
With a tucked-away feeling, the dining room features intricately carved, dark wooden panelling, and a sea-foam green theme extends from the ottoman-style seating to the napkins and plates. Drinks play a big role in the dining experience, and wine, beer, signature cocktails, rare spirits and non-alcoholic drinks, including mocktails, grace the menu. Many of the restaurant’s signature cocktails include Pama, a pomegranate liqueur, and the delightful signature cocktail combines Pama with vodka, rosewater, and cranberry juice to create a tangy, fruity, and rightfully delightful concoction. The wine list features wines from countries around the world, including Lebanon and Morocco. Almond Bar also offers the rare opportunity to try arak, an aniseed-flavoured spirit from the Middle East.
Eating Middle Eastern mezza is all about enjoying the good things in life with friends and family. It’s an opportunity to slow down and luxuriate in thrilling your taste buds with myriad, potent flavours. Mint, garlic leaves, marjoram, lemon, lamb, chicken and cauliflower are just the beginning. All of the restaurant’s produce is local, and a good quantity comes from the owners’ mother’s garden. “We have a huge appreciation for dairy from the Riverina region of NSW,” said Carol. “Our meats, game, and poultry are also from rural NSW. These areas include Junee, Oberon and the Southern Highlands.”
Top dishes include the huge variety of dips, from the traditional Hummus to the Avotamor, a mix of tahini, avocado and fresh date, and the Chef’s Syrian Duck, which combines shredded free-range duck confit with giant cous cous, Syrian fig jam, cabbage and pomegranates. If you think you’ve tasted anything like it, think again! Likewise, Almond Bar’s signature dish is Crab Freekeh, and to develop the dish, Sharon took common Middle Eastern components and reimagined them. Accordingly, you won’t find a dish anything like this in the Middle East. It features an ancient smoked wheat, blue swimmer crab and Sujuk, a fermented, fragrantly spiced sausage that is adored all over the Middle East.
Almond Bar also offers a breakfast on the first Sunday of the month. If you’re looking for a change of pace, or if you simply want to indulge in great cooking imbued with Middle Eastern tradition, Almond Bar is just the place. “My Sydney is all about diversity, fun, and respect,” says Carol. “It is spectacular.”