Step inside and you could be any where in the middle east, the walls are adorned with faded posters of what looks like old Baghdad, the formica tables are an odd marble colour. In the fridge there are exotic drinks, including the not exotic, Coca Cola bottles imported from the middle east, complete with Arabic packaging.
But of course, we’re in Al-Dhiaffah Al-Iraqi Restaurant in downtown Fairfield, where they make the most wonderful fluffy bread on premises.
Given the climate in Iraq, it’s not surprising that the vegetables are mostly pickled and the main source of protein is a lot, and I mean a lot of meat. To feed our clan, we ordered just about all the kebabs on the menu, lamb, chicken, beef and even the mixed plate. While seasoned, it’s light, leaving the flavour of the meat to shine.
My personal favourite, although it’s close, is the chicken kebab (top right above), nice thick pieces, well cooked on the outside and tender, soft inside.
To cut and compliment the heavy meat dishes, there was the smoothest hummus (homos, spelt a thousand ways). As well as fresh, crisp salad, that was ever so lightly marinated. Wrap the kebab with warm bread smooth on some hummus and add salad to taste, plus some local hot sauce.. and you have a delicious meal.
Another personal favourite of mine is the lamb stew below. It’s cooked so that the meat almost falls off the bone together with the vegetables, including what looks like a whole cumquat. Extra consistency is several layers of bread soaked in the stew. It’s stodgy and is our favourite on a cold winter’s evening, although I have to say it didn’t taste to bad in hot weather either. The soup from the stew makes a nice change to the rest of our order.
Al-Dhiaffah Al-Iraqi Restaurant is a local institution, it’s not brash and they don’t promote themselves too widely, but it’s excellent authentic, honest food. The food here is for sharing, so come with a group of friends, you can get a better feel of the middle east in south western Sydney.
Al-Dhiaffah Al-Iraqi Restaurant
13 The Crescent, Fairfield
(02) 9755 0870