I thought I might do things a little differently this week. I’d like to know a bit more about you. No need to leave me your credit card details, blood type etc.. Just generic stuff really. What’s your favourite food? Do you prefer eating in or out? Would you rather local cheap thrills or expensive food porn experiences?
Bit shy, aye? Ok, well I’ll go first then. Let’s visit my local foodie haunts.
I grew up in the Bankstown area. South West Sydney. To quote Wikipedia directly ‘Bankstown has one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Australia’. Did you know that? I didn’t. But it is well known amongst Sydneysiders that Bankstown is home to a large Lebanese population, and it is also home for a large population of Vietnamese.
As a result Bankstown houses a diverse range of middle-eastern and Asian cuisines (much to my delight and enjoyment!). So please, indulge me while I show you some of my favourite places to eat in Bankstown during the next few posts – a foodie’s guide, KayB style. And I promise I will get back to the cakes very, very soon!
(Argila and cake display at Titanic Cafe, Bankstown)
First stop on our tour of Bankstown is Titanic Cafe. I’ve been coming here for some time now, whenever I get a call from a very dear old friend, Max, who is a Bankstown local as well. Max also happens to personally know just about every single person that works in the place (not sure if that’s just because he is at Titanic so often?).
This particular night is very exciting because I’m finally going to meet his wonderful girlfriend, Lisa. Max has been looking for ‘the one’ his entire life and last time we caught up, shortly after he first met Lisa, he declared to us that he’d finally found ‘the one’.
So off we went to meet the new girl, but we were very much mistaken because Lisa was no longer his girlfriend, but his fiancé! I think every person in the place turned and looked at us because I screamed so loudly when Lisa brought her gorgeous diamond ring out of hiding. Lucky I had my camera and notebook because I don’t think I would have been able to remember anything about the meal with all the excitement and joy and wedding talk that was to follow.
But yes, we did eventually eat.
(Mixed grill shish $18.99 with tabouli, chips, hommous and garlic dip)
Three of us share a mixed dip, mixed grill and bowl of tabouli. Plenty of food for three people. The mixed grill comes with char grilled lamb, chicken and kafta. The meat is lovely and tender and is perfect wrapped up in a bit of Lebanese bread with hommous and tabouli.
(Mixed dip plate $13.90)
The hommous is amazing. And the babaganosh has that perfect smokey flavour, followed by a creamy avocado dip, all served with a basket of fresh Lebanese bread.
I think we probably should have just order the medium size bowl ($7.99), but the tabouli goes great with the dips, and is extremely fresh.
(Tabouli large bowl $14.99)
Titanic also has one of the most extensive selections of argila. The argila (which has many different spellings and is also known as Hookah, which has a straight-neck tube) is a water pipe used for smoking flavoured tobacco. There are smoking and non smoking areas at Titanic, and their argila menu ranges in price from $19.99 to $24.99.
Flavours include banana, mint and apple, but tonight Max opts for a ‘Titanic special’ which is a combination. It produces a thick smoke, so thick in fact that you can almost chew it. And the intense flavours waft over the whole table. A little bit of housekeeping: Max has told me (on many occasions because I always seem to forget) that when sharing the argila, you never pass the hose on with the end/opening pointing at the person. You bend the hose back on itself so the end/opening is pointing to yourself. Sort of like scissors.. I mean, when you pass on scissors you always pass on the handle, not the pointy end.. as not to stab them!
The only real problem with Titanic is the lack of falafel. They used to make a sensational falafel, but for some reason it no longer features on the menu? I always ask, just in case, but nope. It is yet to make a return to my belly!
The atmosphere is great, made much more authentic by the elderly Lebanese men sitting in huddles over their argilas sipping strong Lebanese coffee. A perfect way to end the night.
So, your turn now. You know at least one thing about me, I like Lebanese food. Do you?
49 Raymond Street,