Al Aseel is a Lebanese restuarant that we’d been to many years ago during the latter years of university. I’d been craving baba ghanouj for the longest time, so it was high time to return.
At around midday, the restuarant itself is rather quiet, but there were a few people working nearby who popped in for takeaway. I imagine they’d be much busier in the evening.
I order the Fresh Lemonade ($7). I was expecting a lemony drink, but was pleasantly surprised to receive something more of a limeade with lime zest. It’s very refreshing and cuts through the heaviness of some of the food.
This is the Baba Ghanouj ($13), a dip made of ‘smoky char grilled eggplant, blended with tahini, lemon juice topped with extra virgin olive oil’. This dish is rather special: it’s one of the very few ways that I like to eat eggplant, and the main reason N and I chose to eat at Al Aseel. It’s served with pita bread, and I could easily eat nothing but pita bread dipped in baba ghanouj as a meal — the smokiness of the char grilled eggplant is delicious!
But we couldn’t just eat dip, though, so we expanded our choice of dishes to the Falafel ($10), ‘deep fried chick peas croquettes, mixed with al aseel herbs & spices served with tahini sauce’. I’m not too sure how I feel about the pricing of this dish — individual falafel are $1.50 each, but a plate of falafel is $10. But there’s only four falafel on the plate, whereas there needs to be at least seven on each plate (if you consider that the price of things generally decrease when you buy more than one).
These falafel were beautifully crispy and golden on the outside. They were drier than I remembered them to be on the inside, but nonetheless flavourful. Adequate seasoning for falafel is mandatory — chick peas are not something I like eating on its own! For the price though, we’ll order them individually next time.
And the Fatteh ($12), ‘chick peas, crispy bread topped with yoghurt, melted butter, roasted pine nuts’. I’m not to sure what N and I were expecting, but at the very least, it wasn’t something in a bowl. Anyway! This is a very rich and creamy dish — there’s yoghurt and melted butter. The intense creaminess of the dish makes it hard to eat much before feeling full. N found the accompanying pickles to go some way to cutting through the creaminess, while I used pita bread (eating a bread dish with more bread!). This isn’t likely to a dish that brings us back, unlike the baba ghanouj.
Al Aseel is at 189 Missenden Road, Newtown NSW 2042.