Jasmin 1, Auburn

To cel­eb­rate passing their fel­low­ship exams — the same ones we cel­eb­rated for T at Papparich at Parramatta — D’s study group stepped away from their usu­al Asian fare with Lebanese food at Jasmin 1 in Auburn.

They’re there for the meat and order the Large Mashawi ($36.00) to share, with lamb skew­ers, kaf­ta skew­ers, shish tawook skew­ers and gar­lic dip.

D par­tic­u­larly enjoys the juicy and tender lamb skew­ers with the gar­lic dip, although the shish tawook skew­ers (chick­en) were on the dry side. The kaf­ta skew­ers are enjoy­able, although D’s not the biggest fan of minced meat. He’d return here just for the lamb, though!

A plate of pickles is included, with pep­pers, olives, gher­kins, tomato and onion. D’s a fan of the beet­root pickled turnips that were refresh­ing with the salty meat.

And of course, Lebanese bread — lots of it.

To go with their meat feast, Fried Cauliflower ($9.00) sat­is­fies their veg­gie quo­tient. The cauli­flower is but­tery, but with the heav­ier fla­vours of Lebanese food, D and I prefer the light­er and bright­er fla­vours of steamed cauliflower.

I was still nurs­ing a URTI that had lingered already for over four weeks — ridicu­lous! — so I opted for some­thing light­er than my weight in meat. I also had my eye on baba ghan­nouj, fried egg­plant and falafel so this Veggie Mixed Plate ($15.00) was a way to try everything.

There’s fried egg­plant, fried cauli­flower, falafel and cheese sam­bousek served with hom­mus, baba ghan­nouj and tabouli.

The fried egg­plant was deli­cious — fried to per­fec­tion with a crispy skin on the out­side and retain­ing their tender innards and flavour.

The falalfel was tasty, achiev­ing the per­fect bal­ance between a crispy out­er shell and moist and fluffy innards. There is little worse than a dry falafel. These falafel went well with the very enjoy­able baba ghan­nouj — I would enjoy eat­ing just these falafel with the baba ghannouj!

The cheese sam­bousek is a bit of a miss with an over­whelm­ingly cloy­ing cheese fla­vour and tex­ture, with none of the stretchy or gooey rich­ness that I enjoy in Western cheese.

The tabouli is sorely lack­ing in toma­toes — expec­ted, as cyc­lones in Queensland earli­er in the year wiped out a massive amount of tomato crops — but the green­ness cuts through the rich­er fla­vours of the dips and the cheese sambousek.

And to fin­ish off, this is anoth­er salad with cab­bage, beets, tomato and cap­sic­um topped with crispy flakes. It’s a decent salad in terms of taste, but the dress­ing that comes with it is not visu­ally appet­ising — it’s a grey, dirt col­our that makes all the com­pon­ents of the salad look as if they’ve been dragged through mud.

To fin­ish, there is Anise Tea (com­ple­ment­ary), a com­mon Middle Eastern bever­age (hot or cold) that aids diges­tion. The tea smells strongly of cin­na­mon but is sur­pris­ingly mild in the taste, which is sweet and dom­in­ated by anise.

Jasmin 1 serves up qual­ity Lebanese food in a cas­u­al atmo­sphere. We’ll be back!

Jasmin 1 is loc­ated at 22 Civic Rd, Auburn NSW 2144.