Dine in: Syrian Kitchen offers new dishes and huge portions

Article content

Syrian cuisine
48 Nelson St. (within the Portuguese Bakery), 819-328-7961, syriankitchen.ca
Open: Daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for pickup
Prices: entrees $15 to $22

Advertisement 2

Article content

The scant amount of Syrian food I’ve had in recent years has only left me wanting more.

Whenever I visit farmers’ markets in Ottawa and the Falafel Guys sell their wares, I find it hard to resist buying an ultraverse falafel wrap, made with locally baked saj bread, which is immeasurably better than store-bought pita breads. time.

The Syrian-made shawarma at Sham Shawarma in the Hull sector of Gatineau and Laheeb Shawarma in Chinatown also have some fine saj. Plus, they tweak what goes into their Syrian shawarmas compared to the myriad Lebanese examples that have been proliferating in Ottawa for decades.

My latest exploration of Syrian food happened this past weekend, when I ordered an elaborate meal from the Syrian Kitchen in Lowertown. I was aware of the six-year-old company because I had been buying the packaged dips from several supermarkets in Ottawa for a long time. But I only heard of the more substantial items more recently.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Damascus-born Rehab Adas owns the Syrian Kitchen, as well as the Portuguese Bakery on Nelson Street, which shares its space with the Syrian Kitchen. While Adas arrived in Ottawa from Syria in 1990, she has employed recently arrived Syrians who have left a homeland that has been rocked by civil wars for the past decade.

I chose to take home a large order from Syrian Kitchen rather than ordering the dishes through a delivery service or eating on the small street side terrace.

The dips and rice-filled grape leaves that I already knew very well did not disappoint with their freshness and consistency. Falafels were like little chickpea donuts. Lentil soup was thick and tasty, but also too salty – nothing a little thinning couldn’t fix.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Syrian Kitchen dips and pickled turnips, plus Syrian Kitchen rice.
Syrian Kitchen dips and pickled turnips, plus Syrian Kitchen rice. Photo by Peter Humpost media
Falafel from Syrian cuisine.
Falafel from Syrian cuisine. Photo by Peter Humpost media
Lentil soup from Syrian Kitchen.
Lentil soup from Syrian Kitchen. Photo by Peter Humpost media

Two heavily sauced items that I think are rare in Ottawa were my favorites.

Kebbeh Labanya (kebbeh cooked in yogurt).
Kebbeh Labanya (kebbeh cooked in yogurt). Photo by Peter Humpost media

In kebbeh labanya ($22), the well-made fried balls of seasoned ground beef and grains were taken to another level thanks to the dish’s savory warm yogurt sauce, which was dotted with herbs and toasted slivered almonds.

Kibbeh Labanya (kibbeh cooked in yogurt)
Kibbeh Labanya (kibbeh cooked in yogurt) Photo by Peter Humpost media

Hummus fatteh ($15) was an enjoyable chickpea-forward version of a dish I’ve had elsewhere in Ottawa for breakfast or brunch. Syrian Kitchen’s greasy layer layered chickpeas over crispy pita breads and topped everything with warm, nutty tahini and more of those delicious almonds.

Hummus Fatteh (chickpeas layered over crusty pita bread and topped with hot tahini sauce sizzling with almonds) from Syrian Kitchen.
Hummus Fatteh (chickpeas layered over crusty pita bread and topped with hot tahini sauce sizzling with almonds) from Syrian Kitchen. Photo by Peter Humjpg

While I’ve had countless shish taouks in my time, Syrian Kitchen’s Moist Chicken Skewers ($22) stood out for their tartness and hint of sweetness.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Chicken taouk from Syrian Kitchen
Chicken taouk from Syrian Kitchen Photo by Peter Humpost media

Also new to me was the dish called kabab karaz ($22), in which ground beef skewers were marinated in a cherry and berry sauce for a sour, tangy finish. We found the skewers a bit too salty.

Kebab Karaz (minced beef kebab marinated with cherries) from Syrian Kitchen.
Kebab Karaz (minced beef kebab marinated with cherries) from Syrian Kitchen. Photo by Peter Humpost media

Syrian Kitchen’s maklouba, a blend of seasoned ground beef, eggplant, and tomato-y rice ($22), was homey and comforting.

Maklouba from Syrian Kitchen.
Maklouba from Syrian Kitchen. Photo by Peter Humpost media

The prices for dishes were more than reasonable, considering how full the containers were, with rice, tabbouleh and other side dishes. Although I always order too much, I didn’t expect to feed five people one night and four the next, and still have some left over for several lunches.

While I ordered through Syrian Kitchen’s online portal, I see on the separate website that few dishes are listed. I look forward to trying them later as the successes of the Syrian Kitchen have whetted my appetite.

[email protected]

Advertisement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their thoughts on our articles. It can take up to an hour for comments to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email when you get a reply to your comment, there’s an update to a comment thread you’re following, or a user follows comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment