Sahtain! Understanding Lebanese hospitality and cuisine

Sahtain! A simple phrase used in almost every single Lebanese home when mealtime comes. Translated, the phrase means “double your health.” Although an odd way to address one, it implies warm hospitality, inviting you to join in and share delicious food in good company. As one of the finest cuisines in the world, whatever is on the Lebanese menu, the enormous generosity and abundance of options is nothing less than a reflection of Lebanese culture.

With a history stretching back thousands of years, the Lebanese culture is best known for welcoming hospitality, positivity and abundance. Lebanese cuisine is no exception. Every Lebanese menu is broken down into what we refer to as ‘stages.’ From cold mezza to hot mezza to mains to dessert, a Lebanese meal can be described as a process.

The city of Parramatta is also part of the tradition of warm hospitality. For decades the thriving suburb a hotspot of restaurants and cafes, exuberating a ‘foodie’ culture, offering hospitality to all residents of the Sydney region.

Sahra by the River, located in the heart of Parramatta, provides hospitality of the warmest kind. The age-old Lebanese tradition of generosity when it comes to dining is most apparent when you glimpse our extensive menu.

We believe that food is life and is best enjoyed in the company of others. Offering the finest of Lebanese cuisine, our menu encourages the selection of a variety of dishes on the table. Starting with cold options and slowly shifting to hot mezza and main options, all through to dessert. As mentioned, this process is not easy for those who are unfamiliar with Lebanese cuisine. With our wonderfully presented menu, we want you to experience Lebanese hospitality the right way.

Understanding Lebanese Cuisine

Eating Lebanese cuisine is not as simple as ordering and indulging. There is a method to the madness. However, if you follow our recommendations, we guarantee you will have an unforgettable experience.

Sharing is for caring, especially when it comes to delighting in a Lebanese meal

Step 1: cold and hot mezza menu picks

A form of Lebanese appetisers, mezza is a much-loved tradition on any Lebanese table. Stretching out for hours, mezza is the first stage of Lebanese eating. It consists of a banquet of small dishes, often vegetarian, opening up the palate of the diner, allowing you to experience a cultural journey.

Meeza can include anything from simple pickled vegetables or unique specialities such as fried kibbeh. Cold mezza can also accompany main meals as a side dish or an extra touch of flavour.

The most popular and traditional cold mezza options include hummus, baba ghannouj, fattoush, tabbouli, kibbe naye and vine leaves.

Hot mezza is the second part of the ‘entree’ course and involves warm appetisers including falafel, mekanek (Lebanese sausages), batata harra (coriander potatoes) fried kibbeh, sambousik along with many others. It is recommended to taste each of these on their own before mixing and matching.

Mixing hummus with fried kibbeh is the perfect flavour combination. It is also quite popular in Lebanese cuisine and restaurants in Parramatta.

From fresh bread to small plates of vegetable, pickles, nuts, dips and more, mezza can be enjoyed in its own right (we don’t think it should be though). Let mezza pave the way for the main meal.

Our most popular mezza picks are:

  • Tabbouli
  • Shanklish
  • Hummus
  • Baba Ghannouj
  • Labne
  • Kibbe Naye
  • Chicken Wings
Step 2: selecting the perfect main meal from the menu

Lebanese cuisine consists of an array of flavoursome and mouth-watering main meals that are not easy to choose from. Some of the most popular and traditional Lebanese main meals include grilled chicken skewers, lamb skewers and kafta skewers – often labelled as a “mix grill.” These beautifully marinated meats are best enjoyed with a side of cold mezza, dips and, of course, bread.

Many people fill their stomach with mezza and forget about mains. Think again! Here are our top main meal picks to help you decide:

  • Maghmour
  • Samke Harra
  • Chicken Mansaf
  • Mixed Grill with Quail
Step 3: Dessert and coffee, please!

Lebanese dessert is a must. It is recommended that you take your time eating all of the different dishes from step 1 and 2 to have enough room for a sweet treat. As part of the Lebanese tradition of hospitality, everything ends with a coffee; there is no better flavour combination than a sweet treat being washed down by the delicious aroma of Arabic coffee.

How can you possibly say no to baklawa? This delicious dessert pastry recipe consists of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with sugar syrup, almost served in every Lebanese restaurant.

Our top dessert picks are:

  • Rice Pudding
  • Jawz Bel Tamer
  • Lebanese Sweet Selection
  • Aysh Al Saraya

We invite you to come to join us at Sahra by the River for an authentic, refreshing and flavoursome dining experience. Experience Lebanese food the way it should be, right here in the heart of Parramatta. We offer a variety of hot and cold mezza options, with decadent mouth-watering main meals and delightful desserts.

Reserve a table today.

Call us on (02) 8865 6361