As a metropolitan area, Parramatta is the new black! The perfect fusion of culture, prime restaurants, night life, leisurely activities and family friendly facilities, Parramatta is now boasting with life.
Geographically, Parramatta is one of the most prominent suburbs in Sydney, and the surrounding suburbs with a population of over 260,000, forecasted to increase to 390,000 by the year 2036. As a result of the thriving lifestyle habits of the residents of Parramatta, the area boasts of diverse cuisine options, making it difficult to even imagine anything less than a wide choice of multicultural cafes and restaurants.
The history of Lebanese restaurants in Australia
The largest portion of the Arabic speaking community in Australia, whether born here or migrant, now lives in Sydney.
But how did this thriving community emerge onto the hospitality scene?
Hospitality from the humble corner of Lebanon first emerged in Sydney, in Cleveland St, Surry Hills. Ironically, it was a hamburger cafe known as the Empire Burger Cafe, and was a fusion between British and American food culture. Today, ironically, it houses a popular Lebanese restaurant.
However, the first restaurant labelled proudly as a “Lebanese” restaurant, emerged in the mid 1960s, in Redfern, known as “Wilson’s Lebanese Restaurant.”
This sparked a trend and Lebanese/Arabic restaurants began to blossom around the suburbs of Redfern and Surry Hills, where most Lebanese migration patterns post World War II.
From the 1960s onward, Lebanese businesses began to slowly display Arabic symbols, cultures and language on building fronts, proudly showcasing the culture. Rooms that expressed the finest elements of culture; for most, the Lebanese culture was considered as exotic and thriving in colour and dynamics, but above all, good food and even better hospitality.
Parramatta, among many other cities in Sydney, have embraced this and are now abundant in Lebanese cuisine.
What to expect at a Lebanese restaurant in Parramatta:
1- Quality service
If it’s one thing Lebanese people are known for, it’s their unbeatable hospitality.
From generation to generation Lebanese people have been hosting family and friends and they sure know how to do it well.
It is not uncommon for people invited over to a family member or friend’s house for lunch and then find themselves staying for dinner as well.
The Lebanese people are traders by nature, having in the early centuries experienced many different people from different cultures come and go.
Making friends with new people is something the Lebanese people know how to do well, even if at times language is a barrier.
This is the very reason why food is always at the centre of all Lebanese celebrations or events, drawing people together over a common interest, and communicating through the culinary language.
Lebanese food is great because it not only tastes good but it is also good for you. This can be traced back to centuries of cultural influences where Lebanon was subject to the Roman, Greek, Phonecians and Ottomoman empires.
This lead to an introduction of new ingredients and eventually developed into new recipes.
Lebanon is also geographically situated on the east coast of the Mediterranian Sea which is a prime location for having fresh, locally grown produce. These ingredients are used in all Lebanese meals and dishes giving flavour and making it the most popular cuisine in the Middle East.
The types of food you’ll find at a Lebanese restaurant include:
- Hot and cold mezze (halloumi, fattoush, tabouli, labneh, hummus, baba ghanouj, kibbeh, sambousek and fatayer)
- Vegetarian mains (falafel, mujaddara, maghmour)
- Seafood mains (BBQ king prawns, samke harra, grilled barramundi)
- Poultry mains (garlic & lemon, chicken shawarma, chicken skewers)
- Meat mains (lamb shawarma, lamb skewers, kafta skewers)
- Banquets for 2 or more people (Sahra banquet; 3 dips, 2 salads, coriander potato, 3 bbq skewers i.e. chicken, lamb & kafta per person)
Yes, this traditional Lebanese spirit deserves its own section. Arak is an alcoholic beverage exclusive to Lebanon, and is made from grapes with aniseed, and is a perfect match to various Lebanese dishes. Best served with water and ice.
As it is fermented naturally, Arak also has many health benefits such as; improving blood flow, keeping wounds sterile, eliminates rashes, strengthens the heart, increases body warmth, and heals acne among many other impressive things.
At Sahra, the choice of Arak is between two of the best Lenanese imported spirits, Premium Ksara or Arak Brun, both of which are made from local Lebanese ingredients.
In most Lebanese restaurants, patrons are often warned to prepare to feast on many portions of food and to go on an empty stomach or they might face some difficulty at the end of the night.
As mentioned earlier, food is centre of Lebanese culture and therefore the main reason why celebrations always revolve around food and lots of it.
Lebanese restaurants are particularly well known for offering generous portions that are affordably priced, meaning diners will be sure to get their money’s worth.
Using recipes which have been passed down from family to family for decades if not centuries, have prompted the Lebanese to share food and experiences with others.
This is one of the main reasons why migrants decided to open Lebanese restaurants wherever they migrated to, allowing the rest of the world to be introduced these deliciously exoctic treasures.
Lebanese people value the quality of life and the joy of gathering together no matter what the occasion. This is the very essence of the Lebanese way of life. Family, friends and food combined bring joy.
The Lebanese people are some of the friendliest, cheerful and most hospitable people in the world. Many people have attested to the fact that if you visit the country alone, it is almost impossible to leave without gaining a friend or two.
So, too, is the experience at most Lebanese restaurants around the world.
Lively, friendly and upbeat are just a few words that will accurately depict the atmosphere at Sahra, much like the vibe in the motherland, Lebanon.
It is very common for large groups to gather at Lebanese restaurants because of what they can offer. Spacious and comfortable, Sahra’s interior decor emulates that of Lebanon, transporting patrons to a world that is rich in culture, diversity, history, art and class.
Make memorable moments in this unique atmosphere, leaving guests wanting more.
Optional entertainment such as belly dancers, henna ladies, fortune tellers or the Lebanese drummers for your special occasion will create an exciting vibe and be fun for the whole family.
Why you should visit Sahra by the River Lebanese restaurant in Parramatta:
With so much to offer, Sahra by the River exposes patrons to the cultural paradise, that is Lebanon, right on the banks of the Parramatta river located in Sydney’s west.
Allow our staff to transform your next occasion into an exotic event, with deliciously generous portions of food, great entertainment and the glistening water as the perfect backdrop to compliment.
Allow the hospitable team at Sahra by the River to transform ordinary food into an extraordinary experience for you and your guests.
Call or make a reservation today for you and a few friends or host your birthday, wedding, engagement, bridal shower, christening, holy communion, work function. Whatever it is, we will cater to you!