Kings Cross on a Friday night used to resemble a war zone; well before we got lumped with a Liberal state government, that is. This makes the well-executed bunker fit out by Shawn West from 2D Studio, a little bittersweet for anyone who loved the vibrant Kings Cross of old. With that off my chest, there’s still something pleasingly ironic about sliding into this subterranean M.A.S.H. unit setting to eat Arabic street food. First thing you need is a beer, and if on-tap Aussie options like Coopers Pale Ale ($6/330ml) don’t grab you, get the affable staff to nip next door for the Lebanese 961 Red Ale ($8.50). Yes, this is an offshoot of the now formidable Kazbah empire, owned by Zahi Azzi. He’s put his stamp on the menu too, by using his mother’s recipe for the Kibbeh ($8/4 pieces). Mum clearly knows best, as it’s unsurpassed by any of the others I’ve tried. The Sambousek ($8/4 pieces) are also impressive, especially in conjunction with strong garlic Toum ($6.50) or super-smoky Baba ($7.50). Now most things involving kale I tend to treat as hipster affectations, not so the Kale Tabbouleh ($12.50) here – it’s fabulous, nudging out the Grainy Fattoush ($13.50). Round out your meal with the fragrant Chicken Shawarma ($14.50) and surprisingly good Chips with Harissanaise ($6.50).
Mafi Mitlo: Kazbah Street Food
9/15 Bayswater Road, Kings Cross
Ph: (1300) 529 224 mafimitlo.com.au