Middle Eastern food aficionados rejoice! Prepare to be delighted by SaltVine Lebanese Tapas Bar, a new player along Crown St in Surry Hills that’s making a buzz big time with their modern twist on Middle Eastern cuisine. Whether you are seated outside or inside, you’ll find yourself under the sun of Lebanon with its warm, friendly and inviting vibes.
The focus of the menu here is ‘Mezza’, shared plates or tapas style and it’s divided into four offerings; Cold, Salad, Fried and Comfort selections. Drinks from the bar include spirits and non alcoholic drinks, bespoke cocktails, local and imported beer, wine as well a choice of beers and a number of wines from Lebanese producers.
Our dinner started with the classic Pomegranate Martini – $18 and Young Henry – $9 tap beer, perfect as mood-setters while waiting for our orders. The venue is adorned with pendant mosaic lights creating the right feel and large window glass panels giving lots of natural light during the day or those long summertime evenings.
Beautifully plated Falafel – $12 was the first to arrive at the table. The mixture of chickpeas, spices and pickled beets gives a wonderful balance of flavours. The herbed tahini yogurt complements nicely with every bite of the fried balls.
It’s our first time to try this dish, and we liked it, rolled into a cigar shape, these aptly named Syrian String Cheese Cigars – $16 are definitely not to be missed. They are crispy on the outside, just a hint of nuttiness and lovely cheese texture on the inside, pairs well with the rich harissa tomato sauce which has a hint of sweetness.
Stepping up their game to the next level, I can see why this place is so popular, the grilled Scotch Meshwi – $26 and chargrilled Samkhe Harra – $22 were cooked to perfection. The merquez spices, carrot puree and paprika butter are smooth, consistent on flavours, totally enhanced the meat whilst the tahini dressing walnut butter, pickled chilli and coriander added a kick to the perfectly cooked fish. Each ingredient of these dishes bring something different to the plate, a pleasing flavour profile that is layered and well balanced. For us, a bowl of zesty Tabbouli – $14, mixed parsley, mint, shallots, tomatoes, cucumber, lemon and extra virgin olive oil with added quinoa is the perfect side dish for these dishes.
Definitely leave a room for dessert, the Baklava Ice Cream – $12 hits all the right dessert notes, the pistachio ice cream is rich and well balanced in flavour, whilst the baklava pastry is crispy and flaky and it isn’t overly sweet, served sprinkled with nuts and barberry, now that’s is a winning dessert!
In summary, we dined here for dinner on a Tuesday night and the restaurant was packed out, but despite of being so busy that night, all the food and drinks we ordered came out all quicker than expected. SaltVine Tapas Bar is a go-to restaurant where food and a good night out collide spectacularly!
535 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010 Phone: (02) 8937 2191
E_deliciou_S dined as guests