Rich, creamy, sweet, cheesy, sticky and crunchy – few desserts can lay claim to all those adjectives, but knafeh (pronounced ku-na-feh), the traditional sweet of the Levant is special. A bakery dedicated to the dessert, aptly titled The Knafeh Bakery, has set up shop in Strathfield in a repurposed shipping container-come-bakery.

“We come from a family of hospitality, and this is inspired by the bakeries of Jerusalem,” says owner AJ (Ameer) El-issa, who’s helped by his mother Nabila and siblings Joey and Mouna. The El-issa family’s version of knafeh established a strong following at its Shisha Bar & Grill in Croydon Park. Its popularity sparked the idea to convert a shipping container into a purpose-built bakery serving only knafeh and its perfect accompaniment, sweet Moroccan tea.

El-issa describes knafeh as a, “sweet cheese semolina pudding with a fine crumbing mixture on top that is baked crisp to create a crunchy, crumble coating with a hot, oozing centre.” It is served with crumbled pistachio topping and doused in sugar syrup.

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The shipping container tells the legendary story of knafeh and its origins through the street art of Warrick McMiles, and its open-plan layout has been designed to showcase the making and baking of the knafeh.
“It’s about the theater of the bakers,” says El-issa. “You can see everything happening. It’s about the experience and six bearded men dressed in white.”


Thu to Sun 6pm–late