Michael Dagostino, the director of Campbelltown Arts Centre, believes western Sydney, and in particular, Granville, can be a bit forgotten by the rest of the city. “But its options for food and dining are interesting, genuine and authentic,” he says. “Granville is a nod to the rich history and culture of the region; family and community based, unpretentious, and above all, great quality food.” Dagostino takes us on a tour of some of his favourite places in the area.
Whether it’s a Tuesday, a Saturday night or a Sunday El Jannah is always totally packed out and the atmosphere is really interesting. The stand-out feature is the garlic sauce; I have no idea why, it’s just contagious. A standard order is a quarter chicken and chips but they also have really fresh falafel; Lebanese culture has a really fantastic vegetarian cuisine attached to it. I have a family so we get two chickens, chips and all the condiments and pickles. It’s been around for such a long time that its really entrenched in the history of Granville, its become an integral part of the community and people travel from all around Western Sydney and beyond to come to this one chicken shop. A chicken shop sounds like a lesser term and undermines how good it really is. The only drawback is the wait, which can be up to half an hour, and its busy all the time, afternoon to night, but I guess this is a testament to the quality.
This is a great post-dinner haunt because its open really late in a fairly suburban area for coffee and something sweet after a meal. My personal favourites are the znoud el sett, a flaky pastry roll filled with custard and covered with rosewater syrup, and the knafeh, which is excellent. It’s a very social place; they serve argileh (Arabic flavored tobacco) which they bring out on hot coals. It’s a great place to round off an evening with friends.
A bit of a secret of Granville – the entrance is through the back door at the back of the building, so unless you know where it is, you won’t be able to get in. The bread is really fresh and baked on site every day. Again it’s a longstanding pillar of the Lebanese community; family run, excellent service and fresh, quality produce.
In Lebanese culture pizza is a morning food rather than a dinner one, so Mina Bakery opens early and closes at 5pm. Highlights are the zaatar manoosh (oregano pizza) or the lahm bajeen manoosh (lamb pizza), but the cheese triangle is excellent too.