Hummus can be found in panins all over town and is plopped on every party platter. Though no one can deny the greatness and popularity of this chickpea delight, we must not forget the multitude of dip options in 2015, this is important stuff. Here are Sydney’s top 10 dips.
Bissara at Out of Africa, Manly
Bissara is a warm Moroccan broadbean dip that, at a glance, can be easily mistaken for hummus. Out of Africa rotates its dip menu monthly, but the Bissara stays put. Out of Africa’s Jasmine M’Souli says, “We use broad [fava] bean with an argan oil, which creates this kind of earthy, nutty flavour.”
43–45 East Esplanade, Manly.
Cacik at Erciyes Restaurant, Redfern
If you’re after bulk dips to fill your fridge, this is an affordable way to do it. Everything on the menu is reliable, but Erciyes’ refreshing cacik is a standout. A simple blend of cucumber, garlic, mint and yogurt, cacik is ideal for extinguishing searing chilli burn. This Turkish restaurant also has live belly dancers every Friday and Saturday night.
409 Cleveland Street, Redfern.
Babaganoush at Abdul’s Restaurant, Surry Hills
Sydney’s babaganoush offerings are infinite. Undeniably, this Lebanese restaurant’s is one of the best. Its eggplant is smoked on-site every morning, just as it has been for 50 years. Nancy Ghazal, daughter of owner Omar Ghazal, explains that all recipes are passed down through the family. “Our babaganoush is made with love,” Ghazal says. “My dad makes it using fresh ingredients. You can have it on whatever you like, it’s good with everything.”
563 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills.
Beetroot dip at The Sultan’s Table, Enmore
This Enmore establishment needs no introduction; The Sultan’s Table is full most nights of the week. Should your group order meze appetisers (a trough of eight cold dips), the bright beetroot option will quickly disappear. Its sweetness mixes well with any neighbouring dip. One dollop atop an iskender kebab will keep you coming back.
179 Enmore Road, Enmore.
Garlic dip at Hijazi Falafel, Arncliffe
Sophie Hijazi has operated this Arncliffe secret for more than 20 years. She’s a stoic woman, but assures us: “All dips here are perfect for everything.” This Lebanese hole-in-the wall is worth the trek. Hijazi’s crunchy falafel is the ideal vessel for this potent garlic dip.
53 Wollongong Road, Arncliffe.
Dip board at Cafe Shenkin, Erskineville
Shenkin now has four locations. Each provides a modern spin on traditional Israeli flavours. Its dip board is essential for any Shenkin virgins. It’s a rack of brimming dip bowls alongside fresh pita. The two winning options are the tahini and harissa-capsicum.
Taramasalata at The Apollo, Potts Point
Taramasalata is a Greek dip made from fish roe. The Apollo makes incredible taramasalata (which is much cheaper than caviar). Co-owner Jonathan Barthelmess says, “It’s something I’ve been eating my whole life. It’s kind of a compilation of recipes from my aunties, uncles, parents and friends’ parents.” There is bread mixed throughout the dip to thicken the mixture.
Muhammara at Efendy Restaurant and Meze Bar, Balmain
Efendy encourages meze dining and its menu is geared towards shared plates. Its selection of Turkish dips are sold in-store and are also available from Salts Meats Cheese. Efendy’s Tina Gundogan recommends the new muhammara. “It’s a red capsicum and walnut dip,” she says. “We match it with our freshly baked pita bread … I actually put it in my pasta sauces. It’s a very strong, smoky flavour.”
Labne at Sefa Kitchen, Bondi
Sefa Kitchen offers fine Middle Eastern cuisine in the eastern suburbs. On its weekend-only brunch menu, you’ll find the labne with roast beetroot and nigella seeds: labne perfection, plain and simple. Another brunch dip is the pumpkin fatteh, which is also available on the evening menu (along with sour yoghurt and pepitas).
Carrot dip at Matee, Newtown
Matee is on King Street’s south end. The warm space is filled with the smoky scent of skewered lamb. It’s a gourmet kebab option, at a standard kebab price. It has a secret hoard of family recipe dips. The carrot dip is sweet and nicely chunky. It pairs beautifully with Matee’s yaprak sarmasi (hand-rolled vine leaves).
528 King Street, Newtown.