Ibby Moubadder and Eleanor Harris look confident. The Cuckoo Callay duo believes, despite the sea of excellent new restaurant openings, their venue has a good shot. Because there’s nothing really like it.
It’s called Nour and it is the most creative take on Levantine (eastern Mediterranean region) food we’ve seen in Sydney. To do that the team has brought in Palestinian head chef Nader Shayeb (ex-Moro, London) and Israeli Ram Kimelfeld (ex-Raphael, Tel Aviv) as sous chef. They, along with executive chef Roy Ner (ex-Aria), have eschewed regular charcoal roasts and stews for a wood-fired oven that roasts breads, pumpkins, and tender short-ribs accompanied by sticky carrots and a mini-pot of béarnaise-toum (that garlic sauce you get at old-school Lebanese joints).
There’s also a lot of fun to be had with doughy Lebanese pumpkin dumplings; mini-taco-like flat breads with radish and chicken innards; a deconstructed baklava; and a well constructed pumpkin cheesecake served with halva ice-cream. On Sundays there's three-course, set-menu brunch, with a cocktail included.
The restaurant’s design (by DS17) doesn't resemble anything Lebanese. The one reference they have kept is the terracotta wall that separates the private dining room. Otherwise it’s all light timber, pink tones and views of the kitchen and bar. The latter is the domain of Amir Halpert from The Owl House, who’s made a vaguely Lebanese-inspired cocktail with figs, pomegranate, watermelon juice and orange blossom.