From the relaxed and friendly service to the market table of fresh produce and an open kitchen that melts into the middle of the dining space, every detail at Shaffa is designed to be noticed but not noted. It strives to replicate the ambience of a Middle Eastern marketplace, right in the heart of Sydney’s inner city.

Diners walk through a narrow alley between a 120-year-old church and a 19th-century inn to enter the modern indoor-outdoor space, which is enclosed by a 10-metre-high glass roof designed by architect Vince Squillace. You can take a seat in prime position at the chef’s bar or in the dining space below the atrium, or head into the indoor bar – a space originally constructed in the 1850s.

The menu takes cues from the many influences that inform Tel Aviv’s cosmopolitan cuisine, from across the Middle East to Europe. You might order a saffron and yoghurt chicken shawarma cooked over coals and complemented by a tangy tomato salad and sweet caramelised onions.

Other menu highlights might include the signature Holy Pita Pocket – a street-food staple – served with short ribs or lamb kofta; a warm paprika-spiked hummus; and kingfish sashimi.

Throw in a list of original cocktails curated by The Lobo’s Samuel McWilliams, harnessing ingredients like arak, pear, date syrup and halva, and you’re onto a winner.

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Updated: July 15th, 2022

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