Church Street in Parramatta is a street that scares the shit out of me sometimes. And not because it's in Parramatta and I'm 90% guaranteed to get stabbed when I'm there (joke, I love you, Parra). No, Church Street scares me because it's an "eat street". And "eat streets" are evil places, designed by people to rob you by stabbing you with average food; surviving for bizarre reasons like location, decor and the fact that they have brown tables.
But El-Phoenician is alright.
It's your standard Lebanese fare served in fairly comfortable surrounds, with prices marked up a little to accommodate for the comfortable surrounds and the fact that the restaurant is on an "eat street".
What can I say? It was all pretty par for the course. The dips--labne, hummus and babaganoush--were all solid. The salad of lettuce, sun-dried tomato and parmesan was a little odd, though not bad. The grilled meats were as good as other Lebanese grilled meats and other things like felafel and samabouski were the same.
Is it above average Lebanese food? Probably not. Is it below average food? Certainly not. But is it a good place to go when you want solid Lebanese food in comfortable surrounds? Yeah, probably.
For me, it's not really my thing. When I have grilled meat and stacks of garlic dip, I almost feel more comfortable in a slightly shoddy, smokey, busy restaurant. Where everyone has come to devour meat smothered in garlic and hummus and wrapped in Lebanese bread, with maybe a couple of spoonfuls of fatoosh (where was that at El-Phoenician?) to make you feel like you're eating healthy.
RATING: Okay, may go back [?]