Just 5 months old, this authentic Lebanese roaster-bakery has no blogger coverage and is a hidden gem in the poor-side of Marrickville. This is the opposite of the Surry Hills or Bondi trending cafes.
du Liban is simple – Middle-Eastern comfort food with spice and price aggression. Perfect for those wandering the grungy industrial outskirts under the flight path.
These girls are in the real business of beans roasting and tea brewing. Waitress orders us to order the special.
Golden Milk Tea with ginger – $4.50
I throw back a Golden Milk tea and have few regrets. Spicy, milky ginger tea with a sunset yellow hue. Magic potion best for a flu. Leaves a pleasant burning sensation on my throat.
Salad starter in kale, pumpkin, potato and egg. No morning run and my attempt to be healthy.
Pumpkin, potato and kale salad – $8.50
Sizing is appetiser-like. Being freshly made, definitely better than a potato salad. 3/5.
Two types of big breakfasts and the choice is easy. Do you go a boring sausage-haloumi (‘du Luban’) or the promiscuously unbeknownst Fatteh and Ful Mademes (‘Zahra’)?
Initial emotion is unimpressive presentation and confusion. Not sure how to pair known (main) with unknown (sides).
Zahra Big Breakfast – fatteh, mademes, scrambled eggs, tomotoes and pototoes – $16.80
Fairly standard staples in eggs, sauteed potatoes and under-baked tomato wedges. Sides of yogurt-chickpeas and a smooth bean soup cleanse the palate. A touch better than an American big breakfast.
The win is size. Eating takes longer than a 5km run and digesting takes 3 hours. However, I’m no closer to booking food trip to Lebanon. Dish is a play on the joys of choice. 4/5
Next is why we drove 5km under the flight path … Shakshuka.
Shakshuka – $12
The deepest pan I’ve been served. Instantly sold on full-bodied flavour without the need for say chorizo for texture and saltiness.
Utilisation of home-made pita is high. Heart sinks seeing watery sauce, which does thicken after 15 min. I’m impatient and prefer upfront chunkiness. Still incredible value, dish of the day at 5/5.
A predictably heart warming eggs and spiced beef mince.
French Eggs with sautéed beef with crunchy pine nuts – $12
Reminds me of a spicy, quick-fix dinner which has beef-mince plus [fridge leftovers] plus [basic seasoning]. Yummy but too simple to critique. Score equals eater’s love of cow for breakfast.
On balance, a happy reminder Lebanon is not all about a chilli and garlic kebab from the local Enmore street vendor. Score summary:
– Food (♦♦♦♦) – simple, unpretentious and hearty. Could replicate at home with a spice rack.
– Value (♦♦♦♦♦) – under-priced baked eggs at a 60% discount to Surry Hills.
– Other (♦♦♦♦) – no wait, enthusiastic staff in literally an industrial fitout.
– Overall (♦♦♦♦) – hidden Middle-Eastern gem.
Du Lubian shares the rustic and hearty characteristics of more popular Middle-Eastern cafe haunts (Effendy, Kasbah, Kepos). Differentiation lies in a menu that does not over-promise nor over-price.
Will I be returning?
Shown below is the Lebanese love child of skilled bakers, quality flour and a love of carbs.
Across the road is the conveniently located and certainly naughty Bourke Street Bakery.
A great feed leaves the the hips and budget crying for a breather. Yet my heart has other intentions. It’s the mythical Bourke Street Bakery sausage roll that is a god-given right. Lamb vs pig inside a pastry is dictated by a coin toss…
Lamb, almond and harissa sausage roll – $4.80
An artery clogging injection of buttery, moist and crunchy goodness. Really comes down to the perfect flaky pastry. I almost pass out at the wheel en route back home. 5/5 heart-led decision.