For more than 7,000 years, Lebanese food has benefited and borrowed from a mixture of cultures. From the Romans and the Greeks to the Arabs and the French, Lebanon has concentrated these cultural influences into a gastronomic symphony. Now, its Auckland's turn to add to and embrace this worldly food.
The former has been around for two years and is the brainchild of the same people who brought us the likes of famed international cuisines a la Orleans and Mexico. Some of the offerings include the ever popular 'Bubba': a melange of dehydrated kale, house made black sujuk and crunchy sesame seeds. The founders insist that unlike other middle eastern offerings they're "going for more polished cuisine with the foundations of authentic and fringe Middle Eastern ingredients."
A little further out of Auckland's buzzing CBD, you'll find Gemmayze St nestled on K'Road. Named after the vibrant dining street in the heart of Lebanon's capital, Gemmayze St is a newcomer to Auckland's burgeoning food scene, and the Mediterranean restaurant is a family affair. Owner Samir Allen's mother mans the front of house, welcoming visitors in like esteemed dinner guests. The Kibbeh bil sayneyeh - a rustic baked lamb dish with pomegranate molasses, mint and pine nuts - is a highlight on the menu as well as a traditional Lebanese favourite.
If eating in wasn't enough to get your fix, then there's always the option of bringing these delicacies home. Kohkoz is a new Lebanese food company that offers (amongst other choices) hummus, tabouleh, garlic dip and falafel. A huge favourite of food truck owner Al Brown, this new Lebanese up-start is making waves with its incredibly tasty selection of home-made dips and assorted Lebanese delicacies.
Take a dip in Mediterranean waters and experience cuisine that's been 7,000 years in the making.
Photo credits: @kohkoz instagram, @beirut instagram