Brisbane dwellers can indulge in a sensational dinner party of world food at home for less than the cost of a restaurant thanks to chef Robert Bousamra, who can whip up everything from a refined European 3-course dinner to a traditional Lebanese feast.
This is without a doubt Brisbane's most unique and ultimate dinner party – one where the chef (Robert) arrives at the host’s house during the day and literally prepares the entire meal from scratch, before serving it up to guests with five star presentation that evening (and cleaning up afterwards).
As well as all of the ingredients, Robert also brings his own utensils and, when necesary, his own cooking equipment and the result is a truly delicious experience that all up costs under the price you would pay to dine at a restaurant. Plus you get to supply your own wine, which adds to the savings.
As the creator and author of the internationally award-winning* cookbook ‘Lebanon to Ghana – The Food I Grew Up With’ Robert's Lebanese menu has become legendary in Brisbane households but his cooking talents expand to other countries of the world.
The herbs he uses come from his own garden when in season, spices and herbs are hand ground with a mortar and pestle just before use, sauces are made from scratch as are pates and even crackers, which are baked on the spot. Most of this can be observed throughout the preparation process and Robert, who is a charming fountain of cooking tales and knowledge is only too happy to explain as he goes.
The World Food menu (for 6-8 guests) is as good as you'll find in any of the best restaurants, with a range of entrees including Asparagus Gryuere and Leek Quiche, Duck and Pork Terrine with fig sauce, Stuffed mushrooms with gruyere and herbs or the highly recommended Chicken Pate & sesame crackers, both of which Robert makes from scratch on the day.
For Mains, choices include Rib Fillet with red wine sauce, Lamb Curry, Salmon Steak with Bearnaise sauce, Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Island Spiced Rice, Duck Breast with Cherry Compote, and 3 Vegetarian dishes: Mushroom Medley Risotto or Ratatouille (in smoky paprika and tomato sauce).
Otherwise there's Asian Fusion Flavours such as Asian Chicken Stir Fry with tahini or Lamb Kofta Fetuccine in yoghurt or tomato sauce and Salads such as Okra chill and lime, Greek or Nicoise.
Desserts could include Creme Brulee, Pear tarts, Panacotta or a Three Cheese Platter.
The Lebanese Mezza, which can cater for up to 12 guests, is a more informal dining experience consisting of five dishes (including 2 dips as one dish) which guests help themselves to from a casual banquet setting.
Perfect for sharing in the traditional way, the Mezza offers a choice of 5 smaller dishes (2 dips are counted as one dish) such as Sambousik (hand-prepared pastry filled with spiced lamb and pinenuts roasted on site), Fattoush (rustic garden style salad), the best Tabouleh you'll find in Brisbane, Lahem Bi Ahjeen (mini pizza style pastries topped with finely chopped tomato, onion and lamb) or Fatayer (fine vegetable pastry filled with silver beet, tomato and onion as well as smaller-sized Lahem Mishwe.
The Lebanese Feast Mains menu (also for up to 12 guests) consists of 1 or 2 from a selection of mains, combined with 3 starters and optional extra dessert and coffee.
This more comprehensive menu includes a choice of Mezza dishes along with dishes such as Snapper in Tahina Sauce, Chicken Rice and Bemeh (a classic dish rarely seen in restaurants - tender lamb chunks and fried okra beans in a rich tomato and pomegranate sauce).
Delectable treats to follow include a selection of traditional Lebanese sweets and pastries such as the Rose of Damascus and baklavah served with cups of traditional Lebanese coffee.
Guests provide their own wine and Robert, who knows a thing or two about wines hilself, is more than happy to recommend great matches for his food courses.
Need to know - This is not a catering service but rather a personalized experience in which almost the entire prep and cooking process happens in the host’s kitchen. The result is a unique and memorable dinner party that everyone will be talking about for a long time.
*Robert, a fascinating character with many tales to tell, spent the early years of his life in Ghana, hence the name of his book, which is as beautiful as the food he prepares. The book, which came second in world in the Best Foreign Cook Book category of the prestigious Gourmand awards in 2014, is available to buy and, photographed and designed by Robert, is testament to his other creative talents.
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