Brisbane dwellers can indulge in a sensational Lebanese or European feast at home for less than the cost of a restaurant thanks to chef Robert Bousamra, who brings the age old customs and food of Lebanon and southern Europe into the dining rooms of Brisbane.
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 just as it would be done in his home country, before serving it up to guests that evening on exquisite handmade tableware.
As well as all of the ingredients, Robert also brings his own utensils, traditional cooking equipment and even his own wood stove in order to ensure that traditions are followed and the result is a truly authentic experience that all up costs under the price you would pay to dine at a fine restaurant.
As the creator and author of the internationally award-winning* cookbook ‘Lebanon to Ghana – The Food I Grew Up With’ Robert is a passionate and meticulous chef whose food is a cut above that in the majority of restaurants.
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, dried legumes are prepared according to traditional methods, lamb is minced by hand in the traditional manner using two sharp knives, olives are pickled, nuts are slow roasted in the oven while the aubergine is cooked and smoked to make his to-die-for Smoky Baba Ghanouj dip. (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 tableware, all of which Robert provides (if the guests would prefer and for a slight extra cost) is so beautiful as to be a talking point, from the hand-painted and crafted Turkish bowls to the coffee service and the elegant water jug and the perfect receptacle for the food.
Guests can opt for a Lebanese Mains or Mezza menu or the new European Flavours menu ( a special plated dinner party menu for 8 seated guests), which offers a choice from 5 entrees, 6 mains and 4 desserts. 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. 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.
As well as the Mains listed on his website menu, Robert is happy to cook other recipes from his cookbooks, such as his more-ish frittatas or heavenly Lamb stew with pomegranate molasses, red beans, onion and spices, accompanied by silver beet with caremelized onions, chickpeas, lemon and garlic. Desserts could include Semolina Slice or other home-made Lebanese sweets (the best you'll find in Brisbane!)
The Flavours of Europe Menu, which takes inspiration from the Mediterranean, and is perfect for that intimate family or friends dinner party, consists of Entrees such as Robert's delectable must-try pate or dips with crackers, Gruyère, asparagus and leek quiche, or a platter of European cheese with hand-made Lavosh crackers. Mains include the likes of heavenly grass fed cuts of premium beef or venison with French sauces. Desserts could include hand crafted sorbets and flavoured Pana Cotta.
Perfect for sharing in the traditional way is the Mezza, with 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.
Meanwhile the more comprehensive Lebanese Mains 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 is only too happy to recommend accompanying wines upon the menu being chosen. And for those who want the full Lebanese experience he can also bring traditional background music.
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.
More info here and contact Lebanese Feast here