I read about this breakfast buffet at Kazbah on Darling in Not Quite Nigella's blog. The food just looked so fantastic that even though I knew I wouldn't be able to pull together the necessary 8 people for the breakfast special, I wanted to go for lunch or dinner. It so happens that Kazbah has obscure opening times and because we were on a limited stay, we didn't end up going. When I discovered that it had a sister restaurant called Sumac, I thought it would be the perfect alternative.
We headed to that side of the harbor after some shopping in Paddington and it wasn't too long before we found Sumac.
The restaurant has an open, Mediterranean feel to it. The outer tables directly overlook the water and the tables on the inside still benefit from the view by being on a raised platform.
We ordered drinks to start off with. The guys got Cokes and I chose a mandarin and mango juice, just to be different. Water came in a weird jug that the waiter pours into your glass from a distance.
My juice was very different - I've tried plain mandarin juice before and it's more bitter than you'd expect. Paired with mango, it's refreshing and sweet.
For food, we ordered an entree of cheese filos and three mains to share: a lamb shank tagine, a mixed grill platter and a salad.
It didn't take long for the food to come. I thought the triple cheese filos were the greatest things ever. Cheese in a crispy coating with a strong date dipping sauce = bite-sized perfection.
With our expectations raised, we waited eagerly for the mains. A waiter came to clear our table for the grill platter... the platter was huge. The contents on the platter looked plentiful but shared amongst the three of us, was devoured quickly. The grilled items were alright but nothing really stood out to me. Watch out - the mushrooms are very spicy.
I had chosen a tagine because I read that this was Sumac's specialty. We were unfortunately pretty disappointed with the lamb shank tagine. The shank was tender and the meat was falling off the bone but the overall flavor was much too sweet. The cous cous had not absorbed any flavor from the rest of the dish and was quite bland. I don't recommend this dish.
The salad we ordered was just an attempt to increase our vegetable intake. It was fresh, the vegetables were crispy and the yogurt dressing was nice and tangy. Charlie particularly liked the bread pieces.
The overall group impression of Sumac wasn't that great, but I think that's because it is compared to many other restaurants we went to in Sydney. I'm afraid we might have ordered the 'wrong things'. I can imagine that a shared pizza (very popular at Sumac) or a lunch special (only $9.95 daily) with a drink by the water would have been a better choice.