Spread of Syrian food
Photograph: Helen Yee
  • Restaurants | Middle Eastern
  • price 1 of 4
  • Merrylands
  • Recommended


Al Shami

4 out of 5 stars

The next stop on your Middle Eastern food journey should be Syrian food in Merrylands


Time Out says

Where can you eat Syrian food in Sydney? We're glad you asked. Head to Al Shami in Merrylands where they’re serving up dishes from both Syria and neighbouring Lebanon to a non-stop arrival of ex-pats. Couples? Friends? Families? They’re all here.

The first thing you need to order is the muhammara, a spicy dip traditionally made from the Aleppo chilli pepper. Grab a round of soft Lebanese bread from the ready-packed bags on each table and savour the subtle chilli kick that builds slowly on your palate, its spiciness tempered by the sweetness of pomegranate molasses and the scattered crunch of crushed walnuts.

Continue with shishbarak, a warm dumpling dish found across Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Iraq. Each delicate dumpling skin holds a mouthful of spiced beef mince, cooked in a rich yoghurt sauce that has just enough garlic to make you definitely want more.

The mansaf, listed as Jordanian on the menu, is another dish worth investigating. It’s a large plate (mansaf) of buttery basmati rice served with a hulk of a slow-cooked lamb shank. The meat is so tender it just takes a nudge to make it fall clean off the bone. Pour over as little or as much jameed broth as you please, a distinctly tangy soup made from dried fermented yoghurt that’s revered by locals.

If raw kebbeh – seasoned raw lamb mince with bulghur wheat – isn’t your thing, the vegetarian plate will be. It’s a mini party platter of tabouli, hommous and baba ghannouj eggplant dip plus two mini falafels in the shape of donuts. You won’t find cuter falafel. 

Round it all out with the Al Shami mix plate, a trio of grilled skewers speared with lamb cubes, lamb mince and chicken pieces. Still hungry? Give into temptation and order the broasted chicken – that’s pressure fried chicken that combines golden batter with supreme juiciness. Cr-unch.


240 Merrylands Road
Opening hours:
Wed-Mon noon-10pm
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