The Rustic Fig Cafe - A Lebanese Food & Cultural Journey

The Rustic Fig Cafe - 370E Kensington Road, ERINDALE SA 5066

Arriving at The Rustic Fig Cafe, one fine winter Saturday, I (Amanda) did not have a clue how my experience was about to unfold.  Entering the cafe, I could see that the use of 'rustic' in the cafe's name was a perfect fit for this small venue with alternating coloured chairs, a slab of stonework at the counter, a splash of green on the wall and some pops of orange throughout.  Settling into the rustic decor, we meet Erica, who owns the cafe with her husband Naji, who is also the cook.  Erica and Naji migrated to Adelaide with their 2 children, 3 years ago after living in Lebanon for 19 years.  And this is when our Rustic Fig experience truly began...

Interior of The Rustic Fig Cafe

Erica so warm and friendly, was more than happy to share her interesting stories from living in London, to Cyprus and the very different life she lived with her young family in Lebanon.  From not knowing if your kids would make it home from school everyday to praying you would wake up alive in the morning, brought my mum and I, emotions of sadness, terror, awe, goosebumps and inspiration from the hard work, determination, hope and amazing luck that brought them safely to little happy Adelaide.

Sharing these stories brought us a whole new perspective when the food arrived. Erica explained how her husband makes everything from scratch in the kitchen, uses fresh produce from the Adelaide Central Market and even cooks the falafel fresh to order to ensure it doesn't have that re-fried super dry tacky taste that many others do.

Lamb Kafta $15.20

We started with the 'Lamb Kafta'.  The Rustic Fig's version consisted of minced lamb combined with house made 7 spice mix, parsley and onion, grilled inside Lebanese bread and garnished with fresh parsley, tomato and onion.  Served with a side of yoghurt and mint sauce, it was perfect for dipping the slices into. Delicious!  The lamb was tender and well seasoned, the bread was fresh with a little crispy edge, and dipped into the mint sauce, produced that refreshing finish on the palate. This is easily a go to, quick and easy to eat dish here. Great for sharing as a starter and if you would prefer this with chicken or beef, they have you covered here too.

Lamb Tasting Plate $20

We chose the 'Lamb Tasting Plate' as we thought it was a good way to try a little bit of everything from the many items on the menu.  The falafel patties were the standout on this plate.  I tend not to order them often as they are usually dry and over-fried but these ones were cooked fresh to order, had a lovely crust and wonderful contrasting fluffy green coloured inner. Paired with the creamy smooth hommous and wrapped in a wedge of Lebanese bread we happily enjoyed the beginnings of this platter.

The lamb inclusions of lamb sambousik, lamb kibbe and mini lamb manoushi were also enjoyable. The lamb was tender, well seasoned and lightly spiked with tasty herbs and spices.  The pastry of the manoushi and sambousik was rustic, light and had a nice crispness.  All made extra tasty with a dip in the hommous, and a palate cleansing bite thanks to the pickles.  Mezze style eating is right up my alley as I love to enjoy many different flavours and textures with every other bite and share the joy of each discovery with my dining companions, so I recommend trying the lamb or the vegetarian tasting plate either to enjoy yourself or to share.

Lebanese Fresh Lemonade $5.60

Before dessert, Erica served us their house made 'Lebanese Fresh Lemonade' made with fresh lemons, rosewater and orange blossom.  This was a superb palate cleanser after all the meat and pastry we had been devouring.  Refreshing and sweet, we especially enjoyed the flavour of rosewater shining through for a nice little lemonade twist!

Lebanese Chocolate Sable (front) & Fig & Walnut Maamoul

We couldn't leave without trying something sweet, especially once we heard that Naji bakes these himself also.  If you love chocolate then don't pass on the chocolate sable!  Two thin layers of rich buttery chocolate biscuits, joined together with chocolate and covered in chocolate which had hardened to give you an addictive crunch and crumble from the biscuit inside! Yum!

The Fig and Walnut Maamoul, not usually served all year round in the Lebanese culture, is made here often as they are one of the most popular sweets.  This one filled with fig and walnut had a firm biscuit like shell, which melted in the mouth leaving you with a nice chew from the fig and nuts inside. Delicious and a great accompaniment with a tea and coffee.  If you see these on the counter, add it to your order!

Our lunch today at The Rustic Fig Cafe, was simple, rustic and made with love.  Erica and Naji are working hard to bring a comfortable, welcoming vibe to make you feel like you have been invited to your long lost Lebanese relative's house for a homely meal.  Worth the drop in if you are in the area, or enjoy Middle Eastern food or if you're not overly familiar with Lebanese food, then don't worry as Erica will be on hand to give you a helping hand through the menu.  We wish Erica & Naji all the best on their new adventure in life in Adelaide and look forward to them sharing more of their stories, cooking and culture with us.

On The Chopping Board was invited by The Rustic Fig Cafe.  All food and beverages were provided on behalf of The Rustic Fig Cafe.

The Rustic Fig Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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