Lebanese delights on show at West Village’s new eatery Beirut Bazaar
If you’ve strolled past West Village lately, no doubt you’ve spied the scaffolding and hoarding that hints at the living, commercial and retail hub’s next stage. Should you wander by again, do yourself a favour and check out Beirut Bazaar, the brand-new Lebanese restaurant and bar that is leading West Village’s next phase of expansion. The venue officially opened to the public on Thursday April 15, debuting a menu boasting mountains of mezza, succulent shawarma and raki-infused cocktails.
When Andre Samra and his daughter Vanessa launched their casual-dining concept Shawarma King at West Village last year, it was primarily conceived as a taster, which preceded a larger course to come. The pop-up (which operated for approximately nine months) was merely a stepping stone towards opening a full-blown restaurant at the Boundary Street hub, which has been gradually evolving as part of a masterplanned development schedule. In early March it was announced that the Samra’s 75-seater restaurant concept Beirut Bazaar would be the first tenant of the new-look Peters Ice Cream Factory, marking the first time the heritage building has been permanently occupied since the late 1990s. In conjunction with construction and design specialist SGB Group, Andre and Vanessa spent the early months of 2021 transforming a cosy corner tenancy into a dining space that flipped the script on how a Lebanese restaurant can look and feel. The team purposefully mixed traditional aesthetics with modern glamour, instigating a fun interplay between the existing heritage aspects and dressed-up elements to create an atmosphere of approachable sophistication. Exposed brick and an eye-catching mural by local artist Drapl is juxtaposed with a dark-blue and gold colour scheme, with a back-lit bar acting as a focal point that draws diners in with its alluring glow.
With a lot more room to work with, Andre and Vanessa have greatly expanded upon Shawarma King’s offering, taking in the width and breadth of Lebanese cuisine to create a lunch and dinner menu that lends itself to choose-your-own-adventure-style feasting. Divine dips including labne, hummus, baba ganouj, laban and cucumber, and creamy garlic start proceedings, which quickly leads into Beirut Bazaar’s selection of cold and hot mezza. Here guests are encouraged to go wild and mix it up – plates of muhammara (spicy red capsicum dip with pomegranate molasses), kebbi nayeh (raw minced lamb with burghul and spices) and rolled and stuffed grape vine leaves can share table space with sambousek (fried pastry pockets filled with meat or cheese), aranabeet (fried cauliflower pieces), batata harra (deep-fried potatoes) and makanek (marinated Lebanese spiced sausages), among others. Larger plates such as chicken and lamb shawarma, Beirut Bazaar’s take on fried chicken, and Lebanese fish and chips are joined by grilled marinated skewers as more substantial options, which can be supplemented with side salads including tabouli, fattoush or halloumi salad. The bar mixes in some distinctly Lebanese flavours into its signature cocktail selection, which boasts alluring concoctions such as the Arak All Night (gin, arak, strawberry, grapefruit and lime), the La Casbah Club (grapefruit and rose-petal vodka, lychee, raspberry and chickpea juice) and the Lebanese Lemonade (vodka, rose water, lemon and mint). A broad wine list boasts a mix of Australian and Greek wines, as well as a selection of top-shelf champagnes for those that like to splurge. Lebanon’s most-iconic beer Almaza is available alongside local craft and mainstream international brews, while Lebanese tea and coffee will give night-owls a much-needed jolt ahead of some late-night revelry.
Beirut Bazaar is officially open to the public. For operating hours and contact details, click over to the Stumble Guide.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.