The team from El Phonecian have opened Jounieh, a Middle Eastern restaurant by the water
Jounieh, pronounced Joe-knee-yeah is named after a coastal city in Lebanon known for it’s crowded restaurants and bustling nightlife. In Sydney you’ll find this new restaurant situated by the waters edge in Walsh Bay. Far from bustling, the vibe on the wharf is quiet and relaxed, a nice place to grab dinner with friends and actually be able to hear one another.
The team behind the Lebanese fine-dining eatery El-Phoenician recently closed their Walsh Bay restaurant and have launched Jounieh along with chef Charlotte Gonzales-Poncet (Felix, Coogee Pavilion). You’ll find a lot of the traditional Lebanese favourites on the menu like hummus, baba ghanoush and labne served with warm, freshly made Lebanese bread. There’s a fatoush salad, tabouli, falafel and, sambousek (minced lamb encased in delicious pastry). The samke harrah croquettes are made with fresh snapper, red peppers and coriander ($18) and have a nice balance of salt and spice.
The larger plates have a more contemporary take on Middle Eastern cuisine. The grilled Moreton Bay bugs are a must try. Two bugs are halved and cooked in a lemon and orange citrus butter. They come beautifully presented on a beetroot flavoured couscous which not only looks visually striking but is possibly the best dish on the menu.
Jounieh’s signature shawarma also looks good, lamb neck coated in mediterranean spices sliced onto the plate and accompanied with baby gem lettuce, radish, truss tomato and pickles ($34). The flavours are nice but compared the the Moreton Bay bugs isn’t as refined.
The whole roasted cauliflower ($20) is decorated with pomegranate, tarator, mint, parsley and roasted almonds and goes really well with the bugs and lamb.
Other signature dishes include the 1kg lamb shoulder ($72), slow cooked for 11 hours. There are a few desserts to choose from along with a cheeseboard. The the rose creme brûlée tastes smokey rather than rose infused and isn’t overly exciting.
The wine list is concise with drops from Australia and abroad including a few from Lebanon which you won’t find often on other wine lists. Jounieh also have a selection of Middle Eastern inspired cocktails including the Spicy Sunset, a blend of Za’atar-infused Beefeater gin, chilli and cinnamon liqueur, blood orange, and lime juice ($19).
This indoor and alfresco 100-seater restaurant is perfect for long lunches with friends (they do set banquet menus), a cute date night, client lunch or pre-theatre bite.
Open Lunch: Wed – Thurs 11.30am-2.30-pm, Fri – Sun 11.30am – 4pm
Open Dinner: Tues – Thurs 5pm-10pm, Fri – Sat 5pm – 11pm