For our Teta, food is love and life.
As the eldest of six grandchildren raised by their grandmother in Rahbeh, a small village in North Lebanon, her earliest memories are of watching how hard her grandmother worked to ensure that her and her siblings could each evening delight in the tastes and aromas of the traditional dishes served to them with love.
She remembers how her grandmother’s days revolved around food: milking the cows, making the yoghurt and hanging it until it became creamy labne; slaughtering the lambs, tending to the vegetables that grew on the land around them and then pickling them for the winters when the weather made trips to the city impossible, hand-pressing the olives to make the oil, baking bread, rolling the kibbeh.
Our Teta’s passion for food was borne out of a desire to help and learn from her grandmother, and she was an eager scholar. By the time she began formal school at age 12, she knew she had already found her passion and her purpose, and she delighted in using the knowledge passed down to her to cook for her younger siblings and her aging grandparents. At 15, she married, and within a year she was aboard a flight to Melbourne, speaking not a word of English and knowing not another soul apart from her new husband. In the suburbs of Melbourne, still a teenager, she clung to her food heritage with tenacity, growing herbs and vegetables in their garden, travelling around the city to source the best quality and most authentic ingredients, practising and refining and perfecting her craft over decades, and loving her husband and children, and later, her children’s friends, husbands, wives, and later still, their children, with her food.
She’s a humble woman, embarrassed by praise, yet fiercely proud of her food. Many of the dishes we serve are hers, and in teaching us how to make them, she has been ruthless in her expectations about the quality and freshness of the ingredients which go into each dish, and about the time-honoured techniques which must be used to create them.
All of our dishes, both the traditional and the more contemporary, embody the principles she has taught us – to use the freshest and best quality locally sourced ingredients, to stay true to the authentic flavours of Lebanese cuisine, and to hand-make all elements of each dish in our kitchen with patience and attention to detail.
We make and serve our food for you with love and care, in homage to our Teta.