above par: Sydney CBD’s new Middle Eastern addition

Updated: Jun 18

.Tucked away on Sydney’s Clarence Street is an all-new Middle Eastern restaurant hosting traditional Levantine street food. Boasting modern interiors (think: velvet lounges and walls lined with bottles of wine) and lavish exteriors (a leafy entryway accompanied by neon purple lights), the venue provides a chic dining experience.


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Image supplied.

The Turkish eatery refreshed its menu for 2021. A new menu offering is their signature puffy bread ‘Lavas’ (much like the bread you would find scattered across Instagram); it’s a freshly baked Turkish bread served hot with drizzles of oil and salt. For dinner, the mezze-style sharing dishes will carry you through the evening, making it easier to try as much as you can.


The highlight of my recent dining experience had to be the Mediterranean Margaritas garnished with three fresh olives – our taste buds sparking from the rosemary-infused tequila and cold-pressed citrus. Stand out dishes were undeniably the appetisers – namely, the Kingfish Crudo which was light and fresh and filled with delicate flavourful textures like grapefruit and pickled chili.



above par
Image by Ariana Pezeshki.

Some interesting flavours I encountered came from the char-grilled calamari with spicy ezme salsa – it was slightly fishy but toned down by the salsa. It also interestingly paired well with the margaritas; reminiscent of Mexican food rather than Middle Eastern. The pan-fried honey haloumi was another stand out share dish. The effortless and unique sweet and salty combination of flavours were certainly on point (and the added crunch from the walnuts was the perfect addition).



above par
Image by Ariana Pezeshki.

Unfortunately, our main dishes lacked the Middle Eastern cuisine I am accustomed to. Rich mouth-watering flavours are the mark of delicious Middle Eastern food and the burnt lemon zaatar fish in a butter-like sauce was relatively flavourless. The Chicken Shish Kebab was also a little too dry and lacked flavour. There’s definitely potential with the fish and the shish kebab, however these two did not make the highlight reel.



above par
Image by Ariana Pezeshki.

above par hosts a DJ on Friday and Saturday nights and is open late for dinner Wednesday through to Saturday. If you’re craving exotic margaritas and unique mezze platters, I’d recommend grabbing a group of your gals to enjoy the quirky delights above par has to offer.