Emma's on Liberty has reopened as Emma's Snack Bar, to much neighbourhood cheer and applause. With a friendly, casual vibe and a new menu of mezze, this is Lebanese that's sure to please.
The new retro interior draws inspiration from the local takeaway model; there's fluorescent signage, a blackboard menu, counter dining and a takeaway window when you're just too daggy to go inside. One thing hasn't changed: it's absolutely packed. Good thing it's mostly locals, so it's just a short (and sad) walk home if they forget to make a booking.
The snack menu is designed for a relaxed pick and nibble while you sip on a glass of your favourite wine (BYO, of course). With hummus being the staffroom lunch staple it is these days, Emma's has spiced things up with a roasted pumpkin, toasted nut and coriander version ($9), or you can try a spicy variation with garlic and chilli ($9). Note: You will need to order a serve of Lebanese bread ($3) if you want to get the most out of the dips.
The crispy eggplant ($15) takes deep fried cubes of eggplants and smothers them with crunchy minced lamb and creamy yoghurt to make a tangy, textural feast, while the spiced cauliflower with tahini ($10) is little short of perfection. Everyone wants more of the Moorish Chicken ($18) which sees marinated chicken stuffed into a parcel of crispy pita. Sadly, it's cut into 4 slices so you've really got no option but to share it with your 'friends'.
Behold, the kebab arrives. Unwrapping the delicate paper folds reveals that this is no ordinary kebaby. A succulent spiced lamb kafta lies cradled in a bread blanket, lovingly tucked in with cabbage, pickles and a creamy garlic sauce. It's fresh and heavenly, perhaps the only kebab you'll ever eat without remorse.
Although Emma's is a relaxed takeaway joint, the menu is all about the fine art of snacking, so don't expect generous platters of greasy food, and don't turn up at 2am (or really, really drunk) either. This is mezze so good you're sure to come back for a double dip.