The first time I met Wai and Kira, two lovely Instagram foodies was at Siraj Café & Hookah Lounge couple of months ago.
Wai suggested the restaurant because she was told by the owner Jamal that he had a special dish for her to taste. It was kind of her to invite me and Kira. I’d never had Middle Eastern food before. So, I was intrigued.
Siraj is located at 720 Corydon Ave., almost at the corner of Corydon and Cockburn St. It specializes in Palestinian food and does not serve alcohol.
The dining area is on the right when you enter, followed by the sports bar across from the hookah lounge. The patio is open during the summer at the front of the restaurant.
Jamal was a very gracious and friendly host. He was fasting for Ramadan at the time but insisted on cooking for us. One special dish turned into an elaborate meal. None of us could imagine cooking in the kitchen while not being able to eat or taste the food.
First came the gorgeous smoothies and fresh juices which were served in the large rounded goblets.
We all have our favourites. Mine is the avocado smoothie. It’s creamy and smooth yet not overly sweet. Wai liked the lemon mint juice the most.
While we were still sipping the drinks, the waiting staff brought hummus, Taziki and Baba Ghanoush with pita wedges to our tables.
I dislike hummus… very much. But for whatever reason I decided to try it. And I’m really glad I did. This hummus tasted nothing like all the other hummus I had had. It’s pleasant, flavourful and has a smooth-as-butter texture. Who knew it would turn out to be my favourite out of all three dips. Wai said the hummus is the best possibly in the city. Can’t argue with that. 🙂
Then came the Fattoush salad with house dressing. The toasted pita bread gives the right amount of crunch. It’s fresh and a wonderful balance to the meat dishes.
I don’t eat chicken livers, however, Kira is a fan. She said this dish went beyond her expectation. It is also one of Wai’s top choices.
Shish kabab (lamb), Shish tawook (chicken) and chicken kafta (ground chicken) skewers followed.
Kira absolutely loved the lamb. I don’t eat lamb but I enjoyed the chicken and so did the others. It was tender and moist. The ground chicken was new and different to us. Nothing wrong with it. But the texture may take us some time to get used to.
Jamal also made Arayes – grilled pita bread sandwich with ground beef, tomato and onion. It’s a fantastic dish to share with friends, especially on the patio in the summer.
Kira and I couldn’t stop eating Shakshuka, a vegetarian dish with eggs, fresh tomato, jalapeno peppers and Siraj special spices. It’s incredibly flavourful and the egg was cooked perfectly.
Kunafa Nablusi was served last. It is a traditional dessert made with cheese and shredded Katayfi dough soaked in sweet syrup and pistachios. We clearly didn’t know how to cut into it until Jamal gave us the cheese pull 😯 It was amazing.
It was a fabulous evening hanging out with new foodie friends. We hope to visit the restaurant again in the near future.
For more information, please visit Siraj’s website: https://sirajcafe.business.site/
Featured photo: The Posh Foodie
About The Co-Authors
Wai Chan is a food enthusiast who was once a restaurateur. She partnered with others to create Blufish Restaurant which garnered one of the top 5 new restaurants from Ciao Magazine when they opened in 2006. After securing the city’s Top Sushi choice in 2016 on CTV news for Blufish, she moved on. She is currently a foodie fanatic who has over 500 google reviews with 40+ million views on her photos. Her hobbies include food photography, restaurant consultations (partnering with restaurants by hosting tasting events, managing social media accounts, etc), and playing video games.
Follow her on Instagram @waieatthat
Kira enjoys traveling – backpacking preferred. She has no boundaries when it comes to trying different foods. She is a graduate of Hotel & Restaurant Management as well as Tourism Management from Red River College in Winnipeg. She has 17 years experience in the hospitality industry and has a passion to help businesses this industry succeed.
Follow her on Instagram @Little.Mouse.Bites