Pairing drinks with meals isn’t just about following rules; it’s about creating experiences that enhance every bite. In this article, we’ll explore how to perfectly match beverages with some of the most loved Lebanese and Middle Eastern dishes. Whether you’re planning a dinner party or simply want to elevate your next meal at home, understanding the right drink to go alongside a dish can make all the difference. From the refreshing zest of a minty lemonade with your falafel to the deep notes of a red wine with lamb kebabs, we’ll guide you through a variety of combinations that can be created by a good Lebanese restaurant menu.  

At a good Lebanese restaurant in Sydney or Melbourne, the menu includes a wide range of dishes such as appetisers, Lebanese salad, Lebanese pizza and other local cuisine. Lebanese cuisine thrives when paired with the right drinks.

Understanding Lebanese Flavours:

The Lebanese restaurant menu includes their  cuisine which is known for its bold and complex flavours. The interplay of sweet, savoury, sour, and spicy notes is a hallmark, with fresh herbs like mint and parsley adding another layer of dimension. 

Mezze, the quintessential Lebanese appetisers spread, often features dips like hummus (chickpea), baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant), and muhammara (roasted red peppers and walnuts). These are frequently paired with grilled meats like kafta (spiced minced lamb skewers) and shish taouk (marinated chicken cubes). 

Rice dishes like makloubeh (layered with caramelised onions and meat) and fragrant stews like kibbeh bil saniyeh (baked bulgur wheat with spiced lamb) round out a typical feast in Lebanese restaurant menus.

The Art of Pairing:

When choosing drinks to complement these vibrant flavours from a Lebanese restaurant menu, we can follow two main principles: complement and contrast. Complementing pairings enhance existing flavours in the dish, while contrasting pairings provide a refreshing counterpoint, cleansing the palate and preparing it for the next bite.

Wines:

White Wines: Lebanese white wines are a natural starting point. Dry and crisp options like a Ksara Blanc or Chateau Musar Jeune are perfect companions to mezze. Their acidity cuts through the richness of hummus and baba ghanoush, while their subtle fruit notes complement the freshness of herbs and vegetables.

Rosé Wines: Lebanese rosés like Chateau Kefraya or Domaine des Tourelles are delightful choices. Their refreshing acidity and hints of red fruit pair beautifully with grilled meats like kafta and shish taouk. The lighter body won’t overpower the delicate flavours of the marinades.

Red Wines: When it comes to red wines, consider a medium-bodied option like a Chateau Ksara or Chateau Musar. These wines possess enough tannins to stand up to the richness of grilled meats and stews like kibbeh bil saniyeh. Look for notes of spice and dark fruit that resonate with the warm spices commonly found in Lebanese cuisine in the best Lebanese restaurant in Sydney.

Arak:

Arak, a potent anise-flavoured spirit diluted with water before consumption, is a quintessential Lebanese beverage. Its licorice-like notes pair surprisingly well with Lebanese food. The anise cuts through the fattiness of grilled meats and complements the smoky undertones of baba ghanoush. Arak is traditionally enjoyed with mezze and throughout the meal, adding a refreshing and social element to the dining experience.

Beers:

For a more casual option, Lebanese lagers like Almaza or pilsners like Bokra are refreshing choices. Their light body and crispness won’t overpower the delicate flavours of the food. Consider them with mezze or lighter mains like grilled fish.

Non-Alcoholic Options:

For those who prefer to abstain from alcohol, there’s a wealth of delicious options. Ayran, a yoghurt-based drink with a hint of salt, provides a refreshing counterpoint to spicy dishes. Freshly squeezed juices like lemon or pomegranate offer a burst of vitamins and a vibrant cleansing effect on the palate.

Here are a few suggestions on the Complementary and Contrasting pairings based on our Lebanese restaurant  menu.

Complementary Pairings:

Arak with Mezze: Arak, Lebanon’s national spirit, is a clear, anise-flavoured liqueur traditionally diluted with water before consumption. The anise complements the herbal notes in the mezzes beautifully, while the dilution cuts through the richness of dips like hummus and moutabel (roasted eggplant dip).

White Wine with Seafood: The clean and refreshing acidity of a white wine like Sauvignon Blanc pairs excellently with the delicate flavours of grilled fish and seafood. It cuts through the richness of the olive oil often used in Lebanese seafood dishes, leaving your palate cleansed and ready for the next bite.

Rosé with Grilled Meats: Rosé, a light-bodied pink wine, strikes a perfect balance between the acidity of white wines and the fruitiness of reds. It complements the smoky notes of grilled meats like lamb kebabs and shish taouk, while its light tannins don’t overpower the delicate flavours of the meat.

The Art of Contrast:

Sometimes, contrasting flavours can create a truly delightful experience.

Beer with Spicy Dishes: The bitterness of a lager or pale ale acts as a counterpoint to the heat of spicy dishes like kibbeh (spiced minced lamb patties) or batata harra (spicy potatoes). The carbonation in the beer also helps to cleanse your palate, allowing you to appreciate the full range of flavours in the dish.

Aromatic Red Wines with Richer Meats: For bolder dishes like lamb shank or makloubeh (upside-down rice with meat and vegetables), a full-bodied red wine like a Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon can be a great choice.


Matching Drinks with Specific Dishes:

Let’s delve deeper into some specific pairings to truly elevate your Lebanese dining experience:

Mezze: A selection of white wines, rosé, or arak pairs wonderfully with a mezze platter.

Hummus & Baba Ghanoush: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Lebanese rosé complements the richness of these dips.

Grilled Meats (Kafta, Shish Taouk): A medium-bodied Lebanese red wine or a chilled rosé enhances the flavours of the marinade and grilled meats.

Kibbeh Bil Sanieh: A full-bodied red wine with notes of spice stands up to the richness of the meat and bulgur wheat in this dish.

Makloubeh: A dry white wine with a touch of minerality cuts through the sweetness of caramelised onions and complements the savoury lamb.

Beyond the Pairing:

While these pairings offer a great starting point, remember that the beauty of Lebanese cuisine lies in its flexibility and personal preference. Experiment! Try different combinations and see what excites your palate. Don’t be afraid to ask your server for recommendations based on your specific menu choices.

A Restaurant for Groups in Sydney:

Whether you’re a group of friends seeking a vibrant and social dining experience or a couple looking for a romantic exploration of Lebanese flavours, our restaurant is the best Lebanese restaurant in Sydney  and has the perfect setting. We also provide an excellent abode in the form of a restaurant for groups in Sydney meaning, we have the perfect setting for small and large groups.

Our restaurant offers a wide selection of Lebanese beverages beyond the pairings mentioned above. Arak, with its distinctive anise flavour, is a traditional Lebanese spirit that can be enjoyed throughout the meal. For a lighter option, we recommend Ayran, the refreshing yoghurt drink, or Jallab, a sweet grape molasses drink with rose water. We also offer a variety of fresh juices, perfect for those seeking a non-alcoholic option. So, if you are looking for the best Lebanese restaurant in Sydney or a place for groups, visit Arabella for an unforgettable experience.