I visited the suburbs: Lakemba & El Jannah at Punchbowl

I visited the suburbs: Lakemba & El Jannah at Punchbowl

Note: I’ve decided to venture out of the city once in a while. Not too often, no, we all know I have my limits – but there’s apparently stuff to see in the suburbs. Welcome to the first installment of ‘I visited the suburbs’, in which I visit Lakemba and Punchbowl and eat a lot of Lebanese food)

On Sunday I took a trip to the suburbs. I do not often visit the suburbs, as they mostly confuse and slightly terrify me – all those large houses, all the cars parked in driveways, large backyards, socks with thongs, all the space. TOO MUCH SPACE! (I have the opposite of claustrophobia) But I had a mission, I desperately wanted to eat at famous Lebanese eatery, El Jannah.

I’ve wanted to eat at El Jannah for quite some time, but have always chickened out on the actual ‘visiting of the suburbs’ bit that is required to get to El Jannah. Luckily for me, my suburb-dwelling co-workers were more than willing to accompany me in the name of charcoal chicken and mountains of garlic sauce.

I got off at Lakemba station, where A had said she would pick me up, and immediately felt like a tourist/total outsider in my sequin cat jumper and bright blue stockings. Yes, hello people of the suburbs! I am deeply unwell and enjoy sparkles and felines.

As I came down the stairs, onto the street, a middle-aged man drove by slowly in a white convertible and proceeded to wink and whistle at me. I made a face at him, hoping he would drive off. But no! OH NO NO NO this is not what the suburbs are about. No, this man did a u-turn and proceeded to drive past me again, winking and whistling as he went. So I shouted at him: “That’s gross! Why do you have to be so gross?!”

Yes I reacted, but bloody oath, someone’s gotta call the sickos out on their sicko actions. (I regularly call city sickos out on their sickoness too. Sickos are not unique to any one area, it’s just that sickos in the suburbs have cars.)

Seriously, I am not there for YOUR enjoyment. I am here for my own – ie eating my weight in Lebanese food and then returning home, only to fall into a literal food coma for several hours. Which I absolutely did. Now back to what’s important.

This is what I ate at El Jannah:


Half a charcoal chicken, pickles, pickled turnip, garlic sauce (shared with A to save on $$$)


Falafel, which came with a side of tahini sauce that isn’t in this photograph


Giant bowls of hot chippies and endless complimentary Lebanese bread (which in true stinge style, you will find two unopened bags of now in my freezer)

I don’t have the receipt anymore and the website only has the take away menu, but our meal came to between $13 and $16 a head, depending on whether you shared a half chicken or bought your own quarter chicken (and/or bought extras like falafel, tabouli, etc). All I can say is that afterwards, I was absolutely pleased that I had skipped breakfast AND that I had no dinner plans, because I definitely ate enough to get me through til the next morning.

After lunch, A took me to a highly ethnic supermarket where I legitimately did not hear anyone speaking English but A and I, which meant I knew I’d hit gold. I bought a kilo of Arborio (risotto) rice for $2.50. Seriously, I do not understand why people don’t love how multicultural Australia is, our food would be so boring otherwise. I could not even deal if that was the case.

This was my greatest find in the supermarket:


Yes I do just casually need an entire drum of coconut oil. Totally. (that’s my kilo of Arborio rice perched ontop)

Before I left, A took me to the cutest little Turkish baklava shop near Lakemba station. So much tasty!

Thank you for letting me stroll through you like a total tourist, suburbs. I’ll be back soon… but not too soon. You still scare me a little bit, with all your… suburbia-ness. Your houses are so big because they’re full of secrets!

El Jannah can be found at 701 Punchbowl Road in Punchbowl, as well as locations at Granville and Blacktown.

El Jannah on Urbanspoon