With many restaurants now offering charcoal chicken as their 'speciality,' it is becoming quite an onerous task to suss out the good from the not so good. If you live in the west, or don't resent travelling all that way for good food, then look no further than Al Shawi in the heart of Seven Hills Town Centre.
This Lebanese restaurant, conveniently located in Seven Hills Plaza is easily found - upon walking through the plaza gate, the delectable aroma of charcoal chicken wafts up to greet you, so just follow your nose to the right spot.
The delectable smell of chargrilled chicken will lead your straight to Al Shawi.
Al Shawi was opened some three years ago by Samir Hawchar. Hawchar, who is owner as well as chef, single handedly makes the eatery's chicken, their signature creamy garlic dip, chilli sauce, Lebanese pickles, hummus, and everything else inbetween too.
Their speciality - The charcoal chicken.
Al Shawi's speciality chicken is absolutely tender and juicy inside while having that golden char-grilled skin on the outside. If you are dining in, a whole chicken ($20) will arrive with Lebanese bread, garlic dip, chilli sauce, and pickles.
The irresistible Al Shawi platter.
If you're after a more 'all encompassing' Lebanese dining experience go for one of Al Shawi's platters that come with an assortment of food perfect for grazing on, on a bright red plate - like something out of an Arabian Nights folk story. Vegetarian platters stuffed with crispy falafel, golden fried cauliflower and tangy salads make for a great vegetarian option. For those meat lovers that feel a meal is incomplete without a dose of protein, the shawarma platter and the restaurant's namesake, the Al Shawi platter, come with helpings of juicy grilled meat, creamy dips, fresh salads, chips and pickles.
Who needs meat when you've got golden fried falafel!?
Rounding out the casual menu, Al Shawi also offers a selection of wraps ($6.50 -$10), or more authentically, shawarma, as well as burgers ($6.50 -$8.50). While the wraps and burgers aren't accompanied by chips or drinks, they are certainly more than enough to sate even the largest of appetites. The wraps, available with your choice of meat or vegetarian filling, and the burgers, filled with tender, juicy meat, are stuffed with fresh salads and a generous helping of oozy sauces. While eating these is definitely a messy exercise, it is well worth the effort.
A little messy, but delicious nevertheless.
What meal is complete without dessert? At Al Shawi they have a whole different wing for desserts, coffee and tea. If you opt for a true Lebanese experience then complete your meal with a sweet and sticky baklava, and a cup of sweet black tea.
The dessert section.
The best part about dining here is that not only is the food delicious, but the staff are friendly and the place is bright, clean and very family orientated. So next time you're after a casual, but delicious lunch or dinner, assemble a trip to Al Shawi, and trust me, you'll be back again.
Where: 224 Prospect Hwy, Seven Hills, NSW, 2147
Cost: $4.00 - $20.00
When: Open everyday from 10am - 10pm.
Good for kids: Yes.
Take away: Yes.