A friend of The Pavarotti recommended Levant for some authentic Lebanese food. We're not complete strangers to this end of Barrack Street, with it being close to Nao Japanese and also the Wellington Street Taka's Kitchen. So it was with some surprise that we realised we'd never noticed Levant, despite reports it has been open for over a decade.
The décor may be dated but the entrance is still impressive, as the front counter piled high with baklava and it's various, syrupy incarnations. We were greeted by the owner, a polite and moustachioed man who took our orders and invited us to take a seat. Although the interior was a little dingy, there is something quite charming about having lunch on a small dining table in the middle of the CBD.
There were some appealing and generous rice dishes on the menu but unfortunately these were just outside the $10 limit. Luckily, all of the kebab rolls were a reasonable $8.90. I know what you're thinking. A kebab? Really? But this is no 2am miscellaneous meat cheese-bomb. We ordered the Shish Kebab Roll - grilled Lebanese bread filled with generous chunks of steak, fresh salad and garlic sauce. Although there is nothing fancy going on, the steak was tender and cooked fresh to order on the hot plate. The simple salad of lettuce, cucumber and tomato was dressed with olive oil and oregano and the garlic sauce made it just the right amount of messy. Luckily, the owner had thought ahead and already delivered some extra napkins with a knowing smile, "in case of emergency". The result: a healthy kebab that won't leave you with 'that' kebab feeling.
Judging by the clientèle, Levant appears to be popular with the local Middle Eastern community. At The Pavarotti, we think this is always a good sign!