Ashraf cooks up a storm at #Coya #restaurant, #Cromer #Sydney

On Thursday night we made the trip to the northern beaches suburb of Cromer for a special Arabian nights themed dinner at Chef Ashraf Saleh’s Coya restaurant.

Ashraf’s reputation for innovative middle eastern cooking is growing in Sydney and after the divine 7 course degustation we enjoyed, I imagine it won’t be long before we hear of troves of Sydney-siders making their way to Cromer for dinner! (Better still if he moves to the inner city of course!)

True to his website description Chef Ashraf demonstrated his” drive and enthusiasm for combining herbs and spices from the East with the best ingredients from the West” in a beautifully presented series of thoughtfully put together dishes, ending with a stunning desert of Baklava Halva Cheesecake with figs and raspberries.

This is a restaurant which lives up to the professional phot shoot in real life!

The meal started with mezze of the best Baba Ghanoush, Hummus and Tabbouleh I have ever tasted. (Ashraf says he only uses “male” eggplants in his Baba Ghanoush to avoid the bitterness of the seeds in female eggplants. I forgot to ask him how you tell a male eggplant from a female eggplant!) it is the extra touches like the minute pine nuts served with the Hummus is what you feel the care and thought that has gone into each dish and it is this that makes his food really stand out.

Following Mezze our tastebuds were tantalised by stunningly presented Kibbeh Nayea…a raw lamb tartare,

Maloof – a cabbage roll stuffed with seafood in a beautiful accompanying sauce,

Shish Barak – duck parcels in a tortellini style wrapping with a divine saffron tomato broth,

Grilled lamb Kofta with a stunning “Mujadarra” rice lentil and cucumber yoghurt salad base,

organic chicken Shawarma with then garlicky deliciousness of the Arabian Toum dipping sauce.

But after all this there was still room for desert which was a fittingly fabulous finale to a truly remarkable foodie adventure!

Head up to Coya sooner rather than later and check for Ashraf’s special themed Spanish and Offal nights which he does regularly as well as a very interesting a la carte menu!

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Born in South Africa, of Indian heritage. My family moved to Australia in the early 80's. I have a busy professional career as the CEO of a Healthcare Foundation based in Sydney. I love cooking, learning to cook, eating and travel. My blog is written in the spirit of sharing my foodie adventures.

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