Tel Aviv-inspired Shaffa in Surry Hills is Middle Eastern cuisine at its best

Shaffa Surry Hills

Hidden down a narrow passageway in the heart of Surry Hills is an exciting venue featuring delicious, Israeli-inspired cuisine that is just as beautiful to look at as it is to savour. Launched last year just before the 2021 lockdown, Shaffa – rightly so – is now having its time in the sun, with curious passers-by drawn into the passageway by the sounds of middle eastern music, only to discover this hidden gem and its incredibly delicious dishes. 

Shaffa is owned by Israeli-born chef Erez Nahum and is designed to evoke memories of Tel Aviv and its vibrant, bustling marketplaces. The building in which the venue is located is bursting with personality and has a rich history dating back to the 1850s when it was previously an inn, which you can read all about as you make your way down the passageway to the restaurant.

The Weekend Bottomless Brunch Feast is the perfect option for a long, lazy lunch, available on Saturdays and Sundays for two-hour sittings between 12 pm and 4 pm. For $70pp, the menu is long, generous, provides a good selection of some of the venue’s best dishes and is guaranteed to leave you feeling more than satisfied. 

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There is also an a la carte option and two set menus to choose from for weekday lunches and dinners (a $76pp set menu and a more substantial $95pp set menu). But be warned, if you choose the set menu option, you will want to turn up with a big appetite.  

While it’s hard to name a standout dish, the bar is set high right from the get-go, with the hummus, crispy chickpeas, paprika, parsley and Syrian olive oil starter, which is convincingly some of the best hummus this side of the bridge. Other impressive starters include the homemade hamutzim seasonal pickles, full of flavour and texture, and the Jaffa port fish tartar, labneh, tomato seeds, zaatar, pickled radish with Ras-El-Shaffa. 

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Hummus, crispy chickpeas, paprika, parsley and Syrian olive oil.

The charred eggplant, raw tahini, tomato salsa, chickpeas and zhug dish is a must, as is the marinated flank steak with brown butter, which pair very nicely with the barberries, cranberries, green tomatoes, pomegranate, sesame seeds tabouleh. 

Because Israeli cuisine is generally big on vegetables and grains, the menu will also appeal to those who are gluten-free or vegetarian. 

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Charred eggplant, raw tahini, tomato salsa, chickpeas and zhug.

The cocktail menu is impressive, featuring Shaffa’s originals such as the ‘Levantine Sour’ made with gin, pear juice, vanilla & tonka bean syrup, lemon – and dessert cocktails such as the ‘Pistachio Baklava’ created with Maker’s Mark, disaronno amaretto, pistachio & honey syrup and cream.

Love the sound of Shaffa? Book a table for you and your friends here

Address: 80 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010