Brave is the venue that serves kebabs during the day, but in the case of this relaxed Hellenic small bar, this confidence is justified. It’s the little things that denote these lunch-only specials (Friday to Sunday) as sandwiches of note. The meat, for instance, is chicken Maryland and pork collar grilled over charcoal for maximum juiciness and savour. And rather than paralysing diners with condiment options, Brika offers just two choices: the ubiquitous tzatziki and a ‘special sauce’ rich in garlic, tomato and paprika. Our advice? Ask for some of both and prosper. A fluffy pita and nubbins of tomato, red onion and waxy potato are the finishing touches on this roll to be reckoned with; garnish with something from Brika’s formidable selection of Greek libations (beer, wine, ouzo, raki) and know true contentment.
3/177 Stirling St, Perth, WA, 0455 321 321 brika.com.au
No-fuss, old-school kebab joints will never lose their popularity, especially when the food they put up is as consistent as Fitzroy Kebabs. The Turkish take-out – with scratched furniture and dusty landscape prints on the walls – has gozleme, zucchini fritters and hot chips on the menu but the chicken kebab will have you impatiently peeling off the alfoil to reveal a mash-up of fresh tabouli, tomato and lettuce with garlic sauce and hummus (there are plenty of other sauces to choose from). The chicken is seasoned just right and for just a tenner you have one of the better value and better quality kebabs in Melbourne.
89 Smith Street, Fitzroy,Vic (03) 9419 2183
Who said a kebab has to be served in a foil bag? If you trust yourself enough to put your own kebab together, Jasmin 1 is about as good as shawarma – and Lebanese food in Sydney – gets. Just make sure you go there with a big group so you can try everything on their impressive menu. Start with a plate of lamb or chicken shawarma, both cut straight from the spit and tossed with onions and herbs, far more flavoursome than any shawarma meat you’ve had elsewhere in Sydney. Get a bowl of hummus on the side, some tabouli and pickles, then wrap it all up in a soft piece of Lebanese bread. Then move on to a little lamb kafta, some Lebanese sausages – even the falafel are among the best you’ll ever eat. If you can’t handle the pressure of assembling your own kebab, they’re available pre-wrapped for a measly $6 each.
224 The Boulevarde, Punchbowl, NSW (02) 9740 7866 www.jasmin1.com.au
Kalimera Souvlaki Art
In Melbourne, ask your Greek mates and chefs where they go for souvlaki and you’ll nearly always receive the same reply: Kalimera Souvlaki Art. Kalimera certainly takes the care of a craftsman to build authentic souvlaki with some contemporary twists. The pork souvlaki has its own cultish following – sturdy bread wrapped around juicy pork that’s stuffed with fresh salads, herbs and chips. Order the Cretan salad as a side dish, it’s a stunner with barley rusks, feta, tomato, olives and capers.
41 Chester Street, Oakleigh, Vic (03) 9939 3912 www.kalimerasouvlakiart.com.au
Kefi Greek Tavern
One of the youngest kebab joints in Sydney, Kefi Greek Tavern makes the list for 1. being delicious and 2. cooking their gyros over coals horizontally, which involves layering pieces of meat and fat evenly over the spit. The meat is juicier and is blessed by more exposure to the coals, a celebration of taste and texture. You’ll find spits of pork, chicken and lamb cooking happily over the coals, filling the air with the aroma of the realisation that you’re about to eat three kebabs for dinner. If you have to settle for one, go for the pork. It’s salty as hell (luckily they’ve got a few Greek lagers to soak that up with), but absorbs the most flavour from coals and tastes great with the fresh pita, the creamy tzatziki and, of course, the happy handful of golden fries.
1/231 Kingsgrove Rd, Kingsgrove, NSW (02) 9554 4442 www.kefigreektavern.com.au
Little Lebanon Cafe & Restaurant
As far as first impressions go, Little Lebanon doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. The decor is straight out of the ’90s (terracotta tiles!), a permanent haze of sweet shisha smoke lingers by the entrance and the neon lights at this suburban favourite flicker way past midnight. But look past the peripherals and be rewarded with some of the heftiest kebabs in town. Whether you go chicken, lamb, beef or remarkably fluffy falafel, this much is certain: the salads (tomato, onion, lettuce) will be fresh-as, staff will top each flatbread (Perth Lebanese Bakery’s ever-reliable Kal’s Flat Bread, bread-spotters) with more fillings than seems physically possible, and the toum, a luxuriously creamy blend of garlic and olive oil, might just ruin you forever for aioli. To finish, every kebab gets a short spell in the sandwich press to lightly crisp the exterior as well as keep your mitts warm during the walk home.
George Calombaris and his Made Establishment Group have got the goods when it comes to spreading souvlaki love around the city of Melbourne. Their formula of schmick packaging backed up with a quality product has seen five Jimmy Grant’s open through Melbourne since the original Fitzroy outpost turned on the grill in mid-2013. The Patris is a modern take on an old-school souva with grilled prawns, honey, mayo and mint but our money is on the Mr Papadopoulos – lamb, cooked with just the right amount of crunch and softness, is doused in mustard aioli, onions, parsley, a fistful of hot chips and enveloped in a robust flatbread that keeps it all neatly contained.
Fitzroy, Richmond, Ormond, Melbourne CBD, Ringwood, jimmygrants.com.au
New Star Kebabs
Billowing charcoal smoke into the street, New Star Kebabs sits proudly in between two other Turkish kebab joints on Auburn Rd, Auburn, offering a similar menu but doing it better than the still-pretty-damn-good joints on either side. Ten bucks will get you one an amazing doner kebab in the beef, lamb or chicken variety (or you could get that doner meat shaved over some rice or yoghurt) but what you should do is go straight for the skewers. A mixed shish plate fills a humble steel plate with a pile of freshly baked Turkish bread, pickled cabbage, sumac-sprinkled tomatoes, a grilled chilli and three skewers of charcoal-grilled chicken, lamb and – the best thing at New Star – the Adana kebab, a skewer of seasoned minced lamb, which is also available on its own, wrapped in a warm slice of Turkish bread and a leading contender for the ‘best kebab in Sydney’ title.
15 Auburn Rd, Auburn, NSW (02) 9643 8433
Victoria Yeeros & Takeaway Food
It’s Sydney’s Inner West’s beacon of light: the row of globes that surround the entrance of Victoria Yeeros shine brightly until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, signaling to the inebriated that their hangovers of tomorrow might be sated in advance. Victoria Yeeros is a cultural icon, first opening its doors in 1874, a time when Greeks didn’t trust Aussies to pronounce ‘gyros’ properly. Marrickville has changed considerably over the years but the kebabs at VY have stayed the same – wrapping coarse chunks of meat, the kebab vegetable staple tomato/lettuce/onion combo and an overly generous dollop of super garlicky tzatziki in a pita bread hot off the oily grill. The Lebanese fixings of a shawarma kebab – hummus, tabouli, tahini – are available on the side if you feel like some fusion (you shouldn’t). Victoria Yeeros also own a butcher next door to their kebab shop, putting together the massive spits for not just their own customers but for kebab joints (and fans at home) all over Sydney.
301 Victoria Rd, Marrickville, NSW (02) 9560 1478
For more kebab recipes, check out our collection page here.