Ashraf Saleh creates vibrant dishes at his restaurant which you can now re-create at home.
23 Sep 2019 - 10:31 AM  UPDATED 23 Sep 2019 - 1:42 PM

A self-described gastronomic traveller, chef Ashraf Saleh draws on his Middle Eastern heritage, the traditions of French cooking, his travels through Paris, London and Sweden, and his time in kitchens in Saudi Arabia and Australia, to create the colourful East-meets-West food he serves up at his restaurant, COYA.

Saleh opened the restaurant, in Cromer in Sydney’s northern beaches, with his wife in 2017.

Coya: Setting up a restaurant from scratch
After decades of working for other people, Ashraf Saleh has finally opened a restaurant of his own, but it hasn't been without its challenges.

Now Saleh has a new launch on his hands: his first cookbook.

The book includes many popular dishes from the restaurant (which Saleh describes as catering to the “adventurous foodie”, with unusual and original flavour combinations), plus other creations.

Here are a few recipes to set you up for your next French-Middle Eastern dinner party:

Soft shell crab with chilli tomato jam

Soda water in the batter makes for deliciously light, crisp crab, perfect served with chilli jam. 

Chickpea, parsley and feta salad

Making cucumber ribbons with a vegetable peeler makes this simple salad seem just a touch fancy.


Fried cauliflower tossed in garlic oil and drizzled in tahini sauce is easy to put together and sure to impress any tableside guest.

Fattoush salad with mint and sumac

This Arabic medley of vegetables is topped with crisp flatbread pieces.  

Flourless chocolate cake

This indulgent cake is great on its own, or dressed up with macarons and fruit for a celebratory dessert. 

Recipes and images from Coya – French, Middle Eastern Cuisine by Ashraf Saleh (New Holland Publishers RRP $39.99).

More from the Middle east
Is 2019 the year of the falafel?
Some of the country's top chefs (and even technology giant Apple) are rallying behind this Middle Eastern gem.
Here are all the amazing ways you can enjoy halva
Whether you're eating it by the spoonful, on toast or in gooey brownies, the Middle Eastern staple has an appeal that's limitless.
Spiced orange cakes

Filled with flavours inspired by the Middle East, these mini loaf cakes are drizzled with a spiced orange blossom syrup.

Quick tabbouleh

Make an extra-big batch of this Middle Eastern salad if you have the time, as it’s perfect for packed lunches. Eat it as-is, or in sandwiches and wraps, and a drizzle of natural yoghurt with tabbouleh will never go astray.

Vegie fritters with cucumber hummus

These versatile, vegetarian-friendly fritters are deliciously crisp and enriched with the salty, umami edge of feta. 

11 things you didn't know you could do with tahini
Tahini wants you to know there's more to it than just being a chickpea's sidekick in hummus.