|Photograph from tasteofbeirut.com|
An oozy concoction of pastry, syrup and nuts, a sticky melt in your mouth sensation that evokes delight with each bite. With hazy origins but widespread popularity, everywhere from Turkey, Greece, Lebanon and Israel (to name but a few) claim a variation of the baklava as their own.
The cosmopolitan melting pot of cultures that make up Sydney allows us privileged access to authentic and quality cuisines from far flung corners of the globe. With a newfound baklava obsession and frustrated with infrequent stumbles towards quality, we head to the unlikely suburb of Dulwich Hill to seek out the baklava whispered (by those in the know) to be Sydney’s best.
A non-descript suburb of Sydney’s inner west, Dulwich Hill was originally settled by immigrants from Greece and Portugal who have left a legacy of exotic eateries frequented mostly by locals. Arriving at Abla’s Pastry, we enter a cavernous room, a Lebanese Aladdin’s cave where the jewels are candy and the mountains of gold edible and delicious.
An overwhelming combination of shapes and styles, we order one of each (a bargain at $1 a piece) and act like mischievous kids raiding the pantry by impulsively devouring them on the spot. Highlights include the ‘Birds Nest’, wrapped layers of filo pastry filled with cashews and doused in syrup and the ‘Namora’, a blend of semolina, flour and coconut baked to golden brown and topped with syrup. Despite the volume on display, the delicate flavours and expert composition of each satisfy our craving for a quality sample of the famed international dessert. Whether Abla’s Pastry is the best in Sydney, or merely a representative sample of hidden local treasures, it is worth a journey to the west-side to indulge in the real deal.