Jackie McMillan
13th May 2023

Striking white neon signage piqued my interest in Jbeil. The glass-fronted space, set at the base of a residential tower just off the busy intersection of the Hume Highway and Coronation Parade at Enfield, doesn’t give much away. However those who push through the doors are rewarded with a cavernous, sumptuously decorated interior, resplendent in Lebanese cedar green. Starting with a nicely lit and commanding bar in the front room, the unusually shaped restaurant continues deep into the building with a number of rooms boasting central share tables and more intimate wood-lined booths. Jbeil is owned by Charles Obeid, a former partner in Al Aseel Restaurant. His fledgling solo empire currently includes restaurants in Enfield and Kareela, and a kitchen in Greenacre. 

What you might find surprising is —despite the upmarket look — the menu is reasonably priced and the space is child-friendly. Similar to its Lebanese predecessor, the more succinct sharing menu includes hot and cold mezze (small plates) and more substantial mains. Flat bread and pickles land as soon as you’re seated. Hand-sculpted spinach fatayer ($16/4) are tasty dry, oil-free pastries with tangy green interiors. They land almost simultaneously with our Jbeil mixed plate ($35) so I enjoy them with the accompanying garlic dip (toum). Chicken and cheese ladies’ fingers ($13/4) proved a nice variation with carrot, corn, peas and gentle spices. With a dining companion mad for the shawarma, a bowl of silky smooth hommos ($20) topped with it was a given. It was so good, we didn’t mind too much when the server refused to swap out the pot on the mixed plate with labne. 

Tender skewered lamb (laham meshwi) was the pick of the mixed plate’s three skewers, though the moist marinated chicken breast (shish tarok) was also compelling. Kafta (skewered meatball) rounded out the trio of sticks presented with toum, hommos, baba ghanouj and a little pot of well-dressed salad. From a modest wine list–most bottles sit around the fifty dollar mark—the Happs Fields of Gold Chardonnay ($65) from Margaret River did the job. Their spirits collection is more extensive.