The meals at Tibas are delicious and served in colossally generous portions. The ambiance here is cheap and cheerful, perhaps more cheap than it is cheerful. It is 100% alcohol free and halal, but do not be deterred by this fact. During peak lunch and dinner times, seating can become packed, so arrive early or be prepared to scramble for a table. The first time I ate at Tibas we made the rookie mistake of ordering a mixed grill each. Yes each. While some persevered until their side-seams had become unravelled, we all eventually admitted defeat.
We visited Tibas as a group on a Saturday night. Most went for the good ol’ faithful mixed grill, some of us even bold enough to opt for an entire one. The mixed grill arrived on a plate fit for a mammoth-sized hunger – chicken and lamb shawarma, tabouleh, hummus, yoghurt, garden salad, rice, lamb cutlet, sausage and skewer.
The chicken was smoky, tender and juicy. The lamb, newly shaved off the impressive spit located behind the front counter, was drool-worthy – especially when enveloped in some of the generous savoury Lebanese bread with hummus, yoghurt dip and lashings tabouleh. Drool. The brightly pickled turnips added a burst of freshness to the small parcels of makeshift mini-wraps. The tabouleh usually is right on the zesty mark, however, that night the tabouleh was seemingly drowned in vinegar. The garden salad seemed to have suffered a similar fate but we didn’t visit Tibas to dwell on salad.
The bright red sausage that is some parts sour and some parts spicy always seems to divide people. I personally love it, but a few at the table weren’t too impressed with the blood-like texture. The cutlet was fall-off-the-bone tasty (it’s a shame you only get one in a platter) and the moist lamb skewer was dense and spicy.
J and I went for the Tibas House special – to share. “Sharing is caring” assured the friendly waiter. It may have even been too much food for us both, but at $30, it’s an extremely cheap eat for the bountiful food that was laid before us. The House Special basically contains everything in the mixed grill, plus some welcome additions.
The freshly fried felafel was delectable hiding its soft interior by a thin layer of crunch. Accompanying the platter were 3 tight cigars of vine leaves stuffed with rice with hints of lemon and oil. The Tibas House special also comes with a bonus dip to accompany the hummus and yoghurt – a thick and creamy eggplant dip.
The cheese pie featured a gooey, warm cheese centre under a soft, bouncy layer of bread. The meat pie was similar but contained minced lamb with a mixture of spices. These little parcels would make for great portable fare if you are in the area but not mammoth-ly hungry.
As I paid the bill, I couldn’t help but notice the honey-drenched nutty pastries, plump Turkish delights and assorted cakes all located atop of the counter. Unfortunately I was of the mindset that I could never, may never, have to eat ever again.
Tibas has been my long-time go-to for plentiful takeaway when I have arrived home from work and flipped the bird at my cupboards contents (usually a dismal collection of peanut butter, crackers and condiments). It is also a great restaurant to share a hearty Lebanese meal between friends. Unfortunately they don’t deliver but can takeaway orders never take long and soon enough you’re sent on your merry way with a cheap bag full of meat, dips, salads and bread.