With a modern menu inspired by the markets of the Middle-East, Naïm (formerly Shouk Cafe) in Paddington is a bold addition to the local dining scene. You'll find the hidden gem off the beaten track on Collingwood Street in the most adorable cottage we ever did see (we'll forgive you if you have yet to stumble upon it!)
Before we get too deep, just for the record it's pronounced like naigh-eem, not like name. Sorted.
These guys have earned quite the reputation for their beautifully plated, Middle Eastern-inspired brunch menu featuring lamb bacon, flat bread, Baharat waffles and majedra (that's sprouted seeds, cinnamon rice, lentil dukkah, angel hair pasta, chickpeas, sundried tomato harissa and fried curry leaves in case you were wondering). If you're a sufferer of meal envy opt for the smoked trout bagel and sit back knowing you've ordered one of the best items on the menu. Likewise with the brisket pastrami—it's the most delightful twist on a classic we've ever seen and something guaranteed to make your dining partner green with envy.
But, it's their dinner offering that we're really smitten with. Because yep, sticking to their overachiever nature, these guys also kill the cocktail game. Arabian sour, anyone?! Think, hummus boards to share and that signature Middle Eastern flavour infused into their cocktail menu. If you're after a more hearty feed than just cocktails and hummus (you're a grown up, we get it!) you're going to want to order the couscous (starring roasted pine nuts, basil chimichurri, charred grapes, roasted zucchini and harissa sauce) or the flat iron steak, complete with grilled sharwarma spiced steak, crispy Jerusalem artichokes, tomato raisins and smoked jus.
Book in stat, these guys get busy. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Image credit: Grace Elizabeth Images