i’ve been buying middle eastern sweets up and down Sydney Road for a number of months, maybe even years now and last night, i stopped by el-faiha to get some dessert for a dinner party. I used to go to Balha’s pastries when it was quite small and had a charming blue and white check-tiled serving counter. It has since grown to a two story gold painted edifice with gleaming counters, many tables and a constant flow of customers. I still go to Balha’s now and then but after last nights selection of pastries from El-Faiha, I doubt I will go anywhere else but El-Faiha.
Lebanese sweets, as with anything else, takes a fair amount of eating before one can distinguish what quality is. To the uninitiated, they can all taste quite similar. I’ve been approaching a more appreciative level for some time but it was only last night, after crushed macadamia nuts encircled by fine crunchy layers of pastry tasting of butter and rose syrup, that i finally understood. El-Faiha’s sweetmaker is a master. There is no denying this. Everything else in that small box was as incredible. I wish I knew the names but I dont. There was a whitetendrilled crushed pistachio orange water drenched confection. And I havent tasted better sweet cheese stuffed pastry rolls.
My next goal is Indian sweets. There’s a particularly good one onHigh Street Preston but my palate needs more training.