Sherman's Food Adventures: Tayybeh


In Vancouver, we are blessed with so many different types of food, I truly think we are spoiled.  However, one cuisine that is not represented is Syrian.  To the best of my knowledge, there are no dedicated Syrian restaurants, until now.  Tayybeh, that was born from a catering business, has now opened up their first ever B&M restaurant.  The owners initially set out to help other Syrian immigrants transition into Canada by offering employment and also an opportunity to learn the language.  Well, they have become much more than that now with Tayybeh on 4th Ave where Linh Cafe used to be.

Loved what they did to the place, adding so much colour!  Well onto the food, we started with some dips including the Hummus, Mhammara and Mutabbal.  Loved all 3 of them where the hummus was smooth and almost creamy with some nuttiness and tang.  The mutabbal was also smooth with tender little nuggets of eggplant.  There was some noted background smoke and it was so flavourful.   Exhibiting a deep red colour, the Mhammara was thick and sweet.  Loved picking this up with the absolutely awesome house-made pita chips.  So much crunch and nutty aroma.

Next up, we had the Tabbouleh Salad and the Crispy Cauliflower.  Served in a fairly large portion, the salad was bright and a bit peppery.  With the ample amount of diced tomatoes, the salad was somewhat "juicy" but not wet.  Salad was mildly seasoned where I could get the usual tanginess and pepperiness.  Absolutely loved the fried cauliflower as each large floret was cooked through, but still firm in texture.  There was a touch of crispiness and some smokiness.  We really didn't mind that there was more of the hummus on the side!

Continuing on with the smaller plates, we also had the Musakhan and Kibbeh.  Consisting of shredded chicken and sumac, the musakhan was essentially a spring roll.  It was crunchy and exhibited all of the great flavours of sumac including tanginess and a bit of background floral.  Chicken was a bit dry though.  As for the kibbeh, it was a deep fried beef and bulgar shell that was lightly crispy with a slightly dense texture.  Inside the ground beef was moist and tender.  It was mixed with nuts and had the classic fall flavours of Middle Eastern spice.

Onto some larger dishes, they all came with a side of hummus, olives, rice and salad.  I tried the Chicken Shawarma first.  Similarly like the Musakhan, the chicken was a touch on the drier side.  However, it was decently moist inside and nicely seasoned.  Also, the rice itself was delicious despite looking like plain white rice.  Good texture on it too.  My favourite large dish was the Kofta Kebabs in tomato sauce.  These meatballs were large and meaty in texture.  Moist inside and naturally sweet from the onions.  The tomato sauce was mildly tangy and went well with the rice.

So the last 2 main dishes were the Sujuk Wrap and the Falafel.  The wrap was filled with Syrian-style grilled beef sausage.  I thought the wrap was intensely savoury and meaty.  I guess the fat really helped add both flavour and moisture.  As for the falafels, they were crunchy on the outside and medium-dense on the inside.  Thought they were nicely spiced being earthy.  Again, the accompaniments such as the hummus and rice were delicious on their own.

Onto the sweets, we had an assortment including Baklava, Lady's Bracelet, Date & Walnut Cake and Barazek.  As expected, the baklava was pretty sweet, but honestly, it was not as much as some other versions.  Loved the crunch from the phyllo.  The lady's bracelet was essentially a baklava round filled with pistachios.  With the phyllo tightly wound, the crunch was more intense while the sweetness seemed more muted.  I enjoyed the date & walnut cake.  The pastry was light and flaky while the filling was sticky and sweet.  Kind of like a lighter fig newton.  Lastly, the pistachio cookies were crunchy and nutty.  Could eat a tonne of those like chips.  Overall, the food at Tayybeh was good.  Sure, it has influences and elements of other Middle Eastern Cuisine, so it isn't exactly something we've never seen before.  But a restaurant dedicated to Syrian cuisine is a rarity in Vancouver, so if you want something different, this is the place to find it.

*All Food and beverages were complimentary for this blog post*

The Good:
- Something different
- Love those pita chips and dips!
- Kofta kebabs and cauliflower were delicious

The Bad:
- I found the chicken just a touch dry


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