The best part about writing in a team of food bloggers is that you’re never short on eating partners, this has never been truer on than on a sunny Sunday which sees an impromptu lunch invitation from Teresa at 11:30 in the morning. We’re wavering between Jasmines, Franks and El Jannah, all reputable Charcoal Chicken places scattered about the west and finally settle on El Jannah, seeing as none of us have visited in the past.
Just over an hour later the es&t team (sans Linda who has abandoned us for the greener pastures of Yum Cha) are gathered outside of El Jannah, and things are looking promising judging by the lively crowd inside and the strong scent of Charcoal wafting out. The menu is actually divided into two with wildly differing prices for takeaway and eat in, takeaway is definitely the more economical choice being half the price of eating in, but as we all have varying plans for that night we decide to keep it simple and eat in.
Being greedy we’ve ordered the majority of the menu, including all of the dips available and they’re the first things to arrive on the table. The dips arrive in brightly coloured plastic bowls and I’m delighted by the brilliant red and yellows of the Homos, the first to arrive on the table. They’re soon joined by eye wateringly bright pink and green salted pickles which make me squint in salty satisfaction at my first bite, the sensation is oddly similar to eating Li Hing Mui, they’re definitely not loved by all but I adore the crunch and salt of it all.
The Baba Ghanouj soon follows and the smoky eggplant mixture is quickly attacked by the table, I usually prefer Homos over Baba Ghanouj enjoying the sesame taste more but on this occasion find myself swayed by the Ghanouj thanks to the moisture ratio which allows for easy scoopage. The Homos while tasting great has a texture which is thick enough that we find ourselves reaching for knives to assist in spreading.
I’m not usually a fan of Tabouli, nothing about its tomato green salsa appearance has ever appealed to me but this vivacious zesty rendition has me reaching out with my fork time and time again. Call me a tabouli convert! I suspect is the extra dash of lemon which this batch has been made with which is making it so appealing, especially with the heavier dishes surrounding.
As a concession to Teresa (who to her credit is beginning to turn away from the dark side and occasionally consumes meat) we also order a few of the Falafel for the table, the 3 pieces are just enough for each of us to have half and is served with a small tub of Yoghurt dipping sauce. I find the Falfel are a little too dense for my liking and end up half drowning them in the dipping sauce to get some much-needed moisture.
The star of the party has finally arrived! We’ve been snacking on all the various dips while we’ve been waiting but they’re immediately forgotten as the giant platter of chicken heads towards our table. There’s a moment of glee before we’re all attacking the chicken, don’t be fooled for a moment by the crispy charcoal appearance as the chicken was easily one of the softest most tender pieces of chicken I’ve had in a long time.
I find myself with a bit of a dilemma when it comes to eating the chicken. Do I wrap it in the Lebanese bread and smother it with Tabouli, Homos and Baba Ghanouj? But how to deal with the troublesome bones without having to tear apart the entire piece at once? In the end I take the lazy man’s route and simply go cave man style, chicken grasped firmly in my left hand while I attack each of the dips alternatively between each bite of chicken. Oh my, I just had to wipe away a bit of saliva at the memory…
Of all the dips we’ve ordered, the Garlic Dip is the last one I’d expect to blow me away but it’s the clear favourite of the table. The dip is made strong and you can feel the garlic breath accumulating with each mouthful but the creamy dip adds a tang to the chicken which is addictive. The sheer amount of garlic it must take to make each batch boggles the mind.
Howard is actively eying the counter and contemplating buying a small takeaway serving for later on, however the line at the counter has been continuously busy our entire visit never less than 3-4 people long and he gives up this thought. Our table is immediately seized by another group as soon as we stand up and we make our way to the door only half-joking about stealing the remainder of the Garlic dip! I’ll definitely be back to El Jannah in the future, but think next time I’ll be getting takeaway to enjoy all that lovely charcoal chicken in the comfort of my home.
4-6 South Street
Granville, NSW 2142
Ph: (02) 9637 0977
Open daily from 10am – 11pm