Rowda Ya Habibi and hello Lady Iron Chef!

December 8, 2009

Lamb kebabs

If there’s one thing I love about food blogging is the socialising and networking. The love of food and eating is a powerful bond between people and with blogging as a common interest, it’s so easy for complete strangers from different countries to get together and it would be like eating with old friends.


Meet Lady Iron Chef also known offline as Brad, one of Singapore’s renowned food bloggers. We all caught on that he was visiting Sydney for the first time when he tweeted that he was reading up on our food blogs for restaurant recommendations. Naturally a group of Sydney food bloggers congregated quickly to show him a little of what this fair city has to offer. Our only condition for dinner was it had to be something different for him to experience.

Lebanese bread

Rowda Ya Habibi also proved to be a different experience for yours truly as Lebanese food is not one that I indulge in often. Tonight we were in the private upstairs ‘cushion’ room, complete with moody lighting (i.e. none to speak of) and exotic tapestries on the walls. Seating is on the floor so be prepared for tired legs and lord help you if you wear a short skirt! But it’s the value that is a drawcard. Expect full bellies and honest food at a mere $30 per head.


We began with starters of moreish Lebanese bread accompanied by hummus, smoky baba ghanoush and fresh tabouleh. It’s amazing how tastebuds change with age as tabouleh wasn’t something I liked at all years ago but tonight I kept on going back for more and relishing each refreshing bite.

Baba Ghanoush – a dip of smoky eggplant

My love of all things smoky meant that it was dangerous having the baba ghanoush dip in front of me. Before I knew it, I was eating too much bread. And we haven’t even got to the meats yet!

Shish Kebab

Chicken skewers

I found the lamb kebabs a little tough to eat but the shish kebab was brilliant in flavour. The chicken skewers were so juicy and tender that I immediately regretted my earlier carb indulgence. Nevertheless, Yas was more than happy to finish off my share!


I was so full from bread and tabouleh that I couldn’t even fit in a felafel, although there were murmurs that it was a bit dry tonight. Other accompaniments included rice, eggplant and beans (not pictured due to ugliness of photos).


The food here is simple but comforting and the hospitality makes you feel like you’re visiting a long lost family for a meal. A belly dancing performance on the weekends also makes for a fun interlude but be warned that hilarity and humiliation will ensue when the dancer starts pulling you in to join in a few moves (I’m sorry but this particular blogger refuses to shimmy her breasts). And yes, there were photos of bloggers getting their jiggy on but you’ll never see it!

A mysterious dish that my memory fails to remember! It was like a spring roll and the skin was delightfully crunchy
*Edited* It’s called Lady’s Fingers

We had a quick sugar hit of baklava and turkish delight that was delectably softer and chewier than what I normally have. And would you believe that after that dessert at Rowda Ya Habibi, we indulged in gelato in two different locations (as well as yoghurt at a third), and headed to Chat Thai for a late supper? Six hours of eating in five venues… such is the way of a food blogger, no matter which country you are from!

Accompaniment of rice (excuse the shocking photo)

It was lovely meeting the man behind Lady Iron Chef (somehow I don’t think this will be our last meal together…). In any case, it’s great to know that with any future trips to Singapore, I will have at least one friendly face to dine with!

Rowda Ya Habibi

101 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
02 9557 5368

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Helen (Grab Your Fork) December 8, 2009 at 16:04

Glad the choice of venue met with your approval :) Your pics turned out great and zomg, that was one helluva marathon eating session. Never. Again. (until next time)


chocolatesuze December 8, 2009 at 13:39

i really liked the Baba Ghanoush! mmm smokey goodness heh heh and no dancing pics?


Anita December 8, 2009 at 11:22

Sounds like a nice dinner out! I haven't had much Lebanese food, so it's certainly a place to visit.


Yas @ December 8, 2009 at 07:45

Another great gathering that was, and great meeting with Lady Iron Chef!


Rilsta December 8, 2009 at 04:08

You did well with the low (or no) lighting photos! It's always good to try out cuisines you don't normally have and also revisit those things you didn't go for in the past! Tastes change!

Gee, you Sydney bloggers sound like gluttons with all that food and the six hour food run! :P


Rose December 8, 2009 at 03:53

I've wanted to eat there ever since I walked past the shop in Newtown! I'm so glad you did a review of it.


Simon December 8, 2009 at 00:27

T'was a pleasure to meet up with a new face, especially a fellow blogger from overseas.

I don't think we've ever done a five venue six hour food run before. Not too sure if it'll happen again anytime soon either. Well, at least for me. Felt like I had a hangover the next morning!


Ellie (Almost Bourdain) December 7, 2009 at 22:44

All along I thought 'ladyironchef' was a girl. *Smack head* lol!!!


joey@FoodiePop December 7, 2009 at 21:18

Look at that lamb kebab and baklava! So delicious and enticing! Thanks for the review! I'm not into Lebanese food either but I should try it once in a while I think.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: