Tayim is the newest restaurant in the Rocks area of Sydney. Part of the Harbour Rocks Hotel, Tayim replaces Scarlett restaurant. There's still the heritage sandstone walls and airy feel but the menu is now distinctly Middle Eastern.
It's a thundery summer's night when we visit Tayim. The thunder, rain and my heels don't mix so Mr NQN drops me off in front while he parks. I make my way down to where Scarlett restaurant used to be but then stop short.
The space has expanded and now there is a bar area where the Scarlett was and that the restaurant has taken over the space of the former Italian cafe also adding on Tayim Deli, a day time takeaway spot. The Head Chef Ran Kimelfeld is formerly from Nour.
The terrace doors are flung open giving the restaurant a cooling breeze and I take a seat near the door and we order a couple of cocktails. Mr NQN is intrigued by the Silk Road yogurt cocktail while I really enjoy the Sands of Time cocktail with Tanquerey, St Germain, saffron, grapefruit and 42 degrees south cuvee. He likes the Silk Road with Ketel One, yogurt, cucumber syrup, za'atar, lemon, dill and mint while I'm not as enthused.
The menu is broken up into smalls that are mostly dips and finger food and there's also a section for skewers (prawns, kangaroo, lamb kofta and vegetarian) plus 5 choices of mains including one vegetarian.
I get onto the business of choosing what to order because Mr NQN finds the mere idea of looking at a menu overwhelming. The easiest way to try a lot of the smalls is with the Tayim plate for two where you get many of the small dishes in a tasting size. There's hummus, tahini with hot sauce, sweet Moroccan tomatoes, labneh with pomegranate seeds, olives with za'atar, pickles, warm triangles if house made flat bread and wonderfully delicious felafel. I also ask for a little plate of the filfel chumma, a nutty chilli sauce. They're all good, especially the Moroccan tomatoes, hummus, felafel and filfel chumma and the soft bread serving is generous. Although it is meant to serve two I think this is better for 4 people.
We also tried the wagyu cigars that are crunchy brik pastry wrapped cigars filled with wagyu beef. They come with tahini and a fresh onion and herb salad which it needs to balance it. I also like dipping the filfel chumma in this too.
I think we over ordered food here but I'm glad that we ordered the corn. Although it royally screws up my lipstick and gets stuck in my teeth I can't help but devour the spicy corn coated in grated feta and crunchy quinoa. I want to make something similar over Christmas or New Year's too.
I think we could have just had the entrees and been quite happy but I ordered two mains to share and a side. The first one is a grilled chicken masahan, which is spiced grilled chicken atop half a round of grilled bread with an onion sauce, roasted onion, crispy leeks and dried figs and sultanas that have been macerated in sweet red wine and aged balsamic. The chicken is well spiced and the sweet element is a welcome addition to the flavours as well.
Mr NQN is a big fan of the fire roasted eggplant, a whole eggplant that is blackened and charred on the outside but soft and creamy on the inside. It's drizzled with tahini, fermented chilli, kalamata olives and seeds crackers for piquancy and crunch.
Meanwhile I'm more preoccupied poking in the fig salad for the roasted, fresh figs. They're definitely there but they're all hidden underneath the radicchio leaves, walnuts and goat's cheese. Mr NQN sees my digging underneath the leaves and eyes my digging suspiciously before forking a few quarters of fig for himself. "Were you worried I'd eat them all?" I ask him. "Yes" he says seriously. Fair point.
There are two desserts on the menu but we were way too full to even think about trying both. Instead we share one: the grilled pineapple dessert. There's a long slice of blistered, sweet grilled pineapple, yogurt panna cotta and pieces of candied ginger nut crumble that resemble frankincense. Mr NQN is delighted I'm too full to sample more than a spoonful and he happily devours this, revelling in the sweet fruit and tart panna cotta.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you find the idea of looking at menus boring or interesting? And do you ever hesitate to order corn or other food because they get stuck in your teeth?
This meal was independently paid for.
4 Harrington Street, Nurses Walk, The Rocks NSW 2000
Harbour Rocks Hotel
Phone: (02) 8220 9999
Monday - Friday: 6:30am - 10:00pm
Weekends: 7:00am - 11:30pm