Down the South end of King Street towards Erskineville lies Khamsa Cafe, a gorgeous Palestinian cafe serving plant based cuisine. The gorgeous, light filled cafe has a menu where you won't even miss the meat!
This is the first cafe for Sarah Shaweesh. Previously she had a food consulting and catering business also under the same name. Sarah has been plant based or vegan since 2010 but is careful to avoid labelling Khamsa a vegan restaurant, preferring to use the more inclusive term of plant based. Khamsa (also called Hamsa meaning five) is the palm shaped amulet bearing the evil eye that features throughout the cafe.
Service is super sweet and friendly both from Sarah and her other staff member Sugar. The menu is mostly Palestinian food which Sarah tells us is traditionally vegetarian. "It was a luxury to eat meat and then it was added to the dishes after cooking them," Sarah explains.
Turkish Delight Iced Coffee $5 and Golden Elixir Latte $6
I have to confess turmeric lattes often leave me cold. They remind me of curry which I love but just taste like powder. Except the turmeric latte here is pretty damn good. They use fresh turmeric which seems to be key and even though they serve it with oat milk it tastes like real milk and is sweetened just right. As for me, I try the gorgeous Turkish delight coffee. It is served black and sweetened with rose syrup.
Hummus Habibi $18
Let's start with both of our favourite dish. The hummus is smooth and creamy and topped with a plant based mince by Funky Fields with Middle Eastern spices and pine nuts. To the side are pickles, pita bread and one felafel. I would have loved another felafel but we both love the mince and the hummus together with a crunchy bite of felafel.
Baladi Baller $20
The Baladi baller are plant based kofta meatballs in a tomato based sauce with a side of delicious vermicelli rice and roasted pine nuts. The meatballs are quite a good imitation of meat (if that's your sort of thing although the mince above is a tad more convincing) with a robust flavoured tomato base and we both love the rice.
Fava Ya Baba! $17
Monica loves fava beans and these are a good choice if you like sour lemon and yogurty flavours. I liked this dish as a contrast for a shared meal. They're fol or fava beans with tahini, olive oil, tomato salsa, pickles and triangles of pita bread.
Harissa Semolina Syrup Cake $8 (bottom left) and Passionfruit and Raspberry Cake $6
Dessert time! Even though Monica doesn't eat dessert I love that she encourages me to order it. We try two of the in-house baked cakes (the raw slices are bought in from Raw Passion). The passionfruit and raspberry cake is a regular sort of mini bundt with passionfruit icing and a raspberry on top. The semolina and harissa almond syrup cake is fragrant with orange blossom and reminds me of the Middle East although and it has a dense texture to it.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like turmeric lattes? Do you eat dessert or are you someone that doesn't like sweets like Monica?
This meal was independently paid for.
Shop 3/612-622 King St, Sydney NSW 2043
Tuesday to Sunday 8am–3pm
Phone: 0481 451 791