Photographs: David Straight
First up, an apology. With the exception of Ima, we’d given up on Middle Eastern food in this town, preferring instead to hole up at home with Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks – it is nourishing, rich, flavourful food, full of texture and zest and spice and mountains of vegetables. And yet in Auckland it is almost always so indescribably bland. So it took us a while to get to Petra Shawarma.
We apologise. Unreservedly. Petra Shawarma is a total and utter delight. Opened earlier this year by Dalal Omar, who originally comes from Jordan, it’s home style food in a colourful little shopfront in Kingsland with wooden tables and a fridge selling bottles of Pump water. You order from the nice ladies at the counter, you sit at the wooden tables, and you wait while they cook everything from scratch – including the meat for your shawarma. Go hungry. Go with plenty of time. Go often.
Be sure to order sides and salads. There is kooba ($2.50 each) – delicate parcels stuffed with meat in a crumbly parcel. Magnificent. There is a breakfast dish of fava beans ($8), served with grilled eggplant, paprika, sumac and lemon and a generous glug of olive oil – complex, slightly sour from the lemon, rich from the beans, it’s known as “foul” and it is magnificent. The shawarma ($16) – fabulous, tender meat and generous flavours, it comes sliced up, which we really like. And we love the musakhan ($16), grilled chicken with onion, cashew nuts and yoghurt sprinkled with sumac, that most wondrous of spices. Faith restored. SFG
HOURS Open seven days, 11am until late.
ADDRESS 482 New North Road, Kingsland, ph 815-8652.