Toko owner Matt Yazbek has been known to quietly slide into the kitchen at his Japanese restaurant and jump on the tools, now he’s about to tackle a cuisine a little closer to home.
Yazbek is opening a Lebanese restaurant late August, in Surry Hills.
“It’s the food I grew up with. I started out at Toko washing rice, I’ve even given sushi classes,” he says.
At Cubby’s Kitchen, he’ll cook side-by-side with his mother, Mouna, while his sisters Amanda and Diala and brother Richard are all involved in the venture. Barramundi with harissa and garlic, bastourma “rock ‘n’ rolls” and Lebanese doughnuts with cinnamon and maple goat’s cheese will be on the opening menu.
Yazbek argues the current rise of Modern Middle Eastern food across Sydney is driven by its lower cost, high vegetarian component and being BYO friendly.
Cubby’s Kitchen will take half of the sprawling space currently occupied by Crown Street Fish Shop, which is undergoing “an Arabic-inspired refurbishment”. The Cubby’s Kitchen pop-up is part of bigger plans, which will see it eventually take up a permanent home in a site Yazbek owns nearby. He’s also working on a new “grunge Japanese concept”.
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