The first time I ate at Fatima’s was on the 20th of December 2015. Having grown up in Western Sydney and then transplanted across to the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne for university meant that I was not familiar with all or any of the popular inner city haunts that my same-age-and-stage Sydney counterparts were familiar with. I remember being intimidated by my first visit to Fatima’s – there was a belly dancer in the main restaurant – and hurriedly ordering my shawarma to go.
It was not until December 2020, nearly five years later, that I would return to Fatima’s. My second visit was around 1:30AM following an evening shift in the emergency department. The restaurant is much less intimidating at this time of night, and much more dinky. It did not look all that clean or appealing, but given it was past 1AM and I had already made the drive to Surry Hills I thought I’d better follow through.
I ordered a kafta roll and a lamb shish kebab roll ($9.50 each with hommus, taboli, salad, garlic sauce, and chilli sauce). As I waited for my food to be cooked the older of the two Bengali guys working that night engaged me in a length conversation about the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and the foreign policy of the United States. While not desired, I will remark that this was a slightly less uncomfortable conversation than the coronavirus related conversation I had at Concrete Jungle Suburbia earlier in the year. The man offered me a free falafel from a metal bowl for my troubles.
Unfortunately as he was finishing up my lamb shish kebab roll he coughed (unmaskedly, might I add) right onto my food. This made me quite uncomfortable – even though the rates of COVID-19 in the community are low I’m also not out fishing for a random other URTI. I didn’t say anything at the time but I should have.
The kafta roll was quite good. Fatima’s has really perfected the mix of tabouli, garlic, and chilli sauce. It was, as I remembered from my visit five years ago, somewhat of a slimmer roll than what I’m used to from kebab shops, but no less delicious.
3.5/5. Sorry but the cough put me ough.