Kitchen Stories – Adonis Ghanem and Nehme Ghanem at 5th Element.
There’s a dish for every occasion in Lebanese culture according to Adonis Ghanem, co-owner (with brother Nehme) of 5th Element Bar and Cellar. And although the Little Stanley Street favourite’s cuisine is inspired more by general Mediterranean flavours, the Lebanese approach to food and hospitality has had an influence. “We were born and raised in hospitality; our family has always owned cafes, restaurants and delicatessens,” says Adonis. “Our father passed on his philosophies on running restaurants and customer service – always try above and beyond to provide the customer with what they want,” he continues.
But they weren’t always as passionate about their culture. “We never wanted to eat Lebanese food when we were growing up. We just wanted ham and cheese sandwiches, pizza. As we started getting older, we came to appreciate and want different things,” says Nehme. “Baba ganoush is my favourite dip now but I remember as kids, we hated it. We used to throw it out the window,” chuckles Adonis.
For the Lebanese, as with many other Middle Eastern cultures, food is a cornerstone of social interaction. “It was the women that cooked. Our grandma was the matriarch of the kitchen; she was like an executive chef. She’d give her daughters a clip on the ear if they weren’t doing the right thing with the food!” describes Nehme. The approach at Fifth Element is more relaxed but the unwavering ardour towards good food is ever-present. “Our menu changes about four to five times a year and we love using the freshest, seasonal Queensland produce – especially locally sourced meat and seafood,” says Adonis.
Baba ganoush is my favourite dip now but I remember as kids, we hated it. We used to throw it out the window.
|400g of chicken tenderloin
400g of tenderloin lamb
½ tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup lemon juice
1 red capsicum, sliced
8 x long skewers
|Clean excess fat from the both the chicken and lamb. Cut the lamb into large 25g pieces (size of big finger) and place in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to the lamb. Completely cover in vegetable oil, mix and allow to marinate in fridge for at least 12 hours.Cut chicken into large 50g pieces (easier to skewer). Place in bowl and add salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Completely cover in vegetable oil and allow to marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Add chilli instead of pepper for more kick.
Add 4 pieces of lamb per skewer (100g of lamb per skewer) randomly adding sliced red capsicum to your liking. Add 2 pieces of chicken to skewer (100g per skewer), adding sliced capsicum.
Grill on very hot barbeque or hot plate for 6-10 mins for lamb and 10 mins for the chicken. Serve with Lebanese bread and tabouli salad.