15 Auburn Rd
Auburn, NSW 2144
Like any true blue Aussie, I love a cheeky kebab any time of day. But now that I’m coming up to 30 (eep!) and can no longer eat whatever I want whenever I want without consequences, when I do eat a kebab, it had better be worth my while. And although the Strathfield area is a bit dire on the kebab front, I’m only a short train ride away from Auburn, where Middle-Eastern food abounds.
New Star Kebab looks dodgy, no two ways about it. The neon sign reminds me of those pizza-pasta-kebab joints that line the streets of the CBD, and have only managed to stay around due to their convenience factor, rather than any merit of their food.
Step inside however, and a different story begins to emerge. If you can squint past the grease coating the front window, you’ll see freshly made skewers of meat and vegetables being bundled out from the kitchen, and grilled over charcoal to order. The doner meat rotating on the spits sizzle in their juices, and the cabinets full of salads and dips look promisingly crisp. But the biggest giveaway of all is the crowd; despite the coldness of the night and the many other kebab shops in the area, there was an endless tide of patrons bustling in and out for their fix; it was all the staff could do to keep on top of the constant stream of orders, though they did certainly find a moment to throw a cheerful greeting our way.
It boggles and upsets me that most kebab shops in Sydney serve beef in lieu of lamb, so when I saw the Lamb Kebab Plate ($20), I jumped on that ASAP. As soon as it came out, I realised that we had over-ordered by far – this plate alone was more than enough for the two of us. See the pile of meat there? That is all lamb. Admittedly it is a little on the dry side, but it’s nothing a bit of the complimentary dips couldn’t fix. What surprised me however was how good the salad was. Instead of a cruddy garden salad, this was fresh and crisp, and studded with salty olives and creamy chunks of feta. It made for a much-needed respite between the excessive mouthfuls of meat.
Have you ever had Iskender ($20)? If not, you need to do yourself a favour and go get one now. It’s basically the OG snack pack – shaved doner meat layered with thick, spiced tomato sauce and dollops of yoghurt, piled onto a bed of Turkish bread. And the version here is a cracking good one, with melt-in-the-mouth slices of meat, flavoursome sauces, and just the right amount of bite-sized pieces of bread to soak up all the meat juices. If I could have just one thing from kebab shops for the rest of my life, it would probably be this dish.
Our meals also came with a basket of Turkish bread, as well as a dish of chilli oil, hummus, and yoghurt sauce. It was a nice touch and good for adding some variety, but boy did we not need it, as we ended up with almost 50% of our food left over. As far as kebab shops go, this place really is about as good as it gets. Not only are they serious about cooking good-quality food, the high turnover also means that everything stays fresh and tasty. It may have been freezing and rainy on the day we visited (yes, this was quite a while ago!), but boy was I glad to have made the trip out.
Rating: 14/20 – star of kebabs.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.