Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

King Shawarma (CLOSED)

336 Springvale Road
Forest Hill VIC 3131
0403 609 786

They say you can find gems in unexpected places. In cookie cutter, WASP-y and Bible Belt-y Forest Hill, what are the chances that you’d find a shawarma shop? On a nondescript strip of takeaway stores on Springvale Road, no less?

Like a child born to a Muslim father and a Jewish mother, King Shawarma is an eatery that isn’t exactly sure what it wants to be. On one hand, it sells fried dimmies and potato cakes at 80 cents apiece (a bargain, if you’re living in the leafy Eastern suburbs of Melbourne) as well as burgers. On the other hand, they’re selling supposedly authentic Afghan kebab skewers and shawarmas. If King Shawarma, the eatery, is suffering from a bit of an identity crisis then the shawarma should be hospitalised. I’m not entirely sure of the dish’s origins, but I do know that it’s a popular street food in Israel and the rest of the Arab world. It is essentially doner meat (either lamb or chicken, or whatever) served in pita bread. In other words, it wants to be a kebab and a souvlaki at the same time.

I ordered a standard lamb shawarma ($8), along with a couple of fried dimmies. The package was a neatly wrapped pita spiral comprising of lightly grilled lamb chunks, garlic sauce (which tasted more like an aioli than a tzatziki or a cacik), sliced onions, tomatoes and lettuce. It was slightly smaller than your standard souvlaki, too. Taste-wise, it didn’t pack as much flavour as a Footscray kebab (oh, NOM!) but if you’re into wrapped lamb sandwiches without the horrible bloaty feeling that you get after a 3am souvie at Stalactites, then I guess King Shawarma’s shawarma is for you.

One final word though, I’m not sure if the shawarma at King Shawarma is as authentic as claimed. I’ve yet to try shawarma elsewhere so I don’t have anything to compare it to. If anyone knows of any places that do great shawarmas (and ones that do not require a return ticket to Jerusalem), then please comment below. In the mean time I think I’ll stick to kebabs, thanks.

21 Comments on King Shawarma (CLOSED)

  1. Sophie
    May 21, 2011 at 08:37 (3 years ago)

    Hahah, I train every week just to the right of where you took that photo! Now I’m curious to try the place out thanks to you :)

    Reply
  2. Martypants.
    May 21, 2011 at 11:32 (3 years ago)

    @Libishki Coolstorybrah.

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 21, 2011 at 12:01 (3 years ago)

      There is an extra ‘s’ in Libishski, brah.

      Reply
      • Martypants.
        May 21, 2011 at 23:26 (3 years ago)

        Idontcare. :) x

        Reply
  3. Hannah
    May 21, 2011 at 16:58 (3 years ago)

    Authentic? Definitely Ali Baba. All the way.
    :P

    (This may or may not be related to the fact that I’ve only ever had a shawerma roll like this at Ali Babas… probably a decade ago.)

    Reply
  4. msihua
    May 22, 2011 at 18:52 (3 years ago)

    Hmm… for $8 that’s fairly reasonable tho.. however doesn’t look like much meat in it?

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 23, 2011 at 19:38 (3 years ago)

      Yeah, you’re right, there’s not a lot of meat in it. It still does the job if you want something light for lunch though :)

      Reply
  5. DL
    May 22, 2011 at 20:34 (3 years ago)

    Mmmmm mmmmm! Perhaps it’s the only thing both cultures can agree on LOL
    :P

    Reply
  6. Neil
    June 3, 2011 at 17:24 (3 years ago)

    Have been looking for real shawarma in Melbourne, but this doesn’t look like it. The shawarma I fell in love with in Israel was made with real lamb, not donor meat. It was served in a opened pita bread pocket, not wrapped. And it came standard with hoummus and chips inside the pocket. You could then help yourself to various salads, pickles and sauces to top it off.
    Shawarm, where are you?

    Reply
    • libishski
      June 18, 2011 at 20:51 (3 years ago)

      Hot damn, hummus and chips?! Oh yum! I doubt that a shwarma like that exists in Melbourne but one can only dream… *sigh*

      Reply
    • Aouss
      August 16, 2011 at 18:59 (3 years ago)

      I totally Agree with you, I lived in Iraq, Lebanon, and Dubai before and Shawarma there is totally different from Kebabs here and I tried everywhere but I couldn’t find any decent Shawarma in Melbourne..

      Shawarma Fans, Keep us updated once you find a good Shawarma…

      Shawarma Peace.. and sweet Shawarma Dreams.

      Reply
  7. toby
    July 15, 2011 at 15:57 (3 years ago)

    Mmmmm, shawarmas!! I fell in love with them while living in Qatar and I’m yet to find anything similar here. Marmara Shawarmas were the best, does anyone know of any Marmara franchises around Melb?

    Reply
    • libishski
      August 16, 2011 at 21:15 (3 years ago)

      I don’t think so, Toby. Maybe you could set one up? :)

      Reply
  8. Charles Cunningham
    November 15, 2011 at 10:20 (3 years ago)

    If you want a lebanese Shawarama (they differ across the arab world and magreb) hit up tiba’s in sydney road.

    Reply
    • libishski
      November 15, 2011 at 18:48 (3 years ago)

      Oh, fantastic. Thanks for the tip, Charles!

      Reply
      • Slowsunday
        December 29, 2011 at 09:11 (3 years ago)

        Tiba’s +1

        Reply
        • libishski
          December 30, 2011 at 19:32 (3 years ago)

          Ah, gotta make my way to Tiba’s. Consider it a new year’s resolution! :)

          Reply
  9. Amy
    January 27, 2012 at 08:43 (3 years ago)

    Oasis bakery in oakleigh! Massive middle Easter supermarket and cafe. People line up out the door for their SHAWARMAS! YUM!

    Reply
    • libishski
      January 28, 2012 at 15:54 (3 years ago)

      I really have to try this Oasis Bakery place – heaps of people have recommended it to me. Thanks for the tip :)

      Reply
  10. Bolyman
    February 11, 2013 at 02:18 (2 years ago)

    Tibas on Sydney rd are the closest thing you get to real shawarma in Melbourne!

    Reply
    • libishski
      February 16, 2013 at 13:01 (2 years ago)

      Ahhh another +1 for Tiba. So need to give it a go! Like SOON.

      Reply

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