FOOD FIGHT: Field and Social pop-up: the Lebanese Cafeteria

The industrial yet homey space of Vancouver's Field and Social restaurant was turned into a Lebanese pop-up dining event. The menu was created by Abdallah El Chami of the Dallah Menu blog.

On September 29, Field and Social on Dunsmuir opened its doors to the community to host one of its first events since launching this past February. Partnering with the Dallah Menu, the small, industrial-meets-homey space came alive with good food and lively company during its pop-up, the Lebanese Cafeteria.  

The man of the hour was none other than Abdallah El Chami, better known as Dallah. He’s the brains behind the Dallah Menu. He told The Peak how happy he was to bring Lebanese food to the community, since it’s a cuisine that’s not always readily available in Vancouver. After spending six weeks in Lebanon, he came back eager to share everything he had learned and experienced.

“My big things are food, community, and charity,” Dallah said. “It’s a privilege to be able to share my food with so many people, and to bring them all together.”

Dallah put his own modern and trendy spin on traditional Lebanese dishes, while still preserving the cultural significance found in particular flavours or methods of cooking. This was reflected in his his menu, which consisted of three courses. Guests were able to pick between two salads (tabbouleh and fattoush), two mains (pulled beef shawarma and stuffed potato kibbeh), and two dips (hummus and jazar, a carrot dip).

For your convenience, we took the liberty of trying all the dishes for you:

Fattoush: A chopped salad that resembles a fancy Greek salad with tomatoes, radishes, arugula, cilantro, and lettuce in a tangy vinaigrette. It was fresh and delicious, the kind of salad you could eat all day.

Tabbouleh: A parsley salad with a very sharp and tangy taste, made up of tomatoes, fresh parsley, mint, and bulgur.

Stuffed potato kibbeh: A fried potato dumpling made out of bulgur, but instead of being bland, the centre is filled with a vegetarian-friendly walnut imitation of the traditional meat and onion filling. Accompanied with a fresh cilantro garlic sauce resembling a pesto.

Pulled beef shawarma: Shawarma on its own is already to die for, but the fact that it was pulled and super tender made this dish out of this world. Tender meat with an explosion of different complementary flavours. It was heaven on a plate.

Hummus: Clearly freshly made, with the perfect balance of seasoning to keep it a mild, creamy dip to accompany the other flavourful portions of the menu.

Jazar: A dip with an even smoother texture than the hummus (which we didn’t think was possible), resembling a much lighter version of something between sour cream and cream cheese. The carrot flavour was very mild, but went well with everything.

Pineapple and anise soda: A near-spicy soda thanks to the anise. Although normally it would be the pineapple that makes it tart, the pineapple was actually the sweeter part of the beverage.

Orange blossom and mint lemonade: The floral notes on this lemonade were super prominent, and made the overall drink quite refreshing. Though lemonade is usually sour, this upscale version of it was just the right balance of sweet and sour.

Guests enjoyed these delicious dishes and each other’s company in the beautiful Field and Social space, with the communal tables making the event feel like coming home to eat at the dinner table, while the volume level matched that of a big family gathering.

The Dallah Menu and Field and Social are two innovative and unique purveyors to the Vancouver food scene, and definitely ones to watch.