Family restaurant Damascus serves up authentic Syrian food
Damascus is serving up authentic Syrian food and a taste of home in Brooklyn, Wellington
Damascus is a night-time restaurant at the Vogelmorn Bowling Club in Brooklyn. Run by husband and wife duo Hasan and Flora, Damascus serves up authentic Syrian food using Hasan's family recipes.
Expect best-ever versions of well-known Middle Eastern dishes like falafel, hummus and other mezze dishes. This family-friendly restaurant has a laidback and comfortable vibe and is BYO so you can bring along a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner.
How it all began
When Hasan and Flora first met and fell in love they were living in Dubai. Flora is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Hasan is from Swaida, Syria, but they both shared a passion and talent for cooking that they had learnt from their families. Soon after, Flora got offered a job as a pastry chef in Wellington and luckily for us – she took it.
Settling into life in the capital, the couple set up a successful food truck that they named Damascus (after the capital of Syria). Four years on, Damascus has found a permanent home at Vogelmorn Bowling Club. You can still find their food truck at the Harbourside Market on Sundays.
The food served at Damascus is the food that Hasan grew up eating, and it has become the food he cooks at home for his young children. “This is family food, homey food and when you eat it, you can feel the love and the care that has gone into making it,” he says.
...it’s been heart-warming to see how much people are enjoying our food.
Flora and Hasan, owners of Damascus
Everyone is welcome
Combining the welcoming feel of a community hall with the nostalgia of a bach, Damascus’ restaurant is comfortable and immediately makes you feel at home. It’s important for Hasan and Flora that the restaurant is welcoming and accessible for families and people with dietary requirements. The menu has lots of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian dishes. It's also licensed for BYO, so you can bring along a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner.
Made from scratch
Pastry chef Flora makes the incredible baklava, golden with honey and stuffed with jewel-like pistachios, luscious handmade ice cream and other treats. Hasan looks after the savoury side of things, making tahini from scratch (he estimates they go through 25-50kg of sesame seeds each month), kneading dough for the flatbreads, soaking chickpeas and making jibin (a Syrian cheese like feta but not as salty).
Made to share
Hasan can’t choose a favourite dish from the menu as their food is made to be eaten mezze-style with a selection of dishes enjoyed together. The popular sharing plates at Damascus give a taste of different flavours, textures and colours: incredibly smooth hummus, glowing magenta-coloured roasted and pureed beetroot, crispy-shelled tahini, and the must-try mutabel - a creamy dip of smoky chargrilled eggplant.
The response from diners has overwhelmed Flora and Hasan. “I don’t know how to describe it – it’s been heart-warming to see how much people are enjoying our food.”
During the day, the Bowling Club operates as Vogelmorn’s Best Café (VBC), a community café created by the Vogelmorn Community Group as a local's hub. Open 8.45am - 12.45pm Wednesday - Saturday.