Shwarmama brings fancy kebabs to Surry Hills

The slick hole-in-a-wall space holds 10 people if you fancy fiano with your falafel.
The slick hole-in-a-wall space holds 10 people if you fancy fiano with your falafel. Photo: Edwina Pickles

When is a kebab not a kebab? When it's chicken shawarma, cooked by Mat Lindsay (Ester, Poly) and wrapped in laffa bread with chips, pickles, cabbage and harissa. 

In collaboration with coffee whisperer Russell Beard (Reuben Hills, Paramount Coffee Project), Lindsay officially opened Shwarmama for slowly-rotating, heavily-spiced meat on Monday.    

It's one of the first times a hatted Sydney chef has dipped their toes in the takeaway world of shawarma and halal snack packs (HSP), and more than likely the first shawarma shop with a record player spinning Tame Impala.

Shwarmama's falafel pita with pickles.
Shwarmama's falafel pita with pickles.  Photo: Edwina Pickles

"We were going through a phase at Ester of making shawarma-style things for Sunday lunches, and got really excited about it," Lindsay says.

"I half-jokingly threw the idea out there to Russell, and here we are. It's a bit of an experiment."

The slick hole-in-a-wall space holds 10 people if you fancy fiano with your falafel, stuffed in a pita buzzing with tahini, hummus, cucumber and pickled chillis.

Chicken shawarma and craft soda at Shwarmama.
Chicken shawarma and craft soda at Shwarmama. Photo: Edwina Pickles

The NHSP (the "N" stands for "non") features chips enhanced by chicken, pickles, onion and zig-zags of garlic sauce, while the breakfast menu stars a sabich (Israeli sandwich) stuffed with fried eggplant and boiled egg. 

Wildflower Brewing beer is on tap while a whizbang Swiss-engineered coffee machine provides automated espressos.

"We were a bit inspired by 7-Eleven," Beard says. "Plus the shop is too small to have a dedicated barista."

Advertisement

Shwarmama's short menu is available on Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

Orders can also be placed on the store's website, which includes a pick-up option if you can face leaving the house.

Surry Hills' patron saint of hangovers has arrived. 

Shawarma's takeaway hummus plate.
Shawarma's takeaway hummus plate. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Open Mon-Fri 8am-3:30pm, 5-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am-10pm.

Shop 2, 106-112 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, shwarmama.com.au