Bar Sybanne is a restaurant and bar serving tapas inspired by Israeli, Lebanese and Moroccan cuisine sharing-style.
The brainchild of Howard Dubrovsky, the name of the bar combines the two first names of his grandmothers who had a huge hand in teaching him the art of cooking.
Fittingly, their portraits hang on the wall in the back area of the elegantly decorated dining room which is packed with the hubbub of a typical busy restaurant but carries through a breathy sort of Middle Eastern boho feel.
Labneh ($9) with molasses and scattered with crunchy, juicy pomegranate seeds is made in house. Same with the house gozleme, or flatbread, that it comes with, topped with za’atar.
Crudo ($12) is made with a different fish daily, based on what Chef Dubrovsky can find at Kensington Market. Today’s is a light but full-flavoured steelhead trout, complemented simply by pickled onion, olive oil, lemon, and sumac that make this a luscious small plate.
Fried chicken ($12) is an obvious standout, a little pricey but fair considering the price of your average bar or convenience store strip, especially when the thigh meat used to make this dish is as juicy as it is, highlighted by an orange blossom honey that’s reminiscent of the maple syup that goes so well with chicken and waffles.
Saffron rice ($10) doesn’t stand out as much to me, but only by comparison. At a different restaurant, this would probably be a star dish, the fragrant rice studded through with dried apricot, sultanas, and pistachios.
Fried brussel leaves ($9) can hardly go wrong but they’re done excellently here, the leaves separated into crunchy, salty little flakes mixed with crunchy almond shards on top of date sauce that brings the whole picture into focus.
The cocktail menu was designed by the Drake’s exacting Sandy de Almeida.
The Battle of Algiers ($16) is a powerful, unique cocktail made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, green chartreuse, chai-infused Dolin Rouge, peppercorn tincture, and finished off with a drunken cherry.
An English Basillica ($13) comes with lots of nominal basil flavour and light egg white froth, made with Tanqueray, Lillet Blanc, lime and orange blossom.
The Sybanne Old Fashioned ($13) brings it back down to more masculine and accessible level, made as per usual with sugar and Angostura bitters, the main twist a warmly spiced cardamom and clove infused bourbon.
This spot was formerly home to Yours Truly and La Sauccerie.
The restaurant is designed with hanging plants and light fixtures as well as pops of colour by Roundabout Studio.
Front garage windows open fully to the street on warmer days, high tables directly facing busy Ossington.