El Jannah, Granville

El Jannah

It’s a family-run business that has been around since 1998 and El Jannah has become one of the most popular charcoal chicken restaurants in Sydney.

The grilled charcoal chicken is reputed to be among the best in Sydney with its signature garlic sauce being a family recipe. I have read about this place for years in many food guides and more recently through food blogs but have somehow never got the chance to visit.

However, I am on the loose end tonight with two of my mates and my idea to the boys of gnawing on succulent and juicy charcoal chicken seems irresistible.

The queues at El Jannah are legendary but the location of the restaurant is definitely convenient for a boys’ night out. The restaurant is across the road from Granville train station and  the Royal Hotel Granville is literally a stone throw away on South street.

There are at least three charcoal chicken restaurants all located within walking distance of each other and this area is famous for its smoky charcoal chicken fumes that can be sniffed out even from the train station across the road. To me, this kind of advertising is pure gold – you hook in your customers with that smoky chicken aromas even as they are walking on the street!

It’s Thursday night and to avoid the queues, we settle for a couple of beers at the Royal Hotel Granville before walking about 30 metres across the road to El Jannah at 7.30pm. The restaurant occupies two shoplots and there are tables both inside the restaurant and a fairly large alfresco dining area outside.

Customers queuing up at the order counter

Customers queuing up at the order counter

The restaurant is packed when we walk in but the counter staff appear very efficient in processing the orders.

We are told to wait for a table and within five minutes, our order is taken, paid for and we are seated with an order number, waiting fork and knife in hand for our meal.

I look around and the clientele are mainly young, hungry, beefy-looking charcoal chicken lovers.

Baba Ganoush $5.50

Baba Ganoush $5.50

I like baba ganoush and it arrives with its signature reservoir of olive oil in the middle and sprinkled with paprika and some chopped parsley.

For a casual restaurant, this baba ganoush is one of the best I have tasted – smooth, creamy and smoky eggplant that is a perfect dip for fresh Lebanese bread which are provided complimentary with the charcoal chicken.

Lebanese bread (Complimentary with charcoal chicken)

Lebanese bread (Complimentary with charcoal chicken)

They are generous with the Lebanese bread which comes freshly packed in plastic.

“Is one charcoal chicken enough for the three of us?” Arthur asks.

“Mate, don’t be greedy, just start eating and see how we go” I say.

Tabouli $5.50

Tabouli $5.50

The vegetables all arrive first as if to tempt us even more as we eagerly wait for the charcoal chicken.

A tabouli is fresh with the zingy flavours of garlic, lemon juice and tomatoes.

Garden salad $6.50

Garden salad $6.50

The garden salad with Italian dressing is essentially a Greek salad without the feta cheese.

El Jannah's signature garlic sauce (complimentary with charcoal chicken)

El Jannah's signature garlic sauce (complimentary with charcoal chicken)

El Jannah’s signature garlic sauce for the charcoal chicken is more like a smooth, garlic-flavoured cream.

This cream is light and the subtle hint of garlic makes it a nice spread for the Lebanese bread, let alone the chicken which has yet to arrive.

All this while, we see more and more charcoal chickens being replenished at the counter from the fiery charcoal grills in the kitchen.

Pickled radish and gherkin (Complimentary with charcoal chicken)

Pickled radish and gherkin (Complimentary with charcoal chicken)

As if to tempt us even further, a plate of pickled radish in psychedelic pink and gerhkin is also complimentary with our charcoal chicken.

These crunchy pickles are tangy and sour and I think it’s El Jannah way to whet our appetites even more.

Regular chips $4

Regular chips $4

A bowl of regular chips is hot and crispy, sprinkled with that tasty chicken salt which makes you yearn for Coke and lemonade.

El Jannah’s charcoal chicken – The verdict

El Jannah charcoal chicken - drumette ($19.90 for whole chicken)

El Jannah charcoal chicken - drumette ($19.90 for whole chicken)

The long-awaited moment has arrived. If ordering a whole chicken, you have the option of having it chopped into quarters or eight pieces.

El Jannah charcoal chicken - breast meat ($19.90 for whole chicken)

El Jannah charcoal chicken - breast meat ($19.90 for whole chicken)

The chicken is obviously very fresh and the smoky aromas of charcoal is unmistakable. I find the breast meat a little dry although the baba ganoush  and garlic sauce are excellent dips for this meat to go into.

El Jannah charcoal chicken - chicken wings ($19.90 for whole chicken)

El Jannah charcoal chicken - chicken wings ($19.90 for whole chicken)

The chicken wings are slightly burnt and dry. Scraping off the burnt and slightly bitter bits might be an idea for those not used to caveman-like food.

El Jannah charcoal chicken - chicken thigh ($19.90 for whole chicken)

El Jannah charcoal chicken - chicken thigh ($19.90 for whole chicken)

The thigh and drumstick are tender and juicy.

Happy! Meat skewers on the grill

Happy! Meat skewers on the grill

I am willing to bet the charcoal chicken-eating fraternity in Sydney’s west would have tasted El Jannah and it’s easy to see why –  chicken at prices you just cannot fault. A takeaway whole charcoal chicken will set you back a mere $10.90.

The menu also serves beef and chicken burgers, lamb, beef and chicken skewers.

Our bill came to $41.40 (without drinks) for 3 hungry boys, so it’s easy to see why this place is popular.

“Are you full, Arthur?” I ask my friend.

Leaning back in his chair, rubbing his tummy and shaking his head, he blurts out “I’m stuff, mate!”

El Jannah Restaurant, Granville

El Jannah Restaurant, Granville

Overall, the chicken has a nice smoky aroma since it is so thoroughly cooked in a hot grill and the garlic sauce is a nice complement.

Is El Jannah’s charcoal chicken as tasty as everyone who has ever been there raves like hell about it?

I’m not quite sure what’s the big fuss over the chicken here, which I found to be dry and some bits like the wings burnt. The accompanying garlic sauce is more like a cream and considering so many reviews have raved about it, I found it a bit over-rated. Personally, I prefer the flavours of Nando’s charcoal chicken which they claim has been marinated for 24-hours before it hits the grill. I find Nando’s smaller chickens decidedly more juicy, succulent and tasty. Being a chilli fiend, Nando’s fiery peri-peri sauce is a winning combination in my books.

Judging by the crowd tonight, El Jannah might be grilling more charcoal chickens each day than any Nando’s outlet and they are also decidedly cheaper than Nando’s too.

But when my next craving of charcoal chicken comes around, I’m quite sure about where I would be heading.

So dear readers, which is your favourite grilled charcoal chicken in Sydney?

El Jannah – Granville
4 – 6 South street
Granville, New South Wales

Tel: +61 2 9637 0977

El Jannah on Urbanspoon

El Jannah – Punchbowl
701 Punchbowl road
Punchbowl, New South Wales

Tel: +61 2 9759 2999

El Jannah on Urbanspoon

 Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10am – midnight, Sunday 10am – 11pm

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10 Responses to El Jannah, Granville

  1. I’ve only been to this place once but I have to say I love it and must come again soon! If I had to pick my fave place for grilled charcoal chicken, I would probably say Silva’s in Petersham – pretty amazing stuff and great prices too!

  2. Raymund says:

    That chicken looks nicely charred, I can imagine the rich flavours

  3. The char on the chicken sure looks mighty fine!

  4. Clarisse says:

    Hello! I’ve just discovered your blog… I love the way you explain all that you see, and I really like your photo of the radish… and the fries… it really makes me hungry!

  5. Glad you got the chance to go :) It’s not all the time that the chicken comes out dry. They usually do it pretty well, but I have to say my friends and I come here for the garlic sauce, which you call a cream. It’s our favourite one with the perfect garlic hit. Most other places are either too subtle or over the top.

  6. Chopinand, my favorite grilled chicken spot is my front yard. :) I could make a meal out of those dips and bread though! Your review was truthful (and all the more reason to grill with chicken thighs and drumsticks for moistness’ sake), but that said, it still sounded like a fun evening out!

  7. I love garlic sauce with chicken! It’s the perfect combo :)

  8. Love the smoky charred look of that chicken – am now craving charcoal chicken!

  9. The chicken looks juicy and delicious. love the grilled lines too. 😉

    Tina
    http://fashionandchocolat.blogspot.com/

  10. used to go to El Jannahs nearly every week for the last two years mainly for the chicken rolls, chips and garlic sauce. the chicken has been good most of the times i’ve ordered it but there has been some occasions when it was fairly burnt. still got me going there regularly for a while tho and it doesn’t help when you can smell it from the other side of Granville station…now i’m craving for their crispy chips and garlic sauce YUMMM!!!

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