Food News

Introducing the Mary’s knafeh, a dessert for good

It’s a sizeable dessert with filo pastry, fragrant rice pudding and whipped ricotta, and the proceeds from each serve will go towards the UNICEF Syria Crisis Appeal.

By Yvonne C Lam
The knafeh by the Mary's Group.
Mary's Group executive chef Jimmy Garside has the secret to unlocking diners' charitable generosity – get them with dessert. It's a strategy that's served school bake sales for eons, and it'll work with the Sydney hospitality group's knafeh, with all proceeds from the sale of the dessert to go towards UNICEF Australia's Syria Crisis Appeal.
Throughout September, Middle Eastern-inspired cheese-and-pastry dessert is available for $18 at Mary's Newtown, Mary's Circular Quay, The Unicorn Hotel and The Lansdowne Hotel.
"Appealing to everyone's sweet tooth is a great way of raising money," says Garside. "If we can help by doing something as simple as making a dessert, we'll jump in."
The September-issue knafeh is part of Cook for Syria, UNICEF's fundraising campaign through dinner and food events inspired by Syrian cuisine. In August, Melbourne's Carlton Wine Room and Anchovy served a fried-chickpea dish and pumpkin kibbeh for the cause; while in Sydney, Nomad raised more than $56,000 from its #CookforSyria fundraising dinner.
Mary's Newtown.
The Mary's knafeh features a fillo-pastry basket filled with a rice-pudding-whipped-ricotta hybrid, with fragrant orange peel, cardamom, rosewater and orange blossom. Up top, a pool of burnt honey and blood orange syrup and a scattering of pistachios and dried rose petals. It's a sizeable dessert and should not, Garside says, be tackled solo.
"We're not known for our dainty food, especially our desserts," he says, reeling off the ice-cream sandwich at Mary's, The Unicorn's pavlova and sticky-date pudding, and the bombe Alaska at Mary's Underground(winners of GT's Wine List of the Year) as examples. "Provided you haven't eaten a pile of Mary's burgers beforehand, you could share this between two people."
Importantly, Garside says diners should try the knafeh not just because it's for a good cause, but also because its flavours will satisfy. "It's simply delicious," he says. "Get down and order it."
The knafeh is available for $18 throughout September at Mary's Newtown, Mary's Circular Quay, The Unicorn Hotel and The Lansdowne Hotel.