Ben Williamson (Gerard’s Bistro) will take the reigns as executive chef at Surry Hills’ Middle Eastern restaurant Nour on 28 May. Williamson is set to be joined in the kitchen by Mike Dierlinger of the recently closed Bridge Room.

Restaurateur Ibby Moubadder arrived in Australia from Lebanon in 2007, hoping to share his love of Lebanese-style family feasts. He opened Nour three years ago, with the aim of showcasing classic Middle Eastern flavours, while interpreting them in a fresh light.

“With Ben and Mike on board, we aim to take Nour to greater heights, further pushing the boundaries of contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine,” he says. “These gentlemen come not only with stellar reputations, but a standard of culinary execution that is unmatched.”

In this vein, Williamson and Dierlinger have created a new menu that will focus on shared plates, cooked over charcoal and in a wood fired oven. Breads, dips, pickles, preserve, couscous, yoghurt, labneh, curds and ashta (Lebanese cream) will all be made in-house.Expect dishes such as ‘kifta nayyeh’ featuring roasted chilli, walnuts, pickled cucumber, mint, saltbush, smoked awassi tail fat and ‘samke harra’ featuring line caught snapper spiced with chilli, tahini and pine nuts.

“Nour, and working with Ibby, is a perfect fit for me after my years at Gerard’s” says Williamson. “For the new menu we want to bring a modern touch to heritage dishes. Between Mike’s uncompromising standards and my Middle Eastern palate, we are set to be a great team and take Nour’s menu to the next level.”

The Sunday brunch offering will launch on 2 June, with dishes including manoushe (Lebanese style breakfast pizza) served with the options of sujuk (dry spicy sausage) and egg or kishk (dried yoghurt sauce) and lemon; ful medames (beans, herbs and spices) with warm hummus; and awarma (lamb confit) and eggs.

The space will also receive an update, with interior designers DS17 recommissioned for the revamp, which will entail subtle decor changes. New custom mirrors and lighting reconfigured.

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