I’ve been slow to get to Maha, not for lack of wanting to, but I just haven’t got round to organising it. I finally got there for lunch with three friends on Monday. I’m thinking about the lost dining opportunities that I’ve missed because I didn’t go sooner. This is beautiful middle eastern fine dining at a bargain price. The staff are great, they are knowledgeable, and that perfect combination of there when you need them and away when you don’t. I always think that eating out is about the complete package of relaxed dining with beautiful food – Maha has it in spades.
I had told them we were vegans when I made the booking. I felt that they really turned it on for us, though I have been told by one of our party that they only gave notice of one hour and got equally fabulous food. It is also encouraging to hear that what we ate for our meal was almost entirely different from what she’d eaten just a few weeks ago. No one trick vegan menu here.
We chose the four course lunch for $45.
The word “course” is used very loosely here, as each course consisted of between 2 and 5 dishes – a total of 13 in all.
The descriptions may not be 100 percent accurate (you know how it is, I always think I am listening to the waiter and will remember, but I’m too busy ogling the food…)
Here is what we ate, it was all wonderful!
Beautiful fresh warm, crunchy bread, I could have happily eaten this by itself.
With a delicious sauce with a hit of chilli.
Asparagus grilled with herbs, citrus, nuts
This was a flavour explosion, someone said at one point, why doesn’t mine taste this good?
Syrian hummus with currants and pine nuts
Beautiful contrasts between the lemony hummus, the sweet of the currants and the crunch of the pine nuts.
Red lentil stuffed manti dumplings with lemon, oil, tahini, dried mint, sumac and aleppo pepper
Great again. I never met a dumpling I didn’t like in any cuisine. The lemony, tahini sauce was packed with flavour and the temptation to lick the plate was high! 🙂
Cigar burek with fresh and dried corn salad
The burek weren’t the star of the dish, good, but completely shown up by the salad of fresh roasted corn with a mix of crunchy corn kernels and some other flavours I couldn’t work out. The crunchy corn kernels were a treat!
Fried tofu, cauliflower, tahini and truffled bean puree
Perhaps a candidate for dish of the meal if it hadn’t had another dozen competitors. The truffled bean puree and the fried cauliflower were sensational.
Tart and crunchy just like a fattoush should be. A great palate cleanser and contrast to the richness of the truffled bean puree.
Tomato bulgar wheat pilaf
This is a deceptive dish. It didn’t look like much, but it packed a big hit of tomato and nutty wheat flavours.
Bok choy and mushrooms with tahini, sweet soy and crispy fried shallots
This dish was a kind of odd one out. It looked and felt like an asian dish rather than a middle eastern one. Not complaining though, it was delicious. Who would have thought that tahini and kecap manis would be such a superb combination.
Smoked freekeh and lentils with preserved lemon
Another serious contender for dish of the day. Smoky, sweet, earthy, lemony. Mmmm.
Fourth course – desserts
Watermelon and basil sorbet
Different and delicious. Yummy dessert #1
Rice pudding in almond milk
Yummy dessert #2
Doughnuts stuffed with turkish delight
Yummy dessert #3!
Turkish coffee and the bill…
Sugar bowl and coffee…
Take the lid off and here’s the coffee…
Even the bill is prettily served!
All in all, a total delight. Most of the food was swoon worthy and a few involuntary moans of pleasure escaped from us all at various points during our three and a half very happy hours!
Go! Just go! I know I will be going again.
Maha 21 Bond St Melbourne, 3000 (03) 9629 5900