maha

manti

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!

First course

Bread

Beautiful fresh warm, crunchy bread, I could have happily eaten this by itself.

bread

 

Olives

With a delicious sauce with a hit of chilli.

olives

 

Asparagus grilled with herbs, citrus, nuts

This was a flavour explosion, someone said at one point, why doesn’t mine taste this good?

grilled asparagus

 

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.

hummus

Second Course

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! 🙂

manti

 

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!

cigar burek with corn salad

 

Third Course

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.

tofu with fried cauliflower and truffled bean puree

 

Fattoush salad

Tart and crunchy just like a fattoush should be. A great palate cleanser and contrast to the richness of the truffled bean puree.

fattoush

 

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.

wheat and tomato pilaf

 

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.

greens and mushrooms

 

Smoked freekeh and lentils with preserved lemon

Another serious contender for dish of the day. Smoky, sweet, earthy, lemony. Mmmm.

freekeh and lentils

Fourth course – desserts

Watermelon and basil sorbet

Different and delicious. Yummy dessert #1

watermelon and basil sorbet

 

Rice pudding in almond milk

Yummy dessert #2

rice pudding

 

Doughnuts stuffed with turkish delight

Yummy dessert #3!

donuts with turkish delight stuffing and walnuts

 

Turkish coffee and the bill…

Sugar bowl and coffee…

turkish coffee and sugar bowl

 

Take the lid off and here’s the coffee…

turkish coffee

 

Even the bill is prettily served!

the bill in a beautiful book box

 

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

 

4 comments

  1. Cindy says:

    The doughnuts are vegan?! That’s awesome.

  2. johannes says:

    thank you. terrific post. mouth watering photographs. they should give you a free lunch for that write up. i will be sure to go and eat there

  3. Cate says:

    Just added it to our restaurants to visit!

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