Middle Eastern

Rumi

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Crispy fried whiting, tahini sauce, dukka

★★★☆☆

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Sigara boregi with haloumi, feta and kasseri

★★★★☆

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King prawns, olive oil, lemon myrtle salt

★★★★☆

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Fried cauliflower, sweet onions, currants, pine nuts

★★★★★

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Fish of the day

★★★★☆

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Macadamia baklava ice cream sandwich

★★★☆☆

Overall:

Modern Middle Eastern fare at its best. The food was fantastic as was the quick friendly service. We had no idea what to order and our waitress was extremely helpful with her recommendations. I am certainly returning and am also looking forward to visiting the owners’ other restaurant The Moor’s Head.

Rumi

116 Lygon Street, Brunswick, VIC

(03) 9388 8255

http://rumirestaurant.com.au/

Rumi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oasis Bakery

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Archie’s Avocado

(smashed avocado with feta, Oasis Bakery’s Archie’s Blend #2, charred corn, quinoa, salmon, poached eggs topped with duqqa and zaatar dressing)

I can appreciate this place trying to deviate from the conventional smashed avo dish but the Archie’s Blend just didn’t do it for me and neither did the smashed avocado, which was intensely sour.

★★☆☆☆

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Carnival Hotcakes

(two buttermilk hotcakes, salted caramel sauce, honey popcorn, toasted marshmallow and fairy floss)

These were some pretty good hotcakes! And although I have a big sweet tooth, I recommend sharing this dish otherwise it can be a bit overwhelming.

★★★★☆

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Roast Pumpkin Parcel

(roast pumpkin, caramelised onions, basil, pine nuts, spinach, halloumi)

Somewhat bland and ordinary.

★★☆☆☆

Chips

These had great crunch and were nicely salted.

★★★☆☆

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Triple Cheese Pie

(halloumi, feta, shanklish and a red pepper pesto)

Perfect for cheese lovers like myself.

★★★★☆

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Big Chicken Cheeser

(a quarter pound of chicken, halloumi cheese, chips, BBQ sauce)

This huge wrap was very filling and contained lots of delicious tender chicken.

★★★☆☆

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Ayran Yogurt Drink

A little too tart for me but I liked how it cut through the heaviness of the food we had.

★★☆☆☆

Overall:

This popular bakery/cafe/grocery store is always buzzing with people and it’s easy to understand why. There is a huge assortment of delicious food available, the service is hassle free (you order at the counter and collect your food once your buzzer rings), and the atmosphere very laid-back. A unique place that is worth visiting if you are after Middle Eastern inspired food and/or groceries.

Oasis Bakery

9/993 North Rd, Murrumbeena, VIC

(03) 9570 1122

http://oasisbakery.com.au/

Oasis Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Feast of Merit

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Jerusalem artichoke and chips, Iraqi spices, dill

I love jerusalem artichoke and devoured this in no time!

★★★★☆

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White BBQ fish, yogurt, sesame, lemon, herbs

Moist succulent fish.

★★★☆☆

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Pumpkin, baharat, almonds, moghrabieh, barberries, garlic aioli

Great combination of ingredients. Plus I am now a big fan of moghrabieh (Lebanese couscous).

★★★★☆

Overall:

Delicious Middle Eastern influenced food, efficient staff, cosy rustic atmosphere. Portions were small considering the prices however I didn’t mind too much as 100% of the profits directly support YGAP (a movement of entrepreneurs who launch ventures to improve the lives of people living in poverty). Kudos to Feast of Merit for supporting a great cause.

Feast of Merit

117 Swan St, Richmond, VIC

(03) 9428 8480

http://www.feastofmerit.com

Feast of Merit Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Afghan Rahimi Restaurant

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Salad, Dips (chilli, mint and yogurt, carrot and yogurt), Naan bread

★★☆☆☆

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Mantu

Steam cooked traditional Afghani dumplings made from pastry, lamb mince and onions, served with lentils, topped with yoghurt and tomato gravy.

★★☆☆☆

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Vegetarian Ashaak

Steam cooked pastry filled with chives and leek, served with lentils and chickpeas, topped with vegetable gravy and yogurt.

★★★☆☆

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Meatball Curry (Kofta)

Lamb mince meatball served with a tomato and pea gravy.

★★☆☆☆

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Traditional Afghani Rice

★★★☆☆

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Borani Banjan (Eggplant)

Fried Eggplant covered with a tomato and yoghurt sauce.

★★★☆☆

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Chicken Korma

Chicken thigh fillet cooked in a mild tomato curry.

★★☆☆☆

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Lamb Backstrap and Chicken Tikka skewers

★★★★☆

Overall:

We decided to get the $35 banquet option which was satisfying and extremely filling! The smoky charcoal cooked skewers and the borani banjan were the highlights for me, although the borani banjan could have been less salt-heavy. Service was lovely (the owner of this place is super friendly and we felt very well looked after), and the decor was quite lavish (lots of hand crafted solid wood furniture and Afghan artwork). A good place to come to if you are after a big feed.

Afghan Rahimi Restaurant

23-29 Walker St, Dandenong, VIC

(03) 9793 9981

Home 2

Afghan Rahimi Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Moroccan Soup Bar

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Hummus, yoghurt, olives, potatoes, eggplant and pickled carrots served with flatbread

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 Roasted eggplant, yogurt, rice, almonds

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Tomato rice, yogurt, eggplant, salad, almonds

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Rice and vegetables (cannot remember what this was exactly)

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Chickpea bake (sumac, almonds, yoghurt, chickpeas, crunchy pita crisps)

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Stewed pumpkin

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 Rice and salad (cannot remember what this was exactly)

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Turmeric rice, lentils

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7 Vegetables with couscous

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Fried doughnuts, coconut date balls, pistachio baklava

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Mint tea

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Black coffee

Overall:

Whenever I used to think about Moroccan Soup Bar, I always thought about their chickpea bake. I had it for the first time a few years ago and I remember being blown away by how deliciously crunchy and creamy it was. I was seriously looking forward to sampling it again. The first thing I noticed about the chickpea bake this time around was was how oily it was. A lot of oil pooled on top of the yogurt and the pita crisps were also quite oily. I could only eat so much before I had to stop. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a nice dish, but I definitely did not enjoy it as much as I did previously.

A verbal menu is used here and this usually results in people choosing the easiest option which is a banquet. A $23 banquet includes dips, mains, dessert and coffee while a $28 banquet includes starters, dips, mains, dessert and coffee. We chose the $28 banquet which offered a good variety of dishes that were average to good, as well as extremely sweet desserts. The mint tea served reminded me of toothpaste while the coffee was nice and strong.

Service was average and the atmosphere was pleasant and homely. A few things to note: this place is closed on Mondays, bookings can only be made for 6 or more, and you need to bring your own containers if you order takeaway.

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Moroccan Soup Bar

183 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, VIC

(03) 9482 4240

http://www.moroccansoupbar.com.au/

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Shesh Besh

365 North Rd, Caulfield South 9578 8350

 

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Chebureki

Thick deep fried pastry with a succulent lamb and onion filling, served with sweet chilli sauce

= ★★

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Marinated chicken shashlik

Chicken skewers served with small roast potatoes and a salad

Portions were small considering that this dish was from their mains menu. I initially enjoyed these skewers but once they cooled down, an odd ‘leftover’ taste was noticeable.

= ★

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Vegetarian Manti

Pumpkin, onions and spices wrapped in a homemade pastry, served with yogurt sauce

 The pastry was enjoyable (soft and delicate) however the vegetable filling left an unpleasantly bitter aftertaste. I had to pile on the yogurt sauce in order to get through one of these dumplings, and even our waitress wasn’t a fan saying that we should have ordered the lamb manti instead.

= ★

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Baklava

Crispy sheets of phyllo pastry with honey and chopped nuts

= ★★★

 

Overall:

Friendly staff, simple decor, mediocre food. Thank goodness we used a Groupon voucher and didn’t have to pay full price.

Note that this place is closed on Mondays.

 

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Persian Flavours Takeaway & Eat In

338 Springvale Rd, Forest Hill 9878 3087

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‘Dough’ yogurt drink

A traditional Persian drink comprising of yogurt, water, mint, black pepper and salt.

The predominant taste of this unfamiliar drink was yogurt and salt. In fact when it comes to quenching your thirst, this drink does the complete opposite. Nevertheless it is a good accompaniment for spicy dishes.

= ★★

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Zereshk Polow

Rice with sweet barberries and smoky fried onions

= ★★

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Plain naan, Maast-mose (yogurt with cucumber and garlic flavour), Mixed kebab (combination of chicken kebab, lamb tikka and lamb koobideh)

= ★★

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Garlic naan, Chicken masti (chicken marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, spices), Cheese naan

= ★★

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Butter chicken curry (charcoal chicken cooked with onion, garlic, cashew nuts, cream in gravy and butter sauce),

Mixed veggies curry (mixed vegies with cashew nut cream and gravy sauce),

Beef massala (beef cooked with onion, garlic, yogurt, cream, sultana and tomato sauce)

Each curry was light and well seasoned however we found the butter chicken and the mixed veggies curry to be exceedingly sweet.

= ★★

Overall:

I really wanted to like this place but the food simply did not excite me. I couldn’t help but compare the curries we had to the rich Indian curries that I’ve had in the past, and the rice and kebabs we sampled to those that I’ve had at Afghan places. Perhaps Persian/Iranian cuisine isn’t for me. Service was quick and the decor was simple. A nice experience but not a place I see myself returning to.
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Cafe On Eaton

12 Eaton St, Oakleigh 9568 4668

 

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Open Pork Yiros Plate with Greek salad, Pita bread, Tzatziki and Chips

Generous portions however the pork was slightly dry and salt needed to be added to the chips.

★★

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Chicken Yiros Souvlaki (wrapped in lightly grilled pita)

The chicken was deliciously moist, the yogurt sauce was terrific and the fresh salad gave the souvlaki delightful crunch.

★★★

 

Overall:

Quick service, simple decor, tasty souvlakis. Note that orders here are taken at the counter.

 

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Almazett

208 Balaclava Rd, Caulfield North 9509 8959

 

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Pickled turnips (stained pink with beetroot), Pickled carrots, Hommus, Baba Ghanouj and Tabouleh, served with warm pita bread

= Good

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Fatayer Bi Jibneh (filo pastry with feta cheese and herbs) and Fatayer (filo pastry with spinach and pine nuts)

Crisp golden pastry filled with tasty fillings.

= Good

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Falafel

Deep fried mixture of chickpeas, broad beans, crushed wheat and spices, served with Tahina.

Slightly dry, so be generous with the Tahina.

= Not bad

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Chicken wings

Char grilled chicken wings with garlic and lemon. Simple yet AMAZING.

= Excellent

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Roast potatoes with herbs

= Not bad

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Whole grilled fish with Tahina, walnuts, coriander, garlic, pine nuts and chilli

= Not bad

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Shish Tawook (barbecued skewers of chicken fillets with a garlic sauce)

= Good

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Lubia Bi Zeit (green beans, tomato and olive oil) and Riz Moufalfal (rice with pine nuts)

= Good

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Rahet El Halkoum (traditional Turkish Delight) and Baklava (layers of filo pastry filled with crushed nuts in blossom syrup)

=  Good

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 Mahalabiya (milk pudding served with pistachio nuts and blossom syrup)

= Good

 

Overall:

I love the Almazett Mezza Menu that they have here. You are served a set menu but can go back and order more items from the regular menu at any point in time, essentially making this an ‘all you can eat’ menu option (which always leads to me devouring plate after plate of delicious chicken wings). The atmosphere is comfortable and the service is fantastic (accommodating, efficient and very friendly). Note that this place only opens for dinner and that a belly dancer performs on Friday and Saturday nights (so be prepared for some up-close staccato hip movements, belly rolls and plenty of shimmying!)

 

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Maha Restaurant

21 Bond St, Melbourne 9629 5900

 

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Cherry, Pomegranate & Bitters Mocktail

(uludag sour cherry soda, pomegranate juice, rhubarb bitters)

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Smoked hummus, lamb, cashew, cumin seeds, almonds

Local olives, maltese fel fel

‘Aegean coast’ – Wild greens, beach bananas, oyster cream and pork crackling

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Zucchini falafel, almond, handmade haloumi and radish

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Braised lamb neck, brik pastry, smoked eggplant and harissa pickled cabbage

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Silverbeet borek

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Market fish, parsnip, sesame, wild autumn mushrooms and hazelnut

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Cracked wheat pilaf, barberry, date and almond

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Fattoush, caramelised garlic, tomato and cucumber

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 12 hour roasted lamb shoulder, sumac, garlic, green olive tabouleh

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 Crispy skinned chicken leg, Iranian smoked rice, BBQ corn and egg

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Vanilla rice pudding, toasted marshmallow ice cream, pekmez ganache and almond biscuit

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Peanut butter and chocolate opera cake, brioche ice cream, salted caramel and lemon meringue

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Turkish delight filled doughnuts, honey and walnuts

 

Overall:

Each serving comprised of a spectacular array of flavours and textures, and I truly enjoyed each dish down to the last bite. However I do want to give special mention to:

1. The hummus – fantastic! The underlying smoky flavour took hummus as I knew it to a whole new level

2. ‘Aegean coast’ salad – the smooth oyster cream was simply divine and provided a lovely contrast to the crispy pork crackling

3. Turkish delight filled doughnuts – crispy light dough with a tasty dollop of sweet Turkish delight inside

This place transcends you to somewhere else with its exotic rhythmic music and its dark elegant decor. In addition it is located in a sub-basement venue so that it perpetually feels like night. The service is efficient and the portion sizes are quite generous. (I originally had my eye on the 6 course menu but as it turned out the 4 course menu was already a struggle to finish) Note that the menu here changes regularly so that there is always something new and exciting to tantalise your tastebuds. If you haven’t been here before, put this on your places to try list!

 

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