21 Bond Street Melbourne
Dinner 4 courses $85
Lunch 4 courses $45 (weekdays)
I think this is my favourite fancy restaurant… And here’s why…
My first experience at Maha was December 2010 when my family asked me where I would like to have my Graduation Dinner when I finished my Postgraduate Masters of Primary Teaching. I had heard that Maha was the place to go – I had already been to Hellenic Republic, and Press Club was just that little bit too expensive.
9pm on a Thursday and it was packed – if you’re going on a Friday or a Saturday you’ll need to book about a month in advance.
BUT IF YOU’RE FREE DURING THE WEEK – THE LUNCH SPECIAL IS AMAZING!
You get the 4 course meal, for $45 (in the evening it’s $85) and you can almost always get a booking!
The best thing about Maha is how flexible they are with the menu. The menu is set – 4 courses (5 if you get The Sultan’s Feast, and you can also have matching wines if you desire). I am allergic to chicken – so I was served a stunning alternative to all chicken dishes, my friend La cannot abide fish, so an alternative was provided to her, Jess is gluten intolerant, Lelita is a celiac – none of this is an issue and the replacement dishes are always stunning.
Course 1 – cold mezze, usually 4 little dishes of dips, olives, and veggies, a warm Turkish pidde, and a shot glass full of something interesting
Course 2 – warm mezze, usually 2 dishes of warm fish/chicken/quail
Course 3 – the mains, 2 meat dishes, rice pilaf, and a salad. The signature dish is always served and is wonderful – 12 hour slow roasted shoulder of lamb with green olive and pistachio tabouleh.
Course 4 – desserts, Turkish donuts with honey and nuts, a shot glass full of a delicious surprise, and a cake or slice, or ice-cream of some sort.
Twice, I have been and I’ve forgotten to take photos and I’m still kicking myself. It’s a wonderful way to remember all the amazing flavours and gives you ideas to inspire your own cooking.
Last time I was there for lunch with La, and the restaurant was almost empty. The staff were attentive and helpful. And then we realised that through the screen into the banquet room we could see Shane Delia – I got so excited! The waiter told us he was in there preparing the new winter menu that was to start the next day. Eeeee!
So here’s the best of the best….
Smoked eggplant, Labane and herb balls, pickled cauliflower, chicken liver mousse
Spiced cargrilled quail with tahini and lemon dressing
(THE BEST DISH OF THE NIGHT)
Dessert trayWatermelon with fresh mint, toasted pine nuts, cinamon and vanilla natural yoghurt and soaked in ArakPeach and champagne jelly with toasted pistacio, lemon curd and a fresh meringueDonuts in honey syrup with toasted nuts, filled with turkish delight
A lovely surprise from the staff when they heard I was celebrating my graduation.
berid mezze – small cold dishesCracked wheat with sambal
Beetroot and Almond dip
Labaneh balls in spicy ztaar
soukhoun mezze – small plates(the others had chicken breasts stuffed with bacon and the prawn came with a poached egg)Puffed rice and grilled corn salad with a mixed wild mushroom cigarGrilled prawn with radish, green pea, broad bean salad
sahen kbeer – large platesGrilled snapper fillets with salted crispy skin served on a cauliflower puree12 hour slow roasted lamb shoulder with olive taboulehSorrel salad with cucumer and herbed pita toast
Rice pilaf with carrot, apricot, toasted almonds and dill
helwayet – sweetsHoney glazed donuts filled with turkish delightPeach foam covering a peaches, hibiscus tea jelly, rosewater soaked spongeFig chocolate cake topped with chocolate mousse, pommegranite glaze and garshined with fresh pommegranite and toasted pine nuts – orgasmic!
White bean chouder
Pommegranite, capsicum and walnut dip
Pickled cauliflour with saffron and corriander
Mushroom rice pilaf
Fried bread salad
Slow cooked lamb with green olive tabouleh
Sponge cake with lemon curd and caramalised puffed rice with a chocolate tuille
Spiced carrot cake
Yoghurt and beetroot and toasted cummin
Spiced mixed olives
I wish I could remember the last one