Maha is a restaurant that will take your taste buds on a journey through the Middle East. Shane Delia incorporates authentic Middle Eastern flavours and has created a unique menu that has a creative and modern style. Turkish delight doughnuts. Need I say more. The dining experience is a banquet that includes a variety of share plates. You can select the 2. 4, 5 or 6 course meal (paired with wine if you choose).
Bread to begin. Even the bread rolls had Middle Eastern flair with za’atar spices on top.
We had a bowl of local olives. Some were green, some were black, some were big, some were small but most importantly they were all delish.
The smoked hummus was tantalizing I could have had the whole bowl to myself. It had a lovely smoky flavour and the fried topping of lamb mince, cashews and parsley took this hummus it to another level.
The chemen cured swordfish was tasty. It was delicately sliced into super thin pieces, which gave it a lovely texture. The oily fish was balanced with preserved lemon, some micro herbs and spots of kewpie mayo which made it that little bit more indulgent.
The olive oil poached potato was comforting and had spring onion and bits of grilled octopus mixed in with the soft potato.
The freshly shucked oysters were dressed with roasted sesame and sour onion. Yum.
The Lebanese couscous was interesting. It was similar to normal couscous except that each grain was gigantic. It was served with scallops, mussels and prawns and the big juicy couscous pearls absorbed the seafood flavour. The thin circles of radish added texture and freshness.
Dumplings are always a hit and these Turkish red lentil dumplings were exactly that. Soft little pillows of deliciousness served with spring peas, sumac, creamy yoghurt and mint. Delish!
The tea smoked duck was nice it was moist and had a subtle tea smoked flavour. Cornbread and crushed hazelnuts were sprinkled over the bitter weeds and greens. It was fresh and had a lot of crunch. It was topped with a dollop of black garlic mayo, which was creamy and had a sweetness to it.
The 12 hour roasted lamb shoulder is one of my faves. The succulent torn lamb pieces melt in your mouth and are cooked with garlic, cumin and coriander. It’s served with smashed radish, which I hadn’t had before. It was sort of the texture of al dente potatoes but with a soft radish flavour. It was topped with slithered almonds, which added crunch, creamy yoghurt and fresh mint. When you eat a mouthful with a little bit of everything, the flavours dance on your tastebuds. It is well balanced and utterly delicious.
The rice pilaf was a good side dish. It was tasty grains of rice with sweet currents and herbs.
Fattoush is a bread salad. It had fresh tomato, red onion and lettuce in a simple dressing with garlic and thin pieces of baked bread (like crunchy pita bread).
The carrots were so good. They were young carrots cooked perfectly and were coated in a sweet glaze with caramelized figs and fresh herbs.
Then onto dessert. We tried the Argan oil chocolate brownie, which was rich, sticky and had a good cakey crumble. It was paired with a fragrant orange and cinnamon ice cream, spots of custard and cinnamon dusted chocolate shards.
The blood orange parfait was refreshing. It was smooth and creamy and had a blood orange gel inside and a blood orange foam on top. It had crispy puffed grains for texture and a salted caramel crumble on top. I didn’t think blood orange and salted caramel would go, but to my surprise they worked well.
I really enjoyed the Turkish delight filled doughnuts. You could say they were delightful. They were little fried fluffy doughnut balls with Turkish delight in the middle. They were drizzled with rosewater honey and topped with nuts. Yum!
The food definitely transports you to a place in the Middle East. It has the flavours and elements of traditional authentic dishes but is presented in a new and modern way. It’s a great place to enjoy tasty, comforting and inspired middle-eastern food.
I heart Maha!
Address: 21 Bond St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: 03 9629 5900
Trading Hours: Mon-Fri & Sun: 12pm-3pm, 6pm-9.30pm (dinner) Sat: 6pm-9.30pm (dinner only)