Maha Bar and Grill
Alright. Ze blog is now back in action! Please stay tuned for a swirl of catch up posts from late 2011, and also a string from my munchings around Japan.
First up the dark and moody Maha Bar and Grill.
The menu brings elements of Mediterranean and Middle East together for a banquet style dining experience. Who in the right mind would ever go for the Sultan’s menu? Expensive? Excessive eating? Gluttony full stop! But someone has to try it right? *cough.
So I present to you Maha’s Sultans Spring menu 2011.
Heirloom tomatoes, sea urchin, basil labneh, spiced tomato chai – a crystal clear consommé, mildly spiced but refreshing, with a dash of creamy labneh to break the surface.
Raki cured Tasmanian Kingfish, wakame, kousa, fresh turmeric, black rice foam – there is a subtle sweetness to the Kingfish and wakame, with fleeting hints of turmeric. The pudding of black foam is slightly jelly like – a cooling bite, with not too much intensity. I actually had no idea what I was eating until I later refreshed my memory of the menu.
Line caught goldband snapper, basil gel, corn custard, crab and sucuk salzet – the golden crust on the gold[en]band really shone with its crunch, moist flesh, and mildly herbaceous seasoning.
Twice cooked charred olive oil duck, spring onion, nameko mushrooms, 62 deg pullet egg – the little innocent wobble on the pullet egg was a celebrity on a plate. Soft, light and pure. Not to say the nameko mushrooms didn’t help add a dash of umami. At polar ends, the beautifully charred skin on the very pink flesh of duck is pack full of flavour and tender bite.
Tunisian brik bangalow pork belly, pork popcorn, Lebanese kimchi, onion mayo – this dark plate serves up a well caramelised pork belly, wrapped in a deep fried paper-thin pastry. There is a strange contrast between the Lebanese kimchi (which is hardly spicy) and moreish pork popcorn.
Sher wagyu rump cap, marble score 9+, pine nut hummus, dehydrated shankleesh, horseradish, lemon, cumin – [pictured left] the glowing pink – almost purple – flesh of wagyu is incredibly tender, but noticeably fatty at this level of “red”, such that no amount of citrus or crunch could counteract. Personally, a little more cooking time for this level of marbling would have been ideal.
12 hour roasted Mt Leura lamb shoulder, pistachio and green olive tabouleh – on the other hand could not be faulted. Deboned, cooked to a tenderly light pink and a good ratio of fat to flesh. The dressing is simple but enough to draw away the innate gaminess of lamb. Can anyone tell me what that black smear on the plate is?
A few too many sides for my already full stomach…
If that isn’t enough food for you already, get ready for one last round!
Salted caramel, bitter chocolate icecream, crunchy cous cous, roast peanut foam [pictured left] – an effortless mouthful of bitter-sweet chocolate and gooey caramel to coat the stomach with pleasure. Nothing too left of field on this one.
Turkish delight filled doughnuts, olive oil baklava mousse, rosewater honey, white chocolate dust [pictured right] – the humble batter on these crispy doughnuts filled with little Turkish surprises, is definitely an indulgent end to this gluttonous meal.
Rating: Yummy+1.5. A delightful taste bud performance but painfully filling experience (cough… I wonder whose fault that is?), and equally wallet draining.
[Maha Bar and Grill]
Where: 21 Bond St, CBD Melbourne, VIC 3000
Contact: 03 9629 5900
Warning: please be prepared to splurge & eat until you can no longer.