New Lunch Menu at Maha Restaurant
Maha Restaurant has just launched a new lunch menu and Chef Shane Delia invited The World Loves Melbourne to join him for an exclusive preview in the Maha intimate private dining room. I have to say this new menu stirred my enthusiasm and imagination in bringing Middle Eastern flavours in a fun way but with a serious intentionality around flavour and texture.
A walk downstairs into a world of finery that is approachable, you can't help but be impressed by the look of Maha restaurant. Shane welcomes us on arrival and speaks of the evolution of the dining space as well as the menu. It's been over 10 years now since Maha hit the scene and it's awesome to see the evolution of this restaurant at the top of its game.
Big bucks have been invested in enhancements and changes - to me the restaurant is brighter than from years ago with adjustments to colour schemes. Shane tells us that a large investment has been made in the kitchen too - so the upgrade has been extensive. And there is still plans for more!
The luxury, opulence and mystique of the Middle East is evident. Reimagined with Melbourne soul. Plush furnishings and decor adorns. At Maha it's not just about the food but the experience. One of Melbourne's best dining experiences.
The Private Dining Room is compelling in terms of class, intimacy and wow factor. Perfect for our showcasing of the new lunch menu. The Maha new lunch menu focuses on brilliant produce and dishes that are bursting with fresh flavours and incredible textures.
Shane Delia at the top of his game.
Cocktails are a feature at Maha and the Anise Martini with gin and the Pomegranate Sour were exceptional. Middle Eastern nuances permeate the menu including the cocktails.
Eggplant filled buns, Persian ‘xo’ were a smash hit - without exaggerating this was one of the best things I've eaten so far this year. It's fun and playful and delicious. And you want more, although they are surprisingly filling.
Pickled carrots, St David’s yoghurt, turmeric & shallot oil was a simple but compelling dish. Charred leek, feta & toasted maize ‘sambousek’ also hit the spot. Hummus, sesame & preserved lemon butter, flat bread was possibly the best hummus I've ever had. Shane Delia explains the best hummus is simple hummus - don't overcomplicate it. Show restraint. Use quality ingredients. Perfect with the flat bread to mop it up.
House made wagyu basturma, whipped yogurt, charred eggplant and chives (front) was a simple and delicious dish.
Melt in your mouth. Sujuk stuffed chicken wings, parsnip, baharat, persimmon dressing was a triumph with some at the table claiming this to be the dish of the day. Succulent spicy chicken wings with a killer dressing and crispy parsnip.
Luxury yet approachable. Kudos also to head chef Daniel Giraldo and his team.
Toasted bread crumbed eggplant, tahini, pomegranate jewels, pekmez looked in appearance like meat skewers (maybe I need new glasses) but were an imaginative dish featuring my favourite vegetable. Yes we are seeing eggplant on many menus these days, but it's what you do with it that counts. Some Melbourne establishments produce soggy eggplant - but of course not here at Maha. Crispy crumbed on the outside and tender perfectly cooked eggplant on the inside - with exciting spice once again.
Charred baby corn, smoked almonds, saffron, salted ricotta is a side dish of note. It's always a good thing when a side dish can be a main dish - I could eat this on its own. As I also could when it came to the Aged rice, Turkish capsicum, parsley and almonds.
Another main dish of note was the Grass fed 220 g grass fed scotch fillet, hummus, zucchini, pine nuts & harissa was another strong contender for dish of the day. Perfectly cooked scotch fillet was indeed melt in your mouth. While Maha is famous for its slow cooked lamb shoulder there is also much more on the menu to excite, such as this scotch fillet.
Dessert is always a feature at Maha - and the "Sutlac" toasted rice ice cream, honey and lemon, puffed rice was beautifully presented and flavoursome.
As Shane Delia explained to us, a set menu has always been the norm here but they are creating more options in recent times, including with the new lunch menu. There's a new set menu and a new a la carte menu. Even on a Saturday lunch there was well over 100 people in the restaurant, with many electing for set menu and a portion of the Saturday crowd electing for a la carte. This flexibility is appreciated.
Shane enthused about the dishes on the new menu being simple but flavoursome dishes that had become favourites and food they love to cook. There's a fun and playful aspect to the menu. And after having sampled this new lunch menu, I would describe it as a joyous dining experience. While Shane described the food as simple, I felt there was good technique evident in bringing through the simplicity and honest flavours.
Service here is always exceptional, don't worry about that - staff engage consistently without being intrusive. I also enjoyed the signature custom scents of the restaurant, particularly upon entry.
Now available Monday through to Sunday, Maha à la carte and 2, 4 and 6 course options can be enjoyed during a quick lunch break or spread out over the course of an afternoon. Highly recommended.