So this was our final full day of our Melbourne long weekend, though only a partial day for me, as I had to work.
After work, we took a quick stroll into Bourke St Mall for a last peek at the shops. I didn't really buy much during this trip, and I think I was feeling a little empty with the lack of shopping bags. The General Pants store had a display of thong lights in the window, and it contrasted nicely with the street art in nearby Union Lane.
Dinner on our last night was at Maha. I was keen to try this CBD restaurant after reading about it on Melbourne blog SpatulaSpoonSaturday. Maha has Mediterranean/Middle Eastern influences, and is co-owned by George Columbaris of the Press Club and Hellenic Republic empire.
The waitstaff at Maha are really knowledgeable about the menu, no mean feat considering that most of the dishes have Moroccan/Middle Easter or Arabic names. You can order from the a la carte menu, but most tables seemed to go for the soufra, which is an individually-tailored menu for your table. There is a 4-course soufra for $70 per person (which we had), or a 5-course soufra, which includes soup, for $80.
Don't let the term 'four-course' mislead you - you get lots of smaller dishes within each course.
I won't describe each course, as I'll probably get the names wrong, but you'll get an idea of the breadth of flavours (and the amount of food), which I thought were superb.
Berid mezze are small cold dishes. A great start to the meal, and the lamb kofta (on skewer in a glass) were a standout - so tasty.
Sokhoun mezze are small hot dishes, and the vine-wrapped stuffed quail leg was my favourite here. The garfish I found a little bitter.
Saheen kbeer are large dishes of meat and fish, and we were presented with a 12-hour slow-cooked lamb that was incredibly tender. Of the mouabalet (sides), the fattouche salad was tangy enough to offset the richness of the lamb, though the fried pita bread pieces were a touch oily.
Ah, helwayet (desserts)! Each table receives different dishes, but everyone seems to get the 'famous maha doughnuts' filled with Turkish delight. The doughnuts were fairly doughy and sweet, and I much preferred the passionfruit brulee/pannacotta. The dollop of yoghurt on the strawberries was also more to my taste, as its astringency was a welcome relief to the sugary doughnuts.