• Maha (Melbourne)

Nearly ten years on, Maha has established itself as a Melbourne institution. I had not been here for about seven, but had such fond memories. It is bigger than I remembered. But the food was even more wonderful. We had the six-course vegetarian degustation. See my course-by-course review below.

Course 1 - Mezze
What a way to start a meal, but with what the waiter described as a “patchwork” of mini feasts. There were hummus with sesame with brown butter on top – delicious; zucchini chips with a dip like an aioli; rice crisps with a fresh tomato puree; tomatoes, lightly boiled with a bit of vinegar and different sauces like a charcoal over the top; bread with zaatar. Each item held different but complementing flavours, all with beautiful produce and a delicious taste.

Course 2 – Leeks with red capsicum and walnut
This dish looked so pretty. It was beautifully presented, but hard to cut through the leeks. On top were potato chips. The flavour of the leeks was very strong, like under-cooked onion. Still, it was full of flavours and enjoyable.

Course 3- Red lentil dumplings with carrot puree
This was unique. The dumpling skins were firm, not like gnocchi, but thick, unlike Chinese style ones. It was spicy and had beans in it too. A red oil covered the dish. It looked like chili oil but may have been capsicum as it was not too hot. I really liked this dish. It was so different but flavourful.

Course 4 - Pomegranate eggplant with smoked babaganoush.
This was served with tahini too. The eggplant had been battered and lots of spring onion was on top. There was also the same oily sauce from the last dish. It was a highlight in textures and flavours: the crispy batter, the tangy sauce, the fresh spring onions.

Course 5 - Chickpea and middle Eastern lentil stew.
This was served with a perennial leaf on top, and sides of  beans with garlic chips (which smelt delicious), and five year aged pilaf. I’m not quite sure about the benefits of aging the pilaf. Is it just a name, or has the rice been aged? The leaf was described as water rich. It was crunchy and tasted slightly like lemon but was thick and juicy. The rice was like it had been cooked until it became crunchy on the sides. The chickpeas held citrus and were salty too, as were the beans which were served with fetta and pinenuts. The rice was with butter and slithered almonds. My partner absolutely loved the rice.

Course 6 - Mulberry granita, white chocolate ganache and goats cheese.
The mulberry was as a granita, in cubes of it like a paste, and as fresh berries. The little sorbet was white chocolate and goats cheese. It’s texture was like a paste. This was a really refreshing dessert and a considered way to finish what had been an incredible meal. Everything was cold and not too sweet. The only really sweet thing were the pastry crisps on top. These were brown in colour and very very thin like wafers. My partner also loved this dish.

Wine – e. Guigal, Gigondas, France, 2014
This French GSM, was recommended by the Sommelier when we requested something oak but not too fruity. It was perfect. It was savoury but smooth with tannins and a little herbaceous. It could have opened up more but was really delicious.

In the basement on Bond Street, Maha has managed to create lovely atmosphere. The service was sometimes slow (it was a busy night), but very professional. It is rare to see a restaurant mature and improve over time (especially one starting on such a high footing). It was wonderful to be back.

21 Bond Street
Melbourne 3000
03 9629 5900

Maha Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato