To celebrate both my birthday and my mum’s we decided to treat ourselves to Sunday lunch at Maha. I had heard excellent things from friends that had been recently, and so was very much looking forward to seeing what we would be served! Spoiler alert, the whole thing more than lived up to expectations!
Walking down the stairs into Maha we were instantly impressed. It was a calm, sophisticated setting with lots of textures, dark colours and very comfy seats. The staff were welcoming, friendly and attentive, but not in the slightest bit stuffy. One of the best parts of the setting was how well it was treated for sound. The background music was noticeable without being dominating, and we could barely hear the people sitting around us. Off to an excellent start!
We decided to go for the four-course set lunch ($60 per person), partially so we didn’t have to decide, but also because it was sharing style which is my favourite way to eat. They were not phased at all by the need to accomodate for both meat-and-non-meat-eaters alike, nor my dad’s aversion to fresh tomatoes. So, on to the food!
The meze course comprised of five dishes, although apparently I forgot to photograph two of them! The missing two were the local olives and a gorgeous dish of heirloom tomatoes on St David’s yoghurt. Needless to say, both were delicious!
First up of the photographed dishes was this eggplant filled buns, which came with an XO sauce for the meat-eaters. The filling was rich and incredibly delicious, and the bun itself was dense but somehow not heavy.
Next up for me was this spiced crumbed zucchini, with a charred eggplant and smoked almond dressing. The zucchini still had some bite to it, and the coating was crunchy and packed with flavour. I could have eaten a whole plate of these for lunch and left happy!
Last, but definitely not least, was this hummus with sesame and preserved lemon butter and served with flat bread. I absolutely adore hummus so this was always going to make me happy, and it certainly did that. The bread was amazing as well, warm, really dense and lightly salted and spiced. It made me think that I really need to start making my own flatbread more often!
We were off to a good start!
This dish was like Maha knew exactly what my favourite things are and put them all in one dish! This dish was moghrabieh with pickled fennel, saffron and broad beans in a vegetable stock. If you’re been round these parts for a while then you’ll know how much I love moghrabieh (a.k.a Israeli couscous), and broad beans are one of my favourite vegetables when done well – and these were definitely done well. This whole dish was subtle and light yet flavoursome and a little spicy all at once. It was so good I didn’t even want to let my folks try it (they had their own seafood version!).
The third course consisted of three larger dishes and – another spoiler alert – this was another excellent course.
First up we had a summer fattoush salad with heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, roasted garlic, and toasted flatbread – and they happily did a tomato free version for my dad. This was crunchy, fresh and helped to balance out some of the more heavy dishes perfectly.
Next up was the aged Persian rice with Turkish capsicum, parsley and almonds. It may not look like much but believe me, it was plenty flavourful. I love a simple but effective rice dish and this one was no exception. It was also excellent at mopping up the sauce for my other main dish (and the lamb my parents were served!).
The star of the main course for me was this dish of red lentil dumplings with broad beans, red aleppo, sumac and mint. It doesn’t look anywhere near as good in the photo as it did in real life, but it tasted even better again. The dumplings pastry was light, the filling was delicious and the sauce was seriously packed with flavour and an excellent level of spice as well. I was happy to see more broad beans too! It was hard to pick favourites on the savoury front, but this and the ‘small’ dish were probably the standouts in a very strong field!
Because they knew we were celebrating two birthdays they were very kind and brought us an extra dessert, which also served as a palate cleanser of sorts. It was a dill frozen yoghurt topped with cucumber granita and it was super refreshing, creamy and tasty. An excellent way to break from the savoury and move to the sweet!
Next up were these lemon and labneh cheesecakes with sumac roasted strawberries and ice cream. The cheesecake wasn’t too sweet, and the crunch of the base and crumbs was an excellent addition of texture. The ice cream itself was excellent – super creamy and absolutely packed with flavour. In fact it was one of the absolute highlights for my dad!
Our last dish of the day were these warm, turkish delight filled doughnuts with rosewater honey and roasted walnuts. They were sweet but not sickly, and the turkish delight was melty and amazing inside the dense doughnuts. They were an excellent way to top off what was one of the best meals I have had in a long time.
All in all our lunch at Maha was the perfect way to celebrate our birthdays, and I can’t believe it had taken us this long to visit. I think it’s safe to say it will not be the last time we make an appearance there. If you haven’t been I highly recommend you put in your list for the next special occasion you have to celebrate!
Have you eaten at Maha before?