Sunday, February 26, 2012
Dunyazad (Nth Balwyn) 02/2012
* Click on pic's to enlarge them.
This spacious suburban restaurant is very much in the tradition of Lebanese restaurants similar in style to Almazet in Caulfield or Abla in Carlton. The decor is very Middle Eastern with scenes of feasting on one wall,typical cut out lamp shades in Eastern style. White clothed tables are covered with butcher paper and are comfortably sized. Noise, like the banquets, is a variable feast but it is likely to be significant on Fridays and Saturdays when Virginia, a gorgeous Egyptian belly dancer does her thing. They offer several degustation menus one endless without seafood ($45) or endless with seafood or the standard banquet $38 or the standard banquet with sea food ($58), which we elected to have. Starting with the usual tabuli, humus and smoky eggplant salad, served with pita bread.We were immediately struck by the dominating lemon in each dish. Too much for me but I soon got used to it.
Next came a trio of cheese filled triangles, minced meat filled pastry rolls and a very good light and moist felafel ball covered with a little yoghurt, surrounding a little chopped tomato salad. A lightly cooked prawn and scallop dish on saffron rice with a pleasant home made tomato sauce was also very good. It preceded a whole snapper which had been skinned and covered with a tahini sauce and some crisp nuts. This was an exceptional dish and I could not have wanted better. The fish was very delicate, the flesh firm, but not dry or tough, and with good flavour brought out by the sauce the dish being further improved by the crunchy nuts.We were already well satisfied when a platter of chicken and beef skewers on a bed of rice arrived. Nothing startling but certainly tender and tasty yet again. Dessert, an over gelatinized custard with pistachio nuts and a tray of extremely good Turkish delight (made by Pantheon) and baklava ended a very reasonably priced and substantial meal which I found to be the best of it's kind in Melbourne. Unaware that there was a Lebanese wine available we had a modest red. As with the rest of the menu prices are very reasonable.The meal finished with unsweetened Lebanese coffee!
Footnote: Princess Dunyazad was the sister of Scherazade, who told the King. who had killed his Queen each day for three years, 1001 stories each leaving him in suspense so he did not kill her waiting for the end of each tale!