Friday, March 24, 2017

Almazett (Nth Caulfield) 03/2017

Not only have the wait staff changed, and the price of course, but the room seems to be lighter and more attractive. 
Decor is simple with little decoration. 

White clothed tables  promise a better class of restaurant.
As well as an a la carte menu they offer a $44 banquet and, for an extra six dollars, the addition of crustaceans. Corkage is $5/ bottle and, not unreasonably, with screw top bottles, we opened them ourselves. 
A plate of pickled turnip, diacon I guess, and carrot was served while we considered the menu. 

The menu is pretty much the same as years ago. Of course we went for the big banquet.
Before long dishes began to arrive in rapid succession. We had to ask them to slow down as we could not eat that fast and the table was becoming over full.
Mezze, a series of small dishes, came first. 
Taboule, a Lebanese classic lemon flavoured salad of parsley, burghul, tomato and other ingredients such as spring onions and mint with olive oil. 
This came with bowls of Hummus,

and Tahinna
Pita bread  
These were quickly followed by felafel with a tasty yogurt salad dressing

and meat rolls.
Until the meat rolls everything was very good and plentiful but the luke warm rolls, with a soft pastry missed the mark.
Lemon flavoured barbecued chicken wings was another winner

Lebanese meat balls, rissoles you might say, are usually seasoned with a variety of Middle Eastern spices and often have pine nuts included. 
Unfortunately these were over baked and dry with very little flavour except for lemon, yet again. A bowl of roast potato again with lemon and parsley, 

was also served before the crustaceans. 
The BBQ'd prawns were a little over cooked but quite tasty and the scallops were excellent.
This was followed by a whole fish, between four of us, 

which was seriously overcooked, as was the next course of chicken and lamb shashlik coverd by slices of thin luke warm pizza.

This was accompanied by bowls of rice

and beans
Mahalabia is a classic Lebanese dessert made by boiling down milk and then adding sugar, rose water, cream and cardamon. 
This one was not sweet enough, lacked taste and was too firm.

Finally we were served Baklava and Turkish delight with Arabic style coffee, with a touch of cardamon, in a Finjan
It was not haute cuisine but Almazett gave us a taste of Lebanese cooking and hospitality - there was a very large amount of food which we could not finish. On the down side the fish, the rissoles and the chicken and lamb shashliks were very overcooked and the seasoning was monotonous, almost every dish dominated, to a greater or lesser degree, by lemon.
Comparisons, they say are, are odious. Looking back at Abla's, which we went to almost 10 years ago, I would say that Abla had a little more variety but suffered from the same problems as Almazett. Perhaps, being so disappointed, we were overly harsh in our judgement of Abla which, ( ), as far as quality of the cooking, was much the same as Almazett.
Comments Score:12.75 /20

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