Friday, June 27, 2014

Review | Maha

After hearing nothing but great things about Maha, my sister and I decided it would be the perfect place to take our parents for their Christmas present. 'Inspired by Shane Delia's travels through the Middle East and Turkey' the Spice Journey Sundays feature a four course sharing menu.

We order drinks to start, and I decided to go for the Lebanese Iced Tea, which was a mixture of darjeeling,
fresh mint, pomegranate molasses & pinenuts. It was so refreshing, and I really enjoyed having a pinenut snack while we were chatting.

My sister ordered a cocktail, but sadly I never got the name of it :( I think it had rose water. It was delicious and looked superb!

Our first course was so good, and I was so excited to get into it, I forgot to take a photo! It was soup, called Bissara, made from broad  bean, cumin, burghal dumplings, and was served with labneh which is similar to Greek yoghurt. It had such a delicate mix of flavours, and was a little bit smokey tasting. So good!

The second course was Mezze. This included olives 'fel fel', a dip of tarama (caviar), prawns and herbs, quinoa salad, with goji berries, walnuts, snow pea, miso and saffron, and lamb kefta, served with babaganoush, sumac and mint. We also got some fresh bread to mop up all the goodness.

This course was so good. I think my favourite part of it was the tarama dip. The little prawns that were served on top of the dip were so salty and zingy, I couldn't get enough of it. The quinoa salad had such a nice mix of flavours - the combination of miso and saffron was really intriguing. The lamb kefta, were cooked to perfection, and with the babaganoush the combination of the sumac and the mint, all in all, it was a spectacular dish.

The next course had my sister buzzing with excitement. I could tell by her anticipation that this was going to be the main event.

The Grill course consisted of grilled swordfish, with Brussels sprouts, parsnip and za'atar, a cracked wheat pilaf with fennel seed, tarragon and sunflower seed, and fattoush, served with sumac, roasted garlic and pita. And last but certainly not the least - slow roasted chermoula lamb shoulder, with a green olive tabouleh.

Ermagherrd. Where to start. Everything was excellent. The swordfish, was beautiful. The sprouts were delicate little baby sprouts, and the flavour of the parsnip, with the za'atar was super interesting and different to anything I'd ever really had. Za'atar is a type of Middle Easter spice mix, and it really added another dimension to this dish.

The lamb shoulder. While you read this paragraph, just picture a choir of angels perched up in the clouds singing in the background. Because this dish took me straight to heaven. Seriously. I was in love. If you think you have had slow roasted lamb, that falls away from the bone, think again. This was the juiciest, softest (best tasting) meat in the whole world. Served with the green olive tabouleh and a creamy quenelle of what I am now guessing was labneh, which is a type of fresh cheese, and only added to the deliciousness of the dish.

The pilaf was so good. I went back to the dish for seconds and thirds and almost forgot we were sharing -oops! It had quite a soft flavour, which I do like, and each bead of wheat was so nicely separate from the other, it was really tasty. The pilaf was a great accompaniment to the meat and fish dishes of this course.

The fattoush - which I had never ever had before, was really refreshing. The pita was mixed in to this unsuspecting bowl of salad greens, but once the flavours hit my mouth, I was mesmerised. Bold, fresh, zingy, colourful and light. This was not just any salad.

Sigh. My sister was right to have so much emotion invested in the Grill course.

The next course had a lot to live up to, but luckily it was the Sweets course! This featured Maha's famous Turkish delight filled doughnuts, with honey and walnuts. We also the watermelon and beetroot sponge, with beetroot ganache, with peppermint crisp ice cream served with rosewater ice AND a pecan spiced syrup cake, with white chocolate and date ice cream and strawberry powder.

The watermelon and beetroot dessert was meant to be a kind of palate cleanser in between courses. It was so fresh and happy. The use of beetroot as a sweet was really great with the mix of the watermelon and peppermint flavours. The beetroot ganache was unbelievably smooth. I wanted more!

The doughnuts were so sweet. Turkish delight is definitely up there on my list of favourite desserts, so as you can imagine, I was having a pretty good moment. This was a real treat.

Lastly, we tasted the pecan spiced syrup cake. This was pretty tasty! I wanted it to be a little bit more syrupy, since it was a syrup cake, to me, it was more like a tea cake - still cook though! This icecream was insanely good. White chocolate and date? Yum. But guys - strawberry powder?? Amazing. It tasted like the best fresh strawberries, multiplied by 100 time of goodness, and in a powder! So fun.

To finish off our lunch degustation we decided to have some traditional mint tea, which I love. Such a great end to a great lunch with the family.

I definitely recommend Maha, and the Sunday sharing menu is a great way to get a great feel for the menu.

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