Maha Bar and Grill

June 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm (Melbourne CBD, Middle Eastern, Victoria)

I can confidently say that I have never had a less than brilliant meal at Maha, which, with its lively atmosphere and generous sharing menus, is one of my favourite venues for dinner with friends.  The other great thing about the restaurant is that, with Shane Delia being an ambassador for the Ilhan Food Allergy Foundation, the menu is very flexible in catering for different dietary requirements.

During a recent visit with a friend who is both gluten and dairy intolerant, we opted for the four course soufra, which was modified to accommodate these requirements.

The starting mezze comprised small plates of Victorian olives with Maltese chili, a cumin carrot dip with warm turkish bread, fried chickpeas and creamy jerusalem artichoke shourba with a bite-sized, spicy lamb kofta.  Gluten and dairy free dishes included a Moroccan bean salad, eggplant  with pomegranate molasses and cumin carrot shourba with gluten-free bread.

The mezze was followed by a selection of small plates.  The pea salad with radish, pumpkin seeds and roast lemon gel and corn-fed chicken tagine with saffron, Iranian figs, sucuk soil and broken egg were both gluten and dairy free.

There was also a dish of quail warak inab (wrapped in vine leaves), stuffed with burghul and spiced lamb sausage, with pistachio and sweet, stewed Iranian figs.

A crunchy duck and black chili bastilla with sauteed autumn mushrooms and smoked mayonnaise was by far the standout of the four dishes.

The main course was succulent, 12-hour roasted, Mt Leura lamb shoulder with pistacchio and green olive tabouleh and a perfectly cooked swordfish fillet with olive and sesame sauce.  These were served accompanied by a fattoush salad and an incredibly addictive Turkish potato salad, dressed in black chili and sumac.

Dessert at Maha is always an exciting affair as you never know what intriguing concoctions will be accompanying the restaurant’s signature Turkish Delight donuts.  On this occasion, we were presented with two cardamom and coffee rice puddings (one topped with chocolate ice cream and milk foam and a gluten and dairy free version with candied strawberries), poached pear with an intense strawberry sorbet and candied almonds, coconut and sour cherry ‘salad’ with smoked coconut sorbet, a light yoghurt panna cotta with baclava crumb and, of course, fresh warm donuts with honey and peanuts.

We finished our meal with a refreshing Moroccan mint tea – recommended for helping digestion 😛

We departed Maha incredibly full, satisfied, and with some complimentary samples of ras el hanout spice to try out at home.

Maha Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon



  1. Shane Delia (@shanedelia) said,

    Thanks for joining us at Maha last week, so glad you enjoyed the experience. Hope to see you there again soon, or at St Katherine’s next time!

    • jok3r133 said,

      Very much looking forward to visiting St Katherine’s some time 🙂

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