I recently came back from dinner from a dinner with a grad friend.... OMG THERE IS A SPIDER IN MY BEDROOM..............
We went to Meccah Bar in Manuka - a Middle Eastern and Morrocan restaurant. I had a glass of bubbly so came home being a bit tipsy, and now tired and not as coherent as I would like to be. Nevertheless, my thoughts about the food are still clear in my mind, so I am going to blog and critique.
First dish of the night was Kataifi pastry filled with Middle Eastern cheeses at $13. At first, my friend and I were like: "What on earth is kataifi pastry???" We asked the waiter this question and he gracefully responded "It's kinda like hairy pastry... so the dish is kinda like hairy balls... it has the pastry that you get with Greek sweets". I knew exactly what he was talking about, but for those who haven't had this pastry before, the thought of 'hairy pastry' mightn't be as appealing. Nevertheless, the dish was lovely. I wish I could snack on these at work. There was just a right textural and palate balance between the crispy pastry, the salty and creamy cheese and tangy lemon rind in the cheese.
The second mezze we shared was spicy turkish lamb kofte with yoghurt & mint sauce at $13. These were essentially hand-made and gourmet spiced lamb sausages. It reminded me of sausages because oil would ooze out once I sliced them with a knife. I'm comparing kofte to sausages because sausages are the most similar everyday food, that many people can identify with. However, one of the ways in which kofte could stand out against sausages is that the kofte's minced meat was more textured and chunky and more real. Another point is that these kofte are much more rich and heavy than the sausages that you get in the local upmarket deli. In itself, the yoghurt and mint sauce was creamy and possibly a bit one-toned. But this sauce was an excellent complement the heaviness of the sausage as it lightened it and gave it a fresh *tang*.
Normally, I associate the thought of falafel with drunken nights and having kebabs or Sumo Salad falafel salads. But Meccabah transformed falafel in a way so it didn't seem out of place or 'street-like' and suitable for the restaurant. Instead of using chickpeas as a base, sweet potatoes were used - essentially sweet potato falafel with tahini sauce at $11. There wasn't just sweet potato, but carrot and other ingredients not found in the falafel around the corner. These falafel were hot and crispy, which reminded me of the days as a kid where I didn't worry about my cholesterol levels and could fearlessly eat deep-fried food. These falafel were like little balls of wonder. The tahini sauce was a smooth white colour and was so creamy, which would act as the perfect comfort food as a spread on toast or condiment for a gourmet vege burger.
We also shared spicy lamb and pinenut boureks which were $13. Even with the yoghurt (or was it tahini?) sauce, the boureks were still a tad spicy for my liking. The pastry wasn't too rich and it reminded me of the frozen pastry that my parents would get when making Samosas for their restaurant. The thing that made the dish heavy was the meat. I had boureks in a Turkish restaurant in Canberra before (Little Istanbul Restaurant), which were filled with feta - these were lighter than the ones in Meccah Bah.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Meccabah. Maybe my accompanying glass of bubbly made it all more enjoyable - apparently in opening nights of art exhibitions, wine is served to visitors to encourage them to appreciate the art a bit more and maybe splurge to purchase an artwork.
Maybe it was a tad expensive, but you definitely pay for the quality of food that you get :). I would definitely go again.