21 Bond St, Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 12th August 2012

MerlinFan and I treated our family to some Middle Eastern at Maha for our birthday this year.  I had wanted to come to Maha to try their soufras for some time now, and was really excited to have an excuse to drop by.  As our birthday fell on a Sunday, we chose to have the Familija Tieghi lunch, which is a four course soufra for $65 available every Sunday.  We made a booking two weeks in advance.

As we descended the small flight of stairs into the sub-basement where Maha is located, it was like stepping into a darker, mysterious world.  I could smell the lingering, smoky scent of incense and was instantly reminded of the hookah-smoking caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland =D

Even though none of us had any dietary requirements, I was impressed at how flexible Maha was with the menu.  They check if you have any requirements when you make the booking, and double check once you're seated and if you do, they will provide you with replacements.

Mezze (small cold dishes) & Sahen Zghir (small plates)
First up, we had mussels in seafood soup and yoghurt.
Then came our cold mezze, with consisted of a platter of olives, cheese dip, red bean dip and ricotta quiches with our small plates of warm Turkish bread and quail.
Turkish bread
I loved the warm Turkish bread.  It was the kind of bread I'd be happy to eat on its own.  I ate half of it slathered with the delicious cheese dip.

Quail, sausage and figs
The quail was beautifully cooked, juicy and just came off the bone.  I loved the combination with the sweet, sticky figs - definitely my favourite dish of the day.

Sahen Kbeer
We had a bit of a break and our plates changed and table cleaned.  Next came our sahen kbeer, which were large sharing plates.  We had a salad with bread, baked rice topped with parmesan, rockling confit and of course, their signature 12-hour roasted lamb shoulder.

The salad was a bit overgenerous with the bread - it could have used more greens and less of the bread.
Baked rice
12 hour roasted lamb with pistachio and green olive tabouleh
Maha's signature dish definitely lived up to its hype - the lamb was really moist, tender and the skin was crisp and full of amazing flavour.  It was MerlinFan's dish of the day - according to her, it was "to die for" and the best lamb she had ever had.  EVER.
Rockling confit
The fish was silky smooth - Mum's favourite of the souffras.

And now, the moment we had been waiting for!  Everyone knows how important desserts are - you always need to finish off with a bang.  And you know what's better than having one dessert?  Having three.
Dessert platter
It was more like a tasting plate.  I know how everyone always says you must try the Turkish Delight doughnuts when you're at Maha, but at this stage I was already too stuffed for something that heavy, so I was very pleased to see the mousse, sorbet and ice cream!

Argh!  My pictures were somewhat dodgy and wonky because hands were shooting out everywhere and I actually had to yell out "wait, I haven't finished taking pictures!!!!"  LOL.  Yup, those desserts disappeared faster than anything I've ever seen.
Wine infused melon, mint ice cream and lemon curd
Pastry with date filling and pear sorbet
I enjoyed this the most.  The sorbet was refreshing and very welcomed after the savouries.
Chocolate parfait with cherry foam
I didn't like the cherry foam but only because I generally do not like anything that tastes like maraschino cherries.  MerlinFan was happy to take my foam.  

Our bill came in a box in the shape of a book.  Also a nice touch - we were given packs with ingredients and the recipe for how to make Turkish Delight doughnuts at home, as well a spritz of Turkish lemon cologne on our hands.

Beautiful packaging!
Overall, lovely ambiance and helpful staff.  Pacing of the food was a bit slow but we didn't mind as it allowed a little time to digest our food.  The soufras are a great idea - I loved not knowing what was going to be served next and being "surprised."  I would say it was definitely a fun and satisfying experience and a great way to celebrate a birthday.

Second visit to Maha

Maha Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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  1. If you haven't made them yet, I recommend drastically reducing the quantity of rosewater honey compared to what's on the label! It really drowned mine out. On the other hand, you can always make the full quantity and use it for other things. :-)

  2. Hi Cindy, thanks for the tip - will definitely keep that in mind when I try making them!