Fans of Shane Delia's signature Turkish delight doughnuts will be glad to know they are on the a la carte menu at Maha East, the more relaxed version of his degustation-only CBD fine diner, which opens June 27 in Windsor.
The restaurant replaced his Chapel Street kebab shop, Biggie Smalls. "This space always felt a bit too special to be a kebab shop," says Delia. "It's always had great bones as a restaurant, so we thought we may as well play to its strengths."
Although it shares a name with its hatted sibling, the vibe at the 40-seat Maha East is much more casual. "This is a neighbourhood restaurant," Delia says. There's a kid's menu, and BYO on Monday and Tuesday nights. "We want people to come in here and make it their own."
In addition to the Turkish delight doughnuts, the slow-roasted lamb shoulder has made it to the menu at Maha East ,alongside a range of new dishes such as fried taramasalata buns with salmon caviar and dill, and house-baked bread with hummus and a Persian saffron XO. There's also zaatar-spiced fries with kefalograviera cheese and a big vegetable section. Delia himself will be manning the pans at least four nights a week. "Greeting people, serving people, cooking the food, getting it done," he says.
For drinks, the offering is still extensive (120 wines plus beer, spirits and cocktails) but here there's more room to play around with styles and varietals. Quealy's "Unreleased" wines made especially for Maha will be on pour, alongside other skinsy, low-intervention examples and bottles from high-end producers.
Studio Y is behind the renovation, which features a new kitchen, a large, rounded central bar, ribbed cloth banquettes and drapes in earthy tones, and chestnut wood tables. The large Biggie Smalls mural that once graced the walls is still there, hiding behind a curtain.
Maha East is open Mon-Fri 5pm-late; Sat, Sun 11.30am-late at 36 Chapel Street, Windsor, mahaeast.com.au