Just Open: Tahini Lebanese diner, Melbourne CBD

The falafel hot plate at Tahini.
The falafel hot plate at Tahini. Photo: Darrian Traynor

 Code Black Coffee founder Joseph Haddad​ will stop at nothing in his search for the perfect falafel – including visiting his hometown of Beirut for the first time in 20 years, with business partner Bridie Manson.

With secret recipe for the fried chickpea fritters in hand, they opened Tahini this week. It's an open-fronted, 90-seat Lebanese dining hall with a Melbourne cafe sensibility geared towards high-volume CBD foot traffic that wants to dine in or take away.

Haddad has brought head chef and family friend Anthony El-Aridi over from Lebanon, consulting extensively with Melbourne's Lebanese community and stealing a few family recipes along the way. A made-to-order falafel and tahini wrap will have you eating at your desk in no time, while a mix of char-grilled skewered meats, salads, falafel and hummus makes a soufra​ (feast).

Tony Haddad fries falafels at Tahini.
Tony Haddad fries falafels at Tahini. Photo: Darrian Traynor

Set in the ground floor of the William residential complex, the Zwei-designed space (Code Black, Thaiger​) mixes fluoro hues, communal tables and contemporary Arabic and English typography. "Ahlan wa sahlan", painted on the floor, means "welcome, but three times as much",  Haddad says. Indeed.

Open Mon-Wed 7am-4pm; Thu-Fri 7am-9pm.

199 William Street, Melbourne (via Guests Lane), tahinilebanesediner.com.au