21 Bond Street Melbourne, Victoria 3000
|Opening hours||Daily noon-3pm; 6pm-late|
|Features||Accepts bookings, Bar, Business lunch, Degustation, Events, Gluten-free options, Groups, Licensed, Lunch specials, Long lunch, Private dining, Vegetarian friendly, Wheelchair access|
|Prices||Expensive (mains over $40)|
|Chef||Shane Delia, Daniel Giraldo|
|Payments||Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9629 5900|
You know you're in for a big occasion the moment you enter this sultry subterranean den. The long, inviting space is divided into several rooms: a moody bar, a richly coloured dining room with thick Persian carpet and a cushion-scattered banquette, and way down the back, hidden by an ornate laser-cut partition, a private room. Adroit staff take you through the food and wine options, which include an elaborate 'sultan's banquet', a more rustic soufra ('little eats') menu and a vegetarian feast, plus a wide-ranging wine list. Splurge on the six- or eight-course banquet and you'll discover how refined Middle Eastern food can be. Highly worked dishes might include tender scallops and juice-spurting 'pearls' of lime, bathed with cool coconut water at the table, and snapper with velvety corn custard and crab mousse rolled in sucuk sausage crumbs. Touches like sprinkling guests' hands with lemon-scented water and presenting an exit package of the fixings to recreate Maha's signature Turkish delight doughnuts are special indeed.