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|
With its dark walls jewelled with coloured glass and Persian-style carpeting, this elegant underground treasure chest has so many menus that it pays to seek advice from quietly professional waitstaff. At lunch, suited funds managers might choose from the lunch carte while office groups celebrate with soufra - mezze with puffy, warm bread. Night-time couples might dally over a 'sultan's' degustation, which draws on the Mediterranean-Middle Eastern culinary heritage of chef Shane Delia. Such a banquet might begin with a dazzling dish of corn kernels, popcorn, chicken kibbe encasing rich jamon butter, and foamy coconut-scented soup. Interim courses could include prawn and octopus tagine, although seafood dishes may sometimes seem oversalted. Yielding 12-hour lamb, with barberry-studded pilaf and sumac-spiked fattoush comes later. Watermelon-rosewater ice sends diners home with a lingering taste of the souk.