21 Mar Souk – A Taste of the Middle East in Melbourne’s Alleyways
Merhaba, welcome to Souk! Let the fluorescent signage of Bligh Pl, guide you to North Africa, Anatolia and Middle East. Owners Ergun Elmas (Arabesque) and Vlad Kovacevic, have converted The Deanery, into a contemporary space. The Middle Eastern influence, flows onto the drinks menu. Sultry eyes, watch on, with clinks of Turkish Coffee martinis. ‘Aladdin’s mistress’ flutters her rum soaked eyelashes. The menu, created by Mexican-born head chef, Rogelio Almanza – has the gastronomic influence of Mexico and Middle East joining forces. Welcome to the alleyways of Melbourne, Souk!
Chipotle Hummus w/ Burnt butter, Paprika
Prawn Felafel w/ Smoked black Tahini, Coriander mayonnaise, Tomato oil
Chipotle Hummus is best friends with burnt butter and paprika. A smear of smoked black tahini, is striking against the prawn felafel. KFC is Kuwaiti Fried Chicken – miles from the fast food variety, heavily coated in Moroccan Ras el hanout. They say every culture, has it’s own version of fried chicken and I volunteer, to try them all.
KISIR – Turkish Tabouleh w/ Bulgar, Parsley, Sumac, Mint cucumber, Red capsicum, Tomato, Mild Chillies, Roasted Pine Nuts
Turkish Tabouleh is served with Aussie bulgar. Little lettuce cups, house the tabouleh mixture, with roasted pine nuts, sumac and diced veggies. The plating is ‘Attica-esque’ with sprouting branches and leaves.
No doubt, the dish of the night was the charcoal octopus, charred with a flaming torch to achieve a luscious smokiness. The meat of our tentacled friend is tender, enhanced by the warm embrace of a hot muhammara sauce. The suckers may intimidate some. But to any Greek or seafood lover, it only signifies deliciousness. For a more familiar option, chicken koftas are skewered, on a bed of beet hummus.
Dessert brings an Asian ingredient to light. Eating fried tapioca is a first for me. The translucent balls turn into a crispy wafer, when fried. The flavours are a dream, although the tapioca are a tad on the firm side. Props for using tapioca in a new way!
Souk is a welcome addition to Melbourne, diversifying the range of global cuisines on offer. It’s fair to say, Middle Eastern is under represented, amidst the explosion of Asian fusion and health focused eateries. For a taste of something new – Souk embraces its Middle Eastern roots, with refinement and bang.
Hungrycookie dined courtesy of Souk. All opinions are strictly my own.
13 Bligh Pl