Excellent Lebanese fare in Kennedy Town from Australian chef Alex Malouf.
Australian foodies should be well acquainted with the Maloufs. Patriarch Greg is regarded Down Under as the father of modern Lebanese cuisine, taking his skills as far as London to Michelin glory. Closer to home, he was the driving force behind Soho stalwart Olive. His nephew Alex oversees K-Town hotspot Catch and has now branched out next door with Mama Malouf, an ode to his mother’s cooking.
The 30-seat dining room is elegantly but minimally decorated, featuring touches of 60s Beirut in the form of tile motifs and brick lattice work. The new school-meets-old school vibe is also reflected in the tight, clever menu. We start with Mama’s Mezza ($148), a platter of silky hummus, lightly smoked and well-seasoned babaganouj, a perfectly balanced cucumber and tarragon labneh and pickled vegetables. It’s a true taste of Lebanese home. The golden rule of mezze is that everything goes with anything, so we keep the dips for the haloumi and fontina fondue with fig jam ($118). It’s a knockout, with the fig cutting through the bite of the gooey cheese. Falafels with yoghurt tahini sauce and pickled turnip salad ($118) feature generously sized balls cooked to crispy perfection while the non-traditional accompaniments add textural dimension. If you’re not partial to falafels, these could change your tune. A sizeable open duck shawarma with tahini, onion sumac salad and harissa ($168) comes for main. The duck’s slightly overdone and the harissa is a little overpowering but relief comes, however, when we slather it with labneh. Our dessert of muhallabieh ($68) is a slight letdown, though, as the traditional Lebanese milk pudding is a little watery.
There’s plenty of creativity on show here and, despite a couple of hiccups, this is a Lebanese restaurant that should become a great addition to K-Town. Well done, Alex. You’ve done mama (and uncle Greg) proud.
|Venue name:||Mama Malouf||Contact:|
93 Catchick St, Kennedy Town