We know and love all of the Greg Malouf cookbooks, each one taking you on a journey to places as far away as Turkey, Pursia, Marrakech, Lebanon & Syria. When we were making our way down to Melbourne last year, it was one of the first places on our list. We managed to get a booking at 9pm for the second sitting, which of course meant time to try a Rockpool Bar & Grill burger as a little pre-dinner snack. We rush back to the hotel after our burgers, shower & freshen up and then bust a taxi over to Momo. When we made the booking, they explain the restaurant in located within the Grand Hyatt hotel, and that we should enter on the Collins street side, take an escalator up, then the one lift on the right, which will take us to the Restaurant. As soon as we enter the lift it's quite special, nice dim lighting & Arabian music, really setting the mood of what's to come. The elevator door opens, and we are greeted by a friendly staff member at the entrance who escorts us to our table.
Some delicious cocktails kick off round 2 for the evening. We have chosen the Arabesque sharing menu at $130 pp, which includes 2 entrees, 2 main course, 2 accompanying side dishes, dessert mezze, fresh fruit & sorbet. We then just have to select which items we want for each course from the al a carte menu. This takes only a few minutes, then the menus are whisked away and a little copper coffee pot of fresh vegetables is placed before us, with olive oil & some hot sumac bread.
Our first entree arrives and is a thing of beauty - Kifta Nayee, Middle Eastern style beef tartare with basil, marjoram, smoky chili and garlic bread. The raw beef was hand chopped, with a decent texture and depth of flavors. The smoky chilli was prominent, but the herbs really balanced it all out. Warm garlic bread was the perfect vessel for scooping up all of the flavours.
We really wanted to try the Quail entree, but unfortunately they were already sold out when we ordered. The waiter recommended the Duck, so we just rolled with it ... The Duck breast was roasted on the bone, with creamy lentil burghal pilav and baby beets . The soft baby beets were also highlighted by the crispy beet leaves, which added a really nice dimension to the whole dish.
Our first main to arrive was the Veal shank 'Laban Immor', smoked veal tongue and silverbeet 'manti' dumplings. This was amazing! Soft, succulent veal shank, delicate smoked tongue and plump little silverbeet dumplings sitting in a yoghurt and lemon sauce. Wow!
Our 2nd main was the Kurobuta pork rib eye, spinach gozleme creamy freekeh with pumpkin & pearl onions. The rib eye was cooked beautifully, still a blush of pink in the centre and moist throughout. The little baby gozleme was divine, I could have eaten a whole plate of this, and the freekeh with pumpkin and pearl onions freshened the whole dish up.
The sides we selected to accompany our mains was also a hard choice, they all sounded divine. We ended up choosing the goats milk haloumi fritters with almonds & leatherwood honey as well as whipped Dutch cream potatoes, French butter, pinenuts. A very good choice, both were quite rich but accompanied our main selection perfectly.
We are both getting quite full at this stage, but are presented with a beautiful selection of fruit to cleanse the palate. We grab some of Greg's books, which are all available to purchase, and also available to browse through, and take a little break to enjoy the fresh fruits, and let our dinner settle.
We feel revived, and my eyes beam when I see the Dessert Mezze. It is beautiful, even looks a little magical. The Persian saffron tart is light with a very faint hint of saffron and the beautiful orange color - a little tuille biscuit shaped of Aladin's lantern sticks out the top, with a little gold handle. Then there is a hot chocolate and Kahlua cake with whipped medjool date. The date is a luscious paste in the middle of the tart, a very nice surprise. And then a little Moroccan tea cup of lemon & orange flower ice-cream with rose. A very nicely balanced dessert plate.
Of course we finish the evening with a little pot of Turkish coffee, which comes with a plate of petit fors. As a little digestif, we also choose a Walnut & Date liqueur. Thick & rich, with a nice sweetness, it reminded me of a Pedro Ximenez.
Lower Plaza Level
Grand Hyatt Hotel
123 Collins Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000