Named after the 13th-century Persian poet, Rumi is Middle Eastern – but not as you know it. Here, owner Joseph Abboud draws on dishes from his Lebanese heritage and from around the Middle East. Since he first opened Rumi on Lygon Street in 2006, this approach has propelled his eatery to institution status.

Abboud’s dishes are so laden with love and flavour that the space is often full of enthusiastic diners. They’re here for mainstays like the haloumi and feta-filled sigara boregi (crisp cheese cigars) and lamb shoulder marinated in advieh (a Persian spice mix usually containing cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, coriander, rose petals and nutmeg) are here. They’re all prepared in a purpose-built, fully-electric – save the charcoal grill, which is used across a third of the menu – kitchen. There’s also a harissa-rubbed barbequed half-chicken with a condiment that’s popular in Egyptian cooking, mulukhiyah.

The wine list includes around 100 Australian and Middle Eastern bottles. The design takes influence from the region with notes of bronze, copper and deep green. Rumi seats 80, while there’s an 80-person function space plus some outdoor seating reserved for pre-dinner drinks.

Booking is highly recommended, but a wait at the bar is fun in itself, with aniseed arak drinks on offer. Just watch the magic, as the clear spirit turns milky when water is added.

Contact Details

Updated: December 5th, 2023

We do not seek or accept payment from the cafes, restaurants, bars and shops listed in the Directory – inclusion is at our discretion. Venue profiles are written by independent freelancers paid by Broadsheet.