Maha is offering $15 “bowls of goodness” in June, inspired by the diverse backgrounds, travels and favourite flavours of Maha’s chefs. Come for a different bowl each week, available every day from 12pm to 3pm.

Maha’s owner-chef Shane Delia is these days best known as the star of SBS cooking show Spice Journey and for occasional appearances on Masterchef. But before all this, he was earning his stripes in haute cuisine at the Sofitel’s Le Restaurant, among other places.

That experience shows at his Middle Eastern diner, where flavours and textures are familiar, but assembled with more finesse. The kitchen spins chickpeas, tahini, nuts, saffron, preserved lemon and other Middle Eastern staples into dishes that are balanced and pretty without being overly fussy.

Dinner is a set menu, and depending on your perspective, this is either a blessing or a curse. We like it – your table only has one decision to make, then you can get on with enjoying each others’ company.

The signature for 15 years is the 12-hour lamb shoulder with za'atar and pine nuts. Other highlights might include Turkish delight doughnuts; heirloom zucchini with yoghurt; and a simple salad of cos, kohlrabi, haloumi and mint.

The wine list also does some choosing for you, though in a different way. There’s some choice around the $40 mark and plenty around $150, but very little in between. If you’re not quite sure what you’re doing, beer or house cocktails might be a better route.

A 2018 refit saw the space darkened. Every furnishing is upholstered in dark tones, and tabletops are finished in jet-black. Maha is confidently opulent.

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Updated: June 14th, 2024

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