The first thing you’ll see when you step into Maha Bar is the cork-topped bar. It’s a nod to Shane Delia’s father’s home bar, which the chef-owner remembers from this childhood.
The version here is made from champagne corks, its lightly lacquered surface shining in the gentle light from the oversized globes overhead.
You can pull up a stool here and peruse imported bottle of raki and arak (anise-flavoured spritis), or go for something less traditional and order a Turkish delight Martini or a za’atar-infused Margarita.
On the menu are updated versions of traditional Middle Eastern treats - Turkish borek buns are fried rather than baked, and a plate of stuffed Portarlington mussels in a tomato and clove broth is a spin on a Turkish dish called midye dolma.
Larger plates include duck with muhammara (a spicy roasted capsicum walnut dip); chickpea and garlic dumplings with toum (garlic sauce) and sumac, and a pilaf made using five-year-aged Persian rice. The 12-hour lamb shoulder from Maha is also a feature, heavily spiced with baharat and sitting atop a roasted eggplant salad with lamb sausage and a date-and-lamb-fat sauce. From 3pm-5pm Friday to Sunday free meze (small plates) accompany your drinks.