Shane Delia’s latest project, Layla, is stopping traffic – literally.
Working with the City of Melbourne, the Maha owner (and founder of Providoor) has cordoned off Bond Street – outside his CBD restaurant – and installed a huge 20-by-10-metre marquee, which he says is similar to The Birdcage at Flemington Racecourse.
Underneath, he’s set up an airy, greenery-filled, laid-back Middle Eastern bar and restaurant, which will stick around until late March.
On the cocktail list, expect spicy Middle Eastern takes on the classics – such as saffron-spiked Aperol Spritzes and zaatar-infused Margaritas. Plus, a punchy wine list, and beers from Brick Lane in the Dandenongs.
The menu is snacky and meze-focused, and “not set in stone”. You might get sesame-crusted borek buns; charred eggplant with tahini, pomegranate and mint; or a grilled lamb leg with baharat (a Middle Eastern spice mix), onions and toum.
On weekends, there’s also Middle Eastern-style yum cha for brunch. Roving waiters are armed with trays of dishes such as kataifi-wrapped haloumi with fennel-seed honey; lemony fatteh (loaded Lebanese flatbread) with smoked trout, chilli chickpeas, toasted nuts and mint; and fried eggs with grilled sujuk (spicy sausage).
You can make it boozy with spiced Bloody Marys, orange-and-saffron Mimosas, or an array of champagnes, and there’s also freshly squeezed juices (which you can spike with gin). Plus, brunch is a dog-friendly occasion.
Wed to Fri 5pm–late
Sat & Sun 9.30am–late