Acclaimed chef, restaurateur and TV presenter Shane Delia recently told Broadsheet: “Middle Eastern food is in a space we’ve never experienced before.”
Rising chefs and young hospitality talent have been pushing the boundaries of the cuisine in recent years, and Delia is celebrating the changing landscape with a series of dinners at Collingwood spot Maha Bar.
It takes place over four consecutive Tuesdays. Delia will be on the pans throughout, but insists the menus aren’t collaborations – each chef has been given free rein over what they want to cook during their one-night stint.
Ben Williamson, who’s cooked at seminal Brisbane Middle Eastern restaurant Gerard’s Bistro and Sydney Levantine eatery Nour (he’s now also a restaurateur, behind new Brisbane gems Agnes and Bianca), kicks off the series on May 18 with a menu inspired by his travels through the region. Expect Turkish crumpets, calamari, grilled quail with harissa and more.
The following week, on May 25, is current Nour executive chef Paul Farag (ex-Fish Butchery), drawing on his Egyptian heritage and minimal-waste ethos with dishes such as muhammara (a roasted red pepper spread) on toast, duck crown fesenjan (Persian walnut-pomegranate stew) and basbousa (a sweet semolina cake).
Adam Wolfers of Gerard’s Bistro is traveling down from Brisbane on June 1 with a menu that celebrates his Jewish heritage, with the likes of dry-aged kibbeh nayyeh (a Levantine mezze of raw meat with spices), short-rib shawarma and a take on the Golden Gaytime with carrot molasses.
And to wrap it up, Melbourne chef Tom Sarafian of the now-closed Bar Saracen and a soon-to-end residency at Little Andorra is stepping into the kitchen on June 8. His famous spanner crab and prawn hummus will be on offer, alongside fish fatteh (pitas layered with chickpeas and garlicky yogurt) and cheese maamouls (a Lebanese filled cookie).
Set menus are priced at $85 per person. Bookings are open now.