When Middle Eastern restaurant Bar Saracen closed, it left a hole in the hearts of Melburnians that could only be filled with hummus.
And it finally was when ex-head chef Tom Sarafian started selling his dearly departed hummus in jarred form, with his new namesake brand. (Lee Ho Fook’s Victor Liong went so far as to call it “the Tom Ford of dips”.)
Today comes his second release: toum, a Lebanese garlic sauce that’s ridiculously creamy (despite being vegan), almost cloud-like, and that packs one helluva garlicky punch.
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Sarafian first got acquainted with it in the early 2010s, while working at Momo under highly awarded chef Greg Malouf – an authority on Middle Eastern food.
Sarafian handmakes his toum with fresh, organic garlic from Day’s Walk Farm in Keilor; lemon juice from local fruit; non-GMO Aussie canola oil; and pink lake salt from the Grampians. It’s entirely dairy and gluten-free.
One of the greatest things about toum is its versatility. It can serve as an ingredient (instead of straight-up garlic), a condiment, a sauce, a marinade or a zingy dip.
“In my kitchen, I will always have toum on tap,” Sarafian said in a press release. “Whenever a recipe calls for garlic, I will add a tablespoon of toum instead of a clove of garlic.”
Other serving suggestions: “[It’s] so delicious to use as a condiment to everything from bread, pickles, in sandwiches, to cold seafood platters and in salad dressings.”
“One of my favourite ways to eat toum is the Lebanese style of shish tawook – with charcoal chicken, chips, pickles and pita bread.”
Get in quick, though. The 300-gram jars are only available during Aussie garlic season.
Sarafian toum will be available for $18 from Friday December 17 at Baker Bleu, All Are Welcome (Northcote), Meatsmith (Fitzroy, St Kilda, Brighton, Balwyn and online) and Morning Market – with more stockists to be announced soon. Stay up to date here.