Hume City in Melbourne’s north-west is a crossing of the cuisine tradewinds, an area, peppered with dessert shops, tea gardens and takeaway joints showcasing the culinary traditions of Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and more. The options here are endless. So here’s five worth noting.
This Iraqi restaurant is housed in a shopping centre, but step inside and you’re transported into a modern Levantine haven. The focus here is on Iraqi food, though there’s a mix of other Middle Eastern dishes sprinkled through the menu.
Think lamb and chicken shawarma with salads and hummus, mince meat kebabs charred on the grill, fresh falafel with turshi (pickles) and amba (pickled mango) sauce; garlic and herb lamb cutlets; and a halal snack pack (you know the acronym).
Al Tanoor also serves a localised take on Iraqi breakfast, including hearty makhlama (similar to shakshuka) with eggs and ground lamb; flaky pastry or kahi doused in simple syrup; and freshly cut shawarma meat baked with eggs. Pair it with Iraqi tea: sweet and brewed with spices such as cardamom and cinnamon.
250 Somerton Road, Roxburgh Park
One Stop Kebab and Cafe
Also known as Çay Bahçesi, this spot is similar to a traditional çay bahçesi, or Turkish tea garden, where guests relax while sipping strong, dark coffee or sweet mint tea. This tea garden isn’t completely outdoors, but a recent renovation has added wide windows, rattan seats, wall foliage and a water fixture to give it a calming atmosphere.
If you need more than a cuppa, the Ottoman breakfast has a bit of everything – a round platter with a bowl of melemen (omelette with peppers and tomatoes) in the centre, surrounded by six side dishes including cucumber slices, olives, honey and creamy cheese. There’s also the classic shish plate, with grilled lamb and chicken, rice, two dips and a side salad.
384–390 Barry Road, Coolaroo
This bakery and cafe is the new kid on the block, having just opened earlier this year. Its display cases are lined with plain manoush (Lebanese pizza base), spinach and feta pies, haloumi and chicken pastries, and lahm bi ajin, an Arab-style meat pizza.
The cafe’s dine-in menu is a mix of brunch classics and updated Middle Eastern dishes, including a salad of lamb shawarma with leafy greens, pomegranate seeds and fresh cucumber; poached eggs on house-made hash browns with labneh beetroot hummus; shakshuka with zaatar-topped bread; and a mezze plate with falafel, chips, sambousik (a small meat pie) and dips of hummus, labneh and capsicum.
20 Main Street, Craigieburn
This folksy shop and cafe focuses on Lebanese desserts and confections. Baklava is a given – it comes in different shapes, from the traditional rolled lady fingers and baked flaky layers to small nests filled with pistachios.
The knafeh is a scene stealer – crunchy filo similar to Greek kataifi pastry is drenched in sugar syrup, with a cheesy filling that oozes out on your plate. Kasr Sweets also serves a swiss roll of vanilla sponger filled with booza (a stretchy Lebanese ice cream) and familiar desserts such as crepes, cakes and Nutella croissants. Also makes custom orders.
3B/195 Somerton Road
The only vegetarian eatery on this list. The falafel at this hole-in-the-wall joint is golden and crisp, and can be served in wraps, on a plate with salad or in a family platter, while the labneh is thick and creamy; hummus is drizzled generously with olive oil; fatteh (crunchy pita topped with yoghurt) is compulsively moreish; and the pickled vegetable sides are generous enough to be a dish in themselves.
There’s plenty of seating inside, but this is a popular takeaway spot, too – just a stone’s throw from Upfield Station, Falafel Moudy’s an easy place to pick something up on the go.
357 Barry Road, Campbellfield
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Discover Hume. Find more things to do in Hume City.