RumiA few weeks ago I was in Melbourne during my Uni break. So I thought this would be a great time to catch up with my cousins. Now, upon the recommendation of my very food-knowledgable Cousin L we headed down to Rumi on Lygon Street on a chilly winter night.
The dining area is a in a 'L' shape with a bar/kitchen area taking up a large part of the restaurant. I think it would easily accommodate 40+ diners. Even on a Wednesday night at 8pm, Rumi was busy as ever. Aesthetically, Rumi mixes some middle-eastern inspiration with tasteful decorations and quirky waterjugs, paintings, etc.
Upon being seated we were greeted by a friendly waiter who offered us drinks from a simple range of quality Lebanese and Australian wines, beers and Arak. My brother, Cousin R and I all opted for the Lebanese beers which were quite good. We weren't game to attempt the Arak which apparently is similar to the Greek's Ouzo and quite potent in terms of alcohol content.
Now, Rumi's menu has the traditional a-la-carte offerings, but we decided to take up one of the 4 banquet options. At $55 a head we were offered a great feast including the following:
Course 1: Pickled vegetables (cauliflower, gherkins, olives, radish), hommus, salad and crispy Sigara Boregi which were spring roll looking creations filled with haloumi and fetta.
Course 2: Hot Yoghurt Soup with fried onions.
Course 3: Grilled spiced King Prawn with a beautiful Pumpkin fatoush served with yoghurt, dukka and chickpeas
Course 5: Roasted chicken, beetroot puree, pilaf rice with currants and salad.
The entire feast was amazing. Full of flavour, balanced and in perfect portions. Highlights for me included the Hot Yoghurt soup which sounded quite odd when I read it on the menu, but was creamy and set a high standard for the rest of the meal.
My only criticisms were the rather puny ribs that were fully-flavoured but lacked enough meat to enjoy.
Aside from that, the pairings in each course were ideal. The fresh salads created a great contrast and complemented each meat dish. The pilaf was fluffy and rich, the cabbage salad exhibited how beautiful a boring vegetable can be when paired with sweet currants and rich almonds.
To end the night we were offered coffees, baclava, halva and these interestingly flavoured chewing gums. I got the cardamom one - wasn't that great.
Overall, a great little restaurant and I was happy to visit it. Would recommend for a family outing - definitely the food to eat in a banquet environment - trying a range of beautifully prepared authentic Lebanese cuisine.