In the six months that it’s been open, Souk (the Arabic word for ‘bazaar’) has well and truly conquered Melbourne’s Middle Eastern food scene. With delicious share food, unpretentious and friendly staff and décor that is reminiscent of a classy nightclub – it’s hardly a surprise that the recent Spring menu launch was a full-house of hungry reviewers and bloggers from around town.
I made my way down the foodie haven that is Bligh Lane to taste the brand new creations of award-winning chef, Chris Toal. Born in Melbourne, Toal brings plenty of experience to Souk, having spent time at restaurants like Italy 1, Scusa Mi and Rice Queen.
With eight dishes to try from the new menu, most of us were expecting a share food style meal, however it ended up a degustation with dishes being brought out on at a time. All the plates were crowd-pleasers, but the slow pace of service, unfortunately, saw a significantly empty room at the three-hour mark, with three dishes still to go.
Two of the vegetarian dishes were absolute highlights. The Fattoush salad, a cleverly fried cone of pita stuffed with fresh salad added an element of drama to the table, with wait staff encouraging you to smash the hard cone and share the contents.
The Zeytinyagli Fasulye – a warm salad of Turkish green beans, broccolini, crispy onion, basil and silverbeet was packed with flavour and a perfect way to balance out the richness of the more carnivorous fare.
The spiced KFC (Kuwaiti Fried Chicken) is an easy-win, but the meaty show was stolen by both the Moroccan Chu b’chi Zyu, a claypot of fresh seafood stewed in a vibrant tomato sauce, and the Lamb Shwarma, which paired impossibly tender lamb shoulder with an assortment of rice and salad, topped with a fragrant saffron yoghurt dressing.
As it edged past 11pm, the final dish was served – a decadent shot of Nutella and coffee mousse topped with Persian vanilla fairy floss – truly the ideal treat to cap off the meal.
Souk embodies the perfect clash of cultures – a contemporary, cosmopolitan Middle Eastern soul with a classy Melbourne laneway experience.
13 Bligh Pl,
Melbourne VIC 3000
This article first appeared on The Plus Ones. Feature image: Souk Melbourne