518 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
After my sensational meal at Miznon last week, I’ve been having ongoing cravings for Middle Eastern food. Unfortunately I also had self-imposed blogging obligations, so instead of just heading back to Miznon to have some more of their amazing pita pockets, I decided to check out Tahini, a self-titled Lebanese diner in the CBD that Chris’ co-workers frequent.
As you’d expect of a lot of city eateries aimed at a quick turnaround for office workers, Tahini leans more towards the food court restaurant side of things. To get to it, you actually have go to into the building at 518 Little Bourke Street, and you’ll find it all the way at the back. Still, their menu seemed perfectly legit, featuring an impressive selection of wraps, mezza, salads, and grilled meat options.
Instead of trying to slog through the extensive menu, I figured the Soufra for Two ($40) would get the job done nicely. Featuring a range of salads, dips, and mezza, as well as your choice of 4 items off the grill, it’s a good way of trying a little bit of everything if you’ve got an extra-long lunch break and a buddy to share it with.
If you ask me, the centrepiece of any good Middle Eastern meal should be the grilled meats. Unfortunately these weren’t up to scratch. I chose the Shish Tawouk (marinated chicken fillet skewer), Lameh (marinated lamb fillet skewer), Kraides (marinated prawns), and Lamb Ribs. But instead of being flavoursome and juicy, these were bland and dry all round. The only redeeming factor was the aromatic garlic paste, which served to give the meats some much-needed flavour.
The Falafel on the other hand were surprisingly good, especially considering that I don’t usually like falafel. These had a super crunchy shell and a moist, fluffy centre, and were generously seasoned with spices.
The Rakakat Jibneh was another crowd-pleaser, the cigar of flaky filo pastry stuffed with a mixture of mozzarella, feta, and cheddar.
The Tabouleh added a note of much-needed freshness to the meal with its sharp, herbal tang, but I wasn’t a fan of how watery it got at the bottom. It did the job, but that was about it.
Equally, the dips of Hummus and Labneh were nothing to write home about, and I mainly used them to add moisture to the meats.
All up, Tahini was a bit of an underwhelming experience, though not unexpectedly so. I imagine they achieve what they mainly set out to do, and that’s to serve up a quick, reasonable meal at a reasonable price for those who work nearby. I can imagine finding myself here every now and then if I worked in the next building over, but that aside, there’s not much else to bring me back.
Rating: 12/20 – underwhelming.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.