In a city where it is rarely encountered, the exciting menu of the newly opened Souk puts the spotlight back on Middle Eastern cuisine.
Hip is at an all time high when it comes to Souk's incredibly spacious interior. Elements that screamed sleek were intermingled with neon tones, culminating in a unique vibe that impressed.
The food itself also left quite a statement with plenty of tweaks and twists that made the exotic and spice-laden flavours of the Middle East shine. We started with the chipotle hummus; sensationally smoky and creamy smooth in texture, the drizzle of burnt butter adding an indulgent touch. Paired with an airy, pizza base-like bread and the meal was off to a soaring start. Plated with a swirl of smoked black tahini, the the prawn falafel was a visual treat. While the falafel itself was well seasoned, the dish called for something more than the lime to help balance out the fried element and richness from the coriander mayo and tomato oil. We next acquainted our taste buds with KFC, but not as we knew it. Souk's Kuwaiti fried chicken ribs were coated in their own version of secret spices, ensuring a flavoursome mouthful with each bite. The Turkish tabouleh was tangy and balanced; its freshness a refreshing contrast to the fried dishes we had been served earlier.
While I'm not a fan of octopus, I could appreciate that the charcoal octopus was well cooked. The chargrilling imparted great aromas but given my bias, it was the silky mash and roasted pieces of potato that had my taste buds at first bite.
Our Middle Eastern feast kicked off on a high note and also ended on one with the Adanali osman, a pudding style dessert comprising of slow cooked black tapioca pearls mixed with sweet Turkish coffee cream and topped with white tapioca crisps. The variable pearl sizes and delicate crunch of the tapioca crisp provided much oomph in texture. The coffee cream was fragrant in aroma and taste, and the overall flavour profile of the dessert was adequately balanced in sweetness. Nom.
In a city where the flavours and spices of the Middle East are quite lacking, Souk is a great addition to Melbourne's dining-scape. Bonus points for the beautiful plating, which together with the aromas that seemed to dance off each plate, made each dish all the more inviting.
13 Bligh Place,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
(03) 8597 5444
Disclosure: I dined as a guest of Souk. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.