Our Friday night halal culinary adventure took us to a part of Melbourne with a negligible Muslim population-and what an adventure it turned out to be. My daughter had been invited to the area to speak with a state minister a few years ago but we rarely ventured to this part of town – who knew that affluent bayside Elsternwick had quite a few halal options? The restaurant that we had planned to go had opening hours that differed to its website. So we took a walk around the main street shops with most cafes that we passed closing at 5.30. After walking a little way from where we parked the car, we found an unassuming little place which appeared to be owned by a Lebanese family. The young man who served us very kindly explained that all the meats and chicken were halal.


The place is very simple, not very big, and the food was ridiculously good. It sounds like a cliche but it seemed to be prepared with love – the hummus was smooth, the pickles fresh, the felafel seasoned and crunchy, and the chicken wings tasty. For dessert we chose traditional and very sweet sweets from Lebanon – there was one that looked like a tree trunk, which my daughter joked was like eating twigs with syrup – and strong Arab coffee in a cup slightly smaller than the size of a short black. When we finished eating there was an older man who served us who was also very friendly. We later discovered the place was a bit of an Elsternwick institution.


Hari itu aku dan anak mantuku hendak pergi kulineran kedaerah yg jarang atau hampir tidak ada penduduk Muslimnya. Siapa yang tidak tahu daerah Elsternwick salah satu suburb di Melbourne? Anakku pernah diundang kedaerah itu untuk bicara bersama salah satu mentri daerah. Ternyata disana banyak tempat makan yang halal. Tetapi restaurant yang kami tuju waktu bukanya tidak sama dengan website mereka. Akhirnya kami jalan-jalan dipertokoan sekitarnya. Hampir semua cafe yang kami lewati tutup jam 5.30. Ada beberapa tempat halal yang sudah tutup. Ini memang aneh karena Melbourne biasanya hidup dimalam-malam kamis, Jum’at & weekend. Setelah berjalan agak jauh dari tempat kami parkir mobil, kami menemukan tempat makan yg halal yg dipunyai oleh orang Lebanon. Anak muda yang melayani kami sangat ramah menjelaskan bahwa semua daging dan ayam disitu halal. Tempat makan ini sangat sederhana, tidak besar, dan makanannya enak dengan jenis yang sama – tapi berbeda rasa dengan umumnya restaurant yang menyediakan makanan Timur Tengah. Hummusnya lebih halus, bermacam ragam pickle yang aku sangat menyukainya. Falafel yang tidak kebanyakan bumbu dan renyah, sayap ayam yang tasty. 


Untuk makanan penutup kami memilih typical sweet dari Lebanon yang sangat manis – ada satu yang mirip batang pohon, kata anakku seperti makan batang pohon pakai syrup (hanya bercanda) – dan strong Arab/Greek coffee dicangkir kecil. Ketika kami selesai makan ada seorang tua yg melayani juga ramah sekali. Pelayanan cukup cepat, kami tidak menunggu lama.

Details

Talk of the Town, 446 Glenhuntly Road Elsternwick, Victoria

Wednesday – Monday 1130am – 930pm

Tuesdays closed

No pork or bacon on the menu; restaurant website and staff confirm halal meat used; vegetarian and vegan customers well catered for; BYO