The Sultan’s Feast at Maha Bar & Grill
It was a celebration – the gorgeous AT and I have a birthday within 2 days of each other – and one of our many celebration events was indulging in the Sultan’s Feast at Maha Bar and Grill for a girl’s night out. The lustrous and enthusiastic iMac and lovely L joined us to celebrate, along with one of AT’s other friends (who really enjoyed the vegetarian menu which hasn’t been captured here).
I have been to Maha several times – but have never experienced it fine dining style. It’s quite amazing to think that the kitchen is sending out two styles of menu at the same time – testimony to its flexibility and capability.
We opted for the 8 courses – after all – it was a special occasion. And I didn’t know when I was going to get a chance to do it all over again. The Sultan’s Feast is a very reasonable $125 per person, plus another $75 for matched wines. If you’re after something a little bit different beverage-wise – they’ve got the option of an “Anything but wine” match – where they ply you with some cocktails, some beer and other delights. Worth checking out if you’re happy to mix your drinks!
Without further ado – let’s dive in.
We started with the gorgeous house-baked bread. Absolutely delicious – with a hit of the hibiscus tea. A lovely way to start… this was followed by a bottle of champagne!
Smoked pork hock broth, quail egg, beans, silverbeet
2009 Weingut Max Ferd. Richter ‘Estate’, Riesling, Mosel Germany
The first course was an absolutely beautifully presented, delicately yet robustly flavoured, soup dish. There was great theatre at the table as the broth was poured over the base elements. Gorgeous.
Corn fed chicken tagine, broken egg, corn bread, saffron, Iranian figs, sucuk soil
2008 By Farr, Viognier, Geelong Vic
This is one of the signature dishes that you can also get when ordering the soufra. It’s still a great dish – although not as finessed as some of the other dishes that followed.
John Dory fillet, raw greens, preserved lemon,mushroom cream, almond mayo
Oakridge “Lieu-Dit” Ducks Lane Vineyard Chardonnay, Yarra Valley
This was to-die-for – succulently cooked John Dory fillet, with an amazing crispy skin, and tender melt in the mouth flesh. A dish to go back for.
Duckling breast, pressed leg melfouf, roots, onion crumble
2007 Voice of the Vine Acapella, Mornington Peninsula
The duckling breast was beautifully executed, starring a gorgeous rare piece of breast, while the leg had been confited and then shredded and encased in gorgeous wilted spinach. The onion crumble added an ethereal, textural crunch and the root vegetables were tender and delicious. By the way, the accompanying wine for this dish was amazing – but I am a pinot lover – totally silky and smooth.
Rabbit loin, morels, angel hair, braised leg, peas, foie gras foam, hazelnut coco nibs bastilla
2008 Patrizi Barberesco Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy
Another great dish – and I’m not the biggest fan of rabbit. The champions on this plate were the angel hair pasta with the braised leg and morels! Oh – heaven on a plate! The bastilla was in the form of a cigar, and added another gorgeous crunch element to the dish.
In terms of your main meat dish – you get to choose between the famous slow roasted lamb shoulder or the wagyu. Given there was four meat-eaters amongst us, we opted to order two of each and share. A great decision.
12 hour roasted Mt. Leura lamb shoulder, pistachio and green olive tabouleh
2007 Chateau de Courlat, Lussac Saint Emillion, Merlot Cabernet Franc
Again, another signature dish of the restaurant – and always a winner. Who can resist lamb that is falling apart, gently layered with yielding fatty goodness, and taken to another layer with herbs and lemon, beautifully foiled with a pistachio and green olive tabouleh which added freshness and zing!
The fine dining counterpoint to the rustic slow roasted lamb – this dish was outstanding. The outside of the wagyu has been rolled in honey and coriander seed which when cooked adds a crusted seal of sweetness to the meat. It beautifully complemented the earthiness of the meat. The roast garlic parfait and other accompaniments were perfect – and it was a dish that far exceeded the sum of its parts. Absolutely gorgeous! If I had to choose between the lamb and the wagyu – the wagyu would have to be my choice (after all – you can still get the lamb shoulder with the soufra – but this wagyu is special).
Maha Turkish Delight Doughnuts
Now, you may remember me having a little rant a while ago when I found out that the doughnuts had found their way off the menu. Apparently, they are available to order as long as you let the staff know at the beginning of the meal. Not wanting to miss out again – I naturally ordered them. This meant that we were indulging in 3 courses of dessert (although a single doughnut is more of a dessert amuse bouche – don’t you think????). Yummy!
Peanut butter parfait, baklava crumb, salted caramel, chocolate sorbet, orange blossom foam
NV Campbells Rutherglen Topaque, Rutherglen, Vic
This dessert was brilliant – the picture does not do it justice. What you can see is the gorgeously ethereal orange blossom foam, sitting atop the baklava crumble. But in addition to these heavenly layers there was a rich and silky peanut butter parfait, some glorious salted caramel, and let’s not forget the chocolate sorbet. A fabulous dessert.
White chocolate and honey soufflè
2005 Kreglinger Brut, Pipers Brook, Tasmania
Okay – I have to admit – by this stage I was struggling. So, I’m not sure if it was the soufflé or the surfeit – but I found it a little bit eggy. I was happy just to have a taste and leave the rest. I had found the tipping point (actually – I think I was well past it).
Maha’s service was wonderful, and the ambience is sultry and smooth. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening and the celebration tone continued throughout. Although, this meal was a couple of months ago now – reliving it by writing this post has stirred very fond memories. This is a one hatted restaurant strutting its stuff and really hitting the mark on a number of dishes. I look forward to returning and enjoying more feasts from the Sultan!