MELBOURNE | Souk is a modern Middle Eastern themed restaurant hidden at the end of Melbourne’s Bligh Place which does things differently than one expects. The space is deceptively large, with a narrow entrance giving way to a downstairs bar and a large upstairs dining space. Neon and bright signage lights up the low lit venue, with reasonably loud music and Arabic artwork and murals combining to give Souk more of a bar than restaurant kind of feel.
Owners Ergun Elmas (Arabesque) and Vlad Kovacevic have embraced Elmas’ Turkish culture, and the menu combines Turkish flavours and influences with those of the Middle East and Northern Africa, along with even a few influences from head chef Rogelio Almanza’s Mexican heritage. If it’s traditional Turkish food you’re after, this isn’t where you’ll find it. The menu here is playful, modern, and embraces fusion to create a range of dishes you won’t find elsewhere. With a change in seasons, the menu recently took on a more spring/summer look, and we were invited in to have a taste.
Dishes are designed to share, and range from small to large plates. KFC (Kuwaiti fried chicken), sees diners served crumbed chicken ribs with ras el hanout spices, and provide a flavoursome, spiced twist to the ubiquitous fried chicken, while our favourite, the Lamb Shwarma features spiced and slow roasted whole lamb shoulder, served with angel hair rice, pickled lemons, saffron yoghurt and a fresh garden salad topped with za’atar cheese. The slow cooked lamb melts in your mouth and all the flavours come together beautifully.
For dessert, you can’t go past the whipped turkish coffee and Nutella ganache, which combines two of our favourite things beautifully. The Sesame Obsession, with sesame sponge cake, black tahini cream, and chocolate halva ice cream is another creative and tasty spin on traditional flavours.
Cocktails use similar flavours to the food and include things like “Aladdin’s Mistress”, with Moroccan green iced tea, crushed cardamom pods, and white and dark rum, shaken with fresh lime & mint leaves, and “Princess Jasmine”, with Ink Gin and chardonnay topped with lavender tea and a fragrant lavender spray. The wine list features a selection of local and international drops, while beer is taken care of by Brunswick’s Thunder road beers on the taps and a few bottles in the fridges.
Souk’s licenced until 3am Thu-Sat which means that it also works well as a bar in its own right, even if you don’t want a feed.
13 Bligh Place
Telephone: (03) 8597 5444
E-mail: [email protected]
Mon – Fri: 11:00am to 12:00am
Sat – Sun: 5:00pm to 12:00am