Rumi

116 Lygon Street
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
(03) 9388 8255
rumirestaurant.com.au

Venture down the dingiest of Chinatown’s alleyways and it’ll lead you to some of the best dumplings you’ll ever have the pleasure of devouring. Walk into any of the phõ houses on Richmond’s Victoria Street precinct and lap up broth so delicious you’ll want to be swimming in it. And then there’s Lygon Street, where gelato comes in flavours you couldn’t make up in your dizziest daydreams.

Point is, one of the best things about Melbourne is the fact that it’s a melting pot of a floppity jillion different cultures. You can’t find, say, Lebanese cuisine just anywhere. The thought crossed my mind as I met two of my good friends, A and M, for dinner on Sunday night at Rumi. Which, coincidentally, is also on Lygon Street. :)

I followed the cute Moroccan lanterns and Arabic wall scrawl to my seat. I was running ten minutes late, as per usual (you can’t expect anything less from me, really, it’s in my Filipino blood), so A and M had already given the menu a once-over by the time I got there. I spied a few ingredients I wasn’t familiar with, which was exciting. Most of the dishes appeared to be sharing plates.

Rumi boasts an impressive wine list, reminiscent of Middle Eastern and Australian influences, but bearing in mind how wine tends to mess with my head and the long drive home, I opted for a bottle of pomegranate juice instead.

Pomegranate juice (4.0)

Our server was remarkably attentive and walked us through the menu like a pro. We kicked things off with the sigara boregi, pastry cigars filled with haloumi, feta and kasseri (12.5). They were great starters; they weren’t too oily and the trio of cheeses was a lovely blend of rich, salty flavours.

Sigara boregi (12.5)

Next up, we had the oven-baked baby snapper fillet with tahini, muhammara, soft herbs and walnuts (22.5). It was a small serve, but hot damn, it was worth every cent. The snapper was cooked perfectly. The tangy tahini sauce gave the fish extra zip without overpowering it, while the herbs and walnuts added colour and texture. And made it look extra pretty. :)

Oven-baked baby snapper fillet with tahini, muhammara, soft herbs and walnuts (22.5)

We followed this up with the freekeh salad (or the freakin’ salad, as we liked to refer to it, 14.0) – of almonds, ewe’s milk feta and pomegranate dressing. Texturally, it was grainy, a little like quinoa or barley. In spite of being unlike any other salad I’ve ever had before, it was super tasty and went nicely with our spiced lamb shoulder (23.0). The shoulder itself was wonderfully tender. With a simple prod, the meat fell off the bone and when we drizzled the sweet sirkanjabin syrup over the top, we just about toppled off our seats in fits of joy. So. Good.

Freekeh salad with almonds, ewe’s milk feta and pomegranate dressing (14.0)

Spiced lamb shoulder with sirkanjabin (23.0)

We were all comfortably full by this stage, but I’m not one to shy away from a dessert menu so we decided to end the night on a sweet note. The almond pudding (10.5) was delightful, lifted by the crunch of the pistachios and the bursts of sweetness provided by the barberries. The Persian fairy floss (6.0) was also on our hit list – I’ve always wanted to try it! It wasn’t sickly sweet like ordinary fairy floss and had a unique, almost nutty flavour to it, which I loved.

Almond milk pudding with barberries and pistachios (10.5), Persian fairy floss (6.0)

We walked out of Rumi with bellies filled and palates slightly more cultured. If you’re up for something a little different with a mellow vibe and killer menu, look no further. Rumi satisfies on all three counts :)

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10 thoughts on “Rumi

  1. Gahhhh I’ve just eaten dinner but I’m already getting hungry again just looking at your piccies!! :P
    I’ve also heard so many good things about Rumi but have never actually gone there so I’m thinking of venturing out that way when a really good friend visits in a couple of weeks. Was it hard for you to get seats – did you make reservations? (Silly Melbourne restaurants these days… I always hate having to wait 2 hours for food on a Fri or Sat night ! :( )

  2. You have to go! The food there is awesome :D My friend booked online about a week in advance, but there were a few unoccupied tables floating around when I was there on Sunday. Probably wouldn’t be the case on a Friday or Saturday night, though.

    I know the feeling! I’ve been wanting to swing by Mamasita and Chin Chin for AGES now, but alas, their no-bookings policy always gets in the way :(

  3. Oh no! Haha, I’d take that excuse to go back! There were a million other things on the menu that I wanted to try, so maybe next time I’ll round up a bigger group of friends and get to sample everything :D

  4. Ohhhh Rumi :) I’ve never heard of this place or had Lebanese food before hehe but it looks great ~ I’ve always wanted to try, especially since i’ve made so many friends from the Middle East lately all the food they have it super YUM :D

  5. The only other time I’ve ever had Lebanese/Middle Eastern food was at Mecca Bah down at the Docklands and I loved it, so I was super excited when my friend booked us a table at Rumi. Everything we had here was delicious, two thumbs up from me! :D

  6. Ooooh never been to Rumi but have always wanted to go. The snapper looks delicious (fish and tahini, omg!) and although I’m not a huge dessert person, that almond milk pudding looks tempting!

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