Rumi

Rumi
116 Lygon st Brunswick East 3057, Melbourne, Australia
03 9388 8255

I stumbled across Rumi from Let Me Feed You‘s food blog.  I was tempted to try their food as Natalie did raved about it, yet a bit worried that the service would ruin the whole experience as it did to Natalie’s so I took her advice and book an 8pm session.

When we arrived at 7:45pm, our table was already ready for us, which was certainly a good sign.  We were greeted by a friendly waiter who took our drinks order and explained the menu to us.  There are basically 3 options: a la carte, a set menu with 4 courses for $40 (I wouldn’t call it “courses” as each “course” give you 3-4 types of food!) or a 5 course set menu for $45 which the 5th course is a dessert platter.

Given that there were 7 of us, enough to almost order the whole menu, we decided to go a la carte so we can order what we want. (Please note: The prices listed below is from their menu, which normally consists of 3 servings unless stated otherwise.  As we are a group of seven, some of the dish sizes are adjusted so we could have one piece each.  Therefore the prices listed may not correspond to the size of the dish pictured.  I will mark with an * if that’s the case.

Sigara Boregi is a deep fried cigar stuffed with haloumi, feta and kasseri cheese $12.50*.  I loved the filling, it’s not overly rich and it has a tangy flavour to it.  I thought the cigar pastry itself was a bit too oily though.

Everyone in the blogosphere  raved on about the fried cauliflower $11.5.  Thank goodness I did my research and knew that it’s supposed to be so dark in colour as my dining companions wrinkled their noses and wondered why I ordered this.  I had a little piece and thought that it was not very crunchy for a fried dish and nothing outstanding, and when I looked up to get a second piece they are all gone, with one of my dining companions going “the cauliflowers are very good!” LOL… At least they liked it!

The meatballs $12.5* served with a saffron tomato sauce was succulent, I know it’s Middle Eastern but I thought that dollop of Labne is a bit of an overkill.  I would happily have the saffron tomato sauce meatballs by itself.

I have had a number of fried school prawns in my life at Huxtable, Cummulus and Persimmons to name a few, but I still think that the fried school prawns with tahini sauce ($16.5) at Rumi were excellent! I think it’s the secret herbs and spices they used that made it so outstanding.

One of my dining companion Basketball Head gamely ordered the hot yoghurt soup w/ Persian Noodles, chickpeas and onion ($7 per person).  GAWD it was sour!  The Persian Noodles is a little bit like chinese egg noodle with a slightly al dente texture.  We all tried a spoonful and left it all to Basketball Head.

King Prawns ($4 per person) with fennel salt on the other hand were awesome.  The prawns were huge and fresh and for $4 it was great value for money.

BBQ Lamb Ribs $16  rubbed with za’atar was just awesome.  Tender and succulent, the spices caresses every bit of the meat.  The fact that I love sesame seed was also a deciding factor why I thought this dish was yumgasmic.  The only complaint I was that there wasn’t more of it.

I can’t say I love chicken livers $12 so I can’t really rate this dish.  The dish itself is smokey with lots of silvers of onion covering the chicken livers.  Nothing outstanding or make me want to eat chicken livers again.

Our side dishes are fried potato $9.5 and freekeh salad $14.  They are both not very memorable and Basketball Head commented that the freekeh salad in Cummulus was better.  We all found the salad a bit too sour.  The fried potato was OK, but nothing special.

I ordered the grilled free range chicken thighs but sadly the waiter said that they have sold out (perils of late sittings!) so I ordered an alternative dish.  To my pleasant surprise 10 mins later the smiling waiter came back to tell me that they actually have one serve of chicken thighs left, would I like to order it?  YES!  I found the grilled chicken thighs ($21.5) smokey and tasty by itself, and although the beetroot puree was quite sweet and mind boggling to get my head around the first time, I actually thought that it compliments the dish and just make it a little bit different.

Another dish that was yumgasmic was the quail ($19.5*).  Marinated in sumac and toum, which is a Lebanese garlic sauce, it was tender, juicy and flavoursome.  OMG, I was licking my fingers by the end of it, wishing there was more.  There was also a skewer of shallots which I chose not to eat but my dining companions said it was fantastic.

Our last savoury dish was the spiced lamb shoulder $22.5.  Another fantastic dish, the meat was well seasoned and the meat falling off the bone.

It took quite a lot of convincing to get my dining companions to have dessert, but they didn’t regret it one bit.  One ordered a big bowl of Persian Fairy Floss $5.  For some reason I wrongly thought that Persian Fairy Floss is made of rosewater and of course that’s incorrect.  I tasted a little bit of this and it has a delicate sweetness to it with no trace of rosewater.  YUM.

Another couple ordered the poached quince $12.5 which DOES have rose petals on it.  I must say I love the poached quince until I tasted the rose :p

We ordered the arak poached apricots with labne $7.5.  Arak is an East Asian liquor with an Anise flavour, but I couldn’t taste that at all, thank goodness because I don’t like anise either.  All I can taste with the delicate sweetness of the apricots and the sourness of the labne to balance out the flavour.  It was a perfect end to my dinner.

Overall, thankfully the service was quite good.  Our waiter was friendly and attentive, I was quite impressed that he remembered that I wanted chicken thighs initially and kept refilling my water as the jug was on the other side of the table.  However, I found one of the waitress quite brisk.  She was efficient admittedly, however the number of times she gave my friend who was in the head of the table a little push and a brisk “excuse me” to pass through was enough to make me a little bit annoyed.

We also did fairly well in the cost front, food, dessert and drinks (non-alcoholic) came down to $42 per person- good choice not having the banquet!

Food-wise, there were some brilliant dishes there, but there are a few misses which made me give Rumi a 7/10 that night.

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