Like many of the best places I have eaten at, Byblos was discovered by accident. It's one of our last days in Melbourne so Jeremy and I have spent the day roaming, ending up at DFO in the CBD. When we've exhausted ourselves by shopping we wander out past the rows of restaurants and into one across the wharf. We're a little lost so instead of heading home like we'd intended, we stop for a bite.
Lebanese cuisine is a bit different to our normal selection but we step inside regardless.
The decor is beautiful. It's elegant and tastefully designed while showing it's roots and cultural diversity. The staff are friendly and the service on par with the appearance. I can tell that I'm going to like this place and I haven't even eaten yet.
Our meal starts off with grilled haloumi ($14.90). It's golden brown on the outside with a perfect crust formed so it has that expected crunch when you bite down. There's a nice squeeze of fresh lemon over the top which the acidity cuts through the saltiness of the cheese. It's a great start to the series of dishes we've ordered.
The hommos dip arrives soon after we start on our haloumi. It's light and creamy; a blend of chickpeas, fresh lemon juice and tahini ($10.90). Served with soft pita bread it's best served thickly spread. I'm enjoying it though I would prefer the pita bread to be toasted to add some needed textural difference.
Flat bread and hommos
The rekakat is the next that comes out ($4.50 each). It's lightly fried filo pastry filled with feta and mozzarella cheese, freshly chopped onion and herbs. It bursts with cheesy flavour; spilling out and coating the flakes of pastry which have escaped from the food item daringly. It's very middle eastern meets Mediterranean; reminiscent of a Greek dish I've tried elsewhere.
We finish off with sambusek ($4.50 each). It's homemade pastry filled with marinated lamb, pine nuts and traditional spices. It's served with a lightly spiced yoghurt dip that is cooling on the palate. The pastry is crumbly (like that Ed Sheeran song, Jeremy laughs) but is filled with a wonderfully aromatic mixture that has me salivating. It's filling and before long I realise we perhaps over ordered, despite the small size of the dishes.
Rekakat and sambusek
For more information on Byblos, visit them on their website or view the menu online.