Seeing success in the Prophet Lebanese Cafe, Victoria Park
The weather's been completely wet and wild this week, so when the rain comes I find myself craving comfort food. So naturally I was extremely excited when my girlfriend Linda suggested we catch up for dinner on Friday night at The Prophet Lebanese Cafe.
I haven't eaten there before, but it's been on my wishlist for so long now the name has practically gathered dust. Every time I've tried to go it's been booked out and for some reason I haven't had enough foresight to actually reserve a table. Until Linda did it for me - bless her!
We arrive for an early dinner, beating the rain as we dive into our seats and start devouring the menu. We decide to share our meal, so we go through the menu and pick out some amazing sounding dishes that are worth trying.
We pick the Hommos ($11.00), which is a traditional chickpea dip mixed with tahini, lemon and garlic. It comes to our table with what looks like an endless basket of pita bread, and side accompaniments of labneh (a traditional yoghurt dip) and what I think is pickled celery.
The hommus is delicious - creamy and smooth and completely full of flavour. I love the little well of olive oil in the centre and the saltiness that accompanies the velvety taste. I am a big fan of pita bread too so I'm pretty much in my element as we both charge our way through the dish. The labneh on side is equally amazing and I know next time I come back here (and I will be back!) I'll be ordering it.
We also order a serving of the Falafel ($12.50) which is a plate of six deep fried chickpea and broad bean balls. They come out sitting atop of tomato slices and surrounding a heaping of shredded lettuce; a thick topping of a yoghurt like sauce covering them. They look and smell incredible. And then one bite... Oh. My. God.
Seriously, for me this is what Lebanese food is all about. The mixture inside is soft and fluffy; the outside crunchy and crisp. I can see why these come highly recommended - they are just so perfect. Now as I'm typing this all I can think about is getting more of them. Luckily The Prophet do take away so I will happily return soon!
We finish off our meal sharing a plate of Lamb Kafta ($19.00). It's three skewers of minced lamb marinated with parsley and onion, served with salad and chips. While I did worry slightly that this might be a little dry, but it was, as everything else had been so far, fantastic.
The lamb is flavoursome, well seasoned and tender. It basically melts in your mouth and is just pink in the very centre. The salad is fresh and zingy; a nice simple concoction of lettuce, cucumber and salad that works in perfect harmony. And the chips... they were heavenly! I know that sounds silly to describe chips in that way, but these were oily in the best kind of way and crunchy - not starchy.
By the time we're both full, there's actually still a decent level of food left which we get boxed up to take home. I am wholly and completely sated; and am definitely going to be raving on about this cheap eat place to everyone I know who likes this cuisine. No wonder it's so popular - it's perfect in its understated, simple and homely qualities.