Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Sri Lankan gem in the northern suburbs, and an excellent middle eastern cafe in Caulfield

How would tourists ever find good restaurants nowadays without smartphones? We merely had to search for "sri lankan" and "near me" to find an exquisite gem in Thomastown! 
Elephant Lane is a Sri Lankan restaurant recommended to us by a lady at a Sri Lankan grocery in Bundoora. 

Below, the yellow rice with lamb curry, fried eggplant chips and pineapple pickle was so good, we cleaned the plate! [$10.90]
 this chicken kottu roti $11.90 was really tasty too, and the serving was so huge that we had to take home more than half of it which made an excellent breakfast the next day. It's essentially like fried rice, but with chopped up roti in place of the rice, with lots of spices, veggies and egg.

The service was excellent as well, and they have buffet nights every friday and sat with hoppers.
This place really reminded us of Malaysia, with a relaxed [as opposed to overly formal and stuffy] environment where a bunch of friends might congregate after a soccer game to eat and chat late into the night.

    44 Mahoneys Rd, Thomastown VIC 3074

Tavlin, Middle Eastern Restaurant, Caulfield

now this, this was so so so so excellent that we did not regret the 50 minute drive there, [and back!] in fact we wished we'd stayed closer to Caulfield just so we could have eaten here every day!

We had the shakshouka, hummus with pine nuts and lamb mince with green tahini, pickles and a chilli paste on the side.

 All of these were eaten with a puffy, fragrant hot bread called "laffa".
 The eggs were cooked to perfection - with runny creamy yolk, and flavoursome tomatoey sauce.
 I'd never had such smooth, creamy, flavourful hummus. Was it the olive oil that made it special? or the herbs and spices in the lamb?
 We pretty much cleaned every dish of food.

The service was excellent, and you could tell that it has many regulars.
I would definitely want to come here again to try other menu items.

One way Lebanese Bakery, Lalor
    Address: 348 Station St, Lalor VIC 3075
opening hours - 7-7 weekdays, 7-5 weekends

This place we discovered using googlemaps - and how glad we were!
After reading about Manoushe, also called Lebanese pizza, I was really keen to try it, especially here made by authentic Lebanese bakers [I'm assuming so!]

It's typically eaten for breakfast, and most people in the villages didn't normally have their own ovens or make their own, so the communal bakery was where it all happened everyday.

This sujuk and cheese one was so delicious, hot off the oven. We also had a veggie and meat one, and some middle eastern sweets such as baklawa, mamoul and semolina biscuits. All were excellent. The best thing is that everything was so affordable! School kids could come here with their pocket money and enjoy a good after school snack.

They also have excellent coffee - made by smiling servers! This place is definitely a must visit for middle eastern food lovers. Some other interesting items on their menu include fatayer [spinach pie, similar to spanakopita but made with bread rather than pastry] and pashmak [persian fairy floss].

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