Saturday, July 19, 2008

Review: The Prophet Lebanese Cafe

Image: manpasand

Step over the threshold of this snug Lebanese eatery in Victoria Park and wonder as every trite wintery cliche comes to mind. Cosy, warm, inviting, traditional, etc etc. As decor goes, The Prophet really does live up to every one of them. Colonial chairs and rustic display cabinets abound and I was back in my Mum's country kitchen, greedily guzzling her home-made chicken soup (see earlier post).

I was there with a group of raucous Mums who were letting off some steam after a heavy week of parenting. To hell with it, we cried, as we threw the menus back at the waitress and demanded the banquet. Actually, we didn't demand it but were told we had to have it because there were ten of us. No matter, we weren't there to read.

Entree ensued with a trio of dips. How strange, we mused. One of them tasted of garlic puree which - surprise - it was and we gleefully ruminated how offensive we would be the next day: perhaps the kids wouldn't come near us? Such was the power of Lola's Garlic Dip in all its smooth creaminess, which chef and owner Jihad Moussallem apparently spent years perfecting. We also enjoyed a solid hommus, a smokey baba ganouj and layer after layer of warm Lebanese pita.

Where does the time go? Entrees disappeared and mains materialised in the form of gigantic falafel balls, spicy beef and lamb kebabs, and mounds of fresh, palate-cleansing tabbouleh. I'm sure there was more but by this time we were at the musical chairs and taking silly photos stage of the night so I didn't get back to the eating bit until a generous square of Turkish delight appeared in front of me.

The service was a little slow and sullen but overall an excellent night was had by all. The Prophet is a busy place so book in advance, and it is BYO. You can always purchase a bottle of wine from The Balmoral two doors down if you enjoy spending $20 on a cleanskin, but for my money I'd pick one up on the way.