71B Gamon St, Seddon. Phone: 0432 241 276
A LATER REVIEW APPEARS HERE.
What seems like a long time ago, Gamon St coffees, brekkies and even lunches were a central ingredient for us.
Lifetsyle changes mean we hardly ever do the brekkie thing these days, though coffee – hot chocolate for him – is still a big deal.
Truth is, cafes of the order found in Gamon St simply aren’t part of our routine – we find our coffee well enough at food places that more match our current yearnings for spice and aroma and exotica of various kinds.
Gamon St, mind you, gets travelled by us so frequently – at least once a day – that it is as familiar as any other aspect of our westie habits.
So much so that we hardly notice it.
It is only thanks to a visit to the street’s barber shop that we learn of a Significant Event in our very own neighbourhood.
As my locks are shorn and Bennie and I are discussing our Saturday lunch options, the barber says: “Why don’t you try the Moroccan place that’s opened next door?”
As my head shave winds up, Bennie returns from a scouting mission: “It looks good – they’ve got Lebanese pies!”
Moroccan? Lebanese pies?
Turns out Advieh is more your all-purpose purveyor of a wide range of Mediterranean-style goodies, with a strong Middle eastern element.
The restaurant inhabits a building that for most locals will be known as the former premises of the pet shop that these days lives further down the road, next to the wedding place.
The staff tell us the building had barely been touched for about 100 years when they took over, so a major update was required.
It looks grand – polished wooden floors, funky old chairs and tables of the wooden variety, colourful tiles.
When we visit, Advieh – I’m told it’s a Persian word for “spice” or “spice mix” – has been open for four days.
I reckon it’s already a smash hit.
There’s a breakfast menu that has some non-Mediterranean staples, along with the likes of scrambled eggs with Turkish bread, roasted tomatoes, halloumi, olives and cucumber.
Despite the fact the non-breakfast menu is split into sections such as antipasto, wraps, pastry, focaccia, salads and “meals”, it seems many of these are variations deftly put together from the contents of the great-looking display cabinet.
We order the mixed grill plate ($17), having been assured by the staff that it’s just about right for two moderately hungry chaps.
They are right – the photo doesn’t really convey the depth and quality of our wonderful repast, which is a riot of colours and tastes.
On our plate are …
Salads: A fine tabouli; a fantastic Mediterranean mix of spinach and beautifully cut capsicum, green onion, cucumber, tomato; a couscous studded with chick peas.
Meats: A single skewer of tasty grilled chicken and two superb rissoles that burst with cumin-infused flavour.
Dips: Tzataziki, crunchy with finely diced cucumber cubes and perfumed with dill; a funky, earthy beetroot dip requested as an extra by us and served as a side dish.
The flat bread accompanying is quite different from routine, commercial pita bread – it’s quite a bit thicker without being the least bit doughy. Not that it matters – for, like everything else about our lunch, it’s tremendous.
The only surprise, given the nature and heritage of the food, is that there isn’t a more pronounced zing from lemon and garlic. But given the quality and refined flavours before us, that is not a complaint.
Conservatively ordering a single dish to share allows wriggle room in our lunch budget to indulge in a sweetie treat.
Along with good latte and hot chocolate ($3.20 each) comes a slice of baklava ($3.50).
It’s rustic, moist, heavily spiced and easy on the fork.
Halfway through our respective halves, I lean across the table and whisper to Bennie: “Mate, this the best baklava I’ve ever had!”
Our lunch clocks in at a few cents over $27, which we consider to be a super dooper bargain.