Tarabish, 434 Sydney Rd, Coburg. Phone: 9354 4678
In a week in which higher volumes than usual of preposterous spam have arrived – in both email and blog comment forms – Matthew’s email is a breath of sincere fresh air.
He’s new to Melbourne, has plans to set up a falafel stand and could we meet up and talk foodiness?
We settle on one of Consider The Sauce’s favourite places in the whole wide world – a purveyor of very fine falafel among other things – on Sydney Road.
Upon arrival, I soon discover Matthew has already checked out that particular establishment, so we wander down the road apiece to another Coburg stalwart, one that neither of us has taken for a spin – yet!
Tarabish has a modest exterior and relatively plain interior but is neat and tidy.
The service we receive from Nouha is wonderful, and eventually she picks up on the falafel-based nature of our conversation and chips in with her own observations.
I love it very much when the eatery folk we meet in our travels respond with such warmth and enthusiasm to our interest in their food and culture!
The Tarabish menu (below) and food is your basic straight-up Lebanese and quite similar to other places in this neighbourhood.
But what we have is fine.
Matthew, unsurprisngly, goes for the falafel meal ($12).
Various pickles, variously crunchy, sour and/or spicy, all present and accounted for.
Good, moist tabouli, though the cabbage salad is a mite on the dry side; smooth, fresh “hommos”, too.
The falefel balls themselves are very good, with unoily, wonderfully crisp but not tough outers and pale, delicate, mildly flavoured insides.
My “kebbeh” meal ($13) has slightly different accoutrements – the same tabouli, dip and cabbage, but also a rice salad with wonderful fried onion strands and a drier bulgur number.
The two kibbeh footballs are the highlights of both our platters.
The deeply tanned shells encase a filling that is a wonder to behold and consume – a filling that is far moister than is usual in kibbeh in my experience.
Mixed in with incredibly juicy lamb mince are herbs, onion and pine nuts.
Our kibbeh are high on “wow” factor!
Through all this I learn with much interest about Matthew’s falafel plans and dreams.
While he’s still in the planning stages, his scheme has enough substance to find him contacting prospective suppliers of “significant cost points” such as chick peas, parsley and pita bread.
We wonder about the lasting power of tabouli.
When I opine that maybe tabouli is one of those things that can actually taste better the day after it’s made, Nouha begs to differ – fresh is always best she proclaims.
Proving her point, she offers us a taste of the day’s fresh batch – and apart from the bulgur not being quite moistened all the way through, she’s right.
It’s been that sort of lunch in that sort of place.