The Stuffed Pepper, 727 Nicholson Street, Carlton North. Phone: 9078 8131
My pal Corinna has a bung foot.
It’s on the mend and she’s hobbling around in the manner of folks wearing moonboots.
But still, it means our catch-up lunch will, of necessity, be in the vicinity of her North Carlton pad.
Her place, the soon to re-open local pub?
But, of course, I scope the neighbourhood out on the magic maps and …
“I see you have an Egyptian place nearby,” I say to her.
“We do?” she replies.
You see, the name The Stuffed Pepper conjured up in her mind visions of, well, Italian food – so she’d not taken much notice.
But it’s not.
Italian, that is.
Instead, it is very, very Egyptian – and becoming more so.
Oh sure, there are non-Egyptian items on the menu, but the feedback the wonderful Giselle is getting from her customers is along the lines of “bring on the hardcore”.
So she is, with a love and passion for her food and recipes imbued to her by her mum and dad.
All this is, of course, is music to the ears of Consider The Sauce.
Even better, as of February 28, The Stuffed Pepper will be doing dinners as well as lunches.
Below I have published the Egyptian sections of menu.
Corinna chooses the hawashi (closed Egyptian pizza, $12.90), which consists of ground beef, onion, tomato and capsicum combined with Egyptian spices spread in Middle Eastern bread and grilled until toasted.
It’s spectacular and very different from every other Middle Eastern pie or pizza I’ve experienced.
The meat filling is quite deep and very juicy.
The pastry is anointed with yogurt and very good tabouleh.
I go for the kushari ($13.9), which is described as a delicious Egyptian vegetarian dish consisting of green lentils, rice and tomato-based sauce topped with macaroni and finished with a crispy onion garnish accompanied with a garden salad.
It looks like a simple, humble dish.
It is, but it’s also very sexy.
Giselle furnishes me with a separate bowl of mildly spicy and very good yet thin tomato sauce, which I duly pour over my dish.
I mix the salad in as I go, as instructed.
It’s perfect and just what I was feeling like consuming.
I remark that with its combination of pulses, tomato, pasta and fried onion, my kushari has been like a solid version of the Iraqi soup that has become a feature of CTS Headquarters home-cooking.
Giselle laughs, as that soup is a staple – with variations – right across the Middle East, so she knows exactly what I am talking about.
All the Egyptian food at The Stuffed Pepper comes her family’s store of recipes, and is mostly prepared by her, too.
She even makes her own turshi from scratch, while the falafels are of the green variety, being made with fava beans and herbs.
She does have a cook, Nick, who is helping her out.
She tells me he is of Indian background but is rapidly “becoming Egyptian”.
I really wish The Stuffed Pepper was in the west.
As of the dinner debut, CTS will return with as many pals as we can round up.
Corinna and I only have a small sample of the lunch menu, but’s it’s top rate-stuff.
My mind boggles at what the meat, fish and various ful dishes might be like and how good they might be.
And how about beleela, “a combination of cooked and barley”, which is offered by Giselle in two version?
Check out the Stuffed Pepper Website, including full menus, here.