A mid-week appointment finds me in a good place to check out a newish CBD joint of Middle Eastern persuasion, Tahini Lebanese Diner (518 Little Bourke Street, off Guests Lane).
While the other end of Melbourne’s CBD has Chinatown and more going for it, the Spencer Street end teems with eateries and cafes in what seems like hundreds of alleys and laneways.
Trouble, in our experience most of them are average tending towards mediocre.
As I discover, Tahini is neither – it’s hot and cool, and if I lived or worked or both in this area, I’d be eating here at least a couple of times a week.
In the process of nailing down my fine lunch, I also discover that Tahini is tricky to find.
A few twists and turns, though, and I’m there.
I discover a rather lovely cafe-style diner.
Lunch hour is just beginning and there’s a heap of on-the-ball staff members taking care of business.
It’s with a foot-weary sigh that I happily peruse the menu (see below), upon which I find listed very many familiar favourites from our many visits to Coburg, Brunswick and even – these days – various locations in the west.
Feeling like something light, I bypass such meaty items as the shish tawouk and kafta and even the reportedly world-class felafel, though it is fun watching the latter being made.
Zing goes my fatoush ($12)!
It is excellent, every piece of the jumble of cos, tomato, radish, red capsicum, onion, parsley, mint and pomegranate seeds singing with lemony joy.
A bowl of the same herbed pita chips that are in my salad is presented on the side.
Baba ghanouj ($6) is the real-deal, too, my rather modest portion – I mind not, as it’s all I’m wanting – tap-dancing all over my tastebuds with the expected and desired smokiness and lemon and garlic.